Litecoin’s new MimbleWimble update confirms September testnet launch


The first testnet for the MimbleWimble implementation on Litecoin remains on track for a September launch, lead developer David Burkett said in a July update yesterday.

Among the various aspects of the impending launch was focussing on the Initial Block Download in the last month, said Burkett. The protocol is a syncing process between different blocks allowing for a faster network.

Changes to Merkle block

Burkett noted that when developing projects “this large, things rarely go exactly as planned,” causing certain design changes over time. However, it allows the team to clean any code, re-evaluates decisions, and build a better quality end-product, he added.

To explain, Burkett said each block header in Litecoin uses a Merkle tree to commit to all transactions in that block. However, this requires a download of all “old” MimbleWimble blocks, or all old spent outputs.

To avoid this, the Litecoin July update brings forth a different structure to commit to the transactions. Each MimbleWimble header, said Burkett, commits to the root of 2 different Merkle Mountain Ranges(MMRs). 

He added:

“One represents all historical kernels up to that block, and the other represents all historical outputs/coins. Merkle Mountain Ranges are a different sort of tree that supports “pruning”, which means we can verify the root of the structure without knowing all of its members (called leaves).”

This process cuts out the need for old blocks to be downloaded. All requisite steps are listed in the blog here.

MimbleWimble and a possible Litecoin-Cardano collab

For the uninitiated, MimbleWimble—a Harry Potter reference—was first proposed in 2016 to fill privacy lapses in the Bitcoin protocol. The latter gives away transactional information that allows firms like Chainalysis to tie transactions to an individual.

In Burkett’s words, the “biggest” innovation behind MimbleWimble is that, in order to verify the chain, you just need to know all of the unspent coins/outputs, and a small part of each transaction called the “Kernel,” states Burkett.

Moving forward, the developer’s plan for Litecoin in August was to focus on message processing and “cleaning up the code, adding more tests, and maybe even some documentation if I’m feeling really wild.”

Meanwhile, a possible Cardano partnership is on the cards for Litecoin. The former’s founder Charles Hoskinson tweeted Charlie Lee last month to explore synergies:

Lee replied with a “sure,” opening up the invite from mere ideation to a discussion and stating a relevant person from the Litecoin Foundation will contact Hoskinson soon.

Litecoin, currently ranked #7 by market cap, is up 1.43% over the past 24 hours. LTC has a market cap of $3.8B with a 24 hour volume of $2.16B.

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