How Wizards Are Bringing Magic Back To Bitcoin

Taproot Wizards co-founder Udi Wertheimer says he's tired of watching Bitcoin fall behind

By: Zack Abrams

June 15, 2023

Udi Wertheimer wants you to know that he’s not sorry for having some fun. 

Wertheimer is the co-founder of Taproot Wizards, one of the biggest projects on the novel Bitcoin Ordinals protocol, which lets users “inscribe” fungible and non-fungible tokens directly on Bitcion’s blockchain. He also, somewhat controversially, dressed up as a wizard and danced on stage at Bitcoin’s biggest conference.

“We happened to dress as wizards because Taproot Wizards are an NFT project that's all about wizards ... so we dressed up as wizards on stage. We thought it was pretty funny and cool,” Wertheimer told Coinage in a recent interview. “Some people were apparently really offended by the idea of having people dressed up as wizards on stage.”

"Offended" might be putting it lightly. One notable thought leader in Bitcoin's conservative faction attacked the antics as foolish at a time when all of crypto is under assault by regulators nearly everywhere. Is this really the time to be wasting valuable block space on Ordinals? Maybe it's the perfect time.

"Bitcoin is serious. It's a serious thing. I think it has the potential of really changing the world for the better," Wertheimer admitted in a nod to his haters. “But part of the process of getting there is going to be to onboard a lot of people, a lot of different types of people.” 

As important as it is for Bitcoin to have allies in politics and traditional finance, Wertheimer argues that crypto will never reach mass adoption if it’s not able to appeal to all types of people — not just professionals.

“Part of the process of getting [to mass adoption] is going to be to onboard a lot of people — a lot of different types of people, too,” said Wertheimer. “I think some of them are going to be very serious traditional finance guys, institutional people. … But also, I think there's a lot of people who are maybe younger, maybe care more about culture, creativity, art, community … We need all of these approaches.”

Wertheimer argues that the Bitcoin community isn’t living up to its promise of keeping a close eye on the innovations in the crypto sphere and eventually bringing the best ideas back to Bitcoin. Ethereum, for example, has continued to grow its community by onboarding new users with NFTs, art, and culture. In doing so, Ethereum fans continue to get closer to their dream of “the flippening,” or the point at which Bitcoin’s reign is overtaken by its longtime rival.

"In order for [Bitcoin] to be digital money, we need to have people using it as money and one of the one of the ways that we've seen people use ETH as money is to buy, create and trade NFTs," Wertheimer said. “We didn't do much of, like, seeing what works and bringing it back to Bitcoin. And I think that that's the great thing about Ordinals, that it's kind of starting to do that."

In our wide-ranging conversation, Wertheimer touches on the reaction to Taproot Wizards and the developments on Ordinals from the more cautious “laser-eyes” in the community, how the Bitcoin community failed to onboard new users during the last bull run, and why BRC-20 altcoins on Bitcoin make his head hurt. Check out the full recording above. 

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