Two of the most popular privacy-centered coins that are based on the Mimblewimble protocol have just hard forked this summer to discourage any possible ASIC mining on the network. Both Beam & Grin coins will repeat the process again in about six months to keep GPU mining alive and fully functional.
Read more about the two hard forks in the next several minutes.
Grin Hard Forks In Mid-July
In late May of this year, the development team behind the mimblewimble coin Grin slightly changed the original Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm Cuckaroo29 and released the deprecated Cuckarood29.
The change was necessary in order to keep the Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) manufacturers on their toes and discourage them from releasing specialized mining rigs for Grin.
This was just the first time the privacy cryptocurrency hard forked; the team plans to make three more protocol updates in the next two years or so – one every six months – mainly to avoid mining centralization & help the blockchain grow organically.
Thus far, there are two PoW algorithms up and running on the Grin blockchain: CuckARoo and CuckAToo. CuckARoo – an ASIC resistant algorithm – does most of the hard work for the time being, but the network will slowly but surely migrate towards CuckAToo – the ASIC friendly component – after the first two years of existence. In other words, Grin will switch from a GPU- to an ASIC-targeted mining ecosystem after 2021.
The mainnet hard fork happened on July 17, 2019, and besides the PoW change, it also improved the functionality of the Grin wallet adding more flexibility and more options to hide transaction-related data.
Beam Crypto Hard Fork Enables Token Support
The next popular mimblewimble coin Beam was in line to hard fork after Grin’s success in Mid-July.
Beam’s hard fork was completed one month later, on August 15, 2019. Like Grin, they plan to slightly change the PoW algorithm every six months or so to discourage any potential ASIC mining on the network. Beam Hash is part of the Equihash algorithm family and the transition from Beam Hash I to slightly-changed Beam Hash II was announced in a timely manner, approximately one month before the actual event.
Nevertheless, miners adjusted slower than expected. The hash rate dropped significantly minutes after the hard fork but eventually recovered and surpassed the pre-fork levels, some 24 hours later.
Besides the PoW change, the hard fork also introduced some interesting new features including a mining spam protection, a new minimum fee, and support for Confidential Assets.
Blockchain technology company Blockstream first introduced the term ‘Confidential Assets’ in a paper intended to improve Bitcoin’s capabilities.
Confidential Assets are a scheme that further improves privacy and fungibility of Beam coin. The upgrade enables the possibility to create a number of new asset types on the blockchain with the issuer controlling the emission and burning of the newly-created asset. The asset can be a token just like the popular ERC20 tokens on Ethereum, a stablecoin, a local currency, whatever the issuer wants it to be. All assets will enjoy the privacy of the mimblewimble protocol.
Nevertheless, token support is still a work in progress. The hard fork was just the first step towards enabling support. It will take time before the user will fully be able to enjoy this new feature.
What do you think of the two mimblewimble coins? Will they succeed in hitting the mainstream? Can Beam & Grin ultimately scale? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below!
Images courtesy of Flickr, Grin-tech.org & Beam.mw.