Blockchain Networks Struggle as "Gold Rush" for Inscriptions Overwhelms Systems

Blockchain Networks Struggle as Gold Rush for Inscriptions Overwhelms Systems
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Multiple Blockchains Experience Outages Due to Inscriptions

Several blockchain networks, including Arbirtrum, Avalanche, Cronos, zkSync, TON, and Celestia, have suffered partial or full outages in recent days due to a surge in inscriptions. Celestia is the latest network to succumb, with industry researchers posting a screenshot of its block explorer on Dec. 18. The team at Arbitrum confirmed that a sustained surge of inscriptions triggered an outage lasting 78 minutes.

Understanding the Inscriptions Gold Rush

Similar to Bitcoin Ordinals, which allow data to be inscribed on-chain, people have discovered they can do the same thing on Ethereum and other EVM-based chains by inscribing data on transaction calldata. Shardul Mahadik, a crypto developer, explained that these inscriptions are like writing on a payment app's notes field. In recent days, many of these inscriptions have been BRC-20-type tokens, such as Bitcoin Frogs and various new token tickers. Users are sending token mint and transfer transactions to themselves with call data because it is cost-effective. However, the influx of inscriptions has overwhelmed multiple chains and caused significant gas spikes.

The Retail Appeal and Skepticism

Bitcoin developer Eric Wall theorized that EVM inscriptions could provide retail investors with access to low-cap crypto assets. With ICOs being regulated, inscriptions offer an open access distribution mechanism for retail investors. However, Michael Rinko, an analyst at Delphi Digital, sees no rationality behind the trend, describing it as "the new hot thing" with no logical explanation.

Warnings about Shilling and Gas Fees

Blockchain sleuth 'ZachXBT' warned about crypto influencers shilling "shitcoins" and cautioned against investing in coins with lower market cap or liquidity. Meanwhile, Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal noted that many minters were switching to Polygon due to its favorable gas fees compared to other chains.

Blockchain Networks Struggle as Gold Rush for Inscriptions Overwhelms Systems
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Record Spending on Inscriptions

According to Dune Analytics, over $6 million was spent on gas for inscriptions on Dec. 18, with a record $8.3 million spent on Dec. 16. Despite the surge, Nailwal highlighted that gas fees on Polygon remained under 10 cents, while other chains saw fees as high as $400.

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