BEAM: A NEW APPROACH TO PRIVACY ON THE BLOCKCHAIN

in blockchain •  last month


There is a new platform on the blockchain technology that will change how we see privacy. Its name is BEAM

INTRODUCTION

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The blockchain technology since its inception, has provided its users with a plethora of ways to carry out secure and private trading without the use of a centralised authority overseeing the transactions. The introduction of BitCoin to the world led to an outburst of various blockchain technology which tend to offer solutions to problems facing the economic world. The integration of blockchain spans from medical services to finance and even legal systems.
The term blockchain was given due to the way transactions are validated on the blockchain system. Each transaction is a chain linking to the next. For a user who wishes to get the full state of he transaction ,he must replay each transaction (including the ones that do not affect the final state of the transaction).

"As at 2016, July, there were 150million transactions committed that must be replayed to produce 4million outputs."
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The basis of the blockchain is that each previous state must be validated before the next state is ascertained.
Taking a deeper look, the blockchain didn't quite offer the privacyit so claimed. "Privacy was all an illusion."

PROBLEM OF PRIVACY

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As a security and privacy measure, users transactions on the blockchain made use of randomly generated characters called keys(private and public). The private key was exclusive to the user and the oubkoc key is used as an address for transactional purposes. At first ,transactions were deemed secure and private on the blockchain until people started noticing data leaks during exchanges or coalition of blockchain data.
A breach in data like that implies that users' anonymity are no longer assured. Their transactions can be linked to their identity and this can be bad for business for individuals and organizations.

According to the CEO of BEAM, Alexander Zaidelson, privacy is liberty; privacy is freedom, privacy is a healthy economy. Using that statement one would say that the key to a healthy blockchain economy is to give privacy utmost priority. The whole essence of privacy on the blockchain trades is to ensure that no one except us (or who we choose to give access to) knows how much we are spending, and how we are spending it.
This is where the platform BEAM comes to play.

WHAT IS BEAM

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BEAM is a decentralised currency with strong privacy, fungibility and scakabilty. It is the solution that offers anonymity as well as scalable peer to peer transaction. Certain highlights include:
[1] Privacy : Users of Beam platform can decide what information is made available and to whom.
[2] Confidentiality in transactions by sealing transaction values
[3] For the purpose of security, addresses of the users(sender/receiver) is stored on the blockchain.
[4] Using their cut-through technology of the MimbleWimble , scalability is becomes achievable will maintaining absolute privacy.

BEAM'S CORE : MIMBLEWIMBLE

Beam's platform is built from scratch using C++ based on MimbleWimble. This core was chosen to allow Beam scale to a large size while keeping reasonable block sizes and offering acute privacy. The author of this protocol is still anonymous.

an anonymous author with a protocol that enhances anonymity on the blockchain how cool!!!!!

Solutions Before MimbleWimble

Greg Maxwell :

ideally , transaction graphs are to give a visual representation of how transaction occurs and any details about addresses. Dr. Maxwell discovered a way to encrypt amounts so that the transaction remains anonymous.

Nicolas Van Saberhagen:

his solution was to cloud the transaction graph.

Shen Noether:

Combined both previous approaches. It was an innovative solution but there were still problems looming. The confidential transactions needed multi-kilobyte proofs on every output and Saberhagen required that the output be stored forever. This is a problem of storage.

Dr. Yuan Horas:

He fixed the interactivity problem of Maxwell by making transactions freely mergeable. It was an exceptional technology but it was much slower and untrusted. It was termed One Way Aggregate Signatures (OWAS).

CONFIDENTIALITY AND OWAS

The author of MimbleWimble technology (anonymous), decided to make some modifications to the Maxwell solution. The solution simply allowed for users to authorize outputs and combining transactions without interactions. This confidential scheme consists of two properties: Hiding and Blinding. That analogy is simple:

imagine giving someone a box with a lock. The receiver does not known what's inside the box. When the owner wants to access the box , he simply gives a proof that he is the owner without divulging the contents of the box. The holder validates his proof before granting him access.(Zero Knowledge Proof for all)
The confidential transaction mathematical representation

C = (r * G) + ( v * H)
C : Pedersen commitment
r : random blinding key
v: value of amount
G,H : elliptic curve generators

TRANSACTION CUT-THROUGH

The relationship that exists between the Pedersen commitment and the other variables is linear and this means that identical transactions can be merged and its validity still retained.
I remember watching a movie EVENT HORIZON. When the actor Laurence fishburne was explaining Hyperspace travel. The spaceship he captained was able to fold time and space and jump from one location to another in an instant.
This technology is likened to the cut-through technology of beam. Assuming similar points A and B and C on a transaction with B as an intermediate point. MimbleWimble technology allows the transaction to cut through B and get to C from A.

To reduce the bulky nature of the system, only the current unspent transaction output(UTXO) is stored instead of the whole blockchain.

In the event of a validation process, only the headers of previous approved state are considered.

The commitment formula clearly implies that only the binding value and value of the amount is to be provided for any transaction, this means that no address would be stored on the blockchain.

Equihash

Beam is using the equihash mining system. This kind of mining is memory oriented and this means that the amount a user can mine is dependent on the capacity of the RAM. It differs from the Bitcoin SHA256 which is processor dependent.

Compact blockchain

A compact blockchain in the Beam context is a means to "truncate" the amount of information required to validate a transaction. If any validation must be carried out, the user can simply download block headers and the current UTXO to verify the entire blockchain.

Speed

There are no exact numbers yet, but there will be a slight difference in the rate of transaction when compared with current privacy coins.

Wallets

For easy usability, the BEAM platform will on launch, have its desktop wallet app for Linux, MacOs and Windows. Allows usage for both individual and small business users. The built-in dashboard makes budget management easy, featuring actionable spend and earning insights.

Versatility

“Scriptless Script” technology allows implementation of a wide variety of transaction types beyond simple transmissions of value; for example, atomic swapping, escrow, and time-locked transactions.

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CONCLUSION

Quoting the words of the CEO of Beam in their meet up held recently, "privacy equals a healthy economy".. If we are keen on maintaining the reputation of the blockchain (i.e. its privacy). We must not overlook the platform BEAM. Beam gives blockchain users the ability to achieve privacy and scalability on a new level. Faster transactions with the cut-through technology ; concealing values of transactions ; all makes this platform a key tool for all blockchain users.

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For more information on the platform BEAM. You can visit:

My animation for the Beam Platform


This writing contest on BEAM was organised by @originalworks . For more information, you can check out the contest here

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Here is my Twitter post
beamtwitter

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beam2018

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