On 29th August, Charlie Lee, the Founder and creator of the 7th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Litecoin, posted a poll for his followers on Twitter. The poll sought to fetch a popular opinion on what privacy feature should be added to Litecoin.
As suggested by the tweet, the four options put forth by the computer scientist were Confidential Transactions, ZK-Snarks/ZK-Starks, MimbleWimble and no privacy at all. The most popular vote was obtained by Confidential Transactions, followed by no privacy, ZK-Snarks and MimbleWimble.
Confidential Transaction [CT] is a method of adding privacy into a payment system by using homomorphic encryption through a blinding factor. A blinding factor is a string of numbers that assist in encrypting the inputs and outputs of the system. This feature ensures the authenticity of a transaction but conceals any information related to it from the network, such as the amount of transaction.
On the other hand, ZK-Snark or Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge is a privacy protocol used by privacy coins such as Zcash [ZEC] and Zcoin [XZC]. The transactions shielded by this protocol are completely encrypted by it on the blockchain. This protects all the transactional information, such as the amount and addresses involved in the payment.
A large number of critics joining the discussion spoke about the many technicalities of executing the plan if it were to be thought of at all. Francis Pouliot, the CEO of the Satoshi Portal wrote:
“you can’t add MimbleWimble in litecoin, you’d have to completely scrap the existing blockchain design.”
Here, Charlie Lee dropped in to reply to the remark and suggested:
“It will be a hardfork for sure. Can do it as an upgrade where 2 blockchains run side by side with a one-way send from current blockchain to new MW blockchain. Once you go private, you stay private.”
Riccardo Spagni, a core team member of Monero, which uses another privacy protocol known as Ring Signatures also commented:
“Privacy technology tends towards monopolisation, because privacy-desirous people want to get lost in the largest crowd.”