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The Litecoin network has officially activated the privacy protocol Mimblewimble Extension Blocks, per an announcement on May 20. The privacy upgrade has been in the works for a number of years and allows holders to mask addresses as well as transaction amounts. This is the largest upgrade on the Litecoin protocol since Segwit.

In Brief

  • Today, May 20th, Litecoin successfully activated the privacy protocol Mimblewimble.
  • Mimblewimble allows for optional masking of sender and recipient addresses, as well as transaction amounts.
  • CBDC’s threaten the most basic human right to privacy, increasing the need for privacy-preserving tools such as MWEB.

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With MWEB enabled, transactions now have the option to become more private on the Litecoin network. The upgrade has also included an aspect that is missing in Bitcoin – fungibility, since it is much harder to track coins across the network.

Mimblewimble was originally designed in 2016 and has been used in a few projects. However, Litecoin has now become the largest top 20 network to implement the solution. MWEB also increases user security for on-chain transactions, increasing safety from potentially malicious attackers.

The upgrade was fully deployed at block height 2,265,984, over 10 years after the coin launched, and the community joined in a livestream to celebrate the occasion. Former Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer Samson Mow, also made an appearance alongside Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee and lead developer David Burkett.

Litecoin’s hash rate has steadily increased over the last 12 months, reaching all time-high-territory above 500TH/s in May.

mimblewimble
LTC hashrate

Lead developer David Burkett enjoyed the smooth launch and was thankful for beta-testers and their persistent efforts in helping to finalise the deeply consequential update. Meanwhile, Charlie Lee chose the artistic route in expressing his excitement, posting several GIFs to celebrate the historic day.

Privacy Coins, a Space To Watch

In a world where looming central bank digital currencies threaten the very fabric of our lived financial reality, privacy coins have become increasingly popular. Typically, Monero and Zcash take the headlines, particularly due to the role Edward Snowden had in the latter’s launch.

Governments are generally apprehensive about privacy coins, in part due to the possibility to circumvent law-enforcement. But this view is at odds with basic principles of financial liberty and freedom the Western world is sworn to protect. The friction point is palpable, and one which produces intense debate among regulators, free-thinkers, cypherpunks and everything in between.

South Korea banned privacy coins all together in 2020, but it’s impossible to totally remove decentralised assets from circulation that people want to use. At most, the asset can be delisted from centralised exchanges, but acquired elsewhere on decentralised platforms.

Regardless, the road to financial privacy is paved with sound implementation. Litecoin’s MimbleWimble upgrade is a solid step in the right direction.


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