This is an opinion piece by Mark Maraia, professional development author and Bitcoin researcher.
For years Bitcoiners have been telling almost anyone who would listen that bitcoin is undervalued. Any Bitcoiner who has done the research knows that the bitcoin asset is drastically undervalued. And I totally agree! But even if bitcoin, the asset, is undervalued, it pales in comparison to the undervalued bitcoin network. I have long argued that Bitcoiners, as a group, undervalue the Bitcoin network as much or more than any coin dealer undervalues the bitcoin asset.
It is therefore with some amusement that I observe the fierce debate among bitcoin purists who believe that using the bitcoin network (i.e. the immutable digital ledger) is only for sending value (bitcoin), and registrations, ordinals and crowd of BRC tokens that says and does otherwise.
In my opinion, what most Bitcoin purists miss is the difference between the bitcoin asset and the immutable digital ledger, also known as “the time chain”. The highest and best use of the immutable ledger is to store and send value, but it is not the only use, as the BRC registrations and tokens show us.
Also, I’ve always thought of network and protocol (the immutable digital ledger) as a place where I can post a message which cannot be changed. Therefore, when the Declaration of Monetary Independence (DoMI) was first published on October 31, 2021, I asked a fellow Bitcoiner to make it a permanent note in the time chain.
I believe it can be found at block height 707,575. And when we created the 2023 version of DoMI that people signed in Miami at the Bitcoin 2023 event, I asked another Bitcoiner to create an inscription for it. Both can now be found on the immutable ledger. I totally understand why many want to use the Time Chain just for money, but I consider it naïve to think it will only be used for that purpose.
One man’s nonsense is another man’s sense
Where I get irritated is in the weakness of the market (all of us) values the time chain. In my opinion, there isn’t a single person on the planet who values networking properly…yet.
What BRC inscriptions and tokens do is increase the perceived value of the time chain. All in all a plus. Until the network is valued at 250 sats for $1, it is madly sub-price!
Even in the age of enrollments and BRC tokens, the immutable ledger is still radically undervalued and the cost to put data on it is way below what a smart market could put.
It’s as if Satoshi Nakamoto invented two things: first, a new type of rare digital currency And two, an immutable ledger to keep track of each satoshi. Using a metaphor to take stock, he/she/they invented a new kind of wagon And the tracks on which the wagon travels.
We dumb human beings who are slavishly obsessed with money give 99.9% of our attention to the asset and almost none to the network (i.e. the time warp) even though the network is as breathtaking as the asset. More impressive and often overlooked is this: Nakamoto had to invent a new way to keep time in order to allow the immutable ledger to remain decentralized. Do we celebrate, applaud and appreciate this new way of measuring time? Not really. As of this writing, at block height 794,076, we assume and take for granted that this new timing method will continue to work for decades. Tick tock, next block.
We all need to be a little more humble and dare I say respectful of this immutable ledger and understand that some people will “waste” block space putting things into the time warp that will last as long as they will continue to spin. Who am I to tell another how to appreciate it? Today, every Bitcoiner underestimates and underpays the use of this immutable digital ledger.
Consider this carving in a majestic 300-year-old oak tree: “Satoshi loves the time warp.
For those who love majestic oak trees, such an inscription could be considered vandalism or horrible. For the person who made the carving, it might represent a labor of love to have this message inscribed in the tree. The tree doesn’t care, only people care.
Rather than wasting more human energy discussing enrollments and ordinals, I’m going to take inspiration from Bitcoin’s time chain. The time warp is absolutely neutral to how we humans use it in the same way that the tree doesn’t care what carvings you make in its trunk.
This is a guest post by Mark Maraia. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.