The experimental blockchain network mimblewimble has launched on testnet.
Known for its creative use of Harry Potter references, the project was proposed last year by a cryptographer going by the pseudonym "Tom Elvis Jedusor" (French for Harry Potter's archnemesis Lord Voldemort). And while such trappings may make it silly to some, developers are serious about the tech – arguing it improves scalability and privacy with cutting-edge cryptography.
Now, the team behind the effort is taking its first step toward putting the code to the test.
As explained by lead developer Ignotus Peverell, the testnet will offer a workshop of sorts for developers, complete with fake coins that allow them to detect (and correct) issues before launching a version with real money on the line.
The developer went on to explain that with the testnet (called testnet1) up and running, a few developers are mining and running the nodes that follow the cryptocurrency's unique rules.
He told CoinDesk:
Users can now operate a node and connect to the Grin network by "building" the software through a process described on GitHub. They can also send cryptocurrency tokens (also called 'grin') to other testnet users with the aim of helping plot out issues.
"We hope to have as many bug reports as possible, so we can start fixing issues we've overlooked," Peverell said. "At this point, one can still expect failures that would be a complete nightmare on a mainnet."
Transactions and beyond
In short, Peverell anticipates there will be many versions of the testnet.
"This is our first testnet, so we're testing everything that has been developed so far. That includes the peer-to-peer network, the core consensus rules, the cryptography required to run a mimblewimble chain, the wallet software," Peverell added.
Later versions, he suggested, will include more advanced features such as so-called "scriptless scripts" that would add other functionalities, such as Lightning Networks, to Grin.
Still, it might not be too long before the cryptocurrency goes live. According to Peverell, the team is aiming for launch "sometime in 2018."