Beam cryptocurrency review – confidential blockchain
Despite the fact that anonymous cryptocurrencies have been around for many years, until recently they all suffered from the same drawback – the blockchain’s heavy weight. In addition, none of them could be called completely confidential, since their details still contain some details of transactions committed by users.
One of the 2019 cryptocurrencies that take anonymity to a whole new level, while solving the scalability problem, is Beam cryptocurrency, which we will examine in detail in this article.
What is Beam cryptocurrency
Beam cryptocurrency is a new generation project aimed at providing the community with financial freedom by creating a completely confidential value exchange system based on the MimbleWimble protocol.
Beam developers believe that their brainchild will become a truly useful money tool for everyday use. According to them, the main advantages of Beam cryptocurrency are:
- High level of anonymity, scalability and energy efficiency;
- Flexibility and a huge number of variations of application in various fields;
- Ease of use as a cryptocurrency tool for transferring funds;
- High level of decentralization provided by compatibility with a wide range of mining equipment;
- Availability of Opt-in Auditability (on-demand audit) and Atomic swap (atomic swaps between blockchains) functions;
- Support for both online and offline transactions.
The Beam cryptocurrency (BEAM) is the native token of this blockchain project and acts as a means to accumulate and transfer value between network users.
The smallest particle of the Beam cryptocurrency is the grotto. It equals one hundred millionth share of BEAM (based on the Satoshi principle of bitcoin) and is named after Jens Groth, professor of cryptology at University College London.
You can find more information about this coin on the Beam official website.
The history of the Beam project begins with MimbleWimble, a protocol based on cryptography of elliptic curves, whose WhitePaper was proposed in 2016 by an anonymous developer. Both the name of the technology and the pseudonym of its creator (Tom Elvis Jedusor) are borrowed from the book series of Joan Rowling about the young wizard Harry Potter. In her books, MimbleWimble is a spell that made a person tongue-tied, i.e. Made it impossible to speak clearly. With the blockchains that run on the same protocol, the same thing happens – they do not have the ability to disclose information about the actions of their users.
MimbleWimble was originally intended to be the solution to the scalability problem of bitcoin. However, due to the complexity of implementing this venture, the developers decided on the advisability of creating separate crypto projects based on this anonymous protocol.
Work on one of the implementations of MimbleWimble has been carried out since March 2018 by the Israeli-based company Beam Development Limited, most of whose employees come from post-Soviet countries.
The launch of the main Beam cryptocurrency network took place 10 months after the start of development – January 3, 2019, on the day of the 10th anniversary of the Bitcoin genesis block. Thus, this project was the first working implementation of the MimbleWimble protocol. The second was the Grin cryptocurrency, the creation of which began a year earlier than Beam, but in the end it was launched 12 days later than its competitor.
The Beam project is organized in the form of a classic non-ICO startup (without premine and initial offer of coins), which initially received funds from investors in a closed round.
The current financial model of the Beam cryptocurrency is based on the functioning of the so-called Treasury, which during the first 5 years after the launch of the network will be replenished by deducting 20% of all coins mined by the miners. Of these savings, monthly salaries are paid to the core team, as well as remuneration to consultants, investors and the non-profit Beam Foundation, to whom they plan to transfer project management in the future.
The selected funding model should create a balance of interests between all participants in the Beam ecosystem and guarantee its development in the long term.
Beam Development Limited Team
According to information on the official website, the Beam cryptocurrency team consists of first-class development engineers and marketers, as well as cryptosphere veterans acting as consultants.
The leadership of the startup is represented by the following personalities:
- CEO (CEO) Beam – Alexander Zaidelson, an experienced entrepreneur and venture investor;
- CTO (Technical Director) – Alex Romanov, has been working on integrated research and development projects in many industries for over 15 years;
- COO (Operations Director) – Amir Aaronson, an experienced entrepreneur and administrator;
- CMO (Marketing Director) – Beni Issembert, has extensive experience in the field of consumer marketing both in the crypto world and beyond;
- The main IT evangelist of the project is Dylan Dewdney, entrepreneur, crypto enthusiast and investor;
- The main product manager is Sasha Abramovich, a high-level product specialist with experience in AppsFlyer and Natural Intelligence.
