Bitcoin developers are currently pondering altering Bitcoin’s code to cancel Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens. These tokens have been responsible for the excessive fees and congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain for the last few months, with roughly 400,000 unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions waiting in the mempool to be included in a block.
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The proposed action is aimed at addressing the issue of the clogged-up Bitcoin block space caused by the Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens.
The existence of Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens can be attributed to Segregated Witness (SegWit), a scaling proposal introduced in 2017, and the Taproot upgrade, which brought smart contract capabilities to Bitcoin. Although these updates were not intended for the creation of NFTs, they have made it possible by enabling the storage of more arbitrary data within the blockchain.
To address the congestion caused by Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens, some Bitcoin developers have proposed a “bugfix” that would close the loophole enabling their creation. Both the email and the tweet are being widely shared within the cryptocurrency community.
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Bitcoin core developer Luke Dashjr believes that the Bitcoin NFTs and tokens are tantamount to a spam attack, and he thinks that action should have been taken to address this issue “months ago,” as he stated in an email. He contends that Bitcoin Core has always included spam filtering as a standard feature, and he claims that an error was made in the software by not extending the existing filters to Taproot transactions.
Ali Sherief, another Bitcoin core developer, suggested introducing a runtime option to delete all non-standard Taproot transactions, including Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens. Dashjr backed the proposal and suggested using a script code like OP_RETURN to flag such transaction outputs as invalid.
War wages on
The introduction of Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens has caused a stir in the Bitcoin community, resulting in a surge of transactions on the network. As per the latest reports, these tokens contribute to almost 50% of the total transactions, causing concerns among some members of the community.
The surge has caused congestion on the network, leading Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, to halt Bitcoin withdrawals twice over the weekend temporarily.
Bitcoin maximalists have voiced their opposition to the Ordinals initiative, claiming that it may push out real-world financial operations, potentially tarnishing Bitcoin’s credibility as a trustworthy peer-to-peer payment system as laid out in the whitepaper.
Will miners support the proposal?
Advocates of the Ordinals protocol have argued that it has the potential to draw in new users and expand the use cases of the Bitcoin network. Since its launch earlier this year, over 5.1 million Ordinals have been added to the Bitcoin network, according to a Dune dashboard. Ordinals’ rival protocol, BRC-20, has surpassed $580 million as the number of tokens in circulation continues to grow.
The implications of the code changes will need to be carefully analyzed by the crypto community, and all Bitcoin Core developers must agree on the matter. Ordinals and BRC20 supporters will fight the proposal, and they may have the support of the miners since they have been recording immense profits from the NFT activity on the network.