One of bitcoin’s more forward-looking projects has attracted a group of developers who are usingÂ some obscure names from the Harry Potter book series.
Bearing the names of the book series’ invisibility cloak inventor (Ignotus Peverell), itsÂ leading wand maker (Garrick Ollivander) and theÂ mother of its main antagonist (Merope Ripple), the developers areÂ now working onÂ the first version of Mimblewimble.
First proposed by a cryptographer who usesÂ French version of Tom Riddle (better known as Lord Voldemort), Mimblewimble describesÂ a unique way of solving some of bitcoinâs more pressing problems.
By rearranging bitcoinâs transaction structure in such a way, the proposal helps with two things: scaling the bitcoin network to a greater number of transactions and increasing the privacy of user’s transactions.Â The downside of Mimblewimble is that its alternative transaction structure doesnât work with the existing bitcoin network, so this code may ultimately come to form theÂ basis for future implementation as a sidechain or an altcoin.
In an effort to bring the theoretical project to life, bitcoin experts such as Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra and Bitcoin Core contributor Bryan Bishop have takenÂ an active interest in the project, with Poelstra putting forth a white paper that refines the idea and offers ideas for further scalability improvements.
While Lord Voldemort disappeared after debutingÂ his paper, pseudonymousÂ developers bearing the names ofÂ after Harry Potter characters went on to takeÂ the reins and beginÂ working on an implementation based on the originalÂ concept.
According to Poelstra, the jury is still out as toÂ the true identities of these developers.
HeÂ told CoinDesk:
“There isn’t any publicly available info about who these people are.”
Shortly after the paper’s debut (and its author’s departure), Ignotus Peverell took the role ofÂ ringleader, putting Lord Voldemortâs theory into practice in a project called grin.
He or sheÂ described the open source project as “very far from complete” uponÂ publishing it inÂ the bitcoin-wizards IRC channel, a popular place to chat about technical bitcoin details.
On 29th October, Garrick Ollivander joined ranks to “fix a merkle tree malleability”, among other updates, sparking a new round of excitement for at least one developer.
“And sure enough here was yet another Harry Potter character showing up doing Mimblewimble stuff which was super exciting. I was super jacked. I went for a long run around Austin to let my excitement out,” Poelstra saidÂ at a recent bitcoin meetup. The entry of Ollivander was followed by Merope Riddle, who made several contributions in late October.
Despite the attention from more “wizards”, Poelstra noted that the project is not yet usable, but that it’s “making steady progress”.