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Controversial Bitcoin Developer’s Bid to Halt NFT ‘Spam’ Faces Censorship Backlash

Luke Dashjr’s Proposal to Thwart Blockchain Congestion Sparks Heated Debate and Accusations of Censorship

In a surprising turn of events, Luke Dashjr’s proposal to modify the widely-used Bitcoin Core software, ostensibly aimed at enhancing compatibility with newer data formats, has been abruptly quashed. The proposal, initially seemingly innocuous, was, in reality, a complex attempt to curb the rising trend of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Dashjr, a developer with over a decade of experience in the Bitcoin space, introduced the proposal in September as a response to the popularity of Ordinals, a protocol enabling users to embed data onto the blockchain, including NFTs and token specifications. The surge in demand for Bitcoin-based NFTs, exemplified by the recent $450,000 sale of “BitcoinShrooms” at Sotheby’s, led to network congestion.

Filed on GitHub, Dashjr’s proposal triggered heated debates over the fundamental nature of Bitcoin. Some argued for preserving it as a peer-to-peer payments network, while others believed market forces should dictate transaction prioritization. Dashjr’s idea to filter out Ordinals transactions faced skepticism, even from those advocating a purist vision for the blockchain, as winning over Bitcoin miners proved challenging.

Ava Chow, a Bitcoin Core maintainer, abruptly halted further discussion on Dashjr’s proposal, commonly known as a “pull request” or PR, without implementing any code changes. The move, labeled as censorship by Dashjr, emphasized the controversy and lack of consensus surrounding the proposal.

Gloria Zhao, another Bitcoin Core maintainer, summarized the technical details and debates on GitHub, highlighting Dashjr’s attempt to impose broader data-size limits on Bitcoin transactions. This strategy aimed to make embedding Ordinals into blocks challenging through the regular transaction delivery pipeline.

Zhao’s summary outlined the counterarguments, including the difficulty of writing code to detect all embedded data. Dashjr responded, accusing Chow of censorship and asserting that objections to the PR had been addressed.

Luke Dashjr, known for advocating against what he calls “data storage schemes” in Bitcoin since 2014, recently gained attention when his firm Mummolin raised $6.2 million in a seed funding round led by Jack Dorsey, the head of Block Inc. and Twitter’s founder.

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