„Code Complete“: Litecoin (LTC) is ready for Mimblewimble
After more than a year of development, the code for the Mimblewimble upgrade is in the bag. But whether Litecoin transactions will be shrouded in a veil of anonymity in the future depends first on the will of miners.
The Litecoin network may be in for a drastic upgrade. By connecting to Mimblewimble, a privacy-oriented blockchain protocol, LTC transactions could be obscured in the Bitcoin Code future. But before that, miners must sign off on the move to privacy coin in a comprehensive audit.
The Mimblewimble upgrade has been in development for over a year. Yesterday, 16 March, the time had come: Developer David Burkett gave the green light and updated the status to „Code Complete“. The first part of the code has already been uploaded to Github. Originally, the finalisation was scheduled for 15 March, but the Litecoin community will probably forgive him for the one-day delay.
As the Litecoin Foundation writes in a blog post, the status means „that the code has been completed to the best of our knowledge and is now ready for formal review by other developers“.
This review process can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on how smoothly the review process goes and whether corrections are needed. The completed code is then integrated into the main Litecoin codebase, ready for node operators and miners to signal support.
According to the statement, once the code is implemented, „it will be up to the Litecoin community to decide the fate of how quickly MWEB can be activated“. So the ball is now in the Litecoin community’s court.
Litecoin with optional privacy function
If the code passes the elk test and is waved through by the miners, users will have the privacy feature as an option in the future. Transactions can be outsourced to extension blocks, which run parallel to the Litecoin network as a kind of sidechain. The Mimblewimble Extension Blocks (MWEB) compress transactions and obscure the inputs and outputs of the token history. In other words, the upgrade not only boosts transaction throughput but also enables anonymous LTC transfers.
There is a decisive reason why the privacy function is optional: privacy coins like Monero (XMR) or Dash are increasingly coming under fire from the authorities. Not only the US Internal Revenue Service, but also the US Department of the Interior has been keeping a watchful eye on allegedly non-transparent money flows and has accordingly tightened the thumbscrews for exchange operators. Bittrex has already been forced to remove Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and DASH from its trading platform. To circumvent a possible delisting, Litecoin should be able to operate on two tracks. Exchanges, like users, can decide for or against the prvacy option.
A corresponding MWEB testnet has already been running since September 2020, but the Litecoin Foundation plans to replace it „in the coming weeks [with] a less technical and more user-friendly testnet“ and make it available to the public.