A recent rectification within the Bitcoin network has been undertaken to address a pertinent concern, wherein the introduction of new Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens has been found to precipitate network congestion by exploiting a discernible vulnerability.
According to Luke Dashjr, a key developer in the Bitcoin Core community, in a post on X on December 6, he explained that the technique used by creators of Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens to add information to satoshis (the smallest unit of Bitcoin) is taking advantage of a weakness in the Bitcoin Core code. This results in flooding the blockchain with unnecessary data.
PSA: “Inscriptions” are exploiting a vulnerability in #Bitcoin Core to spam the blockchain. 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,…— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) December 6, 2023
Dashjr expounded that, despite the existence of provisions within the Bitcoin Core code since 2013 that permit users to set constraints on the size of supplementary data in transactions, inscriptions, through the obfuscation of their data as program code, were able to circumvent these limitations. The aforementioned bug, facilitating the evasion of these constraints by inscriptions, has been recently addressed through an update to Bitcoin Knots—a derivative of Bitcoin Core that integrates features either under-tested or untested, occasionally maintained external to the core codebase.
Responding to queries from the user community regarding the repercussions of the remediation on Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens, Dashjr affirmed that the issuance of these entities would cease upon the mitigation of the vulnerability, while extant inscriptions would persist. Expressing concern about the persistence of the vulnerability in the impending v26 release of Bitcoin Core, Dashjr expressed hope for its resolution before the subsequent v27 release in the coming year.
The decentralized mining protocol Ocean, wherein Dashjr holds the position of Chief Technology Officer, acknowledged on X that the Bitcoin Knots upgrade serves to rectify a longstanding vulnerability exploited by contemporary spammers. Ocean anticipates augmented transactional efficiency as a consequence of the upgrade and characterizes Ordinals inscriptions as a form of denial-of-service assault on the Bitcoin network.
We are happy to announce testing of Bitcoin Knots v25.1 has completed successfully, and is now deployed to production. Among other improvements, this upgrade fixes this long-standing vulnerability exploited by modern spammers. As a result, our blocks will now include many more… https://t.co/II3y0B6Pu4— OCEAN (@ocean_mining) December 6, 2023
Dashjr vehemently opposes Ordinal inscriptions, emphasizing the deleterious and irrevocable ramifications inflicted upon Bitcoin and its user base, including prospective users. He contends that the integration of Ordinals constitutes an assault on the integrity of Bitcoin from its inception, asserting that authorization for such practices was never granted.
The Ordinals protocol, inaugurated in January 2023 by Casey Rodarmor, facilitates the inscription of data and non-fungible tokens onto satoshis. The Bitcoin network has recently witnessed heightened congestion attributable to inscriptions and the minting of BRC-20 tokens, as evidenced by the existence of over 275,000 unconfirmed transactions and a substantial escalation in the average cost of medium-priority transactions from approximately $1.50 to $14, according to data sourced from mempool space.