Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Ordinal Maxi Biz?

Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Ordinal Maxi Biz?

Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Ordinal Maxi Biz?

May 23, 2024

General Wallet Use

5 min

In January 2023, Casey Rodarmor launched the Ordinals protocol, forever changing the way crypto users looked at the potential for Bitcoin NFTs. Barely two months later, in March of last year, the Ordinal Maxi Biz project landed on the scene.

Ordinal Maxi Biz – or OMB – is a collection of 5,141 hand-drawn PFPs on Bitcoin, created in 2023 by the pseudonymous ZK_Shark and artist Tony Tafuro, with contributions from Nullish. Other artwork for the project came from berkin bags. There are multiple collections within OMB, which can be differentiated by their eye colors. The various colors – red, blue, green and orange – represent different on-chain traits.

Ordinal Maxi Biz has demonstrated a remarkable staying power. Despite debuting more than a year ago, at the time of this writing, it is a top-10 Bitcoin collection on Magic Eden. This is in large part because of a highly engaged following, the use of rare sats for inscriptions, multiple rollouts and the strong base its enigmatic founder has cultivated. Many of OMB’s supporters like to post that it’s a movement, not a project. So let’s talk a bit about that movement.

Collection History

The first thing to understand about OMB is the speed with which it was created and released. Founder ZK_Shark was an early adherent to Ordinals theory, viewing it as a superior opportunity to Ethereum-based NFTs. He has said in several posts that he barely slept for the month of February 2023, devoted to getting the project done. He literally quit his finance job to work on launching the collection.

That fervor is present in OMB’s ethos. The entire collection – and the broader movement – has an anarchical undercurrent. OMB practices what they refer to as “extreme ownership,” which has no limits or restrictions. As they posted to X last year, “Once you mint your OMB it is your property to do with as you choose. You may buy, sell, trade, lend, collateralize, hypothecate, inscribe over, or destroy your OMB freely.” And in a March 2023 collection manifesto (of sorts), ZK_Shark highlighted that OMB would have no enforced royalties or metadata changes and promised that it would never move to another chain. 

It didn’t take long for OMB to gain notoriety. With a widely read Twitter/X account in ZK_Shark behind the project – and the work of successful artist Tony Tafuro imbibed in the design, OMB was already destined to garner attention. But they got all that (and more) in large part due to a controversial, widely discussed guerrilla marketing campaign. 

Here’s the basics: OMB encouraged other projects to buy and burn CryptoPunks NFTs, which many considered to be blasphemous due to CryptoPunks value and status. But some took him up on it. Both DeGods and Bitcoin Bandits burned their CryptoPunks, earning 33 whitelist spots each for a mint. Interestingly, many of those spots were raffled off, adding to the anarchist themes. The punk burning, which OMB achieved without spending their own money, helped establish them.

Collection Concept & Development

The collection consists of a series of black-and-white sketched heads with colorful eyes and other Bitcoin-inspired traits, hand-drawn by Tafuro. The two were acquainted through Twitter Spaces and because ZK_Shark had previously collected some of Tafuro’s art. The OMBs are rife with “₿” logos, various mantras and references to societal themes. But it’s the eyes that carry the most information. 

Each OMB has an eye color that corresponds with where it was inscribed. Red-eyed OMBs were the first to debut, followed by blue-eyed OMBs – which were inscribed on block 78. This block is notable, as it was mined by the late Hal Finney. The green-eyed collection, released third, stepped it up a notch by inscribing on block 9, which was mined by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Orange-eyed OMBs, the latest drop, are similarly rare. The size of each eye collection has also increased; they initially issued 100 Red Eyes, followed by 200 Blue Eyes, 1900 Green Eyes, and 3000 Orange Eyes, each in separate drops.

The “on-chain paradox” of having new artwork on satoshis that were mined more than a decade ago is something “simply cool,” according to the creators. This achievement was possible because of the work of Nullish, who has long hunted for and studied rare satoshis.

OMB has been able to build a strong, highly engaged community, as well as hype for new collections through some good old fashioned exclusivity. Whenever new eye colors have been released, some of the whitelist spots have gone to existing OMB holders. By doing this, OMB has created both a collectors’ ethos for its inscriptions and an expectation that collectors will be rewarded when future ones are dropped.

Associated Projects

As many supporters would attest, OMB is more than simply a collection of ordinals. They also are mission-oriented, with a focus on educating others about Bitcoin. To that end, they created OMBounties, which they describe as “a grants and bounties program rewarding developers, educators, and community members that contribute to the advancement of the Bitcoin network.”

The core mission of OMBounties – which was launched in 2023 – is to support open-source projects that promote privacy, decentralization and the concept of “permissionlessness.” There are different types of bounties. Some are incentives for organizations or developers that undertake Bitcoin projects, while others are open and available to OMB holders on a first-come basis. By providing these bounties, OMB has created opportunities for education and further development in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

A Major Collection Milestone

A landmark moment for OMB came in April, when famed auction house Christie’s announced it would host an “Ordinal Maxi Biz” sale that showcases the collection. The Christie’s auction incorporated a variety of OMBs, including a lot with red, blue, green and orange-eyed Ordinals. It also featured three unique pieces of art: ‘Artists Journal’ and ‘This is Me’ by Tony Tafuro, and ‘Recording in Progress’ by berkin bags.

This wasn’t the first inscription auction – Sotheby’s hosted one last year. But OMB’s sale with Christie’s nevertheless represents a substantial moment for Ordinals. A high-profile sale such as this one demonstrates the popularity and market strength that these inscriptions have retained.

“Ordinals are such an important part of today’s Web3 and Digital Art culture,” said Nicole Sales Giles, the Director of Digital Art Sales at Christie’s. “It’s been a pleasure to work with ZK on this project and to dive into OMB and the fascinating developments happening on Bitcoin.”

“Ordinal theory and inscriptions have sparked a technical revolution that enables Bitcoin – humanity’s most decentralized cryptocurrency – to function as a permissionless and immutable medium for fine digital artifacts,” commented ZK_Shark. “Inscriptions prove Bitcoin’s potential to preserve uncensored history and cultural expressions akin to earlier humans’ cave paintings. Christie’s global presence further solidify Bitcoin as the world’s top cryptocurrency and the premiere destination for fine digital artifacts and documentation. OMB Cannot Be Stopped.”

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