Prominent Bitcoiners and Crypto Advocates Begin Diving into Litecoin’s MWEB After multiple years of building, auditing and testing, Litecoin’s MWEB upgrade *finally* activated this past week. MWEB (Mimblewimble Extension Blocks) is a combination of technologies created by prominent Bitcoin developers who’ve made a notable impact on its advancement (Adam Back, Gregory Maxwell, J. Lau, Andrew Poelstra, Tom Elvis Judesor, etc.) and ultimately, refined and custom-built for Litecoin by MWEB developer David Burkett.
Mimblewimble technology should come as no surprise to old-school Bitcoiner’s who’ve been involved in active development over the years, considering much of this technology was built by its own very contributors. Cryptocurrencies such as Grin and Beam were created using this MWEB technology, but for many, the ultimate challenge and problem to be solved was, “How can this be added to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Litecoin?”. As a result, in 2019, a Litecoin Improvement Proposal (LIP) authored by David Burkett and Ecurrencyhodler, was published providing a solution to this problem. This LIP would go on to forever change the course of Litecoin’s history by adding improved fungibility and transaction confidentiality features.
As of Litecoin’s launch, prominent contributors to the space have been noticing the unique turn-of-events that are occurring on its ecosystem. The first instance was Samson Mow, the ex-Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer and current CEO of JAN3, a company focused on Bitcoin nation state adoption and Bitcoin technologies. Samson joined the MWEB-launch livestream with the Litecoin Foundation, asking questions about MWEB and how it worked. Just after his appearance, Samson wrote a “Congrats SatoshiLite” (Charlie Lee) tweet and a follow-up tweet mentioning “I always recommend Litecoin to people that insist Bitcoin is too expensive.”
A few days after Litecoin’s MWEB launch, Roger Ver, a well-known critic of Bitcoin core, tweeted “#BTC isn’t fungible, isn’t private, and doesn’t scale. It can never become p2p cash for the world. It might become the government surveillance coin for the world.” Interestingly enough, this was tweeted on the same exact week of the MWEB launch, which for these exact purposes (lack of fungibility, privacy, and scaling limitations), this technology was launched on Litecoin, helping to improve these deficiencies.
Responding to this tweet, Jameson Lopp, a well-regarded Bitcoin contributor and Chief Technology Officer at Casa, mentioned “Hey Roger have you heard about Litecoin implementing mimblewimble extension blocks? This just might be a p2p cash worth shilling!”, a tweet which Roger Ver then ended up liking.
Vlad Costea, the ex-Bitcoin Magazine writer and creator of BTCTKVR (Bitcoin Takeover) magazine, tweeted “Played with Mimble Wimble Extension Blocks (MWEB) on Litecoin today. Someone sent me a transaction, this is what it looks like: the sender has absolute privacy & you can’t look into the receiver’s wallet (so you can reuse an address). Really cool, hope Bitcoin will also add it.”
Following this tweet, Vlad Costea received the MWEB Torch. “MWEB Torch” is a movement in which a small amount of Litecoin on MWEB is passed from user-to-user. The purpose of this is so that users can play with this new technology and learn more about it, continuously “passing the torch” along to a new user. In a tweet directed to Riccardo Spagni (FluffyPony), the ex-maintainer for the cryptocurrency Monero, Vlad mentions “Can I send it to you so you can do some of that magical blockchain analysis to break this fancy cryptography”?, in which Riccardo Spagni responded “I’m syncing up my Litecoin node as we speak”, implying that he was going to do some testing of Litecoin’s MWEB. At the moment, Riccardo Spagni holds the MWEB torch.
There’s no doubt that people are starting to notice Litecoin’s MWEB upgrade. Essentially, MWEB makes Litecoin the most easily-accessible cryptocurrency with heightened fungibility and confidentiality features, a major feature that was missing from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. While transacting on Litecoin’s MWEB, transaction amounts are only known between the user and sender and address balances are known only to the owner of that address. This is the equivalent of only you knowing how much money you have in your bank account and, if you make a payment at the store, only you and that store knowing how much money was spent. This makes Litecoin more similar to the existing financial system where basic user privacy is maintained and protected.
Currently, with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin, all transaction amounts and address balances are public, meaning, people you’ve never met can see how much you’re spending from an address and how much money you hold within one. If you were to pay at a store with cryptocurrency, the cashier would immediately be able to see how much money you have in the address you paid with. This would be like a cashier knowing how much money sits in your bank account after buying a coffee at Starbucks. One can see how this is an un-ideal scenario (one could argue unethical) and a strong limitation of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.
Litecoin’s MWEB fixes this and helps facilitate a more appropriate environment for crypto payments, potentially guiding this space towards mainstream adoption. MWEB is an opt-in feature and exchanges and wallets are encouraged to add it, but aren’t obliged to. At the moment, MWEB can only be used by downloading Litecoin Core, although multiple wallet’s have stated their plans of adding MWEB and are working towards doing so. It’s only been a week since activation occurred and major contributors to the space are already noticing the impact this upgrade can provide — some Bitcoin contributors even wanting it added to Bitcoin.
If you’re here, you’re witnessing the birth of the most significant technology that’s ever been implemented onto Litecoin. Here’s to changing the crypto payment’s space! Got it