Ordinals Triggered “NFT Regression” is Not an Idealistic Return

"NFT Regression" not idealistic return

Recently, the “engraving” method of Bitcoin NFT has been frequently copied to ETH, from the distribution mode of BRC-20 Token to ETH $FERC, to directly inserting pictures into the Hex Data field of ETH transactions as Base64 strings. This has attracted a lot of attention from players.

It seems that the idealistic beauty of “immutable, fair, and decentralized” of Bitcoin NFT has been passed on to ETH by replicating the somewhat clumsy NFT generation method formed by Bitcoin due to its characteristics. However, is this really the return of idealism?

ETH’s “On-Chain” NFT

Today, as the ETH NFT ecosystem has developed, as players, we may feel helpless about many issues, such as PUA based on whitelist mechanism, “scientists” eating up a large number of shares during public sale, lack of new narratives, and the proliferation of “dogs” that are known to be capital operations but have to be rushed into. However, as a well-tested NFT ecosystem, ETH NFT has also had in-depth discussions on many issues and has been given answers by the market.

“Immutable” or “On-Chain Storage” may seem like a “technical issue”, but it is actually a “market issue”. ETH has had discussions on this issue very early on.

This is a tweet I found that was published 2 years ago. @dhof rated ETH “On-Chain NFT” according to different implementation methods. One-star is to store data in the calldata field of ETH transactions, two-star is to store data through EVM opcode sstore and render data through external scripts, and the highest three-star is to store data through EVM opcode sstore and render it through the built-in renderer in the smart contract to output svg images or other similar data URIs.

If we rate Ethscription according to this standard, Ethscription can only get a one-star rating. As mentioned at the beginning of its official website, Ethscription is implemented by storing data in the calldata field of ETH transactions. The rendering of images needs to be done through off-chain indexing, and the off-chain operations become decentralized by open sourcing the index.

For ETH, “On-Chain NFT” is not a new thing. I can quickly recall several project names-Autoglyphs, Larva Lads, Chain Runners, and OnChain Monkeys, which are also active in Bitcoin NFT now.

If you retrieve the tokenURI of Autoglyphs, you will find a long string of characters. By breaking this string, you can get an image.

If you retrieve the tokenURI of Larva Lads, you will also find a long string of characters, but the type definition is JSON and the content is a base64 string. Larva Lads has built-in decoding and rendering operations in the contract that ultimately output the SVG image.

Going back to @dhof’s tweet. Under this tweet, I also saw a very interesting discussion:

@0xCardinalError expressed confusion about why @dhof was so obsessed with on-chain storage. While on-chain storage as an experiment is cool, the most important thing for NFTs is to focus on “building a sustainable culture.” He also pointed out that solutions like IPFS and Arweave lower the cost of minting NFTs, which is actually not a “technical problem” but rather a “market problem.” Although IPFS and Arweave are storage solutions outside of ETH, the ETH NFT market has given a real choice with real money.

@WhenLambo6135 explained the meaning of “immutable” very well – to allow artwork to exist even when the creator/project disappears, just like Da Vinci does not need to continuously draw the Mona Lisa to keep her in existence, only to ensure that the artwork is not lost and is properly preserved. To some extent, this is also another understanding of blockchain – an information storage medium supported by modern technology and consensus. Compared with paper artworks, blockchain artworks do not require troublesome maintenance, only the internet and computers do not disappear, and people’s faith in the blockchain network.

What @0xCardinalError mentioned about “building a sustainable culture” is as indispensable to the thriving ETH NFT ecosystem as the art creators who have gradually been forgotten in one “make money like drinking water” story after another. The principle of Ethscription is not new to ETH, but it has been pushed and speculated by some people. Looking at it from the perspective of speculation, it naturally has the famous “no bias” theory. But looking at the market, most of the things that Ethscription and various “new technology concepts” on Bitcoin have dug out are directly copied from ETH Rock and CryptoPunks, and the most popular ones are still meme tokens. For example, the so-called first BRC-20 Token imitation $ETHS released by Ethscription has no index, no trading market, and even no technical documents like Domo prepared for BRC-20. It has been sold at a high price of 100U per sheet off the market. When writing this article, I even saw a BRC-20 on BSC posted by a certain KOL. I searched Twitter and only found the source of the KOL. Its minting tutorial was sold for $8…

Is this really a return to “idealism”?

Is “intervention in the market” how “development” is achieved?

The narrative that $FERC, which transports the BRC-20 Token issuance model to ETH, promotes is “fairness and decentralization.” However, on June 19th, @kkk_ethe’s exposure sparked a discussion about $FERC developer Jackygu “intervening in the market.”

Jackygu’s response to this is:

Okay… forgive me for not understanding, I can only understand that the launch of $FERC was “fair.” But what is even more incomprehensible is whether the project’s development can be achieved by “intervening in the market.” Bitcoin, ETH, and even Doge, which one has not experienced severe fluctuations? What can’t be knocked down will become stronger in the end.

In fact, what can’t be shaken by price fluctuations is “consensus.” The word “consensus” has been used so much now that it is not about today when I buy and you buy and we shout 100x and wait for someone to take over, but it has truly formed emotional connections and ideological resonance. Just like when Bitcoin was still very cheap, if you met someone on the street who also said they believed in Bitcoin, you might both be excited and find each other interesting, which is a simple and direct manifestation of “consensus.” If there were no early selfless developers, no true early dreamers, could Bitcoin really have lasted so long? If Bitcoin started “intervening in the market” when it rose to $1 per unit, would it still have “subsequent healthy development”?

As mentioned above, many ETH NFT players are dissatisfied with some aspects of ETH NFTs today. There are indeed many “unfair” things that make players unhappy about ETH, such as VC/CEX taking away a large number of initial chips, whales “occupying” LaunchBlockingd, and meme Tokens setting a bunch of rules such as “blacklist” and “transaction tax”…

But these are not “technical” issues, they are “human” issues. In a decentralized world, it is already ironic to use “decentralization” as the narrative of a project… We have come too far on the road to “making money,” when can we go back, and do we really want to go back? Just like the “withdraw token movement” that has been mentioned all the time, if we firmly say “no” with our actions, then the so-called “unfairness” will disappear, but the reality is not like this.