Following Charlie Lee’s announcement last week that he is looking into the possibility of confidential transactions, the creator of Litecoin has now announced that he and the Litecoin developer team are discussing the possibility of other privacy implementations for the project, including Bulletproofs and Mimblewimble.
Litecoin dev team spent hours discussing how to add Confidential Transactions. The way to do a softfork CT is very similar to doing extension blocks and extension blk may be simpler and can do a lot more. We are now also exploring doing bulletproof MimbleWimble w/ extension blks. pic.twitter.com/ePBh8PKNu8
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) February 3, 2019
In a tweet, the Litecoin founder gave a progress update, mentioning that the “Litecoin dev team [had] spent hours discussing how to add Confidential Transactions.”
Lee again reiterated that the protocol upgrade can be done as a soft fork in very much the same way that another scaling and fungibility fix called extension blocks can be implemented on the network. Just to add a few more technologies into the mix, he went on to mention that he and the Litecoin developer team are exploring the possibility of “doing bulletproof MimbleWimble w/ extension blks” all in one potential upgrade, it seems.
The first mention of Mimblewimble
This is the first time that Lee has publicly revealed any exploration of the recently hyped Mimblewimble technology in regards to Litecoin implementation. Since the initial white paper dropped in July 2016, we have now seen two live implementations of this style of open blockchain: Grin and Beam.
In addition to the way that transaction UTXO sets are mixed (for both inputs and outputs) for confidential transactions, Mimblewimble can deliver added privacy benefits to conceal the origin IP addresses that transactions will be broadcast from and through the network.
Bulletproofs and extension blocks
On the other hand, Bulletproofs have a much lower fingerprint (or transaction size) relative to most other proof systems used by open blockchains today. Similar to SegWit, Bulletproofs can be seen as an approach to achieve ‘vertical scalability’ due to its ability to decrease the cryptographic proof size by over 10 times (from 10 to less than 1kB).
After being proposed by Johnson Lau in 2013, the idea of extension blocks was sold as a soft fork scaling solution for Bitcoin that could enable better fungibility whilst minimising the potential impact to the existing wallet ecosystem. It was eventually rejected in favour of the SegWit scalability upgrade for Bitcoin, but it seems it may still have a part to play in Litecoin’s future privacy roadmap.
Nothing official yet
Lee did conclude by saying that “we haven’t announced anything [yet]. Just letting the community know what we are exploring and seeing what people think about Mimblewimble and extension blocks.”
Quite how all these technologies fit together is yet to be seen, but one thing that looks certain is that Charlie and the Litecoin developer team have a new-found dedication to bringing privacy to Litecoin in 2019.
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