OCEAN Mining has released an update to their pool software allowing miners to individually choose between a set of different block templates to mine on. Miners can choose between these three templates at this time:
- The default OCEAN Knots template, which filters out any inscription transaction, as well as places an additional OP_RETURN limitation of a maximum of 42 bytes on transactions using OP_RETURN.
- Bitcoin Core patched with the Ordisrespector update, filtering out inscription transactions.
- The default Bitcoin Core template which implements no additional transaction filters at all.
This new option is a stepping stone towards their ultimate goal of enabling Stratum v2 in order to allow any miner using the pool to construct whatever block template they wish to while mining with the pool. There is a catch however. For any miners utilizing either the default Knots template, or the Bitcoin Core + Ordisrepsector patch OCEAN will continue honoring the promotional feerate from launch of 0%. However for any miners choosing to utilize the default Bitcoin Core template, a 2% pool fee will be attached to their contributions to the pool.
OCEAN’s decision to implement transaction filtering was not a popular choice, as evidenced by the large backlash after their delayed announcement of this policy after officially launching the pool. This new template selection option is a reaction to this backlash, but it is not them turning around and abandoning their position that inscriptions and other classes of transactions are harmful to the Bitcoin network. They are applying the 2% fee to Core created templates to function as a disincentive for their users to select that template, which in their view creates a negative impact for the network at large.
Ultimately what will come of this is up to OCEAN’s users. The economically rational thing to do is for everyone mining with OCEAN to select the Bitcoin Core default template, as that is going to be the template that produces the maximum amount of revenue generated from block production. However, on the other hand, the 2% fee applied to that template and not the others has to be taken into account. If the fee charged by OCEAN for using Core templates is greater than the difference in profitability between the Core template and other templates, then the answer of which one is more economically profitable is not so cut and dry.
In the end though, the miner’s themselves will be the ultimate decision makers according to their economic and ideological incentives, which is what OCEAN ultimately set out to do: put the decision making back in the hands of miners’ themselves.