Some propose that EVM inscriptions represent the newest avenue for retail investors to engage with low-cap coins, while others contend that it is an exaggerated trend. Regardless of its nature, the process is causing congestion within the blockchain.

With a total of 391 views and 2 shares, the recent frenzy for inscriptions, spanning profile pictures to memecoins, has resulted in at least six blockchain networks experiencing disruptions in the past week. Arbirtrum, Avalanche, Cronos, zkSync, and TON have all faced either partial or complete outages due to inscriptions. The latest victim, according to industry researchers who shared a block explorer screenshot on Dec. 18, is the modular data availability network Celestia. Videos showcasing mass minting on the Celestia network have also surfaced.

Arbitrum acknowledged the issue on Dec. 16 during a 78-minute outage, attributing it to a sustained surge in inscriptions that caused the sequencer to malfunction in relaying transactions. Meanwhile, Cronos developer Ken Timsit reported a network update to incorporate dynamic transaction fees responsive to transaction volume, aiming to enhance the chain's resilience against traffic spikes induced by high demand for inscriptions.


Screenshot from Celestia block explorer. Source: X/Dogetoshi

The inscriptions gold rush involves utilizing platforms like Bitcoin Ordinals, enabling the direct inscription of data such as text, images, and videos on-chain. Users have now extended this capability to Ethereum and other EVM-based chains by inscribing data on transaction calldata. Notably, these inscriptions often involve BRC-20-type tokens, themed after collections like Bitcoin Frogs, and various new token tickers such as BMBI, BEEG, and GROK.

Crypto developer Shardul Mahadik explained the distinction between Bitcoin and EVM inscriptions, likening Bitcoin inscriptions to writing on the smallest denomination of a currency bill and EVM inscriptions to the notes or remarks field on a payment app.

Some speculate that users are engaging in token mint and transfer transactions to themselves with call data due to their cost-effectiveness. This activity aims to replicate the success of ERC-20 tokens on different chains, although it involves users spamming small mints repeatedly.

Bitcoin developer Eric Wall theorized that EVM inscriptions could serve as a means for retail investors to access low-cap crypto assets, given the regulation and restrictions surrounding ICOs and token sales. However, Michael Rinko from crypto research firm Delphi Digital sees it as merely a trend lacking rationality.

As reported on Dec. 18, the surge in EVM inscriptions has led to significant gas expenditures, reaching over $6 million on Dec. 18 and a record $8.3 million on Dec. 16, according to Dune Analytics. Despite this, Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal observed mints migrating to Polygon due to its favorable gas fees on Dec. 18.