After only four months since the protocol was launched, the ord had its first controversial debate about the so-called “cursed” inscriptions.
The simplest definition of a cursed inscription is any inscription that is not currently indexed and identified by ord. This term arose as a catchall when some people misused or intentionally misused opcodes to create inscriptions that could not be indexed in the ord and therefore were not recognized and would not be given an inscription. that number.
This issue was first discussed on April 25th on ord github and the interim fix suggested by lead developer Casey Rodarmor is, “Change or identify existing invalid inscription, including retroactively in the old blocks, but consider these new inscriptions ‘cursed. ‘ and give them negative inscription numbers.
Ironically, the example inscription code on the Ordinals docs website is supposed to be a cursed inscription.
There are many ways that cursed inscriptions can be made. Any inscription with multiple inputs/outputs will be considered cursed. As shown above, some misuse of opcodes like OP_1 can lead to cursed inscriptions. On the other hand, introducing OP_66 with a value “cursed” intentionally makes these types of inscriptions by having an opcode number that is not indexed in ord. Unless otherwise defined in the spec, even numeric opcodes are anonymous as they are reserved for future development of the protocol. The full list of ways to create cursed inscriptions from issue #2045 is as follows:
- Multiple inscriptions per transaction, for efficient batching.
- Inscriptions on inputs after the first, which are useful for collections.
- Multiple inscriptions on the same sat, so that the entire history of a sat does not need to be checked to determine if a new inscription is valid.
- Inscriptions with unknown even headers, so that new even headers don’t cause upgraded clients to disagree about the inscription numbers.
There are a couple of specific debates about cursed inscriptions. One of the disputes arises from the way these inscriptions are currently numbered. Cursed inscriptions are numbered negatively in the order of their creation. Because of this numbering system and naming convention, some people have deliberately chosen to create inscriptions and collections that appear “cursed” by flipping the image of a positive numbered inscription or using in a worse image theme when inscribing. The question is: Should they be added to the index of positive numbered inscriptions or should they keep their negative numbered inscriptions when the code is updated?
In addition, another controversial conversation is what to do about the specific type of cursed inscriptions that use the OP_66 opcode in their creation. Since this opcode is unknown in ord and even the numbered opcodes are intended to be left for future development use, it is debatable whether inscriptions using this opcode should be included in the cursed set or whether they should be reject.
At the moment, the issue around the even number opcode is listed on the ord github. There are many comments in support of including these inscriptions in the index, but the main maintainers of the protocol seem to be against it. Currently, the current position of the developers is that these inscriptions are not binding, which means that they cannot be assigned to a specific satoshi.
Remember, ordinal theory works based on a first in, first out tracking system for satoshis. Each inscription is assigned the first satoshi of the genesis transaction when the inscription was created. This type of lens for viewing bitcoin allows images, files, text, etc. to be tracked and transferred. If a cursed inscription is not bound, it cannot be attached to a specific satoshi and therefore cannot be transferred to another address. Many people who write hope to sell or transfer their inscription to someone else. While inscriptions using this opcode live forever on the Bitcoin blockchain, if these inscriptions are classified as unbound and not assigned a specific satoshi, users who create cursed inscriptions using them that opcode cannot be sold or transferred.
Herein lies one of the bigger concerns for people who spend transaction fees to create cursed inscriptions. If they don’t sell it in the future, a lot of funds will be wasted on the payment. Many users responded to the github issue, expressing support for including these inscriptions, but the code maintainers are not in favor of recognizing the cursed inscriptions using OP_66 even as an opcode number.
On May 30, the new lead maintainer of the ord, Raphjaph, wrote, “As the protocol currently stands that inscriptions are invalid if they use an anonymous tag, so this change already makes concession by recognizing them. At present they are not bound but we may reconsider and bind them in the future if there are strong reasons.
This answer is not what many writers hope to hear. Like Bitcoin, ord is open-source software so users can fork the code if they want to recognize these specific types of cursed inscriptions. This contentious debate continues and the way forward for the order remains to be seen. Users who have spent large amounts of transaction fees may be willing to switch to a new version of the ord that recognizes their cursed inscriptions, but this is only a theoretical way forward at this time.
However, Ordinals are a new technology built into Bitcoin. Whether the inscriptions are a flash in the pan or whether they have lasting power may depend on how this issue is resolved.