Ordinals Inscriptions on Bitcoin Blockchain Spark Debate Among Crypto Community

Ordinals, an NFT concept based on the Bitcoin blockchain, has recently been a highly debated topic in the cryptocurrency community.

Ordinals Inscriptions on Bitcoin Blockchain Spark Debate Among Crypto Community

​​Ordinals, a non-fungible token (NFT) concept that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to mint inscriptions, has been a highly topical subject recently. Since its introduction, there has been a marked increase in the number of inscriptions being added to the Bitcoin blockchain in a permissionless manner. This includes JPEG images, NFTs from other blockchains, and even a DOOM video game file. The biggest surprise was when the Luxor mining pool mined a 3.96 MB block (#774,628) that contained Ordinal inscription #652, a JPEG image of a wizard.

The increase in Ordinal inscriptions has sparked debate among the cryptocurrency community. Bitcoin influencer Jimmy Song has suggested "a decreased block size has to be on the table" if inscriptions start bloating the chain. Bitcoin developer Luke Dashjr has referred to Ordinals as “attacking Bitcoin.” Blockstream’s Adam Back commented, “we can’t stop them.” Others have called on developers to address the issue with a soft fork, while some have called for more fun in Bitcoin. Rijndael tweeted, "If we had bitcoin-core running in pruned mod... then it would actually be faster/cheaper for more people to have validating nodes." NVK tweeted, "Ordinals will “go away” by themselves as soon as we enter a high fee environment."

Statistics from Dune Analytics show that on Jan. 20, 2023, fewer than 10 Ordinals were minted daily, but by Jan. 29, there were over 100 mints. After the Luxor block with inscription #652 was produced, the number of mints surged to 420 on Feb. 2, 2023, and the next day saw 203 Ordinal inscriptions. The proportion of block space used by Ordinal inscriptions is not yet substantial, but it is growing daily.

Ordinal inscriptions, considered a kind of Bitcoin-native NFTs, are picking up steam among some Bitcoin circles, even though the procedures to issue them are far from user-friendly. The protocol, which was unveiled in January, has already served to bring more than 7,000 inscriptions directly to the Bitcoin chain, with some collections already present. Among the more recognizable inscriptions collections being issued is Taproot Wizards, promoted by crypto influencers Udi Wertheimer and Eric Wall. There are also collections called Ordinal Rocks, which features 100 images of rocks serialized on the Bitcoin blockchain, and Ordinal Punks, which mimics the Ethereum-based Cryptopunks.

The dynamics of establishing a market for commercializing and monetizing these inscriptions are still a work in progress, as there is currently no marketplace. However, there have been reports of sales in secondary markets, with some inscriptions being sold for almost one Bitcoin. Some have expressed support for Ordinals and called for more fun in Bitcoin. Crypto advocate Udi Wertheimer tweeted that “real bitcoiners are a happy bunch that likes to have fun” and shared an old Hal Finney email discussing “cryptographic trading cards.” Digital currency supporter Eric Wall emphasized that no Bitcoin maximalist celebrated the increase in Taproot adoption.

The controversy surrounding Ordinals inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain has sparked debate within the cryptocurrency community, with some seeing it as an attack and others expressing support for more fun in Bitcoin. Despite the controversy, the number of Ordinals minted continues to increase, and collections like Taproot Wizards and Ordinal Punks are gaining popularity. There is still no established marketplace for monetizing the inscriptions, but there have been reports of sales in secondary markets.

Ordinals provide an interesting new avenue for Bitcoin users to express themselves and create unique, immutable pieces of art or other content on the Bitcoin blockchain. The protocol is still in its infancy, so it remains to be seen what effects it will have on the size of the Bitcoin blockchain in the long term. It is clear, however, that Ordinals have created a lively debate among Bitcoin users and the cryptocurrency community at large.