I first heard the term ‘Steelmanning’ through Lyn Alden on a WBD podcast.
Steelmanning is the act of taking a view, or opinion, or argument and constructing the strongest possible version of it.
I think it could be an interesting challenge for the SN community to put together a really great argument FOR Ordinals. It doesn't matter if you love them or hate them, use logic and reasoning to provide good rational arguments for Ordinals on Bitcoin.
I'll start:
  • If you insist on putting some of your monetary energy into a collectable of some kind, you might as well do so on the most secure monetary network on the planet.
Altcoiners are now running full nodes, contributing to the decentralization of the network. They are also learning about UTXOs and coin control.
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I'm also a moron who eventually stopped shit-coining. This is condescending. Now I'm building bitcoin things on my free time and trying to teach others the merits of bitcoin.
You could say this about any normie coming to Bitcoin.
Our collective memory and culture as humans are being moved digitally. Books, art, debates are all digital now. If something doesn’t exist in a physical form, how do you guarantee that someone won’t change it in the future.
By storing it in the most secure proof of work chain - you know that it will be the same so long as Bitcoin is still alive. Perhaps for a 1000 years.
Best example, is putting the Bible on there. As well as major historical events that are likely to be disputed in the future.
You can achieve this with cryptographic hashes and some off-chain storage mechanism. Corruption of the data is not the same as persistence of the data.
Inside the blockchain we have Never gonna give you up from Rick Astley, honors to Saint Eligius among other interesting things stored forever and ever. Let's see what else can we store.
I think it would be kinda cool to have a picture of my family on there. Or deed to property or something.
This is a fun challenge, and always glad to support efforts that nudge people to think critically.
My Ordinals steelman argument:
  • Ordinals may be a more effective tool for fundraising efforts than simply asking for sats. Giving participants a digital collectible, as seen by the recent Bitcoin Wizards Ordinal sale, creates a strong incentive for donations that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
For ordinals you say? all right, let's try it.
You know how some people complain about miners "wasting" their purchased energy to mine Bitcoin?
Well, an analogy could be traced to people complaining about ordinals fans "wasting" valuable block space that they paid for.
Allowing human expression to flourish in digital space
Some arguments in favor of Bitcoin ordinal inscriptions. I call them "Bords" (i.e. ₿-ordinals) as sort of as a riff on "bored apes."
  • Bitcoin ordinal inscriptions offer a global free-speech outlet, the value of which I believe will increase in proportion to censorship (especially censorship from powerful state actors).
  • For example, publishing information that is not accepted by the mainstream outlets.
  • I imagine a world where you can point your browser to addresses like btc://ord/num/1934567890123456 or btc://ord/name/mickeymouse or (you get the idea) and BOOM, uncensored content from your local Bitcoin node appears.
  • I imagine whole apps and whole multi-page websites with real and enduring value will be published using internal links such as described above.
  • I believe the cost of inscriptions will eventually incentivize compact, high quality, and complete projects favoring modularity.
  • I imagine inscriptions that include notes such as "To support the source of this fill-in-the-blank, please donate to the Bitcoin address that minted this inscription."
  • I imagine inscriptions that include notes such as "To support the owners/heirs of this fill-in-the-blank, please donate to the Bitcoin address that currently holds the keys to this sat."
  • I envision a world in which the browser knows how to do either of the above with a single click (i.e. Alby-like integration).
  • The world I imagine is a world where freedom of speech fuels the Bitcoin mining business and helps keep the money secure.
Yours, ₿ord Advocate npub1dadmfc75g302tuu6qdaheltjxllpt5dtw2lrpnaxvtzy605zp3yswlu8hz
Purchasing power that would otherwise be spent in an alternative network comes into bitcoin, rewards miners, who then sell that to pay bills and picked up by long term hodlrs
While ordinals are speculative, fees are real, and a satoshi is a satoshi
  • If you believe that "everything digital is eventually going to get built on bitcoin", there needs to be a way to build collectables on bitcoin. Collectables aren't going anywhere.
I resent being asked to defend an exploit for a sound money platform, and the fact that, during the vetting of taproot, there were no "yes and we can barf out arbitrary witness data to service a shitcoiner narrative" discussions is all the evidence I need that inscriptions are an unanticipated externality. Not everything that happens to bitcoin is good for bitcoin.
Ordinals Strengthen the Network
Ordinals are forcing us to consider the limits of the Bitcoin mainchain. We had the first 4mb block recently. That is a massive event that it is essential to consider whether we can support. Anyone who cannot currently handle it is making the necessary changes to support blocks of that size. This means that our infrastructure is stronger for when a state actor attack inevitably occurs. We will be able to handle any throughput that they might try a spam attack with. Events like this, while painful in the short term, prepare us.
Incentivizes Scaling
There is only so much block data, and more of it being used for jpegs, albeit stupid, means that we learn to deal with higher fees and scarcer blockspace. As Bitcoin grows to more common and vital use cases, we will need the infrastructure to scale beyond current limitations, such as drivechains and lightning RGB. Higher fees now means progress in the future.
Mining Revenue
Halvings will make it harder and harder to get revenue from mining operations. This may or may not become a problem, but it is essential to ensure that mining remains profitable. Because it is customary for fees to be linked to blockspace, more blockspace use means more fee revenue. Thus, if inscriptions need to pay much higher fees, which keeps miner incentives healthy. This effect is increased by the community's dislike of ordinals, as many miners may have to be "bribed", i.e. higher fees, in order to include them.
Final Thoughts
For a better steelmanning I would look to this article on how ordinals impacts mining, as well as the intro of this episode of the Bitcoin Dad Pod.
Personally, I think Ordinals might have some good use cases eventually, but that right now they are kind of dumb and serve only as a stress test.
‘people who oppose my position are idiots’
Challenge accepted
How do you stop it? What are the implications for the Lightning Network by deprecating any part of the three BIPs making up Taproot? Why do I still see empty blocks here and there and why are my tx's cheaper than they were 6 months ago and getting confirmed in the same amount of time? Why wouldn't you want shitcoinery using bitcoin's liquidity as opposed to ETH's?
Here’s the best argument in favor: Want to contribute to Bitcoin’s death by 1000 cuts? Dragged down to obscurity from weakened decentralization and ambiguous purpose? Yay for inscriptions then!
We want to own all shitcoin usecases (via side chains where necessary) otherwise another crypto might overtake bitcoin in market cap. If that were to happen, digital scarcity as a concept would be in jeopardy since the promoters of that new coin would be rearing their heads looking for the next coin to overtake it.
otherwise another crypto might overtake bitcoin in market cap.
[x] doubt
It can be endlessly re-minted, so you are collecting a timestamp at best...
that's not steelmanning...
We agreed to 4MB blocks, we agreed to taproot and the ability to “attach” additional data/content to a tx.
More people are running full nodes, more utilization should mean more fees to miners. This contributes to increasing security of the chain.
The size of the chain growing too quickly is a concern, but I believe we have the option to prune the extra inscription data, if anyone can confirm this please do.
Bitcoin is anti-fragile, ordinals and inscriptions can’t hurt it.