Bitcoin Devs Are Feeling More Optimistic About MimbleWimble

AccessTimeIconJan 23, 2017 at 8:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:01 p.m. UTC

Work is advancing on a highly anticipated bitcoin project originally proposed by an anonymous cryptographer going under the French name of Harry Potter's nemesis.

Named after one of the book series' spells, MimbleWimble has quickly became one of the more anticipated bitcoin R&D initiatives, since it is believed it could help improve upon the scalability and fungibility of bitcoin in a unique way.

One of the major downsides of the original design, however, was that despite granting greater privacy and scalability, it looked like it might not support many of bitcoin's more complicated scripts (which allow users to use more advanced transactions).

But, it looks to be progressing on that front.

Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra provided the update on the MimbleWimble mailing list, where he dives into the possibilities of the proposed change.

For the non-technical, the gist is that it might be possible to plug many of bitcoin's current capabilities into the new style of transactions. (The proposed change amounts to adding support for hash pre-images, a cryptographic tool that could enable a few fancier transaction types).

Although, the plan is still likely to implement it as an altcoin or a sidechain.

Poelstra went into some more detail about some of the capabilities MimbleWimble could potentially support, such as zero-knowledge contingent payments (which allow users to buy information privately), and cross-chain atomic swaps (which let users exchange cryptocurrencies in a decentralized way).

But, it's a new idea, and none of the details are set in stone yet.

Poelstra mentioned that this would require a small change to MimbleWimble, but that it might be worth "a full paper with more detail."

Code image via Shutterstock

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