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Basics

  • Based in: Asia
  • FKA Republic Protocol, changed its name on 18-1-2019
  • From CMC: "Ren is an open protocol meant to enable the permissionless and private transfer of value between any blockchain. Ren's core product, RenVM, is focused on bringing interoperability to decentralized finance (DeFi)."
  • RenVM is a middleware, it is infrastructure for DeFi. RenVM enables decentralized liquidity cross chain.
  • Ren the protocol is it's own network of nodes. It uses Ethereum for the Ren token, and contract for the bonds. And it uses Ethereum for Ethereum-interoperability. But the protocol is run on darknodes, not Ethereum. It has its own consensus.
  • It will have its own DEX in the future, SwapperD. But thats not the point. The point is that other dex’s can integrate Ren in their systems and start doing cross chain swaps on dex’s. This will create more liquidity due to connecting multiple DEX's.
  • In the words of one community member in their telegram channel:

" If we're talking about liquidity, we generally mean trading. So RenVM isn't an exchange, it's a tool that can take custody of assets on different chains. So that's useful for exchanges that want to offer users the ability to trade BTC to ETH for example. So dexes integrate RenVM, there is your liquidity.

If you're talking about lending BTC on Compound, you immediately unlock that using RenVM, no "liquidity" needed."

History

Audits & Exploits

"The audit is going well. The smart contracts have been finished, and all issues were addressed quickly. The Hyperdrive audit is currently underway, and there have been no critical issues reported so far. The next steps are to scope the audit for the RZL sMPC paper and its accompanying implementation (the z0 engine). There are no timeline estimates that we are comfortable giving to the public at this stage, as audits times can vary a lot depending on what is found, and an audit of an sMPC implementation is not common (estimates quickly propagate through the community and become incorrectly interpreted as hard commitments)."

Bugs/Exploits

Governance

Admin Keys

"There is a pause function in control of the Ren team, meaning they can shut down the Ren network. It's a precaution while these smart contracts are new, but you should be aware of it."

Greycore

  • From their blog (13-9-2021):

"At the time of writing the current set of Greycore Members are (subject to change):

  1. BadgerDAO
  2. Curve Finance
  3. Saber Finance
  4. University of Nicosia (UNIC)
  5. IDEX
  6. Polymer
  7. Infinite Capital
  8. Polychain Capital
  9. Alameda"
  • From their blog (11-3-2021):

"At the moment, consensus and execution in RenVM is the responsibility of Darknodes that are operated by the Ren core development team, and peer-to-peer networking is the responsibility of Darknodes that are operated by the community. The Greycore will be the first group of third-parties that takes responsibility for consensus and, later, execution. The Greycore will eventually be complemented by the community, which will eventually also assume control of consensus and execution in future releases.

We are currently upgrading Testnet to v0.4.0 and fixing issues that are discovered. Once these issues have all been fixed, we will hand control over to the Greycore. At this point, Testnet will be operated by the Greycore (and will continue to be, well into the future). This gives all members the opportunity to get familiar with the ins and outs of running a Darknode, keeping it up-to-date, recovering from unexpected events, and so on."

  • The team has joined Alameda and says Alameda "will be helping to accelerate the decentralisation of RenVM by participating in the Greycore early on (in Testnet and Mainnet)" (2-2-2021).
  • From their blog (28-8-2020):

"If users/developers make mistakes when they use RenVM, the Ren team is able to help recover funds that have been lost through accidental mis-use. Everyone has stories of someone losing their funds in the blockchain space due to its complex and decentralised nature. RenVM is a new network, and comes with its own learning curve for users/developers. The team has already been able to help recover funds for both users and developers in this fashion. Without a level of control in the beginning, this is not possible."

Although the Ren team currently runs all of the nodes in the Greycore, this will change over the course of phase sub-zero, and new members will be included. However, in the interim it is important to understand how these nodes are secured.

  1. There are 13x nodes in the Greycore [as of 13-9-2021 it has become 9].
  2. All nodes are in different randomly selected geographic locations around the world. These nodes are running across both AWS and Digital Ocean across three separate accounts.
  3. All nodes use an MPC algorithm to generate and secure the assets locked. That is to say, none of the nodes has access to the private key that locks the assets.
  4. All of the nodes are monitored by an automated alert system. If a node stops running for any reason, our team is immediately alerted (regardless of the time).
  5. All of the nodes are accessed using different access keys, have their root accounts disabled, and no one team member can access enough of the nodes to compromise the Greycore.

