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Grin vs Beam: How do they compare?

Compare the two Mimblewimble cryptocurrencies side by side to see the differences.


Fact checked

The Mimblewimble privacy protocol was conceived in 2016, but it wasn’t until 2019 that live and operational cryptocurrencies started using it.

These two anonymity-oriented cryptocurrencies are Grin and Beam.

While they’re more similar to each other than to anything else, they are still very different.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

Skip ahead: Where can you buy Grin or Beam?

Grin vs Beam: The breakdown

Grin (GRIN)


Beam (BEAM)


Description Grin is a privacy-centric digital currency based on the Mimblewimble protocol. Beam is a privacy-centric digital currency based on the Mimblewimble protocol.
Uses Private and anonymous cryptocurrency transactions Private and anonymous cryptocurrency transactions
Ticker symbol GRIN BEAM
Release year 2019 2019
Origin Unknown Israel
Maximum supply Unlimited 262.8 million BEAM
Notable team members Unknown Alexander Zaidelson
Notable partnerships - -
Consensus algorithm Proof of Work (Cuckoo Cycle) Equihash
Mineable? Yes Yes
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Grin vs Beam: How do they work?

Both Grin and Beam were built on top of the Mimblewimble privacy protocol. This is essentially a set of techniques and functions which underpin both coins.

It imbues both coins with anonymity at several different levels. Through their use of Mimblewimble, both coins have:

  • CoinJoins: partially hides users and transactions. All the transactions on each block are bundled up into one big transaction. This makes it difficult to connect individual users to individual transactions.
  • Confidential Transactions: conceals individual coins. This hides the footprints of individual coins, concealing transaction amounts and the “identity” of individual coins on the network. Without being able to identify individual coins, it’s difficult to identify individual users.
  • Dandelion: prevents real world location tracking. It’s possible to deduce the real world location of blockchain users by watching network activity. Dandelion prevents it.

Both Grin and Beam were built on top of an identical Mimblewimble foundation.

But from there, they each went their own way, adding modifications and pursuing different goals.

The differences between Grin and Beam

The developers of Grin and Beam envisioned different purposes for each coin which in turn gave each a different origin story.

1. Purpose

Although both coins are designed to facilitate the private transfer of monetary value, they have different visions of what practical privacy means in the real world.


In the Grin network, privacy is mandatory, always on and cannot be switched off.

All transactions are private, all users are hidden and the entire network is geared towards the normalization of complete anonymity.


Beam is designed for selective privacy. The goal is to create a system that can simultaneously offer users anonymity when needed, while also allowing the optional tracking of transactions and users where needed.

The goal is to create a more regulator-friendly privacy coin that can offer additional privacy without stepping on the toes of lawmakers.

2. Origin and community

One of the main differences is in the origin of each coin, and the communities that grew around them.


Grin was built in the perceived image of the Mimblewimble creator, an anonymous cryptographer who went by the pseudonym of Tom Elvis Jedusor. The name is a reference to a character from Harry Potter.

While some prominent figures, such as Andrew Poelstra, have publicly joined up with Grin, its development is driven largely by anonymous volunteers, many of whom also sport Harry Potter-inspired pseudonyms.

It’s reminiscent of the development of bitcoin, under the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, which has attracted a lot of supporters.


Beam is the name of a cryptocurrency, as well as the Israeli-based startup which brought it to life with the help of investment from a range of venture capital firms.

The plan is for the Beam company to eventually see control of the network to the general public.

3. Functional differences

The different visions and different communities that grew around each coin informed the functional differences between them.



User friendliness
Consensus and mining
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Wallets for Grin and Beam

To use a wallet for both Grin or Beam, you will need to download and sync a full node. On Beam this is easy and largely automatic, but on Grin this is a difficult and largely manual process.

  • Grin: Download the needed Grin core version and wallet from GitHub, and operate it with a Linux virtual machine.
  • Beam: Download the official Beam wallet from the Beam website and follow the prompts to install it and get synced.

Pros and cons of Grin and Beam



  • Grin is driven by a team that’s self-evidently in it for more than just the money. Its 100% private solution makes it one of the most private and anonymous cryptocurrencies in existence.
  • Beam was built with the advantages of an experienced, public and well-funded team, and offers user experience perks that Grin doesn’t. Its optional privacy functionality could see it achieve uptake where Grin doesn’t.
  • There’s a very real risk of regulatory action impacting Grin’s uptake. For example, as a total privacy coin Grin currently cannot be sold on Japanese exchanges anymore. This sentiment could spread, and some authorities in the USA and Europe have signalled a willingness to bar privacy coins if they can.
  • There’s an enormous difference between mostly- and totally-anonymous coins and more uncompromising privacy fans will likely veer towards Grin. The central development team may also deter purists. And while it’s more likely to get through, there’s still no guarantee that regulators will give Beam’s optional privacy mode a pass.

Grin vs Beam: The bottom line

Grin and Beam both started off from identical Mimblewimble foundations, but ended up going in very different directions.

But both are still dedicated to the same purpose, as a valuable tool to help retain privacy and freedom in a world of data harvesting and digital scrutiny. This is an increasingly pressing issue in today’s world, but it’s also a very complex one.

That’s why both Grin and Beam can be so similar, yet so different – while both filling a valuable niche. It’s good to have a diverse set of options in unpredictable circumstances.

No one knows what the future holds, but it’s nice that both Grin and Beam are along for the ride.

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Buy/sell Grin or Beam

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Images: Shutterstock

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