Some sentences have been slightly edited for readability, but the meaning has been conserved.
Alex Romanov from BEAM:
Hi Everyone. It’s Alex from Beam.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Hello fellow Alex 😁 welcome! Can you say a few words about Beam for those who might not know what it is?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Yes. Beam is a scalable and confidential cryptocurrency based on the Mimblewimble protocol. We launched on January 3rd, 2019. Mimblewimble is a new protocol that was published in July 2016. The idea is to be able to create confidential transactions without bloating up the blockchain and keeping it small and efficient.
Q — Alex from GAINS: Neat, do you have some materials about it?
Q — Telegram user Crypto James: What makes Beam unique?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Privacy. Practicality, Usability and scalability.
Q — Telegram user Crypto James: Is the project open source code?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Yes. It is available on our Github.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: I guess there’s quite a lot to unpack here.
First, why would we need privacy coins, what are the risks and benefits of anonymity, etc.
Second, how do you compare to other privacy coins? If you made a new one, it must mean you thought you could add something the others didn’t have.
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We believe that privacy is a basic human right and is good for conducting business using crypto. After all, most people would not want everyone to know how much money they have and what they do with it.
Compared to ZCash and Monero, which are currently two top privacy coins, Beam offers better scalability in terms of the blockchain size, great usability and privacy.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Right, I also believe you need some privacy. There needs to be safe places for people, even if they don’t intend to act maliciously. The main argument against this from the general media is the ease of financing terrorism activities and money laundering. The counter argument is that it’s a very small part of crypto and that the dollar is used to launder billions each year. What do you think about this on a medium-term horizon though? If you grow and the volume rises, wouldn’t it be a potential issue?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: One of the ideas of Beam from the beginning is to combine privacy with opt-in auditability so that you could comply with your local regulation if you chose to do so.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: This sounds very interesting. You could issue security tokens without people knowing then? Doing a private fundraising this way. Or maybe having fun secret collectibles?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: People could also trade STO tokens in a confidential manner.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Would that work like ICOs on Ethereum but confidentially? Exchanging BEAM for security tokens?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Right. Today on Ethereum it is easy to trace what you have and what you trade. I think most asset holders would not want that information to be available to everyone
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: With something that works like a smart contract, I guess there could be many scams if the code isn’t auditable. You’d have to rely much more on trusting your source, wouldn’t you? Maybe if you know someone is having a confidential STO, there will be many different confidential smart contracts going around, trying to mimic it?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: The project is completely open source, so anyone can review it and build it. In case of an STO there will probably be an issuer that you have to trust anyway. Other than that, it’s just like Bitcoin. Don’t trust, verify.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Right, and when you build a specific Smart Contract, can you see its code?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We do not have Smart Contracts like in Ethereum. Instead we have something called Scriptless Script. The calculations are done offchain but can be verified onchain by each node. The term Scriptless Script was coined by Andrew Poelstra, a cryptographer and one of the early researchers of Mimblewimble
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: “With regard to functionality, Scriptless Scripts are said to increase the range and complexity of smart contracts.” Nice.
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Yes, they are more reliable in a way, since they are implemented in layer one.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: All this sounds very interesting. I guess you just need more people to be aware of it and start using Beam then? If your tech is superior to everyone.
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We have about 10K people on Telegram and Discord and local communities in many countries. We also do a lot of meetups around the world. Our execution speed is very fast. We had over 30 releases in the last 6 months.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: How are the wallets if one wants to try Beam out?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: One of the differences of Mimblewimble is that transactions are created interactively. You cannot just send money to an address like in Bitcoin. In fact, there are no addresses stored in the blockchain at all.
Q — Telegram user Crypto James: I can see that total maximum supply is 282M as compared to circulating supply 30M. Is there any plan for burning the tokens in the near future?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: You can’t burn Beams other than burning the paper with 12 seed words. They all belong to someone. Beam as a project does not hold tokens. It’s not an ICO, all Beams were mined from zero.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: I heard there a few solutions to integrate privacy on top of BTC or ETH.
