Since we launched the MWC project, we have learned a lot. Initially, we thought we would just do a fork of grin, change the supply schedule, write in the airdrop code and launch it (by the way, that is also a lot of work to do). Our assumption was that since grin had already launched, it would have everything needed to enable an airdrop to Bitcoin holders. While grin has a great codebase, it is lacking certain things that many Bitcoiners would expect. Probably the most notable is the lack of Windows support, but there are other things as well.
Over the last few weeks, we have come up with a plan to address these issues and make it easier for Bitcoin holders to register for the airdrop and claim their coins. The first part of the plan involves a wallet we are developing. This wallet will incorporate the grin full node and wallet, but allow a user to do a one click install on Windows, Linux, or MacOS. We are modeling it after electrum, but there are certain things that will be somewhat different due to the nature of the Mimblewimble protocol. The first difference is that Mimblewimble does not have addresses. Therefore, this wallet will not have addresses either. In grin, and hence MWC you can send funds by specifying an IP address and message that you want to send to the recipient. Exchanges typically give users an ID to include in the transfer so they know which user initiated the transaction. This will work in MWC as well and sending coins to an exchange with the wallet should be fairly straight forward, but when users want to send from one user to another the problem is that most people don’t have a public IP, so sending would be impossible unless they do router configurations or other complex tasks. To address this problem, we are looking into a peer to peer network that will allow users, even without a public IP address, to send funds back and forth. While this network might not be as private as sending funds directly via IP, the convenience may make the tradeoff worthwhile for some use cases.
While this wallet will resolve many of the issues that have been raised, it will take more time to build than was originally anticipated for our launch of the coin. This brings us to the second thing we are working on, the claims site. Upon launch (sometime after the the July 19, 2019 snapshot), users will be able to login to our claims site and view their number of coins and transfer out their coins. Only a transfer of all of the user’s coins will be allowed, but this transfer will not be required immediately. For the foreseeable future, transfers will be allowed. This will give time for users to claim their coins and they will not need to rush to setup their wallets and they will be able to wait for the release of our electrum like wallet. In addition to withdrawing coins to their own personal wallet, we will support sending coins to any exchange that allows for transfers to an IP address (which is generally how exchanges support Mimblewimble based coins today). We may eventually require coins to be transferred out of the claims site, but it will be open for the foreseeable future and when we end support for the claims site, presumably we would have exchange support ready so users who aren’t comfortable running their own wallet will be able to transfer the coins to an exchange directly.
The third, and very exciting thing we are working on is support for multisig transactions. The cryptographic code for doing multisig is available and we have tested it, but doing multisig has some challenges because, unlike regular transactions, multisig coins cannot be recovered using the user’s seed. So, we need to come up with a recovery process that allows for multisig addresses. This is part of the work we are doing right now.
I hope that part of the point I am getting across is that it’s VERY early in Mimblewimble. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to make it as user friendly as Bitcoin. Some might see that as a problem, but we see it as an opportunity. If you want to support the MWC project, follow us on twitter or join our discord and stay tuned for our April 20, 2019 opening of registration for this free airdrop to Bitcoin holders.