The second half of 2023 was undoubtedly dominated by BTC inscription coins, with BRC-20 being the most explosive among them. However, just a few days into 2024, the highly successful BRC20 is about to fork? What exactly happened?

What Happened to BRC-20?

On January 2, 2024, UniSat tweeted announcing that it will follow the Ordinals Jubilee upgrade to ensure that brc-20 remains on Ordinals and does not split into an isolated protocol. Additionally, the white paper will be published on January 31, 2024, which could be the most significant gift we have been able to provide for brc-20, Ordinals, Bitcoin, and everyone in the community since last February.

BRC20 standard founder Domo subsequently tweeted that Unisat’s hasty updates are reckless, disregarding its peer indexers, and could harm the broader BRC20 user community. He further accused this as part of Unisat’s well-thought-out, ongoing strategy aimed at gaining control of the protocol and pleaded with the BRC20 community to collectively reject the fork proposed by Unisat.

Ordinals founder Casey also fueled the fire on January 3 by announcing the release of Ord 0.14.0, which will be the last version release before Jubilee.

In response to Domo’s developments and various opinions, on the afternoon of January 4, 2024, UniSat once again clarified its stance, stating: A few weeks ago, we communicated our plans for an open-source indexing system. Despite delays due to special circumstances, UniSat is committed to fulfilling its promise.

Bioniq CEO Bob Bodily posted about the controversy, setting the tone for what he called the “BRC20 Indexer War,” and provided background and personal opinions on the dispute between Unisat and Domo.

BRC20 Indexer War: What’s the Key Dispute?

First, a quick summary of BRC-20:

BRC-20 is the most successful FT token protocol on Bitcoin to date. While it’s not perfect, including but not limited to using inefficient encoding that inflates the UTXO set and currently having limited functionality, it’s incredibly easy to deploy and mint tokens and has inspired inscriptions across nearly every chain in the crypto world.

Next, a quick technical primer:

BRC-20 is a meta-protocol built on the Ordinals meta-protocol, which in turn is built on Bitcoin. This means Ordinals uses Bitcoin as a complete data availability layer and uses off-chain indexers to determine the meta-protocol state. BRC-20 uses the Ordinals protocol as a complete data availability layer, with off-chain indexers to determine the meta-protocol state. This means BRC-20 is actually a meta-protocol, as it’s built on top of Ordinals.

The complexity of building BRC-20 on Ord:

Ord is a brand-new protocol, meaning the technical specifications of the Ordinals protocol have been changing since last year. When you build a token standard on top of Ord, your protocol takes on additional risk because you have a moving protocol as a dependency. This is what happened with Ord 0.8.0 and Ord 0.9.0. Different versions of Ord track inscriptions slightly differently, meaning BRC-20 indexers could report incorrect balances depending on whether they are built on 0.8.0 or 0.9.0. Naturally, this is undesirable.

Unisat’s Push to Move the Protocol Forward:

Firstly, Unisat introduced a black and white module system. This allows people building on BRC-20 (like Unisat) to introduce new features in black modules (temporary locations not indexed in the main protocol). You can put tokens into a black module, but you can’t take them out until they are approved, essentially like a Bitcoin spacechain (one-way bridge). Then yesterday, Unisat announced their desire to upgrade the Ord version under the BRC-20 indexer to the latest version, Jubilee. Jubilee is Ord’s formal version, which will no longer have cursed inscriptions (all inscriptions will forever have positive numbers).

The Key Dispute: How to Upgrade BRC-20

Upgrading the Ord version under the BRC-20 indexer is actually a very good idea. The Ord protocol will be more stable, and we will no longer have cursed inscriptions, no need to worry about mismatched balances, etc.

Unisat wants to roll out this protocol as soon as possible, which makes sense, as Unisat is a startup. Startups don’t have time to sit idle. You must strive to find a product that fits the market and build for your users.

L1F wants to delay the upgrade because if we rush it, more errors might occur. Best in slot and others have already found some of these protocol errors. This makes sense, as L1F is intended to protect the protocol’s foundation, so they can accept moving at a slower, more purposeful pace for upgrades.

Some people think this is a power play by the Unisat team to control the protocol. Others think L1F is just trying to control the protocol, and the protocol should be more market-driven.

(Please note, the above views are from the perspective shared by CEO Bob Bodily in his post, not the stance of SuperEx)

(Note: aboce content is based on the provided text and the original context from Bob Bodily’s post.)

What’s your view on the BRC20 indexer war and the controversy behind it? Please tell me in the comments!




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