Bad for Bitcoin Focus on Ordinal Infighting.

This is an opinion editorial written by Robert Hall, who is both a content creator and a small business owner.

In recent weeks, I have noticed a disappointing trend that has divided the Bitcoin community into two warring factions. On one side, there are the “Bitcoin transaction maximalists,” who believe that Bitcoin Layer 1 should be used solely for processing transactions. On the other side of the spectrum, there are the “Ordinal enjoooyers,” who want to use Bitcoin’s Layer 1 to inscribe arbitrary data and generally experiment with the base layer.

Personally, I don’t have a strong opinion on this issue. I think both sides make compelling arguments for their use cases. The purpose of this article is not to declare one side right and the other wrong; it is to bring attention to the potential consequences of continued infighting and how this could hinder progress.

Sympathy For Bitcoin Transaction Maximalists

The current divide in the Bitcoin community emerged when Ordinals protocol was introduced in January 2023. This protocol essentially allowed for NFTs to be created on Bitcoin. Prior to this, NFTs were mostly associated with Ethereum and its community. Ordinals changed this dynamic and brought creators who were minting NFTs on Ethereum to Bitcoin. This influx of new users brought new developers and, of course, higher transaction fees.

As we all know, the Bitcoin blockchain is not optimized for speed. This is why we have the Lightning Network and other Layer 2 solutions. The purpose of mainchain Bitcoin is to transfer value ultra-securely and consistently. The Bitcoin network has an uptime of 99.98%, which is a remarkable achievement. This is exactly what we want in a base money that can be trusted not to debase over time.

When new participants enter the Bitcoin ecosystem and want to transact on the network, transaction fees are inevitably going to go up. This is simply a matter of supply and demand. With each block, there is only a limited amount of block space, so users have to compete to get their transaction into the next block.

This leads to users being outbid and having their transaction languish in the mempool or being priced out of sending a transaction altogether.

As someone who is fortunate enough to live in the Western world, this is not a huge issue for me because I can wait for transaction fees to come back down. However, many users in the global south do not have that luxury.

They are using Bitcoin as a monetary network to conduct day-to-day business, so Layer 1 fee spikes are a hindrance to their daily survival. This is where I sympathize with the argument that Bitcoin should primarily be used for transactions.

Sympathy For Bitcoin Ordinal Enjoooyers

However, the rules are the rules, and Ordinals follow the parameters of Bitcoin. Since the launch of Ordinals, there has undoubtedly been a surge in activity on the Bitcoin network. Before Ordinals, transactions could be sent for pennies, but after Ordinals, fees spiked to over $19.20 in May 2023, representing a 560% increase.

Obviously, this is a significant increase in fees, but on the flip side, it has shown the Bitcoin community that fees can replace the block subsidy in time. For example, with block 788,695, there was 6.7 BTC in fees, versus the standing block subsidy of 6.25 BTC.

Ultimately, this is what we want to happen, but from what I can gather, Bitcoin transaction maximalists did not want this to happen so early in the Bitcoin adoption cycle. Given how early we are in this process, I can understand why they would be upset with the Ordinal enjoooyers.

Many of these maximalists believe that Ordinals enjoooyers are nothing but degenerate altcoiners, bringing their garbage to the Bitcoin network and clogging it up with monkey pics and d**k butts. While there may be some truth to this, there is nothing that can be done about it.

Bitcoin is for everyone, right? It is permissionless, and people can do whatever they want with Bitcoin as long as it doesn’t violate the rules.

However, this tension in the Bitcoin community is creating two distinct camps, which is unfortunate because we should be united in our mission to get the world on a Bitcoin standard.

We Are The Emissaries For Bitcoin

The division between supporters and opponents of the BRC-20 token mainly existed on Bitcoin Twitter, but it became a major topic of discussion at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami. During the “Great Ordinals Debate,” speakers from both sides accused each other of harming Bitcoin and its adoption.

The debate seemed immature, and arguing over wizard pictures and obscure protocols was a distraction. This division was on display for the world to see, with four people arguing over something that the general public doesn’t understand. Perception is critical at this point, and if the goal is to bring billions of people worldwide on board, arguing over trivial matters is not the way to go.

In my opinion, this debate highlighted the struggle for the soul of Bitcoin right now. What does it mean to be a Bitcoiner? How should the network be used? Do Bitcoiners get to tell other Bitcoiners how to use the network? These are questions that will likely continue to arise as long as Bitcoin exists and other use cases are created for it.

I don’t like the infighting on Bitcoin Twitter or at the conference because it reflects poorly on the Bitcoin industry and suggests that it isn’t ready for the big leagues. How can bitcoin become the world’s reserve currency when we don’t have our own house in order? We are the emissaries for Bitcoin, and we should always be mindful of how Bitcoin is presented to the world.

The mission of Bitcoin is to offer a better alternative to the world and take power away from those who corrupt society with fiat currency. The powers that be won’t take Bitcoin seriously until we have serious numbers of people adopting it. If we want to change the world, the community needs to stay focused and presentable to a wider public. Let’s not forget what brought us to Bitcoin.

This is a guest post by Robert Hall. The opinions expressed are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or blockchain.

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