A malicious adversary would need to successfully compromise 5+ machines without being noticed. Even then, the adversary would not have root access to the machine, and would not be able to read that nodes’ shares of the MPC-generated private key."

DAO

How Decentralized will Ren be?

  • From their AMA of 1-2020, in which someone asked the question:

"I understand the early stages of the network will have the core nodes of the Ren Team and trusted partners responsible for maintaining the integrity of the network - do you intend to remain in this phase until sufficient transaction volume is on the network that attracts sufficient 3rd party operators? Are there plans to incentive that initial volume?

We intend to remain in the Mainnet SubZero phase until there is sufficient volume (stable over a reasonable period of time) to attract members of the public to run Darknodes and earn rewards by doing so. During this period, Ren and other projects will operate Darknodes to keep the networking running (and to keep it semi-decentralized amongst Ren and these third-parties). It is important for the security of the network that volume grows naturally, otherwise, it risks dropping after the incentivization ends. However, to begin with, we will support volume by providing liquidity to DEXs, and keeping minting fees low."

Treasury

  • The first proposal to vote on went live (17-4-2021) and was focussed on creating a Community Ecosystem Fund.

Token

Launch

Token allocation

Utility

  • The token is only a bond. 100,000 REN needed for a Darknode. To protect the network. Cant use ETH because you want the bond to reflect how much the network is used.
  • Many dex’s will use it, therefor users will get in contact with Ren products. Therefor fee’s will be lucrative. People will want darknodes to get in on the fees. People will then buy Ren to bond in the darknodes. This will drive up the price.  
  • For an explanation of REN's tokenomics, check this article (11-2-2020). 
  • From Bankless (2020 Q3 report): "Cross chain swap fees are distributed to Dark Node." 

Token Details

Coin Distribution

Tech

  • Whitepaper can be found [insert here].
  • Their wiki can be read here.
  • Code can be viewed here. From their blog (31-12-2020):

"After open-sourcing the majority of its codebases, the Ren project has seen dozens of community contributions in the form of pull-requests (PRs)." This mainly says the project is not completely open source.

  • From their blog (28-5-2021):

"A majority of RenVM codebase is now open-sourced with the core components open-sourced as well. All codebases can be found here. The remainder of the code will be open-sourced throughout 2021 and 2022 as further audits confirm correctness of the code."

  • Capacity (TPS): Claims to be "100x faster than atomic swaps"

 How it works

  • A Proof of Stake network where you have shards of 129 nodes (referred to as Darknodes). In order to become a Darknodes you need to stake a certain amount of REN tokens.
  • Has something called Greycore, a group of 'trusted community members', under which are Set Protocol, Zerion, Kyber (not anymore as of early 2021), Ren Foundation, STP and IDEX. They sign off on key pairs. Which could be a sign of permission.

What will now be following is the detailed explanation from their own website:

  • "Algorithm

The Tendermint consensus algorithm proceeds in block heights, where each block height commits exactly one block, and involves multiple rounds of voting. An overview of the Tendermint consensus algorithm can be found in their documentation.

  • Proposals

Upon entering the current round, the Darknode leader will propose a block of transactions that it hopes to see committed for the current height. If the Darknode leader does not propose a valid block in time, the Tendermint consensus algorithm will guarantee that the round will be incremented and a new Darknode leader will be elected.

Darknode leaders are required to inject pseudo-transactions into a block before proposing it to other Darknodes. Pseudo-transactions are continuously built by the Darknodes, and are required by RZL to execute most blocks. The transactions in a block will determine the number, and type, of pseudo-transactions that must be injected. 

  • Voting

Upon seeing a proposal for the current round, or timing out, Darknodes will broadcast a vote for the block, or a vote for no block. See the Tendermint consensus algorithm for more information.

Darknodes must verify that they have seen all pseudo-transactions in the proposed block, the pseudo-transactions are valid, and the pseudo-transactions are accompanied by the required zero-knowledge proofs of correctness. If so, block validation proceeds as usual. If not, the block is considered invalid.

  • Committing

Upon seeing a polka for the current round, or timing out, Darknodes will broadcast a commitment for the polka block, or a commitment for no block.

