A Short History of Mimblewimble: From Hogwarts to Mobile Wallets

“Mimblewimble, which prevents your opponent from accurately casting their next spell.
— Gilderoy Lockhart
Harry Potter — The Chamber of Secrets — Warner Bros

Mimblewimble. Mim-bull-wim-bull. Pretty crazy that such a silly word is the basis of a growing revolution within the crypto world. Mimblewimble, for crypto enthusiasts, Bitcoin Maximalists, and privacy defenders, became, within less than two years, one of the best-kept secrets in crypto. But what’s the story behind it? What’s the connection with the Harry Potter universe and why, oh God why, is Mimblewimble the name of one of the most promising protocols in the crypto space? Let’s visit the fantasy world of Magic and the virtual universe of cryptography.

Wingardium Leviosa Spell — Harry Potter — Warner Bros

Mimblewimble in Action — From Harry Potter to IRC

Order of Phoenix HQ — IRC Logo

Appearance 1 — The first appearance of the spell is in the second installment of the masterpiece that is the Harry Potter series. The Tongue-Tying Curse also known as the Tongue-Tying Spell — Mimblewimble — was used by Gilderoy Lockhart, ephemeral Professor of Dark Arts at Hogwarts, during the Duelling Club. Gilderoy hoped to teach students to better defend themselves against the incoming Basilisk.

Appearance 2 — Later on in the series, Alastor Moody used the spell to protect the Order of Phoenix HQ. “Mad-Eye” placed the Mimblewimble spell in order to prevent Severus Snape from revealing the HQ location to the one-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken. Mimblewimble aimed to both keep Snape out, and bind his tongue if he would have tried to reveal the emplacement.

Appearance 3 — Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley were affected by this spell when finding refuge at the Order’s HQ, after running from Death-Eaters. Cold air whooshed over them, causing their tongues to freeze and making it impossible for them to speak.

How does it work? — Mimblewimble binds an individual’s tongue to keep him or her from talking about a specific subject.

Privacy par excellence.

Appearance 4 — Now, moving from fiction to reality, the non-fictional origin of Mimblewimble found itself in the #bitcoin-wizards IRC channel in August 2016. Some individual called Tom Elvis Jedusor (majorplayer was his IRC id) popped up. For the record, Jedusor is the anagram of Voldemort… in French. Yes in French! Just like Bitcoin, this person pseudonymously dropped a world-changing protocol. This time, though, the pseudonym referenced Harry Potter and the purpose of the protocol in a clever way. And this is how we came to know about the Mimblewimble Protocol.

The rest is history. “History became legend. Legend became myth” according to Tolkien.

Lord Of The Rings

Mimblewimble — From IRC to RL

Andrew Poelstra

Jedusor just dropped a dot onion link, but Andrew Poelstra rehosted it, with the help of Bryan Bishop (BEAM’s Advisor) and some of his friends who re-posted the manifesto on several sub_reddits, mainly in an attempt to understand what the French Voldemort wrote in a hodge-podge of French and English — ‘Frenglish’.

In October 2016, Poelstra did eventually analyze Mimblewimble and summarily compiled the overall vision in his own position paper which organized the thinking and concepts behind it for the benefit of the masses.

In the middle of November 2016, another character from the Harry Potter Universe showed up in the same IRC channel, under the name Ignotus Peverell (the wizard that invented the invisibility cloak). His claim? A simple one: an implementation of Mimblewimble. He meant the first implementation of Mimblewimble. And he posted a Github Link on the channel.

Ignotus Peverell in Harry Potter — Warner Bros

The story doesn’t end here.

This is how Grin was born.

In January 2017, Poelstra, did a remarkable presentation about Mimblewimble at Stanford University’s Blockchain Protocol Analysis and Security Engineering 2017 conference.

In March 2017, Peverell posted a technical introduction to Mimblewimble and Grin on Github.

Mimblewimble and its implementations

Grin and BEAM

Grin was the first to implement Mimblewimble as stated above. The community-based project published its testnet in November 2017, almost one year after Peverell’s first appearance.

And in March 2018, Grin’s Testnet2 was released when at the same time a new project, offering a new interpretation of Mimblewimble, appeared on the cryptomap: BEAM.

BEAM’s internal PoC (including a fully functional mining node and a command line wallet) was released in June 2018 together with its position paper.

In September 2018, Grin did raise from its community, around $40,000 in order to speed up its development process and to ensure its viability.

In the same time, BEAM released its Testnet, including the opening of its code, and a wallet desktop application.

Mimblewimble — To infinity… and beyond!

Toy Story — Pixar

Within two short years (eternity in the crypto space, mind you, though ;P), Mimblewimble’s elegant and original approach captured some severe crypto hearts and territories via its cryptographically sleek approach to solving for privacy, scalability, and fungibility.

Two projects are now expressing their respective interpretations of Jedusor’s vision, which is truly fantastic and healthy. Grin will continue its development using its talented community in order to provide some tangible results as soon as possible. BEAM, on the other hand, will release its Mainnet in December 2018, including a Mobile Wallet App, an Atomic Swap with Bitcoin, an Auditable Transactions Feature, and many more before it will launch its Foundation in order to let the community govern the coin and its future.


We feel this is just the beginning. As the pseudonymously-dropped Bitcoin has spawned thousands of alts and inspired the development of programmable blockchains like Ethereum, we expect that, as time goes on, Mimblewimble will do the same. Mimblewimble, while a silly word perhaps, is tongue-tying the crypto world as we speak — we are at a loss for words!

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