The explosion of BRC-20s created via the Ordinals protocol has caused a controversy among blockchain developers about how to control the frenzy.

Discussions about Bitcoin development are taking place on the bitcoindev mailing list. Opinions are divided over whether drastic measures should be taken to stop the sudden increase in BRC-20 miners.

Binance, a crypto exchange, said that it is in the process of integrating Lightning Network. This “layer 2 scaling solution” for Bitcoin was designed to be a peer-to-peer payments network but also free from censorship. Bitcoin miners have benefited from the soaring fees, but purists who want a blockchain that is a peer to peer payments network and free of censorship are at odds.

Ali Sherief started this thread on Sunday. “Real bitcoin transaction are being priced out.” Such a blatantly worthless token threatens the smooth and normal usage of the Bitcoin network, which was designed to be a peer-topeer digital currency.

Sherief suggested mitigating Ordinals token mints by writing and implementing a bitcoin improvements proposal (BIP) – or making changes in Bitcoin Core – the primary software used to connect to the Bitcoin Network.

Not everyone is in agreement. Michael Folkson, organizer of the London Bitcoin Developer meetup group said Bitcoin should keep its status quo.

Folkson wrote: “Consensus Rules are Set and the Rest is Left to the Market.” You may not agree with this use case but, if you play Whac A Mole for a year, who’s to say that a group will appear and declare their opposition?

‘Mass minting’

The Ordinals protocol enables users to encode data on the smallest unit of Bitcoin, satoshis (or “sats”). The result is an unique non-fungible coin.

On March 8, Twitter user DOMO used the Ordinals program to insert snippets referred to as JavaScript Object Notation data. This enabled minting of an astounding amount of fungible coins, some of which had a total supply of quadrillions and many of them were practically useless.

Sherief quickly pointed out that Domo was the one who had called his own creation “worthless.”

These will be worthless. Please do not mass mint money,” Domo Tweeted in march. CoinDesk contacted Domo to ask if he still believes BRC-20s are worthless. He has yet to reply.

Read more about Pump the BRCs – The Promise and Peril Bitcoin-backed Tokens

More than 14,300 tokens were minted. Some of them had a total supply as high as 420 quadrillion. The total market cap for BRC-20 tokens reached $1 billion in the first week of the week. Domo’s ORDI test token, created solely to demonstrate how BRC-20 is minted, leads the pack, trading at $7.90 and has a market capitalization of $161,000,000 , according to CoinGecko.

This recent frenzy of activity prompted Sherief and other developers to classify BRC-20s earlier this week as spam, and to brainstorm ways to curb the minting chaos.

Sherief said, “I believe everyone on this list is aware of what happened to the Bitcoin memory pool during the last 96 hours.” Due to BRC-20 and other side projects having a large volume.

Bitcoin’s memory pool, also known as the mempool – which is a database of unconfirmed transaction – was indeed congested. At one point, it had over a half-million unconfirmed trades. For most of 2022, the number of unconfirmed bitcoin transactions was under 50,000.

‘Spam filtration’

Luke Dashjr, a long-time Bitcoin developer, created a spam filter for Ordinals in February. Called Ordisrespector it detects Ordinals transactions and rejects them. Dashjr responded to Sherief’s thread, calling for a change to Bitcoin Core which would filter out controversial transactions.

Dashjr said on Monday that “action should have been taken many months ago.” Since day 1, spam filtration is a part of Bitcoin core.

Bitcoin Core and the protocol will not be changed for the time being, so it appears that the minting of Bitcoins will continue.

Peter Todd, a veteran Bitcoin Core developer and Dashjr respondent, said: “Miners make millions of dollars on these inscription transactions.” Many people, including myself, will continue to run nodes which do not block inscriptions.

Bradley Keoun is the editor.