Bitcoin Inscriptions Divide BTC Community Amid Network Congestion, but Are 'Unstoppable'

As unconfirmed transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain rise, Luke Dashjr, a prominent developer pledges that Ordinal Inscriptions are a 'bug' that will be fixed.

AccessTimeIconDec 6, 2023 at 6:17 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 6:17 p.m. UTC
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As bitcoin (BTC) teases $45,000, and unconfirmed transactions rise on the bitcoin blockchain, the debate over Bitcoin ordinal inscriptions has once again flared up.

"'Inscriptions' are exploiting a vulnerability in Bitcoin Core to spam the blockchain," Luke Dashjr, a Bitcoin Core developer, posted on X Wednesday.

The spam Dashjr might have been alluding to is the number of transactions an ordinal generates.

(Mempool.space)
(Mempool.space)

On-chain data shows that there are over 260,000 unconfirmed transactions on the bitcoin blockchain, which in turn drives up the price to complete a transaction. Memory usage has also surged past the 300mb alloted, because of the larger size or inscription transactions versus regular transactions.

"Bitcoin Core has, since 2013, allowed users to set a limit on the size of extra data in transactions they relay or mine (`-datacarriersize`). By obfuscating their data as program code, Inscriptions bypass this limit," Dashjr continued.

Back in May, when Ordinals first became popular, Binance had to temporarily pause bitcoin withdrawals after the network became overwhelmed and the number of unconfirmed transactions spiked to 400,000.

While Ordinals have their critics, like Dashjr, there's also an equally large camp that says they are an evolution of Bitcoin's blockchain.

Jason Fang, managing partner and co-founder at Bitcoin-heavy Sora Ventures, disagrees and argues that Bitcoin maintains its original consensus with innovations built on top, suggesting Satoshi's open-source approach encouraged experimentation.

"Inscriptions are unstoppable," he said. "This gives miners more fees and higher profits."

At the depths of last year's crypto winter, many miners needed to be bailed out, being hit hard by a nasty trifecta of a low price of bitcoin, and increasing difficulty.

Miners, both private and publicly listed, faced margin calls and defaults as they struggled with debts up to $4 billion, used for building large facilities in North America, CoinDesk reported last year.

Fang explains part of the animosity towards inscriptions because many are upset due to the attention and profits garnered by Ordinals and other BRC-20 investments – and they missed out.

UPDATE (Dec. 6, 8:21 UTC): Removes duplicated text

Edited by Shaurya Malwa.

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