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Cursed Inscriptions Meaning

Jun 22, 2024 | Updated Jun 22, 2024
Cursed inscriptions are digital artifacts that were not indexed by the Ordinals protocol and did not receive an inscription number.

What Are Cursed Inscriptions?

Cursed inscriptions, also known as Cursed Ordinals, are a unique subset of Bitcoin Ordinals that were not originally numbered by the Ord indexer. As a result, these inscriptions do not appear in marketplaces and wallets.The term, coined by Casey Rodarmor in the Ordinals Github Issue #2045 in April 2023, emerged from a discovery of inaccurate usage or deliberate misuse of the operation codes (opcodes) used to inscribe Satoshis. The inaccuracies resulted in digital artifacts that the original version of the Ord indexer could not catch. 

The temporary fix to this problem was to modify the Ord indexer to identify the invalid inscriptions as “cursed” and assign them negative values. Assigning them negative numbers typically highlights their unique nature and their distinction from traditional Ordinals. Therefore, they can also be referred to as negative inscriptions.

According to Rodarmor, negative inscriptions can be created in four different ways:

  • When a single transaction contains several inscriptions.
  • When inscriptions are generated using unrecognized even headers or opcodes, such as OP_66.
  • When inscriptions are made on the input after the first.
  • When multiple inscriptions are bound to a single Satoshi.

There are only 472,043 in existence, numbered starting from -1 to -472,043. This is because the Ord software modification ensured that all new inscriptions from block height 824,544 (January 2024) would be indexed within the main or “blessed” sequence of Ordinals rather than “cursed”.

Cursed vs Recursive Inscription

Cursed ordinals are simply negative numbered inscriptions or ones that the Ordinals protocols originally overlooked. They are somewhat similar to misprinted banknotes in the traditional financial system. On the other hand, recursive inscriptions allow new inscriptions to borrow and reference already existing data. This introduces only a small amount of new content into the chain and reduces blockchain bloat.


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