Can please someone explain the difference between public key and beneficiary?
There is an answer to your question within the latest development update:
“A new configuration parameter was introduced — beneficiary, an encoded form of account pubkey that will receive rewards from mining on a node. This parameter is to be set in User provided configuration and is mandatory to start a node.”
Let us know if you have further questions.
The AE Team
Technically the beneficiary is still a public key of the account (keypair) that would receive the mining reward.
The idea is that in case the miner instance is compromised the beneficiary private key is still safe as it does not need to be deployed on the mining instance.