The list of Beam cryptocurrency advisers includes the well-known in the narrow circles of the crypto community Guy Corem, Bryan Bishop, Gordon Chen, Rami Kasterstein, Ferdous Bhai, Liraz Lira Siri ( Siri) and Addison Huegel.
The development staff consists of 7 people: Roman Strilets, Anatoly Sevostyan, Alexander Starun, Vladislav Gelfer, Artem Gorbachev, Vadim Grigoryuk and Alexander Braginsky.
Other members of the Beam team can be found by visiting the dedicated project website page.
Technological features of the Beam blockchain
For the software implementation of their project, Beam developers chose the time-tested C ++ language. The encryption algorithm is Equihash (like Zcash).
The main feature of Beam cryptocurrency is that the system does not have such a thing as an “address”, and the user uses his private keys to control his coins, presented in the form of UTXO (unspent transaction outputs).
Online privacy is enabled by default – no data about senders and recipients is saved. Therefore, despite the possibility of viewing the blockchain through the official explorer, the observer cannot get really useful information from it. This is achieved through the use of the Dandelion network mechanism (Dandelion), which guarantees protection against deanonymization.
The amount of calculations required to conduct transactions on the Beam cryptocurrency network is significantly reduced. All intermediate UTXO states are removed from the blockchain. Only unspent output remains, which helps minimize block size.
This feature should lead to the fact that by the time the Beam network reaches the scale of bitcoin, its size will be approximately 30% of the current blockchain volume of the latter (260 GB), i.e. about 70 GB. But this achievement will not be final, since the developers have plans to introduce additional scaling solutions that will reduce the network weight by at least three times.
The principle of operation of the Beam blockchain can be described in the form of the following interrelated steps:
- Users create a new transaction using a secure channel (online or offline). At the same time, both wallets are involved in signing the transaction according to the Schnorr protocol.
- The wallet sends a transaction to the node (node) that contains a list of inputs and outputs represented by Pedersen’s obligations, as well as information on commission fees and funds transferred. Each such operation also contains a non-interactive proof of the zero limit, making it possible to verify that the sum of its outputs is positive.
- The transaction is verified by the node against the recent state of the blockchain, which is stored in the form of a Merkle Tree. The root hash of the tree is recorded in the block header during the process of proof of work (PoW, Proof-of-Work). In addition, each node periodically creates a concise history to provide “fast synchronization” of new and existing nodes.
- The mining pool adds a transaction to one of the blocks mined every minute and sends it back to the node for verification and distribution.
- Mined blocks containing new transactions are sent to well-known partners (peers). The valid block, which extends the longest chain, is accepted as the main one and distributed further until full consensus is reached.
- When a new node connects to the network for the first time, it can request a compressed history containing only the state of the system and block chain headers. Thus, it is not necessary to retrieve a complete transaction history each time.
Beam also offers users an additional function – Auditability, which implies the possibility of creating auditor keys that can be used by outside observers (accountants, tax officers, etc.) to view transactions in the blockchain in detail.
The nuances of mining Beam
Currently, Beam coin mining is implemented based on a modified version of the Equihash PoW algorithm (150.5). This year, several changes are planned to be made in it, which will provide long-term protection of the network from ASIC devices.
Beam cryptocurrency mining is available for computers running Windows, Linux or Mac operating systems with video adapters with a minimum of 4 GB of memory (AMD RX560 + / Nvidia GTX 1050+).
The necessary software can be downloaded on the official website of the project, but the popular GMiner and Bminer applications with Equihash support are also suitable.
An important feature is that you can mine coins using both the OpenCL / Cuda miner (GPU), which is sharpened for this process, and through the toolkit (GPU / CPU) built into the desktop wallet.
New blocks in the Beam network are created every 60 seconds. In this case, 100 coins are generated, 80 of which are paid to miners, and 20 goes to the Treasury project.
Every day, about 144,000 tokens enter the circulation. In total, the issue of BEAM cannot exceed 262.8 million coins.
