Source: Beam website
What is Beam?
Beam is a new privacy focused cryptocurrency. It differentiates itself by being one of the first coins to implement the Mimblewimble protocol. In simple terms, this is a system designed to maximise the privacy aspect of this blockchain, while keeping the chain and blocks on it smaller than most. The goal is to make a much leaner blockchain, allowing for fast confirmation of transactions and more efficient scaling.
The Beam team see this coin being primarily used as a "Store of Value" coin. While discussing transactions per second, they state in their position paper:
... it is safe to say that it will be slightly better than bitcoin and existing privacy coins. Having said that it is important to emphasize that the performance will not be high enough for BEAM to be used as “means of exchange”. Which is why we believe that BEAM will be primarily used as “store of value”.
Source: Beam position paper
My personal thoughts on this project are that it seems a very elegantly designed and well thought out Cryptocoin project. I like that they have set it up with no pre-mine, and no ICO. The choice of Equihash is interesting, and I can see mining being dominated by ASIC's. Targeting a privacy based store-of-value niche is smart. So many coins are trying to be transaction coins, but adoption and competition weaken their use-case. Aiming to be a store-of-value with some of the best privacy credentials is a smart move. Managing this with a lean and efficient blockchain makes this project quite appealing.
I would have thought that some kind of "Proof-of-Stake" layer to this coins design could have enhanced its appeal. Aiming to be a store-of-value, a P.O.S. layer would have provided effectively a return on investment for users. However I have no technical knowledge on if this is possible with the coins other features. Just a thought that storing value would be more appealing if it came with some staking reward.
The Mimblewimble protocol is a new approach to privacy. It's features are explained in the following YouTube video much better than I could. This video refers to a coin project called "Grin". The technical details regarding Mimblewimble apply equally to Beam. The main difference I can see is that Grin is an experimental network with a new algorithm and aimed at developers and not a mainstream project.
Source: Beam website
Beam is a fascinating project being one of the first to implement a new privacy protocol into an Equihash based coin. It has in my opinion a strong use-case as a store of value coin and first mover advantage with the Mimblewimble protocol. The current crypto marketplace is very crowded, but this coins unique features make it one to watch.