Bug in Beam Mimblewimble Wallet Caused UTXO Conflicts, Brief Halt in Blockchain

Colin Muller

The Beam Mimblewimble blockchain, one of two recently released implementations of the Mimblewimble privacy protocol (the other being Grin), briefly ceased to function yesterday (Jan 21). Beam Privacy, the chain’s developer team, have fixed the problem and issued a clutch patch.

The team announced the halt on Twitter only about ten minutes after the chain went down, and launched an investigation.

The blockchain ground to a halt at block 25,709,10:13 UTC, and was down for two and a half hours.

25709.png(source: Explorer.beam.mw)

Beam developer Valdok explained in the Github issue notes explain that “improper wallet usage” had the effect of agitating “a flaw in the block construction code, which, under rare conditions, generated a wrong commitment to the UTXO state that should be obtained after the block would be interpreted.”

Apparently, cloning wallet files "may [have] lead to the creation of identical UTXOs by different instances of the wallet in different transactions," according to Valdok.

State of the Art

Only days ago, the Beam Privacy team released their first update for the new blockchain, which went live in early January. The new version, version 1.1.4194 “Agile Atom,” sped up transaction times and squashed bugs.

CryptoGlobe reported on January 10 that Beam Privacy developers had discovered and fixed a critical vulnerability in the new blockchain shortly after its release.

Beam Privacy warned at time of release that the implementation was “state of the art,” and “likely to: (i) contain bugs, defects, or errors that materially and adversely could affect the use, functionality, or performance of Beam.”

A competing implementation of Mimblewimble, Grin, went live a few days ago. The chain saw an impressive amount of mining support out of the gate, owing to an unusual amount of institutional interest in the new privacy protocol.

Mimblewimble is notable for being inherently private, as well as lean with respect to filesize. Unusually, the blockchain does not make use of public addresses - as in Bitcoin and, indeed, nearly all other current blockchains - but rather accomplishes transactions with direct person-to-person connections.

Coinbase, EOS Community Clash Over Supposed ‘Degraded Performance’

Francisco Memoria

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been clashing with the EOS community on social media over supposed “degraded performance” the EOS network has been suffering.

According to a tweet published by one of Coinbase’s official accounts, the EOS network is experiencing “degraded performance levels” and as a result EOS sends have been disabled, while receives may be delayed. Coinbase’s status page shows it has been seeing degraded performance on the network for four days.

In February 17, Coinbase also noted there were delays in EOS sends/receives as it was working “rough a backlog of outgoing EOS transactions.” Responding to Coinbase EOS New York, a major EOS block producer, claimed the network was fully functional and that the problem came from the cryptocurrency exchange itself.

On Reddit, EOS New York wrote that the “network is operating fine and Coinbase is shifting blame away from their internal infrastructure problems.” It added no other entity reported issues and that instead the exchange could reach out to block producers for free help.

EOS Nation, another major EOS block producer, responded to the exhcnage saying the network did face some hiccups but is nevertheless “extremely reliable.”

Some speculate the EOS network may still be facing congestion from time to time over the controversial EIDOS airdrop, that put the network into a “congestion mode” late last year and forced Coinbase to raise the amount of staked CPU on its wallets to process transactions.

Some believe the EIDOS airdrop is being run to make EOS’s shortcomings stand out and incentivize users to use other blockchains using the EOSIO software, created by the company Block.one. Voice, the social network the company is set to launch ,is for example launching on a “purpose-made EOSIO blockchain.”

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com