It is planned to reduce the reward to miners to 40 coins for the period from 2 to 5 years, to 25 – from 6 to 9th. Further, up to 133 years, when the issue should cease, there will be an annual reduction in remuneration by half. Thus, in the first 13 years, about 90% of all BEAMs will be issued (now 22.3 million coins are in circulation, i.e. about 8.6%).
Currently, more than half of the hash of the network is provided by the mining pool LeafPool. In second and third place are BTC.com and Spark Pool.
Where to buy BEAM
Unlike its “brother under the protocol” (Grin), for half a year of existence, BEAM did not become a hype project, therefore, so far it has not been honored to be added to the TOP trading platforms.
The largest venues where you can buy BEAM cryptocurrency are Huobi Korea and Gate.io. The remaining two dozen options are second-tier exchanges such as Hotbit (75% of all trading volumes in coins), DragonEx, Bitforex, Stellarport, Bisq, as well as very little-known exchangers.
How to store BEAM tokens
The choice of options for storing mined or purchased Beam tokens is wide enough. For users of Windows, Linux and Mac on the official website of the project are offered:
- Desktop wallet.
- CLI Wallet is a wallet without an interface that interacts through the command line.
There is also a mobile wallet application that allows you to manage BEAM coins using gadgets on iOS and Android.
Pros and cons of Beam cryptocurrency
As mentioned above, the main advantages of BEAM cryptocurrency are a high level of privacy and blockchain scalability. A nice addition to this type of project is the function of creating keys for auditing user assets as they wish.
An important point is the limited issue of coins (as opposed to the infinite at Grin) – this gives hope for a deficit and an appreciation in the long term.
But this barrel of honey also contains several fly in the ointment: a serious drawback of Beam is its not-so-fast network – the existing hash capacities are enough to confirm only 17 transactions per second (several times faster than bitcoin, but three times worse than Litecoin cryptocurrency).
In addition, there are questions about the stability and security of the Beam network – the project’s blockchain has already been suspended once due to an unnamed problem that was fixed within a few hours. A few months ago, a serious vulnerability was discovered in the Beam wallet software, which could compromise the assets of users, but fortunately was corrected in time. There is no guarantee that this will not happen again in the future.
Through the use of the MimbleWimble protocol, Beam provides a high level of confidentiality and scalability, seeking to introduce the world to an improved version of the cryptocurrency for mass use.
As for the problem of the not-so-fast network so far, Beam cryptocurrency developers are going to solve it by adding second-level solutions, such as the Lightning Network, whose alpha version is scheduled for testing by the way this June. Also, according to the RoadMap project, this month a Clear Cathode hard fork will be held to amend the PoW mining algorithm, add support for multi-signatures and one-way payments.
After that, until the end of 2019, the project team will have to complete two more planned stages:
- Double Doppler – the network update scheduled for the third quarter, in which Beam software will be ported to the Rust programming language, wallet security will be enhanced with new options, and the Lightning beta will be launched on the main network;
- Eager Electron – a hard fork planned for the end of this year, in which the mining algorithm will be last changed, support for Tor and I2P networks will be implemented, a new consensus algorithm will be implemented, and integration with Lightning will be finalized.
Having implemented all of the above plans in such a short time, the Beam team will practically bring their technology to the ideal, thereby significantly increasing the level of interest in it. By the way, an important factor is the fact that behind the project are developers who do not hide their faces. The lack of premine and the chosen financial model, which was preceded by the classic investment round, are also credible.
All this suggests that we are clearly not facing the project whose creators are aimed at quickly disrupting the money jackpot. The BEAM cryptocurrency is a well-planned startup with ambitious plans, which is definitely worth considering for adding to your long-term investment portfolio.
On the other hand, the project has a weak marketing component (at least for now). Therefore, there is a risk that the more publicized Grin cryptocurrency, using the same privacy protocol, will continue to drag the blanket over itself, leaving Beam out of work.
In addition, do not forget about the heavyweight competitors represented by the classic anonymous blockchains Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Verge (XVG), as well as relatively young but persistently seeking to capture their part of the market projects like Horizen (ZEN), Komodo (KMD), Loki (LOKI) and DeepOnion (ONION). To cope with such rivals, the creators of Beam will need to work hard to timely implement the announced plans, while not forgetting to tell the world about their achievements.