Bitcoin Core developer Luke Dashjr isn’t a fan of Ordinals or the privacy service Samourai. As CTO of OCEAN, a new bitcoin mining pool contributing over 540 petahashes per second, he’s making his views very clear. Indeed, he and his partner, Bitcoin Mechanic, recommend filtering out Ordinals as spam.
Since January, Dashjr has been working to filter out Ordinals transactions from his personal Bitcoin node. (For a brief primer on Ordinals, see Protos’ prior coverage here.) He is now filtering them out from his mining pool’s node.
Casey Rodarmor’s Ordinals permanently inscribe data into Bitcoin’s blockchain within the script of a Taproot transaction input, taking advantage of Bitcoin’s Segwit witness data discount. This not only saves Ordinals users on fees, but also allows users to store up to 4MB of data storage per block.
Dashjr believes this work-around is a spam “bug” that uses Segwit and Taproot upgrades in ways that deviate from the transaction-oriented intention of those upgrades, given that Satoshi invented Bitcoin primarily to be a payment, not arbitrary data storage, network.
Moreover, recursive inscriptions allow Ordinals creators to exceed that 4MB data limit. Some Ordinals transcriptions are entire video games that store all of their data on-chain.
Ordinals ‘spam’ that should be ‘fixed’
In general, Ordinals take advantage of Bitcoin’s Segwit and Taproot upgrades to stuff lots of data into Bitcoin’s blockchain at a relatively low cost. In the opinion of Dashjr, Ordinals inscribers are exploiting a spam “bug” that should be “fixed” out of existence.
For months, Dashjr has called Inscriptions an exploit of a vulnerability in Bitcoin Core software that evades data limits set by the community.
Bitcoin Mechanic was quick to check critics of the move to filter out Ordinals as spam. He said removing the incentive to exploit a bug to fill Bitcoin blocks with spam was important.
Mechanic reminded listeners that Ordinals are a mostly off-blockchain convention anyway, not a formal standard that passed Bitcoin consensus.
In all circumstances, miners are free to select any transactions they want for inclusion in a block. OCEAN is no different and simply selects the transactions it wants to include.
Ordinals and Whirlpool users are free to go elsewhere to pay for inclusion of their transactions in another mining pool’s blocks.
Knots: Samourai and Ordinals-blocking node and wallet
Bitcoin Knots is Luke Dashjr’s combined Bitcoin node and wallet used by the OCEAN mining pool.
Knots will only relay a maximum 42 bytes in the OP_RETURN portion of a Bitcoin transaction. This 42 byte limit also excludes Whirlpool transactions, a bitcoin mixing service, which uses 46 bytes. Knots requires Inscriptions transactions to pay full price for the data processing instead of taking advantage of the Segwit witness discount.
Technically speaking, if transactions exceed 42 extraneous bytes, Knots accepts those transactions at the non-Segwit, undiscounted fee rate. Above the 42 datacarriersize limit, Knots takes the pre-Taproot approach of not accepting those transactions.
Mononaut confirmed that the OCEAN mining pool, which uses Knots node software for its block templates, no longer permits most Ordinals and Whirlpool transactions.
Most coin-mixing transactions from Samourai exceed Knots’ threshold of 42 bytes of OP_RETURN data. (Samourai’s coin mixing transactions typically use 46 bytes.) As a result, OCEAN does not select Whirlpool transactions for inclusion within its blocks.
Plenty of other options for Ordinals and Whirlpool users
Ocean Mining is, of course, only one mining firm out of many mining pools and corporations. Luke Dashjr launched it on November 29 as a rebrand of his Eligius mining pool. OCEAN mined its first block on December 1 and has only mined a single-digit number of blocks to date.
Approximately 143 nodes use Bitcoin Knots out of thousands of Bitcoin nodes. Moreover, OCEAN’s hashrate of approximately 560 Ph/s is just 0.1% of the entire Bitcoin network’s 490,000 Ph/s hashrate. Therefore, any Bitcoin user can broadcast their transaction normally to any other solo miner or mining pool, and their transaction will be mined into Bitcoin’s blockchain.
To be clear, despite Samourai Wallet’s claims, OCEAN isn’t censoring Ordinals or Whirlpool transactions from the Bitcoin network. OCEAN simply doesn’t include most of these transactions in the blocks that it constructs and mines, as a mining pool.
Ordinals and Whirlpool users can broadcast their transactions to any other mining pool. Indeed, most Bitcoin users will never even be aware of OCEAN’s decision.
In summary, Dashjr dislikes Ordinals and Samourai and believes that Ordinals inscriptions are spam. He has implemented a ‘fix’ to the ‘bug’ that they exploit in the node used by his OCEAN mining pool. Dashjr is working on further updates to this wallet and node software package called Bitcoin Knots, which blocks most of these transactions.
Regarding Casey Rodarmor’s Ordinals project that stores tradeable NFT-like media on Bitcoin’s blockchain, “I call it fraud because that’s what it is,” says Dashjr.
Protos has reached out to Luke Dashjr for comment and will update if and when we receive a reply.