MimbleWimble, named after a curse from the Harry Potter book series, is a protocol, much like Bitcoin’s blockchain, that contains improved privacy features derived from multiple technologies, some more established than others.
Key components in MimbleWimble are:
(a) Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), which enables private-public key encryption – a way to prove you know something without revealing the content of the encrypted information;
(b) Confidential Transactions, which allows for public verification of the transaction without revealing any significant details, like the amounts or addresses – which, in essence, do not really exist in MimbleWimble, but I’ll get to that later;
(c) CoinJoins, through a mechanism called anonymity set that enables transactions from multiple senders to be batched into a single transaction; and
(d) Dandelion, an improved gossip protocol network that contains increased privacy working mechanics, by using hops in-between nodes before publicizing the transaction to the neighboring nodes.
History has taught me any technology represents a means to achieve an end, and the purpose of MimbleWimble is quite similar to Bitcoin’s: to allow for value to be transferred and stored in a decentralized manner, privately and without intermediaries.