A Bug Fix on the Bitcoin Network Could Stop New Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 Tokens
A recent bug fix on the Bitcoin network could potentially put an end to new Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens. According to Bitcoin Core developer Luke Dashjr, these tokens have been exploiting a vulnerability and causing network congestion by “spamming the blockchain.” Dashjr explained that inscriptions, which are used by Ordinals and BRC-20 creators to embed data on satoshis, bypass the limits on the size of extra data in transactions by obfuscating the data as program code.
The bug allowing inscriptions to bypass this limit has been fixed in the latest update to Bitcoin Knots, which is a Bitcoin Core derivative. Bitcoin Knots includes less tested or untested features backported from the core code and sometimes maintained outside of it. Dashjr confirmed that if the vulnerability is fixed, Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens would no longer be possible. However, existing inscriptions would still remain.
While the latest update to Bitcoin Knots fixes the vulnerability, Dashjr mentioned that Bitcoin Core is still vulnerable in the upcoming v26 release. He expressed hope that it will be fixed before the v27 release next year.
Ocean, a decentralized mining protocol where Dashjr serves as the chief technology officer, announced on social media that the Bitcoin Knots upgrade fixes the vulnerability exploited by modern spammers. As a result, Ocean’s blocks will now include more real transactions.
Dashjr strongly opposes Ordinal inscriptions and believes the damage it is causing to Bitcoin and its users is significant and irreversible. He claimed that Ordinals have always been an attack on Bitcoin from the beginning.
The Ordinals protocol, launched in January 2023 by Casey Rodarmor, allows users to “inscribe” data and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) onto satoshis, which are the smallest unit denomination of Bitcoin. However, the increased usage of inscriptions and BRC-20 token minting has led to heightened congestion on the Bitcoin network.
Currently, there are over 275,000 unconfirmed transactions, and the average medium-priority transaction costs have risen to around $14 from approximately $1.50, according to mempool.space.
It remains to be seen how the bug fix and the potential end to new Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens will impact the Bitcoin network and its users.