Is Bitcoin’s OP_Cat coming back in 2024?

Jun 07, 2024
OP_CAT (finally) gets a BIP number

While OP_CAT was originally a part of Satoshi’s original Bitcoin client, those advocating for re-adding the opcode to Bitcoin have found increasingly widespread support from unexpected camps. If you haven’t been paying attention and think this is all happening so fast, you’re not wrong. Is the CAT coming back?

Catching Up: OP_Cat was an opcode originally in bitcoin that is used to concatenate 2 elements on the Bitcoin “stack”. It would enable trustless off-chain bridging, better self-custody, and better privacy among other much desired features for Bitcoin.

While in crypto a week is an entire narrative cycle, the recent OP_CAT narrative is fairly new in Bitcoin terms. Let’s review the timeline:

  • Fall 2023 : Armin Sabouri submits “Re-enable OP_CAT” to Bitcoin Inquisition & Ethan Heilman creates a BIP.
  • January 2024: Taproot Wizards announce “Quantum Cats” collection & begin OP_CAT education & promotion campaign.
  • April 2024: OP_CAT gets a BIP number from one of the newly appointed BIP editors
  • May/June 2024: OP_CAT live on Signet, Starkware & Adam Back both publicly endorse OP_CAT, pragmatists like Shinobi concede ground on CAT.

Today: Few technical critics remain, the conversation has moved to reviewing implementations and discussing the potential magnitude of risks such as toxic MEV

Now, in the year of our Lord 2024, the most community-facing technical discourse takes place in Twitter spaces led by cartoon cats and wizards.

It’s quite clear that while OP_CAT may have appeared fringe 7 months ago, it is now front and center in the Bitcoin technical discourse. At the moment it seems more a matter of timeline and path to when and how the CAT soft fork happens. Will we get CAT alone initially or will we get another OP_Code included with it, like CTV, LNHANCE, APO or something else? Will it happen in 2024? And is CAT just the beginning and we have a Golden Age of “Great Script Restoration” ahead of us?

So that brings us to the current chaintip of the OP_CAT narrative. It does, in fact, appear that the CAT is coming back.

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