A surge in BRC-20 transactions has led to record levels of congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain, with mempool data showing that over 280,000 transactions are yet to be confirmed.
The transaction mempool is a waiting area of sorts, where all valid Bitcoin transactions sit before they are confirmed by the network. A large mempool size implies more traffic on the network, which leads to longer times for transactions to be confirmed.
At the time of writing, the mempool usage had far exceeded the default 300 MB threshold and sat at around 1.57 GB.
— Bitcoin News (@BitcoinNewsCom) December 6, 2023
Industry watchers attributed the congestion to the surge in popularity of Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions, which represent on-chain inscriptions into the smallest unit of Bitcoin, and resemble NFTs on the blockchain.
The rising popularity of the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol has drawn backlash from OG Bitcoiners and developers. Some Bitcoin core developers like Luke Dashjr said that the creation will disrupt the Bitcoin network, proposed a way to permanently block BRC-20 tokens from the network.
Dashjr claimed on Tuesday that the congestion on the Bitcoin network was caused by these inscriptions “exploiting a vulnerability” in the Bitcoin Core software to spam the blockchain.
PSA: “Inscriptions” are exploiting a vulnerability in #Bitcoin Core to spam the blockchain. Bitcoin Core has, since 2013, allowed users to set a limit on the size of extra data in transactions they relay or mine (`-datacarriersize`). By obfuscating their data as program code,…
— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) December 6, 2023
“Bitcoin Core is still vulnerable in the upcoming v26 release. I can only hope it will finally get fixed before v27 next year,” wrote Dashjr on X.
In his view, the vulnerability directly impacts the blockchain’s efficiency and integrity, which can indirectly impact the value and security of Bitcoin holdings.