In what could become the latest strange-but-true chapter in bitcoin’s history, an anonymous cryptographer named after Harry Potter’s arch nemesis has put forth a proposal experts believe could help solve major issues facing the network.
Authored by ‘Tom Elvis Jedusor’ (Voldemort’s name in the French versions of the book), the Harry Potter references in the paper don’t stop there. The proposal itself, posted to chat channels earlier this August, is named ‘Mimblewimble’ after a tongue-tying curse meant to render an opponent silent.
Yet despite the allusions to the popular fantasy series, the paper has real-world implications, outlining how cryptographic privacy and signature techniques could be combined to enable new benefits. Experts soon saw past the imagery and began to take the ideas seriously, with Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra, for example, being one of the first to remark in IRC discussions that it didn’t seem like a “total crank.”
More serious conversation would follow, as bitcoin developers have been more broadly searching for a long-term scalability and anonymity solutions. Many of these same developers now feel that the anonymously posted idea could advance discussions of how these challenges can be solved.
Bitcoin Core contributor Bryan