Bitcoin Ordinals Creator Proposes Major Overhaul of Inscription Numbering Scheme

Proposal to Deprioritize Inscription Numbering System Sparks Controversy in Bitcoin Ordinals Protocol

Casey Rodarmor, the chief coder behind the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol, made a surprising announcement on Tuesday that has the potential to disrupt the budding user base of the software. In a post on X, Rodarmor proposed a significant change to the protocol: the deprioritization of the canonical numbering system that assigns unique numbers to inscriptions created on the Bitcoin network.

For years, each digital artifact created using Ordinals has been assigned a unique inscription number, akin to a serial number, which has become a crucial component of the digital art’s identity. Lower numbered inscriptions have been perceived as more valuable, leading collectors to compete for these coveted positions within the numbering hierarchy. Even Rodarmor himself owns the highly sought-after “Inscription 0.”

However, this proposed change would not affect the numbering system assigned to individual satoshis on the Bitcoin blockchain, as they would still be given distinct numerical scores based on their ordering in Bitcoin blocks.

According to Rodarmor, the effort to maintain stable inscription numbers has resulted in complicated code and hindered the protocol’s development. He voiced concerns about the need to ensure new changes do not alter the numbers of existing inscriptions, describing it as a cumbersome and challenging process.

Rodarmor’s proposal has stirred up controversy within the Ordinals community, as well as among NFT collectors and crypto enthusiasts. It’s worth noting that Rodarmor himself believes the current numbering system is already unstable.

To address past issues with the system, such as introducing negative numbered “cursed inscriptions,” Rodarmor wrote in his post:

“Cursed inscriptions and negative inscriptions numbers have a number of downsides:
– An inscription number now does not tell you anything about the order in which the inscription was made.
– The logic required to keep track of which inscriptions are cursed is a source of bugs and complexity.
– ‘Blessing’ cursed inscription types requires coordination.
– Cursed inscription numbers are permanently unstable, so a substantial number of inscription numbers are already unstable, even under the status quo.”

Rodarmor’s proposed solution would make the existing inscription numbers permanently unstable, thus changing how indexers would treat this information, rather than eliminating them entirely.

While some market observers, such as Charlie Spears from Luxor, support the move, labeling inscription numbers as a “shitcoin” that has influenced ill-conceived protocol decisions and strange market dynamics, it remains to be seen if the wider market will embrace the change.

Interestingly, Rodarmor recently made a rare public appearance at the Ordinals Summit in Singapore, where he discussed the protocol’s success and future innovations. This suggests that the pull request could indicate his renewed activity and involvement in the development process.

The proposal has already sparked debates within the community, and only time will tell whether it will gain traction and significantly impact the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol.

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J-S Tremblay
About the author - J-S Tremblay

I've been involved in the cryptocurrency world since 2016 and trading since 2019. I started Moon and Lambo in 2021. I'm passionate about crypto and love to share my knowledge. I hate bankers and I hope that cryptocurrency will change the financial world for the better. View full profile...

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