What do eggplant emojis, porn, and video games have in common? They’re all now permanently inscribed on the Bitcoin blockchain.
This is probably not what Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto had in mind, but thanks to the Taproot upgrade and the controversial Ordinals project—which lets people store unique assets on it, akin to NFTs—you can now play an unofficial clone of the iconic 1993 first-person shooter Doom on the blockchain.
Created by Nicholas Carlini, the game is inscribed on Bitcoin as Inscription 466 and can be played with a keyboard and mouse. It’s a simplistic knockoff of Doom and doesn’t pack the gory, pixelated punch of the influential original, but it offers a taste of what’s possible through Ordinals. An enhanced version has since been inscribed.
And just like that a new version of DOOM with improved gameplay has dropped on the BTC blockchain.https://t.co/1nGRo5krYR
h/t @grandfreud https://t.co/6jVqCUrFIG
— Hector Lopez (@hlopez_) February 2, 2023
It also adds a new layer to the ever-expanding “It Runs Doom” meme, in which people try to get the game working on nearly any gadget or device they can find—whether it’s an ATM, a fridge, a smartwatch, and plenty more. There’s even a subreddit devoted to the pursuit, followed by over 94,000 Reddit users.
So does Bitcoin run Doom? For now, the answer is: sort of.
Bitcoin is the original decentralized and permissionless blockchain—and the ability to store content on it makes it something of a unique historical record.
The Ordinal Theory Handbook argues that Bitcoin inscriptions like the Doom clone game are better than NFTs, which are unique blockchain tokens (typically ERC-721 tokens on Ethereum) that signify ownership over associated metadata that in many cases is stored off-chain in a centralized manner.
Every inscription on Bitcoin through Ordinals is labeled a “digital artifact,” because it is complete and decentralized in and of itself. It’s immutable, unlike most NFTs, whose metadata can be modified or even deleted by the creator.
Since its launch in January, Ordinals has already caused quite the stir among the Bitcoin community, as maximalists and devotees have debated whether any content should be uploaded to Bitcoin at all.
As one might expect from the crypto “degen” community, much of what has been added to Bitcoin as inscriptions so far is something akin to digital graffiti. There are eggplant emojis and Bored Ape Yacht Club knockoffs, along with nudity, music, tweets, GIFs, Donald Trump memes, and even ads for the privacy chain Monero. Fun times.