Launched by a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts in January 2019, Beam is a cryptocurrency created with the key focus on privacy as it is based on the anonymity protocol MimbleWimble.
In order to understand what makes Beam superior, let’s first review the key technology that stands behind this project. The concept of MimbleWimble was first introduced in the IRC research channel #bitcoin-wizards by a user under the nickname of Tom Elvis Jedusor in 2016. Some time later, another user named “majorplayer” carved the idea into a document posted on the same channel. In this document, he described how this technology can be implemented on top of Bitcoin’s network. Finally, Andrew Poelstra, a researcher from Blockstream, processed the idea and released an updated white paper on October 6th, 2016.
The key innovation suggested in MimbleWimble is the so-called “blinding factor” that is added to the information about transactions in the Bitcoin network. The amount that one user sends and the other one receives is multiplied by a big random number which literally “blinds” the network. Another new technology implemented by MimbleWimble is called Coinjoin. It combines all transactions within the network into a single pool for confirmation making it totally impossible to trace both senders and recipients. This pool eliminates the necessity to support the redundant structure of blocks and makes the network pretty lightweight.
Beam is one of the first blockchain projects pioneering the implementation of the MimbleWimble protocol. Another project relying on the same technology is named Grin. It was launched in only 2 weeks after Beam and represents one of its key competitors in this area. Some older projects pursuing the same goals are Monero, Verge, Dash, and Zcash. Although all of them have been created long before Beam came out into the light, the last one has some cool features that help is successfully compete in the area of privacy and anonymity.
Beam’s key features
Thanks to MimbleWimble, Beam provides its users with total privacy. This feature is switched on by default, but users have a choice to unveil their transactions if they desire to do so. Thus, with Beam, cryptocurrency owners regain full control over their personal data.
Apart from confidentiality, MimbleWimble helps Beam maintain the network in a clean and compact way and eliminate the issue of transactions’ bloating. As no mining is required to expand the network further, there’s no more need for excessive electricity consumption.
Also, Beam has announced confidential assets which at the time of writing are yet to be developed according to the project’s roadmap. With Beam, it will be possible to create digital elements such as real estate assets, new coins, and debt instruments and exchange them in a private way on the platform.
With the help of the “Scriptless Script” technology, Beam supports numerous transaction types including atomic swaps, time-locked transfers, and escrow payments.
The well-known programming language C++ underlies Beam which facilitates developers’ lives as they don’t need to learn any new language from scratch. Also, a wallet with GUI (graphic user interface) compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux is available for download on the project’s official website.
Although Beam is based on the Proof-of-work consensus algorithm, developers have implemented some workarounds from the very start to prevent the network from centralization. For the first 18 months since the genesis block generation, ASIC mining is not available and GPU mining is promoted instead. Beam relies on the modification of the Equihash algorithm named Beam Hash II which is supposed to be compatible with GPU-mining.
Similar to Satoshi which is the smallest unit of Bitcoin, Beam features its own smallest part named groth which is equal to one hundred millionth of a single Beam coin (0.00000001 BEAM). Beam can be traded on some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, BitForex, and Hotbit.
As it has already been mentioned above, Beam’s key competitor is another blockchain project Grin. Both projects were launched without any ICO or pre-mine. And although both of them are open-sourced and based on the MinmbleWimble protocol, there are some basic differences between them. While the team standing behind Beam acts openly and makes up a profit-oriented company, Grin is a community-driven project created by a group of anonymous enthusiasts that rely solely on donations.
The Beam team
At the time of writing, Beam’s website features more than 20 people making up the development team of the project. Also, there are 5 foundation members and 12 advisors.
Israel-based Guy Gorem who is listed as one of the Board Directors has been professionally working in the cryptocurrency industry since 2013. He has also founded DAGlabs, a startup focused on researching and developing directed-acyclic-graph-based infrastructure to scale blockchain systems. Prior to founding Beam, he has been the CEO of Spondoolies-Tech which develops, manufactures and sells Bitcoin mining rigs.
His colleague and partner Bo Dong living in the US has extensive experience in the FinTech area. He has some other successful projects behind his shoulders including a trading and asset management firm Altonomy and a venture-backed startup Mega Credit focusing on micro-finance.
Other members of the founding team include Wilke Trei m Ferdous Bhai and Amir Aaronson, all of them come with solid experience in the area they try to conquer.
Beam was supported by venture capital companies including Lemniscap, Node Capital, Recruit Strategic Partners, Yeoman’s capital and many more.