Renowned Developer Unveils Critical Bitcoin Core Vulnerability

2 months ago 20
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Renowned Bitcoin Core developer Luke Dashjr has recently revealed a critical vulnerability within the Bitcoin Core, highlighting its exploitation through a feature called Inscription. This revelation has stirred significant attention in the cryptocurrency community, as it exposes a potential weakness in the blockchain’s resilience against spam.

PSA: “Inscriptions” are exploiting a vulnerability in #Bitcoin Core to spam the blockchain. Bitcoin Core has, since 2013, allowed users to set a limit on the size of extra data in transactions they relay or mine (`-datacarriersize`). By obfuscating their data as program code,…

— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) December 6, 2023

The Vulnerability

Dashjr elucidates that since 2013, Bitcoin Core has allowed users to set limits on extra data in transactions through the `-datacarriersize` setting. However, Inscriptions have found a way to circumvent this limit by disguising their data as program code.

This method effectively bypasses the intended restrictions, leading to what Dashjr refers to as spamming the blockchain. He notes that this issue was recently addressed in Bitcoin Knots v25.1, but Bitcoin Core remains susceptible in its upcoming v26 release. The hope is for a resolution before the release of v27 next year.

The Community’s Response and Concerns

The cryptocurrency community has actively engaged in a dialogue over this issue, raising various concerns and inquiries. One prominent question involves the economic incentives for miners in mining inscription transactions, to which Dashjr responds by emphasizing Bitcoin’s foundational assumption that a majority of miners are honest. He also notes that spam-filtered blocks often carry higher fees for unknown reasons.

Further inquiries delve into the implications of fixing this vulnerability. One question particularly revolves around whether addressing the bug would spell the end for ordinals and brc-20 tokens. Dashjr confirms that rectifying this issue would indeed halt these practices.

Another community member inquires about the direct impact of this vulnerability on regular Bitcoin holders, with Dashjr clarifying that while the primary concern is technical, related to blockchain efficiency and integrity, there could be indirect effects on security and value.

The discussion also extends to the practical steps users can take in response to this issue. For those using Bitcoin Knots, Dashjr advises setting the `datacarriersize` to zero to stop relaying Inscription data, with a caveat that the “Bitcoin Core policy” mode should not be enabled for correct handling of Inscriptions.

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