In early 2023, the Taproot Wizards started a movement in the NFT space when founders Udi Wertheimer and Eric Wall minted a full block, 4MB wizard to the Bitcoin blockchain. This action kickstarted the emerging Ordinals space, highlighted by the over 56 million (and counting) inscriptions now on the chain.
Since then, Udi, Eric, artist 0xFar and the rest of the team have fended off attacks from “Laser eyed maxis,” “podcasters,” and even miners who claim to eat cats. Even under such scrutiny, the Wizards have built a large following of people performing “quests” in an attempt to graduate from apprentice to wizard. This has included raising over $150,000 for charity via the Lightning Network and taking a “Wizard Shower.”
OP_CAT and Quest 4
The latest quest revolves around a Bitcoin operation code, or opcode, called OP_CAT, short for concatenate. To promote this quest, Taproot Wizards have unveiled a new collection, called the Quantum Cats (note that this article is being written as part of completing the quest).
There is debate in the Bitcoin community of whether OP_CAT or OP_CTV should be used and Wall makes it very clear in this graphic what is going on:
That’s not so clear, you might say? Ok then I will dig in on why OP_CAT should (or maybe shouldn’t) be the path forward.
The first thing to understand is what OP_CAT is. On the recent Taproot Wizards/Quantum Cats. Andrew Poelstra, Chief Scientist of Blockstream and inventor of Taproot, wrote two articles (January and February 2021) explaining OP_CAT.
I would attempt to summarize them here, but do you, reader, really want to know that CHECKSIGFROMSTACK allows users to check signatures from arbitrary data? NO, OF COURSE NOT, you want to know how this helps you go “to the moon.”
Thankfully, this Tweet from wallet provider Xverse is a great summary on some of the benefits:
2/ OP_CAT, initially introduced by Satoshi in 2009, was part of Bitcoin's original scripting language. 🧠
It was designed to concatenate (join) 2 values, enabling more dynamic transaction capabilities like:
✅ Enhanced multisig setups
✅ Conditional transactions
✅ Atomic swaps
— Xverse – Bitcoin Wallet for Web3 (@xverseApp) January 16, 2024
This is echoed by the Quantum Cats website stating:
Very importantly, implementing OP_CAT is a soft fork, which means that nodes do not have to make any major software changes. This was according to Taproot Wizards Sorcerer, Tyler Whittle on Twitter Space, The Ordinal Show. Those who were around during the 2017 cycle, remember the “Block Wars” that led to multiple hard forks of Bitcoin, creating and then destroying a lot of value. The fact that no hard fork is needed, makes this idea much more palatable.
This all sounds pretty good, right? Plus, do you really want to go against the opinion of Eric Wall (or his alter ego Erica)? Do you want to lose a Tungsten Cube?
tomorrow i collect another tungsten cube
this is me pleading to bitcoiners. please
stop betting me. i don’t know what to do with all this tungsten
— Eric Wall | OP_😺 (@ercwl) April 11, 2023
Bitcoin is one of the greatest innovations of our time, the most secure blockchain, and the host of all of our wizard, cat, frog, monke, punk, and other JPEGs. Perhaps OP_CAT is the next step in the evolution of Bitcoin becoming the most powerful and versatile piece of technology we’ve ever seen?
OP_CAT? How about OP_NOT
All this being said, there may be some very good reasons not to activate OP_CAT, which are worth exploring.
First, if Satoshi really thought it was “too powerful,” how do we know that we can handle that “power” now? Taproot Wizards have been accused of breaking and destroying Bitcoin, but this could be the one step too far that actually does. We all know how important Satoshi’s Vision is, even if BSV is only trading around $80, compared to BTC’s $40,000+.
Second, and most importantly, what if Luke Dashjr eats OP_CAT? Bet you haven’t thought about that one Udi! Can you imagine, if OP_CAT is activated, the possibilities on Bitcoin are expanded, and Luke simply ingests and digests? Is that really worth the effort?
Only time will tell whether OP_CAT is activated, but it is much more certain that the Quantum Cats, both Dead and Alive, will come to spread this educational message while taking over the Ordinals universe!
(Parts of this article are written with levity and humor. Nothing in this article should be taken as technological or financial advice)