One of the biggest problems of traditional blockchains that work based on the Proof-of-Work or PoW consensus algorithm is the triple problem of blockchain, that is, the need to sacrifice one of the three features of scalability, security, and decentralization to maintain There are two other features. Several models have been developed to solve this problem; one is the Mimblewimble model.
This model is an improved proof-of-work consensus algorithm in which transactions are processed and issued differently from traditional proof-of-work algorithms to increase the scalability of the network. This blockchain model can be seen as a revolution in the crypto world, and even Litecoin has launched its testnet version.
A large amount of cryptocurrency is required to protect privacy in transactions that are carried out on the platform of digital currency blockchains. This high amount of cryptocurrency requires much space in the blockchain, making it heavier and reducing its scalability. This is why blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero have low scalability, and transactions in these blockchains are done slowly and with high fees.
Therefore, in 2016, a person with the pseudonym Tom Elvis Judisor introduced the Mimblewimble blockchain model, named after the Harry Potter book series. This new protocol’s development has significantly changed digital currencies' scalability, security, and interoperability. This model provides an easier way to download, sync and verify transactions.
In the continuation of this article, Asia Signal experts will give a complete description of the MimbleWimble coin and the latest news related to MimbleWimble.
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What is Mimble Wimble?
If you are familiar with the Harry Potter series of books or movies, you probably remember the term Mimblewimble. In the world of Harry Potter, this word was a magic word that enlarged the rival wizard's tongue, preventing him from speaking his magic word. In the digital currency world, this term refers to a type of blockchain model designed to solve the blockchain's triple problem.
The MimbleWimble model is not new but has been used in practical digital currency projects in the last few years. Elliptical-curve cryptography is used in this proof-of-work consensus protocol, requiring more minor keys than other types of cryptography.
In blockchains that use this model, there are no addresses in the blockchain, and the amount of data on the network is significantly smaller than in traditional blockchains. If Bitcoin worked on this consensus algorithm, the total size of the Bitcoin network would be only 10% of the total size of the Bitcoin network today.
Thus, MimbleWimble has a much higher scalability for blockchain storage, is significantly faster than traditional blockchains, and is arguably much more decentralized than those. Apart from these, the nature of blockchains based on this model is that transactions in these blockchains are much more private than transactions in traditional blockchains.
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The initial formation of the Mimblewimble blockchain model
The MimbleWimble white paper was first published in July 2016 on the Bitcoin Research Channel by the pseudonym Tom Elvis Judisor. Shortly after the publication of this white paper and at the end of 2016, another anonymous person with the pseudonym Ignotus Peverell started a project on Github that used the Mimblewimble protocol. This project was named Grin, and its main net was announced in January 2019. This protocol is also used in another project called Beam.
According to the creator of this protocol, MimbleWimble is designed to affect the privacy and scalability of Bitcoin’s digital currency. The development of this protocol allows for significant improvements in privacy, scalability, and productivity. Using the MimbleWimble protocol, the implementation of transactions becomes more compact and the process of loading, synchronizing, and verifying becomes easier.
How does MimbleWimble work?
The main idea of Mimblewimble is to rethink how the ledger works in the blockchain network. In blockchains based on this consensus protocol, data is not stored for each transaction but is displayed as a random set to users outside the network because the unit of transactional information is not identifiable.
Therefore, such blockchains have a much more compact ledger that requires lower hardware specifications to store, distribute, verify, and synchronize. Apart from this, because the information of each transaction is not stored separately and the addresses of both sides of the transactions cannot be seen, privacy is protected in these blockchains much better than in traditional blockchains. Each user personally knows how much token he has sent or received, but the other party has no information about the other side of the transaction and cannot trace the transaction. Another difference between Mimble-Wimble-based blockchains and traditional blockchains is the different design of keys, which is done using Elliptical Bend cryptography technology. As a result, the keys in these blockchains are much shorter than traditional ones, which also helps optimize the blockchain data volume and scalability.
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What is Mimblewimble Bend Cryptography?
As we said above, the MimbleWimble protocol uses Elliptical Bend encryption technology or ECC. This technology helps Mimblewimble to determine the correct amount of cryptocurrency exchanged in each transaction and both sides of the transaction by preserving users' privacy and not displaying transaction data. ECC works based on discrete logarithms, making the blockchain equations much more complex. In mathematics, a logarithm is the inverse of power, and logarithmic equations are much easier to solve than integration and division equations. Discrete mathematics is a branch of mathematics that deals with discrete mathematical values and covers topics such as probability and set theory. As a result, the use of ECC has increased the security of the MimbleWimble protocol. In addition, Mimblewimble uses a combination of cryptographic protocols such as Confidential Transactions (CTs), CoinJoin, Dandelion, and Cut-Through to achieve a higher level of security and privacy protection. Placed Collectively, such methods help to seal transaction information.
Confidential Transaction Protocol, used to increase security in blockchains like Monero, hides the transaction volume in MimbleWimble. The CoinJoin protocol also makes it impossible to track transactions and allows hiding transaction addresses by combining payments from different senders under one transaction.
Dandelion protocol is used in this blockchain model to keep the identity of both sender and receiver of the transaction secret. The Cut-Through protocol also creates small transaction blocks by combining different transactions into a single transaction and increases scalability. Thanks to the Cut-Through protocol in the Mimblewimble model, it is possible to quickly delete blockchain data without compromising network security.
