Privacy Cryptocurrency Beam Experiences Blockchain Stoppage

Privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Beam said Monday morning that its blockchain had stopped. A fix has now been committed, it says [updated].

AccessTimeIconJan 21, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:49 a.m. UTC

Update 2 (09:10 UTC, Jan. 22 2019): Beam has now published a post-mortem of the blockchain failure, saying: "The root cause of the issue was that two cloned wallets (most likely created by copying the same wallet.db file) both sent the same cloned UTXO to the blockchain, which resulted in incorrect cut-through processing and ultimately to an invalid block."

While it had no blocks produced from roughly 09:00 UTC to 11:40 UTC, no funds were lost and "blocks are processed normally and hashrate returned to similar levels as before the incident."

Update (14:04 UTC, Jan. 21 2019): Beam has now announced: "The fix was commited on Github. We will be performing additional testing. We will release the binaries in the coming hours. Thanks for your patience."

Its GitHub page puts the error down to a bug involving "improper block generation upon cut-through of old-new UTXOs."

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Newly released privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Beam reported this morning that its blockchain is experiencing technical difficulties.

Beam announced the information on its official Twitter account Monday, saying that its network "stopped at block 25709” and that it was investigating the matter.

Within the last hour, the project tweeted an update saying:

"Issue identified and fix found. Funds are safe. Commit to GitHub in the coming hour. Binaries and detailed Post-mortem later today. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned."

At its January launch, Beam became the first cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble – a protocol that makes transactions confidential and virtually untraceable.

Since then, though, Beam has faced some technical issues. On Jan. 9, the team discovered a “critical vulnerability” in its wallet software and asked users to uninstall the wallet app immediately and re-download a patched version from their website.

While the critical bug was fixed, it could have put users’ funds at risk by allowing attackers to modify transactions and subsequently send funds directly into their own wallet, Beam’s developers said at the time.

Last week, a second privacy cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble – Grin – also went live. While it has seen high interest from cypherpunks, sources told CoinDesk at the time that several VC funds were planning to mine the crypto.

Broken chain image via Shutterstock

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