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

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.