via Blockstream
via Blockstream

A little over three months ago we highlighted Eric Sirion's proposal for MiniMint, an implementation of a federated Chaumian E-Cash Mint. We are happy to report that Eric has not only made significant progress as evidenced by his use of MiniMint in the wild earlier this month, but his idea and the implementation of that idea have led to a Blockstream sponsorship that will allow Eric to keep building on his idea which could significantly move the needle in regards to privacy and data efficiency to the BTC/LN stack.

To refresh your memories; Eric's MiniMint proposal, if successfully implemented, would allow individuals to enter a trusted federated pool to attain a very high degree of privacy. By locking their sats within the federation users are giving themselves the ability to transact with a much higher degree of privacy compared to current custodial lightning network enabled bitcoin wallets by leveraging blind signatures. Blind signatures allow individuals transacting within Chaumian mint to do so without federation members being able to discern how much money is being sent and who it is being sent to.

The thing I like most about Chaumian mints, or what I like most about how've they've been marketed to the public, is how clearly the tradeoffs have been explained upfront. Users are sacrificing full control (the ability to self-verify all properties of a transaction when sending or receiving via a full node) for a much higher degree of confident privacy. As with everything that involves Bitcoin, this product comes with tradeoffs.

When compared to the current crop of popular custodial Lightning Network enabled wallets and their privacy guarantees, any wallet that comes to market with a solid implementation of MiniMint enabled will win over the privacy-conscious users. At the end of the day, users will be extending less trust to any one wallet due to the fact that the mint depends on a federation of many wallets. On top of this, the nature of Chaumian mints and the Lightning Network makes it so users can have agnostic counterparts. Chaumian mint wallets aren't specifically interoperable with outher Chaumian mint wallets. They can communicate with wallets that make other security/design tradeoffs.

At the end of the day, the fact that Eric's work on MiniMint is getting the recognition and funding it deserves is a very bullish thing to see. We may tend to favor one scaling/privacy/efficiency project over the other from time to time due to being an impressionable human. However, we never forget the importance of optionality and competition amongst ideas to produce better outcomes for individuals.

Blockstream sponsoring Eric as he continues to build out MiniMint is a beautiful thing to see.

Final thought...

Have an 8am flight that I thought was an 11am flight. Not mad about it. Pumped for the Low Country wedding.