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Mimblewimble is a protocol that aims to revolutionize the cryptocurrency security system. This is possible because this protocol offers users confidential transactions to protect privacy.
This protocol is a blockchain-type design that uses transactions in which the address and value of the transaction is hidden, providing a high level of security to users.
In short, it is an alternative Proof of Work (PoW) implementation that enhances privacy on the blockchain by providing security and anonymity to its users.
Remember that one of the problems faced by Bitcoin, Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies is that the cryptocurrency needed to increase users’ security is stored in the blockchain, taking up a lot of space and making it heavier and less scalable.
Thanks to Mimblewimble all this data is not recorded within the blockchain as individual but grouped together in one big transaction. This allows the network significant savings in terms of storage space.
History of Mimblewimble
Mimblewimble’s beginnings date back to 2016 when Bitcoin developer chat room user Tom Elvis Jedusor introduced the project to the network. The first paper presented on this design detailed a protocol that offered increased security and scalability to the blockchain.
Although this project was based on the Bitcoin network and shared the basic ideas, it still showed a number of unanswered questions. Blockstream researcher Andrew Poelstra devoted himself to studying and improving the initial concept until he wrote an article explaining his vision of the protocol.
Over the years, several researchers have been studying the possibilities offered by Mimblewimble. Some think that this protocol implemented in the Bitcoin network would help to improve its operation, while others claim that it would be too complex.
In June 2019, the Mimblewimble white paper first became known under the signature of the pseudonym we already knew, Tom Elvis Jedusor (French version of the Muggle name of Voldemort). Shortly after a user, also anonymous under the pseudonym Ignotus Peverell launched a project on Github (platform for project development) under the Mimblewimble protocol. This project is Grin and was the first of several projects to implement Mimblewimble in its operation.
How does it work?
Any blockchain working under the Mimblewimble protocol represents anonymity, so it contains neither the transactions nor addresses of its users. Instead, it groups them together and records them in a single transaction that will later be verified and validated without individual details.
While an outsider will only be able to see a random set of data, only the user will be able to see the sorted data. In this way the protocol protects user data such as the public address of the sender and receiver and the amount received.
Regarding blockchain storage, data is not recorded individually so the network saves storage space.
- A Mimblewimble block looks like a single transaction rather than a group of transactions. These blocks can be verified without the need for detailed information about each transaction that makes up the block.
- Transactions allow users to encrypt coin amounts, hiding the information from any outside observer. When verifying a transaction, only a list of entries and exits with the signatures corresponding to each transaction is seen.
- To validate transactions under this scheme it is necessary that the number of inputs is equal to the number of outputs, being the difference between both equal to zero. Therefore, it is only necessary to verify that new currencies created suddenly do not interfere and that the parties to the transaction retain the ownership of the keys.
All this validation process is carried out under the cryptographic scheme of the Pedersen scheme. This allows the verification of operations without the miners knowing the amounts to be transferred or the users’ data.
Who uses Mimblewimble?
This system has been implemented in some cryptocurrencies that you can make use of. Here are some of them:
- Grin was the first cryptocurrency to implement the Mimblewimble protocol to its system. The main objective of this cryptocurrency is to enable scalability while shielding the transactions made in it.
- Beam is another cryptocurrency that uses the Mimblewimble protocol. This cryptocurrency focuses on anonymity and scalability. It offers confidential transactions and the information regarding these transactions is securely stored on the blockchain.
- Litecoin offers its users greater fungibility and privacy thanks to recent tests conducted under this protocol. Although it has not yet implemented it, it is on its way to do so. At the moment the tests are being conducted on Litecoin’s Testnet network.