Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Pizza Ninjas?

Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Pizza Ninjas?

Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Pizza Ninjas?

Jun 6, 2024

General Wallet Use

5 min

If you love Ordinals, generative art and pizza, then this might just be the project for you.

Pizza Ninjas is a Bitcoin Ordinals project inscribed in January 2024 and spearheaded by Ninjalerts leader Trevor.btc, who partnered with NFT artist Boozy.btc to create an instantly recognizable look. With their bright orange backgrounds and 90s-inspired ninja theme, they’re easily identifiable and jam-packed with nostalgia.

But there’s more to the Ninjas than the average inscription. While others are focused on form, Pizza Ninjas incorporate function. As a collection of 1,500 PFP inscriptions, Pizza Ninjas bucks the trend of 10K projects, but the lower supply allowed the creators to focus on utility and design. As a result, everything from the color selections to the pixel count has a highly deliberate purpose.

The Concept Behind Pizza Ninjas

One of the first things to understand about Pizza Ninjas is that everything – even the silly – is deliberate. Take the name, for instance. The collection is inscribed on rare pizza satoshis. (The term ‘pizza satoshis’ comes from the 10,000 BTC programmer Laszlo Hanyecz used in May 2010 to purchase two Papa John’s pizzas – the first known use of bitcoin to purchase physical goods. This transaction has come to be celebrated annually within the crypto community and is known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”)

And then there’s the color schemes. The collection features a distinctive orange background that they describe as mathematically chosen. In the design process, Ninjalerts called upon cofounder and color scientist Max Savin, who utilized Pantone-compatible colors to ensure the art would look consistent across platforms and printers.

Even the design choices – from the bottom-up – were intentional. Because the project was designed as a Twitter/X-first project, every Ninja has room for the emoji and hands that appear at the top of the icon on Twitter Spaces. 

But the truly unusual element of Pizza Ninjas is their level of function. Unlike many static PFP collections, Pizza Ninjas are customizable. They have an extremely high pixel rate, allowing for dynamic resizing while maintaining the quality of the image. You can adjust the content, apply animation effects and use it for branding purposes within your own business. You can even play games with it.

An on-chain Super Nintendo emulator allows holders to play 90s SNES games inside their PFP, with two-player support and gamepad compatibility. They also provide a lifetime license to Ordinals Portfolio Tracker & Wallet Watching software by Ninjalerts, a membership pass to their alpha group featuring collabs and allowlist giveaways to top projects.” In essence, each Ninja is “more like an app than a PFP.” 

History of Pizza Ninjas

The Pizza Ninjas collection was born out of a desire to create a new type of on-chain PFP – the idea of “Art as an Application.” Ninjalerts wanted to leverage what makes Bitcoin unique by focusing on what would not be easy to do on a protocol like Ethereum. That led them to pursue creative functions like the game emulator, which they felt tied in well with their 90s aesthetic. As they wrote, “Ordinals is far superior in terms of lower cost and complexity to create large-scale, fully on-chain, programmable applications embedded into digital artwork.”

The Ninjas were also built to be at-home in the spaces where web3 communities thrive: places like X and Discord. The team specifically built Pizza Ninjas to look “distinctive, clean, and awesome on X,” and incorporated an animated gif inscribed on the same Ordinal that can be used on holders’ Discords to enliven their interactions.

But the partnership with Boozy.btc also played a huge role. As a seasoned NFT artist, Boozy had an existing community of enthusiasts from his previous projects. This artistic style meshed well with the Ninjalerts goals and helped to improve its resiliency. 

Development of Pizza Ninjas

The Pizza Ninjas collection is firmly at the forefront of Ordinals technology. They utilized recursive inscriptions to achieve their high resolution, as well as parent-child endpoints to give holders the ability to make customizations. The team announced early on that they are planning to expand their code over time, and pioneered the use of the Sat Endpoint, making them the first collection to introduce holder permissioned upgradability. This basically allows holders to upgrade to newer versions of their assets over time without splitting up the collection.

The small size of the project was deliberate, and each Ninja was designed to meet five principles:

  1. Make every PFP simple, consistent, and unique.

  2. Differentiate through eyes and head accessories.

  3. Go a little extra, but only if it slaps.

  4. Combine colors carefully and intentionally.

  5. Pay homage to Web3 culture, nostalgia, and Ordinals.

By limiting it to 1,500, the creators were able to exert greater focus on quality control, design aesthetics and developing technological advancements. This is reflected in the Ninjas community, where use of the PFPs is heavy and enthusiastic.

All Ninjas are also licensed to holders under a “Can’t Be Evil” commercial license. This means that the Ordinals truly belong to the holders, who can use them for anything from branding a business to sublicensing. Owners can make changes or derivative products from their inscriptions – and what’s more, the license is irrevocable. This gives holders maximum control over their inscription, because the license cannot be made more restrictive down the line.

A Landmark Moment For Pizza Ninjas

A huge moment came for the collection in March 2024, when auction house Sotheby’s featured one of their inscriptions, known as “The Angel.” This was the first Pizza Ninja inscribed on Bitcoin and was done so on an Uncommon Pizza sat that came from the infamous Papa John’s transaction. 

It was the first – and at that point only – inscription that had been done on an Uncommon Pizza sat, of which only 201 exist. The PFP sold for $139,700 USD, well above Sotheby’s initial estimate of $20,000-$30,000 USD. This demonstrated the staying power of the collection, as well as eagerness for a historic piece of it.

To this day, Pizza Ninjas is still one of the most coveted collections in the Ordinals sphere. The collection's staying power speaks to its enduring presence in the Bitcoin community and its dedication to growing the Bitcoin ecosystem.

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