Common narratives around spam

Satoshi inscribed on-chain so I should be able to do it too

A common argument presented by inscription supporters is that Satoshi started the trends of injecting data in the timechain with the Genesis block message. This argument is simply wrong since Satoshi did not subvert (2nd characteristic of spam) the protocol to "inscribe" data, he simply used space already available in the Coinbase data that is designed to allow miners to broadcast arbitrary data when a block is found. It's always been part of Bitcoin and didn't introduce any wastefulness.More information here.


In addition, this argument does not really matter as Satoshi's initial actions should not be blindly followed and used to justify your actions. Everybody can make mistakes, and no one can plan for all future scenarios, especially in a complex system such as Bitcoin that is highly unpredictable.
This event, instead of being taken as a justification that Bitcoin should be used as a perpetual highly-replicated database, should be considered as a celebration of the right ways you can post data on chain in a responsible way as it uses an existing method to store arbitrary data by miners that doesn't obviously circumvent a Bitcoin function.
Another way for Satoshi to publish his message would have been to use the OP_RETURN code as it would signal to the network that the data included in the OP_RETURN can safely be discarded outside of the UTXO set. Participants have been and are using OP_RETURN codes today to store short messages on the timechain and these are not considered as spam. If you're curious, you can explore these messages on Learn more from the Bitcoin Explained Podcast.
It's still important to highlight that when the OP_RETURN code was released, it was clearly specified that "Storing arbitrary data in the blockchain is still a bad idea; it is less costly and far more efficient to store non-currency data elsewhere." Another extremely important point is that OP_RETURN data is still stored on nodes forever, that is the reason why they are limited at 80 bytes, but OP_RETURN data does not benefit from the segregated witness discount.
Inscriptions that are omni-present in the 2023 wave of spam basically have the same impact on the network as OP_RETURN data except that they benefit from the segregated witness discount and manage to go above the 80 bytes limit using the OP_IF OP_FALSE injection scheme.

What's next?

● Want to take control over your mempool's policies? You can easily do that by modifying your bitcoin.conf file. You can use the following tool, provided by Jameson Lopp to easily create a bitcoin.conf file that applies the mempool and relay policies you'd like to apply to your node.More information about mempool policy and its role