The Bitcoin network’s mempool remains clogged with 415,000 transactions waiting to be added to the blockchain. As Bitcoinist reported, Bitcoin Ordinals and the new BRC20 token standard are responsible for congestion on the Bitcoin network.
While supporters argue that BRC20 tokens are a groundbreaking innovation from which the network will benefit in the long run due to rising transaction fees to finance miners, critics see a DDoS attack as the mempool is flooded with low-value transactions, effectively to speculate with sh*tcoins.
Is Bitcoin Under Attack?
The latter party includes John W. Ratcliff, a renowned video game programmer and Bitcoin OG. Ratcliff wrote today via Twitter that based on the way BRC20 tokens are coded, it is clearly an attack on Bitcoin.
As the developer explains, the creators of the BRC20 standard made the decision to store the tokens in ASCII JSON format. However, this is one of the most inefficient data formats to choose. It would have taken only “30 minutes” to program a binary serializer/deserializer. Instead, BRC-20 tokens are stored in ASCII JSON format, like the following:
According to Ratcliff, this consumes 89 bytes of data that could easily be represented as about 19 bytes in binary. In addition, spaces could be saved, meaning more than five times as much in fees are needed to send BRC-20 tokens. “This is stuff I would fire a junior programmer on the spot for doing. It’s a level of incompetence that is staggering,” the renowned developer said, continuing:
I intentionally call it an attack because they are knowingly using 5x more blockspace than they need on purpose. […] now that I have learned that the data they are storing is so inefficient that it takes five times more block space than needed, I don’t know what to call this other than an attack.
As reported by Chinese crypto media portal TechFlow, the Bitcoin SV (BSV) community has an extensive stake in Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC20. Remarkably, the BSV price has also jumped 26% in the last 24 hours.
Behind Unisat, BRC20’s core wallet, is the Chinese development team from the former BSV community that developed Sensible Contract, a smart contract solution on BSV. The team behind Ordswap, the first BRC20 trading platform, developed RelayX, the first decentralized trading platform on the BSV network.
Behind Ordinals Wallet is Twetch, a social application built on BSV. The founder of the mining pool Mempool is also a core member of the BSV community. Although this is not proof, the connections are striking.
BTC Will Survive This Attack
Even though the network is currently struggling with high fee, there have been enough examples in the history of Bitcoin that have demonstrated that it is resilient to this type of attack. The free market will decide if Bitcoin based tokens on the base layer at fees above $20 are something that will be widely adopted, or if the trend will die out (or if it will move to second layer solutions like Stacks).
If it is indeed a third-party funded attack, the question is when the attacker will run out of money. It is worth noting that fees were well over $20 yesterday and are currently down to an average of $7. so, there are signs of relief. Furthermore, even if it is an attack, miners are making a killing, which is positive for the entire ecosystem.
At press time, the BTC price was at $27,779.