BEAM — the Mimblewimble cryptocurrency — recently announced a cooperative effort with the Litecoin Foundation to integrate Mimblewimble technology with the established cryptocurrency founded by Charlie Lee.
The initiative will seek to build ‘extension blocks’ on the Litecoin blockchain where on-chain LTC would be converted to a Mimblewimble-compatible variant. The move follows research by the Litecoin Foundation developer team into integrating Confidential Transactions (CTs) into the protocol for better privacy.
BEAM Providing Expertise to Litecoin
In their blog post, BEAM acknowledged that the Litecoin Foundation team had reached out to them regarding their exploration of bulletproof Mimblewimble extension blocks as an improvement over their earlier research with CTs.
CTs were originally proposed by Bitcoin developer and cryptography researcher Gregory Maxwell and help to mask details of a transaction on a public blockchain network. Litecoin was investigating how to apply CTs to their networks for better user privacy at the protocol level. However, their conversations with BEAM revealed that creating extension blocks with Mimblewimble may be a more prudent enhancement.
The concerns with CTs were expressed by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee who determined that the already working ‘switch-commitments’ for Mimblewimble extension blocks are more straightforward and resistant to quantum computing.
Mimblewimble extension blocks would enable Litecoin users to exchange LTC anonymously, similar to Mimblewimble protocols like BEAM and Grin. However, the initiative is still in its very early stages, and both parties are only in the cooperative phase at the moment. BEAM and the Litecoin Foundation have detailed that more developments and plans will be posted in the future.
Converging On Better Privacy
The emergence of privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies like BEAM, Grin, and Monero has fueled innovation in advanced cryptographic primitives for obfuscating transaction details on a public blockchain network.
Bitcoin has taken a similar approach, focusing on the inclusion of better privacy upgrades to the legacy network with upcoming developments such as Schnorr Signatures, Taproot, and Dandelion. Litecoin’s research into better privacy assurances mirrors Bitcoin’s path and should continue gaining traction among the broader market.
Revelations into methods for deanonymizing users are on the rise, and multi-faceted approaches that incorporate multiple technologies are required for providing users with improved privacy. Litecoin is often viewed as the ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold’ and has proved as a practical experimentation ground for Bitcoin-compatible technologies — such as with atomic swaps and Lightning Network capabilities.
The collaboration between BEAM and the Litecoin Foundation represents another step towards projects working together and building complementary solutions.