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Cryptogambling / Bitcoin Dev: Bug fix in Core v27 may ease congestion from Ordinals, BRC-20

Bitcoin Dev: Bug fix in Core v27 may ease congestion from Ordinals, BRC-20

Publish Date: 08/12/2023
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A bug fix in the upcoming v27 upgrade of the Bitcoin Core network might alleviate congestion caused by Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens, according to Bitcoin Core developer Luke Dashjr.

In a recent X post, Dashjr said that these tokens are exploiting a weakness in the Bitcoin Core code, leading to increased transactions that “spam the blockchain.”

“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, Inscriptions bypass this limit,” he said.

Dashjr clarified that the Bitcoin Core code has allowed users to set limits on extra data in transactions since 2013. Yet, Ordinals and BRC-20 creators surpass this limit by camouflaging their data as program code.

The bug enabling these inscriptions to exceed the data size limit has been fixed in the most recent update to Bitcoin Knots, a derivative of Bitcoin Core integrating features backported from the core code.

In reply to a social media question about the future of Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens after the v25 vulnerability is resolved, Dashjr affirmed that these tokens would become non-functional. Nonetheless, the current inscriptions would stay unchanged.

He expressed concerns about the ongoing vulnerability in the upcoming v26 release of Bitcoin Core, wishing for its resolution before the v27 release next year.

Importance of next update

Ocean, a decentralized mining protocol where Dashjr holds the position of chief technology officer, recognized the importance of the Bitcoin Knots upgrade.

In a social media statement, Ocean stressed that the upgrade would fix a persistent vulnerability utilized by present spammers.

Consequently, the protocol expects to include more legitimate transactions in its blocks and views Ordinals inscriptions as a form of denial-of-service attack on the Bitcoin (BTC) 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,” said Ocean in a social media post.

“As a result, our blocks will now include many more real transactions and help to bring an end to the DoS attack being performed on the #Bitcoin network.”

Ocean conveyed that, aside from its existing advantages (transparency, non-custodial, and permissionless), it introduces an opportunity for honest miners to significantly contribute to blocks filled with genuine transactions. This effectively amplifies the block size in terms of transaction confirmations without physically enlarging the blocks.

Ordinals inscriptions criticized

Dashjr also criticized Ordinals inscriptions in his other recent X posts, emphasizing that they have caused significant and irreversible harm to Bitcoin and its users.

He further underlined that “nobody ever allowed Ordinals,” and they have continuously posed a threat to Bitcoin since their creation.

The Ordinals protocol, designed by Casey Rodarmor in January 2023, enables users to embed data and non-fungible tokens onto satoshis, which are the smallest units of Bitcoin.

It is known that lately, the Bitcoin network has faced increased congestion due to a surge in inscriptions and the creation of BRC-20 tokens.

The network presently faces significant congestion with over 275,000 unconfirmed transactions, leading to higher transaction costs. Costs have surged from about $1.50 to around $14, as shown by mempool.space data.

Ordinals have caused controversy in the community from the beginning, with Bitcoin traditionalists criticizing the Ordinals project, fearing it might increase transaction fees and harm Bitcoin’s reputation as a dependable peer-to-peer payment network.

In contrast, proponents believe it could broaden Bitcoin’s user base and expand its potential uses, attracting more individuals to the network.

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