The Bitcoin community is experiencing a significant debate over the introduction of Ordinals, a new method for embedding unique data, such as art, onto the Bitcoin blockchain. This “innovation”, while introducing fresh use cases, has led to increased transaction fees and network congestion. In 2023, the average transaction fee on Bitcoin’s network soared, and the mempool faced unprecedented levels of congestion due to Ordinals. So it is understandable there is concern and unrest.
This development has reignited discussions about incorporating arbitrary data into the blockchain. Traditionalists in the community, including figures like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Adam Back, Peter McCormack, Giacomo Zucco Jordan Bush, Phil C., Bitman (@BitMan_PoW), @GrassFedBitcoin and developer Luke Dashjr, criticize Ordinals for not being space-efficient and potentially spamming the blockchain.
Opponents of Ordinals argue that the blockchain should focus on its original purpose: peer-to-peer financial transactions. They view these new assets as deviations from Bitcoin’s intended use, emphasizing the need to maintain network efficiency.
PSA: Ordinals aren't _just_ a spam attack; they are also an attack on Bitcoin's fungibility, and if accepted would break at least Lightning and CoinJoin. https://t.co/600PvSl74C— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) February 14, 2023
However, supporters of Ordinals, like Austin Alexander of LayerTwo Labs, believe these inscriptions are beneficial for the network. They argue that Bitcoin’s long-term security depends on transaction fees, which incentivize miners. They see Ordinals as demonstrating Bitcoin’s utility and justifying these costs. Andrew Poelstra, a seasoned Bitcoin developer, suggests that strong opposition might increase interest in Ordinals.
Bitcoin Core developer and CTO of OCEAN mining, Luke Dashjr, has taken a bold step by initiating a mining pool with spam filters blocking the usage of Ordinals. Others have followed suit. These moves comes as a response to the increasing concerns regarding the use of the Bitcoin network for non-financial purposes, such as the Ordinals project, which embeds large data files like images onto the blockchain. Luke is not alone in this fight.
Dashjr’s actions and those of his supporters have sparked a negative reaction from those involved in the Ordinals project, igniting a debate about the fundamental principles and intended use of the Bitcoin network. Critics argue that the Ordinals project, and similar initiatives, misinterpret the original intent behind Bitcoin, transforming what was designed to be a decentralized financial system into a playground for what they deem frivolous and potentially harmful activities.
Stamps are even worse spam. Bitcoin does not provide data storage. Bitcoin does not do JSON.— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) December 20, 2023
According to Dashjr’s perspective, the Ordinals approach is not only a misinterpretation of Bitcoin’s purpose but also an unethical and self-centered misuse of the blockchain. He suggests that those who support such uses of Bitcoin are newcomers who fail to grasp the significance of the cryptocurrency, focusing on short-term personal gains over long-term, collective benefits. This is a thought process supported by a large part of the Bitcoin community.
Furthermore, Dashjr implies that the actions of Ordinals supporters could be detrimental to the Bitcoin network’s health and future widespread use. He believes that even miners who prioritize personal gains should recognize the potential harm in processing transactions associated with Ordinals and similar projects.
Dashjr’s mining pool aims to provide a solution to what he views as the “Ordinals scandal,” offering other miners the tools to filter out these transactions and protect the integrity of the Bitcoin network. His stance is that true protection of the network entails upholding an orderly process of record-keeping and transaction processing that aligns with the original vision of Bitcoin.
In contrast to those who accuse him of censorship, Dashjr maintains that declining to process certain types of transactions is not censorship but a legitimate exercise of freedom in a market-driven society. He argues that businesses and individuals are not obligated to serve every demand, especially if those demands contradict their principles or business models.
The conflict between Dashjr (and many who support his stance) and Ordinals supporters encapsulates a broader debate within the Bitcoin community about the nature of decentralization, the scope of blockchain technology, and the ethical considerations of its use. It raises questions about the balance between innovation and the preservation of a system’s foundational values, a discussion that is likely to continue as the applications of blockchain technology expand.
Ordinals people don’t understand why Bitcoin was written. They think Bitcoin is all a big game. They’re highly immoral and unethical people, who prioritise onanistic navel gazing parochial selfish behaviour over other people.’s needs and world peace.— Beautyon (@Beautyon_) December 2, 2023
They have little… https://t.co/rlAiES7ReX
About the Ocean Mining Pool
In a significant move for the Bitcoin mining landscape, the relaunch of the Eligius mining pool was announced at the Future Of Bitcoin Mining conference. The newly named pool, OCEAN, aims to amplify decentralization in the Bitcoin mining sector. As a non-custodial pool, OCEAN is set to pay miners directly with the coins they generate, ensuring a more direct and transparent remuneration system.
OCEAN distinguishes itself by offering unparalleled transparency in both Proof of Work (PoW) contributions and the construction of block templates. Beyond just a mining pool, OCEAN is structured as a company, with full-time employees and a strategic long-term plan, signaling its commitment to the future and stability of Bitcoin mining. This approach is not just about enhancing current mining operations but is also a step toward solidifying the foundational principles of Bitcoin: decentralization, transparency, and security.
- Lucy Walker is a journalist that covers finance, health and beauty since 2014. She has been writing for various online publications.
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