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Yes, there are.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Do you know anything about those in more detail and how they stack up against you?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: It is very difficult to change Bitcoin. On Ethereum there are several initiatives. Zether is one of them. It is created by Benedikt Bunz, who is also the creator of Bulletproofs, the zero knowledge non interactive range proofs that we use in Beam. When you have a confidential transaction, you need to be able to prove that it is positive, i.e. > 0, without revealing the actual value. This is where Bulletproofs are used. They allow us to prove the range of value without telling the value itself.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Do you think it’s going to be too hard to implement privacy on already big networks like BTC and ETH? Will there be a bridge between the private and non-private coins? I guess that could make the coins that come back from the privacy part less valuable or less accepted if it starts becoming a medium of exchange. Or am I getting this wrong?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: It’s possible, but not simple to add privacy to an existing coin. In Beam privacy is first layer feature. And yes, we are going to build bridges that will allow to transfer assets from other chains, and trade confidentially on Beam. We believe it will be very useful, especially for stablecoins, such as Dai.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: I’m wondering… how does it work if someone tried to perform a 51% attack on Beam to double spend? Would only the person who didn’t receive the money be aware of it?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: It works exactly the same as bitcoin, just wait for more confirmations.
Q — Telegram user Ortho: Why should I invest my next salary on Beam?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: I am not sure about the entire salary. But I think we have a lot of growth potential
Q — Telegram user Empathy: Can you tell us how much you believe it will be worth in the next 5yrs?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.
Q — Alexandre R. from GAINS: How many people are in the team? How do you sustain everyone financially?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: There are about 25 people at the moment. The project is financed using the treasury model, similar to ZCash. 20% of the mining rewards for the first 5 years goes into treasury, which is used to compensate early investors, the core team and the nonprofit foundation that will govern the project starting next year.
Q — Alexandre R. from GAINS: How much is the mining reward currently? Block time? How much money does that produce?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: A block is created every minute on average. 100 coins a minute for the first year. 50 coins a minute for the next 4 years and then halving every 4 years up to a total of 262,800,000 coins. Block size is 1MB, which brings it to about 20 transactions per second on average. We are also building a lightning network style payment channels to allow for instant transactions. We call it the Laser Beam.
Q — Telegram user Crypto James: Is there any plan to list in bigger markets?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Yes. It takes time but we will get there. We are currently traded on about 20 exchanges, but not top ones yet.
Q — Alex from GAINS: What is your competitive advantage?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Before Mimblewimble, achieving privacy required adding significant amount of information onto the blockchain making it several times heavier. In Mimblewimble, the resulting blockchain is actually even smaller than Bitcoin (for the same amount of transactions) due to the unique cut-through feature of the protocol.
Q — Telegram user Crypto James: What is your weakness?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We still have a lot of work ahead of us. In all areas. From the privacy point, at this moment an active attacker could still theoretically trace utxos. We are currently working on completely breaking linkability and making the utxo completely untraceable
Q — Telegram user ☾♄ꍏ☈↳♗€ ♪ꍏ♔€ⓢ: Is your service already offered by a centralized entity? If so, why does decentralizing it make it better?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: The project was created by a company, but the blockchain itself is a standard PoW and completely decentralized. There are no master nodes or anything similar.
Q — Telegram user Claire: Are you recruiting devs?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We are not actively recruiting at the moment, but we are always interested to collaborate.
Q — Alex from GAINS: What are the next milestones for instance for the community to be aware of?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We have a very intense roadmap. I think the next big thing will be the atomic swaps and built in distributed order book for them, and after that ability to create Confidential assets on top of Beam. Confidential Assets will allow conducting STOs and creating confidential stable coins on top of Beam, as an example.
Q — Telegram user Claire: How do you see yourself in 5 years?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: Best privacy coin on the market with wide range of use cases.
Q — Telegram user Dheekshu: Is it possible to organise a quiz with GAINS for Beam giveaway?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: We have some materials for our ambassadors, but I am not sure they are public. But I will ask our marketing.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: I don’t know much about privacy coins and have actually never used any so far, but I’ll try Beam out to see how it works. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the calmness and quality of answers :). Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you’d like to mention?
A — Alex Romanov from BEAM: It’s a very interesting and very quickly evolving world. I would recommend reading about it and try us out. There are quite a few services that accept Beam today. Especially VPN providers where anonymity is the name of the game.
Alex Romanov from BEAM:
I had a great time answering your questions. You are always welcome to ask more in our community or just ask me directly.
Alexandre R. from GAINS:
Thanks for taking the time Alex and helping us discovering Beam. Truly appreciate it 🙏 It sparked my interest to learn more. Will definitely keep an eye on your announcements!
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