In July 2016, an anonymous person using the nickname Tom Elvis Jedusor (Voldemort’s real name in the French edition of the Harry Potter novels) produced the first MimbleWimble white paper, which described a blockchain with a radically different approach to transaction construction from Bitcoin.
Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra authored a MimbleWimble followup white paper.
The MimbleWimble (a reference to a Harry Potter spell) proposal was described by Bitcoin Magazine as:
“[A] radical slimming-down of the Bitcoin protocol that could not only dramatically increase privacy and fungibility, but also present significantly more scalability than Bitcoin’s current blockchain architecture.”
A MimbleWimble (MW) blockchain is a thin blockchain that doesn’t permanently store most of the transaction data that is recorded in other blockchains. This provides built-in support for enhanced privacy and throughput.
MW doesn’t support scripting, but features like multi-signature transactions, atomic swaps, time-locked transactions and outputs, and Lightning Network overlays, can be implemented directly through the properties of Elliptic Curve Cryptography.
According to CoinDesk, “a plurality of Chinese GPU farms are already hashing on these two networks.” Many early adopters are excited about MW technology, and there’s significant investor interest.
The Grin documentation on Github includes a “Grin/MimbleWimble for Bitcoiners” primer. It’s also worth analyzing the differences between the two MW blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The Beam FAQ provides an outline:
“Both BEAM and Grin are implementing the Mimblewimble protocol but in different ways. We summarize the differences in four different areas: Technology, Emission, Features, and Governance…” — Beam FAQ
Finder.com.au notes that “there are some technical and design differences between Grin and Beam, but the main difference might be their respective ethos and underlying ideals.”
“Grin taps the old crypto-anarchistic vibes that underpinned bitcoin and its early developments, and much like bitcoin is a volunteer-driven project helmed largely by pseudonymous individuals. By contrast, Beam came out with a concrete management structure, public discussion of how funds will be allocated and generally a much more organised and clear roadmap. Whether one will eclipse the other, or if the cryptographic town is big enough for the two of them, remains to be seen.”
Both Beam and Grin are mainly described as privacy-oriented technologies, and enhanced privacy is very much of a requirement for cryptocurrencies.
It can be argued that, IFF (if and only if) appropriate privacy measures are taken, including one-time send/receive addresses, untraceable hardware, and untraceable IP addresses, good old Bitcoin offers pretty good privacy. Face to face, buyers and sellers can use Opendime for watertight privacy.
But many cryptocurrency users don’t have the needed know-how and discipline. Therefore, especially if MW technology proves able to provide transaction throughput much higher than Bitcoin, I think both BEAM and GRIN could fly high.
Picture from Pexels.