  • Execution

Upon seeing 2/3rd+ commitments for a polka block, nodes participating in a Tendermint consensus algorithm will usually execute all of the transactions in the block without further interaction with other nodes. However, in RenVM, transactions in a block must be executed using RZL secure multiparty computation. This ensures that inputs, outputs, and state transitions can be kept secret, but it also requires further interaction between nodes.

Committed blocks will be placed into a FIFO execution queue. Darknodes will progress through the execution queue and invoke an RZL secure multiparty computation for each transaction. After all transactions in the block have been executed, the block must be fused.

Fusing a block involves taking all intermediate values produces during the RZL secure multiparty computations, injecting them into the footer of the block, re-signing the entire block, and broadcasting the signature. Fusing a block can be done locally, since all intermediate values are the same for all Darknodes. After seeing 2/3rd+ signatures for the same block, with the same footer, the block is said to be fused and the next block in the execution queue can be executed.

  • Pseudo Transactions

Pseudo-transactions are required by Darknodes in order to execute the transactions in a block. The pseudo-transactions needed to execute a transaction are not correlated with the transaction, and so Darknodes are able to fill a pseudo-transaction pool in parallel with the core consensus algorithm. This reduces the impact on consensus performance.

By observing the transactions in a block, a Darknode can determine the number of pseudo-transactions required, and the type of pseudo-transactions, that are required to execute the block. This determination is non-interactive and does not require extra communication between Darknodes.

It follows that the addition of pseudo-transactions does not affect the core consensus algorithm."

How it practically works

"You are Andy (but nobody knows you are due to zk-p), you want to buy BTC on a DEX, you have ETH. You go to Uniswap, you say you want to buy BTC, you put in the receive BTC address you want the BTC to appear in, and you just sign the transaction sending your ETH away, and bam you got BTC now in your own BTC address.

What happened here is that there is a Uniswap pool now thanks to RenVM that has ETH and Ren-BTC (an ERC-20 token) in it, when you send ETH it triggers a burn of the Ren-BTC and it sends real BTC to you with RenVM's own keys."

Fees

  • Fee model can be checked here.
  • The token Ren is only used by the darknodes as a bond. Fees will be natively or dai.
  • Users must pay a minimum fee of 0.1% of the moved tokens and users can optionally increase the fee in increments of 0.01% to encourage Darknodes to prioritise their transaction.
  • "Given the breadth of use cases RenVM can facilitate, there are situations where a dynamic fee as outlined above, is not feasible, for example:
    • Transferring of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
    • Performing general-purpose computations in secret

The exact fee is dependent on the amount of data required, the amount of work required, and how much the user wants to be prioritised but the formula for determining this is 0.000005 DAI / second / Darknode and 0.0000002 DAI byte / Darknode. This is an approximation based on the current costs of operating a Darknode with the recommended hardware specifications. However, this is subject to changes as the general purpose scripting capabilities of RenVM are developed. To know why we chose Dai, please read our companion blog which can be found here."

How fees are distributed:

  • Fees are paid immediately to the Darknode payment contract (there is no delay between payment and work done by the Darknodes).
  • Fees will be distributed to Darknodes at the end of each cycle (approximately once per month) and will be split evenly amongst all Darknodes that were actively participating during that month.
  • A Darknode will not receive fees for cycles in which they are inactive, become active mid-cycle, or go offline mid-cycle. Darknodes must maintain uptime for the entire cycle to receive the rewards distribution.

Upgrades

  • From their blog (16-11-2020):

"Today, we are proud to announce the release of the Multichain into RenVM, and new upgrades to the RenJS library. With this release, a new range of new assets and chains enter the world of interoperability:

Ethereum

Bitcoin (BTC) on Ethereum (ETH)
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on Ethereum (ETH)
DigiByte (DGB) on Ethereum (ETH)**
Dogecoin (DOGE) on Ethereum (ETH)**
Filecoin (FIL) on Ethereum (ETH)
Terra (LUNA) on Ethereum (ETH)**
Zcash (ZEC) on Ethereum (ETH)

Binance Smart Chain

Bitcoin (BTC) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)*
DigiByte (DGB) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)**
Dogecoin (DOGE) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)**
Filecoin (FIL) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
Terra (LUNA) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)**
Zcash (ZEC) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC)*

*BCH and ZEC will be available next week, after the recent Bitcoin Cash fork and upcoming Zcash Canopy upgrade have been resolved.
**DOGE, DGB, and LUNA are available in RenVM, but will not be immediately available in RenJS. This allows our team to stay focused on providing the best possible support to third-party developers."

