Privacy-focused altcoin, Beam (BEAM), will soon execute its second hard fork. This fork will upgrade its Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm and activate new network features.

According to an April 22 blog post, Beam’s second fork will occur at block 777,777, shifting the network’s PoW algorithm from BeamHash II to BeamHash III.

The new PoW algorithm is expected to be a major improvement to the Beam mining network, and will enable fuller GPU card capabilities. Additionally, the firm said that the hard fork is designed to unlock some new features like confidential assets, one-sided payments, and the support of privacy protocol, Lelantus Mimblewimble.

Users need to upgrade Beam software before the fork in late June

Beam’s second hard fork is expected to take place on June 28, 2020. The testnet fork is anticipated to happen a few weeks earlier, Beam advisor, Guy Corem, noted in the Beam Telegram channel. Corem elaborated that the testnet fork date depends on block times.

According to the announcement, the hard fork will not require any other actions beyond a software upgrade from Beam users. As such, Beam is planning to release the node and desktop wallet binaries by the end of May, providing users with about 30 days to upgrade to the latest version. Compatible releases of node, wallet, and miner will be versioned Eager Electron 5.0, Beam noted.

Specifically, Beam wallets earlier than version 5.0 will stop working after the hard fork is completed. However, users will still be able to upgrade the wallets to the new version to access their funds, Corem said.

Beam’s first hard fork took place in August 2019

As officially announced, Beam successfully completed its first hard fork on August 19, 2019. This fork changed the mining algorithm from Beam Hash I to Beam Hash II at block 321,321. After the hard fork occurred, the Beam team reported a significant drop in mining difficulty. This was caused by some miners not performing a timely upgrade.

The Beam mainnet was launched on Bitcoin’s (BTC) tenth birthday, Jan. 3, 2019. Beam is a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, like Monero (XMR) or Zcash (ZEC), and is based on a privacy protocol known as Mimblewimble. In late 2019, Dragonfly Research analyst, Ivan Bogatyy, argued that the Mimblewimble protocol should not be considered a “viable alternative to Zcash or Monero when it comes to privacy” due to an unfixable privacy breach. Subsequently, Beam challenged Bogatyy’s “Breaking Mimblewimble’s Privacy Model,” arguing that his research approach does not work with Beam.

In March, Litecoin (LTC) and Grin (GRIN) developer, David Burkett, predicted that Litecoin will launch its Mimblewimble testnet before the end of summer.