Casey Rodarmor, the developer behind the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol, has proposed an overhaul of the existing numbering system for inscriptions.
In an X post on Tuesday, he said that the effort to keep inscription numbers stable hasn’t been worth it, urging users to comment on a GitHub post to change the way numbers are assigned to an inscription created on the network.
I guess the cat is out of the bag! In short, I think that the effort to keep inscription numbers stable hasn't been worth it, and has led to ugly code and stalled development, since new changes need to be extremely and often awkardly careful not to change the numbers of old… https://t.co/SsEqjdtZFB
— Casey (@rodarmor) September 19, 2023
“When inscription numbers were originally added to ord, the Ordinals wallet and explorer that powers ordinals.com, they were intended to be stable and never change,” said Rodarmor.
“However, now that we have more experience with the protocol, that seems less tenable and has undesirable consequences, as maintaining stable inscription numbers is a challenge in the face of changes to the inscription protocol.”
Whenever an ord inscription was not recognized by an earlier version, it assigned it a negative number. While this kept old inscription numbers stable, it came with a number of downsides, Rodarmor noted.
This included the fact that the so-called “cursed” inscriptions would not tell you anything about the order in which the inscription was made, and the logic that was required to keep track of which inscriptions are cursed was a source of bugs and complexity.
Under the proposed changes, cursed inscription numbers would be folded into the main sequence and would not be used in URLs.
“Also, keep in mind that inscription numbers would change, but wouldn’t entirely go away. New inscription numbers would be close to old inscriptions numbers, perhaps only differing by 1% or so,” he said.
In April, a bug in the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol resulted in 1,200 orphaned inscriptions. At the time, the indexer function of the protocol missed inscriptions after number 420,285.