While pro and anti ordinals throw spades at each other, the space squatted by Bitcoin NFTs now represents more than 500 MB.
An ordinal, ordinals
Bitmex reveals that 13,000 transactions were used to create NFTs in the Bitcoin blockchain. The space occupied by these large transactions already amounted to 526 MB on February 7.
That is the equivalent of 131 blocks filled to the brim, or 24 hours of operation of the Bitcoin network. The following graph represents the number of ordinals per block:
These 13,000 ordinals have earned 6.77 BTC in transaction fees since December 14, when the first ordinal was created. That’s next to nothing compared to the rewards of 6.25 BTC per block that brought miners over 50,400 BTC (0.0001% to be precise).
Ordinal fees remain within the margin of error if we start the comparison on January 28, when ordinal activity really increased (0.07%).
In all, the fees of all transactions (including those of ordinals) yielded 200 BTC between 28 and 07 February. In other words, ordinal fees represented 3.4% of fees.
Suffice to say, we’re talking about line thickness and ordinals shouldn’t be a boon for miners.
By the way, how do ordinals work?
Ordinals integrate data linked to a file (anything, but most often a Jpeg) into the Bitcoin blockchain using a space offered by Taproot transactions, the “witness”.
These Taproot transactions benefit from a share of the 2017 SegWit update which quadrupled the size of the blocks (4 MB). On the other hand, there is no limit on the size of a Taproot transaction.
Clearly, the size of arbitrary data that fits into the witness of a single transaction can reach 4 MB.
Before Taproot, you had to use multiple transactions to try to store large amounts of data in the blockchain. Bitmex points out that there is “a rich history of integrating all sorts of weird data into the blockchain” before Taproot. It just got a whole lot easier with Taproot. For worse or for better.
Ordinal data is found in the OP_IF and OP_PUSH section of Taproot transactions.
See our article “The Ordinal Controversy” for an explanation of SegWit, Witness, Taproot and Ordinals in simple terms.
“Bitcoin has peer-to-peer electronic Jpeg system”…
THE debate background behind the ordinals is not new. It appeared in 2014 when the OP_RETURN section was created.
The reason for creating the OP_Return section is not important. But the fact is that it was possible to insert arbitrary data into it. They were allowed to fill up to 10,000 bytes.
So in May 2013, someone took advantage of this “loophole” to make a transaction including the lyrics of the 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up” in its OP_Return section.
The problem was fixed by an update reporting the size of the OP-Return to 80 bytes. Bitcoin Core developer Jeff Garzik said at the time:
“To date, I have never seen a spill of data on the blockchain that cannot be safely replaced by a simple hash. […] It should not be surprising if the use [de l’espace OP_Return] for purposes other than those intended has negative consequences, perhaps unintended or unknown. Counterparty operations [un projet visant à squatter l’espace Op_Return] are not “bitcoin compliant”. They slip through the meshes because OP_Return was never intended to be used that way. »
Taproot revives this old debate by once again allowing arbitrary data to be inserted into the blockchain. And no longer 10,000 bytes, but 4 million bytes…
Some feel that supporting ordinals is like supporting NFTs. However, no one can deny their formidable effectiveness in scamming people…
As such, note that a punk ordinal has already sold for 9.5 BTC. Or should we say: “the same person bought this punk for 9.5 BTC hoping to trigger a Ponzian game of musical chairs”.
No one explains it better than Michael Saylor:
The almost free space occupied by reduced ordinals also undermines decentralization. The reason being that more disk space is needed for a full node.
Others believe that Taproot is a prerequisite for nurturing innovation. Which is true, especially for making timestamps of all kinds. But should we support NFTs until a truly intelligent use of the block space emerges?
Probably not. But it is so. While some call for filtering what they consider to be unwelcome spam, others brandish the argument of censorship.
All that being said, let’s not doubt that this discord will end up being settled democratically. This is, basically, the essence of Bitcoin: a direct and anarchic democracy.
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