Name: Beam (BEAM)
Max Supply: 262,800,000
Mining Algorithm: Beam Hash II
Block Time: 60 seconds
BEAM Project Summary
- Custom Equihash based mining algorithm to thwart ASIC development.
- Based on Mimblewimble Protocol
- Confidential assets and Scriptless Script technology
Beam is a scalable, privacy-focused cryptocurrency. Based off the groundbreaking Miblewimble protocol the blockchain is secure, fast, and scalable.
At the helm of the project is, CEO Alexander Zaidelson. With his extensive leadership experience, Beam is making notable progress within the privacy coin field. Beam also features its own in-house engineering team, like Horizen another major privacy platform.
Beam Consensus Algorithm
Beam like many other cryptocurrencies is a GPU mineable cryptocurrency. Beam uses a Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm. Beam’s original mining algorithm, Beam Hash I was a modified version of the popular algorithm, Equihash. Having an original or modified mining algorithm has several benefits. The biggest: decentralization. A custom mining algorithm prevents bad actors from renting large amounts of centralized hash power and in turn, abusing the blockchain. In addition, a unique mining algorithm allows individual home miners to mine from all over the globe, creating a decentralized web of miners.
Beam Hash II
The project, in the name of decentralization, outlined plans the fork to a more ASIC resistant mining algorithm, Beam Hash II. In short, Beam Hash II is a more memory-intensive algorithm making ASIC development for Beam unfeasible for the near future.
How does Beam Hash II work?
Beam Hash II introduces an additional “r” parameter to the already modified Equihash algorithm. This parameter reduces the amount of computation hardware will have to do, and thus yield higher hash rates. Beam Hash I’s modified “n” and “k” parameter call for a more memory-intensive algorithm, outlawing ASIC development. With the fork to Beam Hash II, the power of the blockchain still relies with the individual miner, as it should be.
Mimblewimble is a blockchain protocol that focuses on security and scalability. Initially published by a pseudonymous identity Tom Elvis Jedusor in 2016, the first Mimblewimble paper became the foundations of modern-day Mimblewimble. Shortly after the initial paper surfaced, researcher Andrew Poelstra took the Mimblewimble paper and improved it. Poelstra then made the new paper available to the public domain in late 2016. Poelstra’s version is now the basis for all Mimblewimble cryptocurrencies.
Mimblewimble offers several benefits over traditional blockchain protocols. The protocol allows for compact and scalable blockchains with improved security measures.
Mimblewimble also offers transaction confidentiality. In a blockchain employing Mimblewimble, there are no reusable addresses and thus block data is undecipherable to outsiders. Transaction data is still visible to the recipient, but the recipient will not be able to trace the history of these coins, offering another level of privacy.
Mimblewimble decreases blockchain size by using a feature called cut-through. It works by removing redundant transaction information from blocks. Thus, blocks are smaller in size and prevent blockchain congestion furthering the scalability while still retaining transaction accuracy.
The blockchain also does not require a trusted setup. Trusted setup opens blockchains to potential vulnerabilities. Most privacy protocols require a trusted setup and thus make the blockchain less secure. Learn more about trusted setup.
Beam Specific Technology
In addition to the implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol, Beam offers several unique features. Beam’s blockchain offers much more than the barebones Mimblewimble coin.
Scriptless Script technology allows the blockchain to implement a variety of transaction types. This technology includes future support for atomic swapping, escrow, and time-locked transactions.
Atomic swapping enables users to exchange cryptocurrencies without a middle-man or exchange. Furthermore, atomic swapping is faster and cheaper than centralized alternatives. The implementation of atomic swapping will further the project’s goal to be a platform rather than just a cryptocurrency.
In addition to atomic swapping, this technology allows escrow transactions. Escrows are commonplace in over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency transactions. Escrows allow the buyer and seller to verify funds and thus, a secure transaction. Using this technology buyers and sellers can initiate escrow transactions safely and reliably.
Time-locked transactions are exactly what they sound like: transactions that will not go through until a time condition is met. Cryptocurrency based time-locked transactions have merit as no single party can alter terms, one of the benefits of decentralization.
In short, confidential assets are unique assets (similar to ERC-20 tokens) on the Beam blockchain. Although, this idea is not new (RVN blockchain already has live assets), Beam is one of the first privacy-focused projects to implement confidential assets within the blockchain.
Confidential assets have numerous use cases and benefits. Digital assets can represent real-world physical goods. Exchanging these assets can represent a transfer of ownership on a completely decentralized blockchain.
BEAM originally launched 22 months ago as a centralized company. This company oversaw and coordinated Beam’s launch and operations. On November 25th, 2019, the project announced Beam Foundation. Beam Foundation’s core mission is to promote the development of the Beam ecosystem in a decentralized fashion.
Why is this significant?
Prior to the launch of the Beam Foundation, Beam was run by a centralized company. While this approach may have had its benefits by streamlining operations at launch, this method was not decentralized. Now the project is in a stable state and with the creation of Beam Foundation, the project is making the transition from centralization to decentralization.
How will Beam Foundation be run?
Beam Foundation is a non-profit currently registered in Singapore.
The non-profit will feature up to 7 board members, with 4 positions already appointed. These members bring a lot to the table, with many years of management and cryptocurrency experience among them. The full list is available here.
In addition to a board, Beam Foundation will operate in a transparent fashion. Financial reports among other progress reports will continually be available to the public eye. This level of transparency is a needed change as many crypto projects are perceived as scams when they are clearly not.
Who will fund Beam Foundation?
The majority of funding comes from the Beam Treasury. Funds from the founder’s reward (a portion of the block reward) go to Beam treasury, which in turn, are used to fund Beam Foundation. In short, the founder’s reward allocates 4% of all Beam mined in the first 5 years to the treasury fund.
Although the project made a lot of progress in 2019, the goals for 2020 are even more ambitious.
The project plans to hard fork in 2020 in order to push out new technology and development changes. The hard fork will contain many notable changes.
Firstly, the fork will result in a new mining algorithm: Beam Hash III. Although details are unclear, Beam Hash III will ease the transition from GPUs to ASICS as the team now believes that cost-efficient ASICs are the best-case scenario for a POW blockchain.
Secondly, following the fork, users will be able to create and exchange confidential assets on the blockchain. These assets will feature all of the same privacy and security aspects of the native cryptocurrency.
The hard fork will bring upon many changes available to view in-depth on the project’s medium.
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