Privacy Coin Beam Conducts First Hard Fork Away From ASICs

Launching in January of this year, beam is one of two first implementations of the Mimblewimble privacy protocol

AccessTimeIconAug 15, 2019 at 10:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:20 a.m. UTC
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At 19:00 UTC today privacy coin beam completed its first scheduled hard fork at block 321,321.

Launching on bitcoin's tenth birthday in January this year, beam is one of the first two implementations of the Mimblewimble privacy protocol. Beam’s fork adjusted the mining algorithm due to ASIC mining concerns as laid out in its road map.

Speaking with CoinDesk, CTO Alex Romanov said beam is on track with its initial goals. Romanov said the algorithm made beam more efficient and scalable:

“The new algo, BeamHash II is about 30% more efficient then Beam Hash I. In the fork we have also added support for Laser Beam (Lightning Network version in Beam). We have also added mandatory proof of work for SBBS messages and mandatory fee depending on amount of outputs and kernels.”

Beam’s hard fork against ASICs, or application-specific integrated circuits, mirrors similar efforts by other cryptocurrencies, like privacy coin monero which hard forked in March over similar concerns.

Some cryptocurrency developers see ASICs as an unfair advantage for other users and often, in the name of decentralization or democratization of mining, have pushed for algorithms everyday laptops can run.

Beam’s hard fork occurred mere hours after a small donation from beam to grin, a frenemy privacy coin which shares the same Mimblewimble protocol. Romanov said the teams are friends and, interestingly, they have no contact with other privacy coin teams.

Going forward, Romanov says the foundation is focusing on the consumer side following a miner-focused hard fork. On the to-do-list includes atomic swaps, confidential asset development, hardware wallet integration with Trezor, and general wallet improvement.

Image via CoinDesk archives

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