Michael Saylor, MicroStrategy co-founder and executive chairman, became one of the few Bitcoin maximalists to publicly embrace Ordinal.
Ordinal inscriptions are similar to NFTs, which are mainly available on the rival network Ethereum. Inscriptions allow arbitrary and non-financial information, such as images, to be included in the Bitcoin blockchain. Short for “Bitcoin Request for Comment,” BRC-20 is an experimental framework for building fungible Bitcoin tokens using the Ordinals protocol.
In recent weeks however, Ordinal and BRC-20 tokens have taken center stage as transaction fees have risen. This started many discussions within the Bitcoin community if the network was attacked and if these transactions should be censored.
Saylor is chatting Decrypt at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami last week about Ordinals, BRC-20 inscriptions, and whether they could become unregistered securities.
Saylor welcomed Ordinals as a positive development in the Bitcoin network, although he said many of the early use cases were “less serious” and moved towards more speculation.
One of the best collections of Bitcoin Ordinals is Bitcoin Frogs, according to CryptoSlam. This is a spin-off of the Pepe the Frog meme coin craze that has taken the NFT community by storm.
“If BRC-20 tokens are viewed as fungible tokens to issue unregistered securities, there will be a lot of opposition to that, because it’s unethical. It’s illegal. And you can’t blame them. [the community] for opposing that,” Saylor said.
However, if it is issued and regulated in an ethical and legal way, he said, there is no issue. It all comes down to use case and perspective.
“What if I used them to tokenize all the stocks and ETFs that trade on the NASDAQ so that individuals can have personal custody of their stock shares instead of leaving them locked up in a centralized that custodian” he said. “If it’s presented that way, then Bitcoiners will love it.”
According to the MicroStrategy co-founder and executive chairman, however, he sees good economic use cases, but he can “also think of bad, stupid things.”
Like many Bitcoiners, Saylor believes it’s best to let the free market work—people should invest in what they believe in and be free to criticize something they think is stupid but not have to work to- they are censors..
Despite warnings of possible unregistered security offerings and strong pushback from parts of the community, Saylor is against censoring Ordinal transactions on the Bitcoin network. “I think we need to change the protocol to censor certain types of transactions,” he said. “My answer is no.”