Staking

"RenVM is powered by a network of nodes, called Darknodes. These Darknodes earn fees (in BTC, BCH, and ZEC) for powering RenVM and anyone can run one. All you need is 100K REN, a home computer, some technical ability, and an appetite to participate in the protocol. Starting today, anyone can run a Darknode and installation instructions can be found here. "

  • There were 44 Darknodes online after launch (5-2020). This has grown (19-6-2020) to 574, or 352 online ones, the website is not very clear. Grown up to 1103 nodes (28-7-2020).
  • 5.74% of REN is bonded in darknodes (19-6-2020).
  • From their September update (25-9-2020):

Darknodes: 1325. REN Bonded: 132,500,000 REN

  • From their March update (26-3-2021):

"Darknodes: 1,769. REN Locked: 176,900,000"

Liquidity Mining

Scaling

  • From their blog (28-1-2021):

"Over the last few months, Ren has been researching and building on Asylo, an open and flexible framework by Google. Google Cloud’s confidential computing relaxes RenVM’s economic constraints, allowing for an unbounded scaling solution. This is an important technical development for RenVM’s scalability, so check it out here."

Different Implementations

Interoperability

  • From their blog (25-6-2020):

"To support new chains, both origin chains (e.g. Bitcoin) and host chains (e.g. Ethereum), RenVM uses an interface known as the multi-chain. Until now, the multi-chain has been focused on Bitcoin-like and Ethereum-like chains. But, since the release of Mainnet, the team has begun expanding and standardising this interface to support more and more chains.

To this end, we have begun prototyping support for cross-chain transactions on new chains, with an initial focus on Substrate. This will not only make it possible for the Polkadot ecosystem to make use of BTC, BCH, and ZEC (like the Ethereum ecosystem now can!), but it will also allow Substrate smart contracts to communicate with Ethereum smart contracts (and vice versa). This will open up a whole new kind of interoperability, one where dApps will be able to span more than one chain."

  • As of 22-7-2020 REN is working together with Acala to have RenVM as a destination chain, so the public can bridge assets back and forth to Polkadot
  • From their October update (30-10-2020):

  "The Ren core development team has also been working on the Multichain, and this month we successfully demonstrated cross-chain interoperability with the Acala Testnet. Although Acala Mainnet is not yet live, this work brings us a step closer to supporting it once it does go live, bringing BTC and other non-native assets to the Polkadot ecosystem. We also demonstrated a proof-of-concept with Solana."

Other Details

How Ren BTC Gets Minted

  1. "Each node is required to stake REN tokens in order to be part of a shard. A shard will be responsible for generating a set of private/public key pairs which users can generate for users to deposit BTC. 
  2. Users choose a shard that they’d like to have as custodians
  3. Part of generating a key pair requires the authority of the “greycore” - a set of trusted community members. In order for a transaction to go through both the Darknodes and Greycore need to sign off on transactions
  4. Users can then deposit BTC to a script which can only be spent by the shard’s key pair
  5. The UTXO is then sent to a SPV proof relayer on the Ethereum network where the RenVM can validate if the UTXO is indeed under custody of the REN network
  6. Upon verification of the UTXO, RenVM generates a valid signature which can then be taken to the Ren ERC20 BTC contract on Ethereum and mint a valid Bitcoin token
  7. In order to redeem a Ren BTC then need to burn the ERC20 token and specify a redemption address. The redemption process requires the Darknodes and Greycore to sign off and execute on."

Oracle Method

  • From their blog (5-10-2020):

"Ren has collaborated with Chainlink on a new Proof of Reserve mechanism (live on testnet and soon mainnet) to improve the transparency and auditability of its cross-chain assets bridged into the DeFi ecosystem, starting with renBTC, renBCH, and renZEC."

Privacy Method

Compliance

Their Projects

"REN is still in the early phases of development, recently launching ChaosNet in late 2019 - a pre-production, unaudited version of the RenVM used to battle-test the new virtual machine. With that, the protocol has seen nearly 60 registered darknodes (min. 10,000 REN bond) with only a few dollars in value of exogenous asset rewards."

