Beam announced its live mainnet launch just in time for the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin. Based on the Mimblewimble protocol, the brand-new cryptocurrency has a few lofty goals, and among them is to make cryptocurrency transactions “drastically” more confidential.
Another noteworthy aspect about the cryptocurrency that could end up rivaling Zcash and Monero is that Beam is the first ever project to implement the ‘Mimblewimble’ protocol. This was a widely applauded blockchain protocol proposed anonymously in 2016 (sound familiar?) with the goal of bringing privacy back to crypto transactions.
If it all sounds like a bunch of Harry Potter Hocus Pocus to you, that’s probably because it is. The Mimblewimble protocol derived its name from a spell in the children’s books that prevents people from spilling secrets.
Beam: First Project to Use the Mimblewimble Protocol
The main premise behind the anonymous Mimblewimble protocol is to offer crypto transactions that are significantly more confidential than those made with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or even “privacy” coins like Monero.
Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin in particular, originally emerged as a way of allowing for privacy-oriented value storage and transfer. However, as time went by, it became clear that Bitcoin was not as anonymous as people thought. Data leaks could easily lead to the mapping of public addresses using blockchain forensics. To tackle these issues, cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash appeared on the scene, but not without their own issues. To start with, while these coins have a strong inclination toward privacy, not all their transactions are ultimately private. And both blockchains face similar scalability issues.
Beam, then, is setting its sights on becoming the ultimate ‘storage-of-value’ and payment cryptocurrency, continuing the revolution set out by Bitcoin, through its focus on anonymity.
After all, true confidentiality and scalability for financial transactions is a requirement not just of institutions and investors, but individuals as well. Both of these factors are considered necessary for true mainstream adoption of crypto to occur.
CEO of Beam Alexander Zaidelson said:
Sovereignty over one’s own information is a basic human right, and applies to all aspects of life, and especially to financial transactions… Everyone, from the largest institutional investors to the individual cryptocurrency holder, should have the right to decide on what to disclose and to whom.
Combining Mimblewimble with Other Features
Beam will combine Mimblewimble with additional features in order to offer true privacy to users on its network. The Beam blockchain remains a distributed ledger that allows for decentralized validation of transactions. However, no observer can obtain any private information about the sender, receiver, or amount transacted.
Thanks to the Mimblewimble Transaction Cut-through feature, the blockchain size is expected to be between 3-10 times smaller than Bitcoin (if the same amount of usage is taken into consideration).
Another interesting feature about Beam is that users will have the option of opting in for audits of their accounts and transactions, which could be extremely useful for tax and accounting purposes.
Beam is brand-new on the mainnet and, according to its creators’ announcement on Medium, likely to contain bugs, defects, and errors while they work on implementing improvements.
As developers begin to add key features like atomic swaps with Bitcoin, mobile wallet, pool support, and bitcoin wallet integration, Beam has the potential to attract traditional crypto users that left the market due to privacy concerns, or who fail to see coins like Monero as an attractive option. Financial institutions are also likely to see the value in a blockchain that allows for private transactions for its customers.
Can Beam and MimbleWimble rival privacy-focused coins like Monero and ZCash? Share your thoughts below!
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