What features does MimbleWimble have?
This blockchain model has three unique features that separate it from other blockchain models. These features are as follows:
1. being anonymous
In Mimblewimble-based blockchains, unlike many other blockchains where it is possible to track transactions, and anyone can see the sender and receiver addresses of transactions, it is not possible to track transactions. As we explained above, the encryption protocols used in this blockchain model made it highly scalable and impossible to track transactions.
Another capability of MimbleWimble compared to traditional blockchain models is interactivity. Since it is not possible to track transactions in this blockchain model, blockchains based on this model can be designed efficiently by maintaining the security of the network in such a way that they have the possibility of exchanging information with platforms outside the network and cryptocurrencies can be exchanged between these Blockchains and other platforms moved.
The most important feature of blockchains based on the Mimblewimble protocol is their high scalability. One of the main problems of traditional blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum is the high size of the blocks, which significantly reduces their scalability. As a result, transactions in these blockchains are done with low speed and high fees.
As we explained above, the MimbleWimble blockchain model uses elliptic bend cryptography technology and a combination of cryptographic protocols used in other blockchains, especially CoinJoin and Cut-Through, to reduce the amount of information recorded in the ledger as significantly reduces and as a result, blockchains designed based on this model have much higher scalability compared to traditional blockchains.
4. Privacy protection
By removing Bitcoin's scripting system as well as using private transactions, users' privacy is preserved, and transaction details remain obscure and unrecognizable. Due to the unique design of this protocol, it is tough to identify the user's identity.
What are the problems and weaknesses of Mimblewimble?
Usually, any new and revolutionary technology has its weaknesses. MimbleWimble is not an exception to this rule and has a few problems as follows:
Low speed of transactions: Despite the high scalability of blockchains based on this model, the rate of transactions in these blockchains could be higher due to the confidentiality of transactions.
Reliance on digital signatures: Since Mimblewimble-based blockchains rely on digital signatures, they are vulnerable to hacking attacks by quantum computers that will become ubiquitous in the near future.
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Which projects use Mimblewimble?
Several digital currency projects have used the MimbleWimble model and its native token, MimbleWimble Coin (MWC), to design their blockchains due to the abovementioned capabilities.
The first projects that were built based on this model were the Green Project. This project started in 2019. Another project that has used the Mimblewimble model to design its blockchain is Bim, whose blockchain principles are the same principles used in Green Blockchain. This blockchain has a confidential decentralized financial ecosystem for building and using decentralized applications or dApps, completely confidentially and with complete privacy protection.
Some cryptocurrency projects based on traditional blockchains are trying this model to implement it in their blockchains. One of these projects is Litecoin, which recently upgraded its mainnet to Mimblewimble after implementing this model in the testnet. Other popular projects, such as Monero and ZDcash, are also considering upgrading their blockchains to the MimbleWimble model.
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Comparison of MimbleWimble protocol with Bitcoin
The mechanism of the Bitcoin blockchain is such that it stores the information of all the transactions made since the beginning of its activity until now, and everyone can see and check the tip of each Bitcoin transaction. In contrast, the MimbleWimble protocol is entirely different, and this blockchain stores critical information to further protect privacy. Validators of the MW network monitor all activities and do not allow problems such as double spending to happen. They always control the number of coins in circulation.
Bitcoin scripting system is not used in the MimbleWimble network. This system is a set of instructions that determine how transactions are structured. By eliminating this system, the MW protocol can provide greater privacy as well as scalability. That is, due to the confidentiality of the addresses, privacy is respected, and scalability increases due to the reduction of the size of the blockchain.
Finally, we conclude that the size of information in MimbleWimble is smaller than Bitcoin currency due to the use of the feature (Cut-through). Also, the MW network will have less processing and computing power by removing unnecessary data.
The bitcoin blockchain is more secure than the Mimblewimble protocol. The developers of this platform have tried their best to minimize security risks and the possibility of stealing users' funds. In the same article, we said that the MW protocol was recently attacked by 51%, but the probability of hacking Bitcoin is almost zero. In this attack, hackers must take control of 51% of the network's hash rate. With the increase in the number of miners in the network and the miners becoming more advanced, the hash rate of the Bitcoin network has increased significantly. In this case, the possibility of attacking 51 is complicated and somewhat impossible.
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The future of Mimble Wimble
Mimblewimble is a huge step forward in protecting user privacy. In fact, many digital currencies have been designed to be anonymous. Still, none of them have been able to be as successful as blockchains based on this model in protecting users’ privacy.
Since the transactions in the Mimble Wimble-based blockchains are untraceable and verifying the transactions is not too difficult, anyone can quickly deal with these blockchains.
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Although one of the primary goals of launching digital currencies was to conduct financial transactions anonymously, many early blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, have not achieved this goal, and these blockchains can be tracked.
Of course, the weakness in protecting users’ privacy is not the only weakness of these blockchains; they struggle with a more significant problem called scalability.
Due to all the problems that traditional blockchains face, in 2016, a new blockchain model called Mimblewimble was introduced to reduce the amount of data stored in the ledger and unify transactions into small blocks; it not only dramatically reduces the scalability problem but also makes it almost impossible to trace transactions.
It took several years for the first project based on the Mimblewimble model to be launched, and after that, the current projects also thought about changing their protocols to Mimblewimble. The most important of these projects is Litecoin, which upgraded its mainnet to Mimblewimble in mid-May 2022.
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