A bug fix on the Bitcoin network could put a stop to new Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens as they’re causing network congestion by “exploiting a vulnerability,” claims a Bitcoin Core developer.
In a Dec. 6 X (Twitter) post, developer Luke Dashjr said inscriptions — used by Ordinals and BRC-20 creators to embed data on satoshi’s — exploit a Bitcoin Core vulnerability to “spam the blockchain.”
He explained the Bitcoin Core code has allowed users to set limits on the size of extra data in transactions since 2013, but “by obfuscating their data as program code, inscriptions bypass this limit.”
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
The bug allowing inscriptions to bypass this limit was recently fixed in the latest update to Bitcoin Knots, a Bitcoin Core derivative with less tested or untested features backported from and sometimes maintained outside of the core code.
Another X user asked if Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens “would stop being a thing” if the vulnerability was fixed to which Dashjr replied, “Correct.” Existing inscriptions would still remain,
“Bitcoin Core is still vulnerable in the upcoming v26 release,” he said. “I can only hope it will finally get fixed before v27 next year.”
On Dec. 6, the decentralized mining protocol Ocean — where Dashjr is chief technology officer — said on X that the Bitcoin Knots upgrade “fixes this long-standing vulnerability exploited by modern spammers.”
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
As a result of the update, Ocean said its blocks will now include “more real transactions” and implied Ordinals inscriptions are a denial-of-service attack on the Bitcoin network,” it said
Dashjr is vehemently opposed to Ordinal inscriptions and claimed the “damage it’s doing to Bitcoin and Bitcoin users (including future users) […] is huge and irreversible.”
“Nobody ever allowed ordinals. It’s been an attack on Bitcoin from the start,” he claimed in another post.
The Ordinals protocol was launched in January 2023 by Casey Rodarmor, enabling users to “inscribe” data and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) onto satoshis — the smallest unit denomination of Bitcoin (BTC).
The Bitcoin network has seen heightened congestion over the past few days due to inscriptions and BRC-20 token minting.
According to mempool.space, there are more than 275,000 unconfirmed transactions and average medium-priority transaction costs have increased to around $14 from roughly $1.50.