Updated: Oct 22
Innovation continually advances, shaping both the Bitcoin ecosystem and the broader technological landscape. Recent breakthroughs in Bitcoin and AI have been particularly impactful, revolutionising industries like digital art.
The Impact of the Internet
The internet has democratised art, extending artists' reach globally. But this freedom complicates copyright enforcement. Blockchain technologies like Ethereum introduced non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital certificates that confer "ownership" over artworks. However, NFTs have limitations; specifically that they are not fully decentralised or secure due to Ethereum's architecture.
Enter the "Ordinals" protocol by Casey Rodarmor, launched in January 2023. It employs "Ordinal Theory" to link data in a Bitcoin transaction to a specific satoshi, allowing for fully decentralised, censorship-resistant digital ownership.
Ordinals have garnered attention for their potential to replace NFTs and solidify Bitcoin's position as the dominant blockchain. This protocol doesn't just enable the secure transaction of digital art; it creates an immutable record of each transaction. Ordinals are already making waves in the art world, boasting over $500 million in trading volume according to a recent Bitcoin Magazine article, and attracting substantial investment . We recently interviewed Isabel Foxen Duke, who led communications for Ordinals in the eye of the storm. She had some fascinating insights into the technology and its future. You can watch the full conversation below.
The year 2023 has also seen breakthroughs in AI, particularly in "Text-to-Image" technology. Platforms like MidJourney and Stable Diffusion can generate art mimicking famous artists, threatening the value of original works. To counteract this, researchers from the University of Chicago have developed "Glaze," a tool that applies "style cloaks" to disrupt machine learning algorithms. These minor digital perturbations successfully confound AI's ability to emulate original styles with over 92% efficacy under normal conditions and 85% against adaptive measures. You can read the full whitepaper here.
The impact of AI
So, what role does Bitcoin play in controlling AI's potential excesses? Bitcoin can act as a counterbalance. Its innate properties, such as absolute scarcity and Proof of Work, could serve as a brake on AI proliferation by imposing real costs on computational power. Unlike fiat currencies that can be limitlessly produced, Bitcoin's architecture can make computational power for AI both expensive and scarce, mitigating risks of AI technologies spiralling out of control. Earlier this year, Ten31.vc produced a comprehensive thought piece on Bitcoin and AI, which you can read in full here.
Bitcoin as a Solution
As Maya Angelou once said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." In a world where AI stretches creative boundaries, Bitcoin offers a stable, ethical framework for digital ownership and value preservation. As these technologies evolve and intersect, the challenge lies in balancing unbridled creativity with ethical and practical considerations. Bitcoin emerges as a robust solution to this quandary, providing a decentralised and secure platform for both financial transactions and digital ownership. Embracing Bitcoin could be crucial in steering our unbounded digital future.