Beam: A Scalable, Privacy-Oriented Cryptocurrency Based on the Elegant Breakthroughs of the Mimblewimble Protocol

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EVALUAPE
Sep 30 · 3 min read

Binance launched BEAM on September 21, 2019. As one of the most popular privacy tokens of the year, Beam’s main network was launched on January 3rd. After more than half a year of development, it was officially listed on Binance without any charge.

The core technology of Beam is the MimbleWimble protocol. MimbleWimble is a blockchain format and protocol that provides extremely good scalability, privacy and fungibility by relying on strong cryptographic primitives. It adopts elliptic curve cryptography only and the transaction is based on the technology named Confidential Transaction, using zero-sum verification, which means the output minus the input is always equal to zero, proving that the transaction does not forge new funds and does not display the actual amount. The Confidential Transaction technology provides excellent anonymity for Beam.

In addition to Beam, the most famous Mimblewimble-based project is Grin. Whenever people talk about Beam, they tend to cite Grin at the same time. Like the Beam, Grin is also a kind of privacy token based on Mimblewimble, which launched the main net on January 15. Grin performs stronger anarchism than Beam, which is a product of cypherpunk and closer to Bitcoin originalism, while Beam is more biased towards pragmatism. Beam’s entire governance structure draws on Zcash and is more commercial. The 20% of the tokens generated by mining are left to the founding team from Israel and the team has conducted a private round of financing before the listing. In comparison, Grin learns more from Bitcoin, it insists on open source governance and has no rewards for the founding team, which instead totally supported by the community for funds and development. Besides, Beam provides traditional confidential transactions (using the Bulletproof signature) and has designed an auditable wallet that allows third parties to verify funds or any other metadata stored in the transaction. But Grin will not extend any features other than core functions.

Beam and Grin take completely different models of token economics. Beam produces one block per minute, 80 BEAMs per block in the first year, 40 BEAMs per block from the 2nd year to the 5th year, 25 BEAMs per block in the 6th year, then starts to halve every four years and stops issuance in 133 years. The total supply of BEAMs is fixed at 262.8 million. Grin also produces a block every minute, but each block contains 60 Grins. And there is no hard cap on the total supply of Grins, and block rewards are fixed, so there will be an infinite linear increase in circulation. Beam takes a deflation model of limited supply, while Grin’s policy aims to keep inflation constant. The Beam is more like electronic gold, encouraging people to use Beam for value storage, while Grin is more like electronic cash, encouraging to use Grin for payment.

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