What is Grin?
Grin (GRIN) is one of the first two MimbleWimble protocol-based coins to be launched on the crypto markets. It is unlike any other cryptocurrency currently available, representative of a new generation of coins that is focused on both the reduction of recorded transaction information necessary to operate its blockchain and the anonymization of every transaction recorded. In this way, Grin is not only highly scalable, making it easy to download the blockchain and run a full node, but it is also much more privacy-centric than classical Proof of Work blockchain architectures.
History of Grin
In mid 2016, an anonymous author published the original MimbleWimble white paper under the name “Tom Elvis Jedusor,” which is the name of Harry Potter character Voldemort in the French edition of the novel series. The author posted the white paper using a Tor (“.onion”) website which was taken down long ago, making it impossible to find out where the site was located or who created it. However, the idea was so compelling that it immediately sparked interest among several Bitcoin Core developers that began testing its validity and feasibility as blockchain for a cryptocurrency. Developer Andrew Polestra released his own expanded MimbleWimble white paper in October 2016, which became the basis for Grin. After much development and testing, the Grin main net was launched on January 15th, 2019.
How Grin Works
Grin uses the MimbleWimble blockchain architecture which renders it dramatically different from other Proof of Work coins. Instead of recording the details of every transaction, Grin only records a series of inputs and outputs, encrypting other information like sender/receiver information and amounts. This allows transactions to be sent anonymously while simultaneously cutting down on the size of the blockchain. In addition, spent output (an address with a zero balance) information is retroactively erased from the blockchain, which can actually decrease the size of the Grin blockchain as time goes on. Unlike most Proof of Work coins, mining rewards remain consistent, meaning there is no reward halving, leading to an unlimited supply of coins. One potential limitation of Grin is that, in order for a transaction to occur, both sender and receiver need to be online to confirm the transaction at the same time, and coins cannot be sent without a pre-confirmation from the recipient.
Grin contains several advantages over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, some of which include:
- Grin uses a massively prune-able blockchain in which spent outputs are deleted. In effect, the size of its blockchain is dependent on amount of active users rather than amount of addresses.
- Next generation. Grin uses a different hashing algorithm (cuckARoo29 instead of SHA256D).
- Grin block time lengths are 1 minute instead of 10.
- All sender/receiver and transaction amount information is encrypted, and neither sender/receiver or transaction amount information is stored.
- Address-free. Does not use addresses in the classical sense, but rather an IP addresses or end-to-end cryptographically secured service (such as a Keybase or Grinbox address).