In recent days, discussions have intensified around the emerging bitcoin mining pool Ocean and its decision to exclude certain transactions, specifically those linked to Ordinal inscriptions and coinjoin activities. Luke Dashjr, a key figure in Ocean’s operations and a prominent Bitcoin Core developer, clarified to the public that the roots of this debate stretch back to 2014. He emphasized that the release of Bitcoin Core 0.90 was a pivotal moment, introducing measures aimed at curbing blockchain data storage to mitigate spam.
Bitcoin Community Divided by Ocean Pool’s Exclusion Tactics
The bitcoin (BTC) mining pool, Ocean Pool, has recently been at the center of much controversy due to its decision to blacklist certain transactions in its block templates. These excluded transactions encompass those related to coinjoins, Ordinal inscriptions, and BRC20 tokens. Luke Dashjr, the operator behind Ocean, has been vocal about the pool’s approach and chose to address these issues on a social media platform on X.
“The OP_RETURN discussion is not new and dates back to 2014 when Bitcoin Core 0.9.0 was released with the OP_RETURN policy included which was intended to discourage more egregious forms of spam,” Dashjr wrote. However, he further noted that Ocean Mining did not intend to filter coinjoins and that he has ideas on how to “alleviate the recent issue.” He added that he was willing “to work collaboratively on a solution in good faith.”
There is significant dissent regarding the actions of Dashjr and Ocean. Critics have pointed out that by blocking transactions, Ocean is actually forfeiting potential fees. A particular analyst highlighted that one of Ocean’s block templates could miss out on 17% in fees. “Economically irrational behavior does not fare well in free market environments,” they remarked. However, Juan Galt countered this view, arguing, “economics are more complex than that my friend … There are short and long term consequences to consider.”
In response, another individual commented:
If the long term consequence of censoring transactions isn’t being put out of business then proof-of-work isn’t doing its job properly.
In a separate discussion, Guy Swann stepped up in support of Dashjr and Ocean, stating that Bitcoin should be exclusively utilized for financial transactions and that the blacklisting does not constitute censorship. “Ordinals and inscriptions aren’t using bitcoin the money,” Swann said. “They are merely using Bitcoin *nodes* to store their garbage, and the bitcoin *name* to sell it to people.”
It makes perfect, and necessary, logic to build, optimize, and restrict the Bitcoin system to only allow and facilitate the bitcoin *money.* This isn’t a contradiction, it isn’t censorship, it’s necessary to defining what the protocol even does.
Udi Wertheimer, co-founder of the Taproot Wizards inscriptions startup, disagreed with Swann. “Look man, for the time being we’re allowing you and your cultist friends to use our ordinals chain for your spammy coffee purchases,” Wertheimer replied. “But if you keep making mentally ill tweets like this one we might have to filter you out so that you can focus on your mental health.” Scott Melker, also known as the Wolf of All Streets, argued against Swann’s perspective of what censorship is.
“Permissionless is Permissionless,” he wrote. “Even if they’re awful, removing them is… permission. And censorship.”
Blockstream founder Adam Back also shared his two cents about Dashjr’s moves. “[Luke Dashjr] is the 10th man from World War Z,” Back wrote. “I want him to keep doing that for the robustness of Bitcoin. his job (self-chosen mission in fact like Rorschach in Watchmen) is to do things his way and be immune to group think; and he’s really good at that.” Back also remarked that F2pool and Peter Todd will “also do contrarian things” and added that this attitude helps with “robustness.”
Numerous individuals hold opposing views and believe that Dashjr, Ocean, and their supporter Jack Dorsey have not justified their recent actions. Several have playfully inscribed Dashjr’s likeness in an inscription, while others have conveyed messages to him through Ordinal inscriptions. One critic expressed, “Luke Dashjr should have been ostracized from the Bitcoin ‘community’ years ago, yet some people continued to vouch for him even after it’s been clear (several times) that he’s a bad actor.”
Meanwhile, another person mockingly referred to Dashjr’s loss of bitcoin, commenting, “Let’s all run a version of Bitcoin made by the dude who couldn’t secure his bitcoin.”
What do you think about the heated debate about Ocean pool’s censoring? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.