RenEX

  • Released its first mainnet on 1-10-2018, alongside RenEx as "the first truly decentralized dark pool to be built on the protocol".

RenVM

1. Chaosnet (released in 11-2019)

2. Mainnet SubZero

3. Mainnet Zero

4. Mainnet One

  • "RenVM brings interoperability to decentralized finance (DeFi).

RenVM itself, is a virtual machine that replicates itself over a decentralized network of thousands (on 8-2019 there were around 200) of physical machines known as Darknodes. What makes RenVM unique is that it does everything in secret using zero-knowledge proofs and our newly developed sMPC protocol. The state, inputs and outputs of all programs in RenVM are kept hidden from everyone, including the Darknodes that power it. This allows RenVM to securely manage private keys on different blockchains, making it possible to shift tokens between these blockchains in a trustless and decentralized way. If you would like to learn more, check out our documentation.

Although RenVM can be used to power all kinds of secret applications, its focus is on interoperability between blockchains. RenVM allows smart contracts on various blockchains (starting with Ethereum) to accept and spend tokens on other blockchains (starting with Bitcoin and ZCash). This empowers DEXs to begin offering new pairings that were not previously possible without centralized parties. With all of this said, RenVM is not a product or an application in and of itself but is a network (and an accompanying SDK) that allows developers to bring multi-chain functionality to their applications."

  • Has a transaction management system that allows it to process multiple Bitcoin/ZCash (and other) transactions as one transaction. "This makes RenVM cheaper, faster, and better for everyone."
  • Will be BFT and RenVM uses a modified version of the Tendermint consensus algorithm designed specifically for sharding and sMPC. It's called "Hyperdrive"

ChaosDEX

"Over the last month, ChaosDEX has served as a very useful conduit for those curious about RenVM, how it all works, and for discovering bugs. RenVM has successfully completed more than 240 cross-chain transactions and more than $6,900 of traded volume. Check out stats here."

Roundabout

"The first third-party dapp built on RenVM Chaosnet. Roundabout is an experimental, permissionless, non-custodial way to transfer Bitcoin in and out of Ethereum. Simply said you can mint real BTC on the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20. There is already a zBTC Uniswap pool, so one can try it out and trade zBTC against any other assets on Uniswap."

SwapperD

  • Decentralized Exchange and Application Integrations
  • "SwapperD will be a wallet for interacting with RenVM and making zkTransactions secure, simple, and easy to use. It will provide privacy preserving cross-chain swaps with a seamless user experience. SwapperD facilitates cross-chain interoperability to enhance the capability of all products in the Ren ecosystem, as well as providing a universal, user-friendly method for the entire industry to perform trustless swaps between blockchains. Initially, SwapperD will perform cross-chain swaps using traditional hash time-locked contracts (HTLCs). Any blockchain that supports HTLCs, such as BTC, LTC, ETH, ZEC, EOS, and countless others, will be able to be supported by SwapperD while it uses HTLCs for cross-chain swapping."

Roadmap

"Our core plans in the short term will focus on integrations, incentivizing liquidity, and continuing to ensure that RenVM is safe and secure."

  • From their blog (28-8-2020):

"We also deployed the Multichain to a new staging environment, so that we can begin testing the next major release of RenVM against these new networks. This next release hopes to include support for Acala, Binance Smart Chain, DigiByte, Dogecoin, Filecoin, Solana, and Terra (although, depending on how testing goes, not all of these chains will necessarily make it into the next release)."

  • From their blog (28-8-2020):

"Since the beginning, the plan has been to release RenVM incrementally, and slowly progress from centralised to decentralised. This follows the article published by a16z in January and allows RenVM to remain as secure as possible, even though it is a new and nascent technology.

In this blog post you can find an overview of the different phases that RenVM will progress through, with a more detailed follow-up for the beginning phase. Right now, RenVM is in the early days of phase sub-zero, and so the Greycore is run by the Ren team. Over the course of phase sub-zero, as the team gains confidence in the correctness of the implementation, other members will be introduced to the Greycore. This includes groups such as Polychain, Infinite Capital, and Curve Finance."

  • From their October update (30-10-2020):

"We will be making the deployment available to the developers and teams that we have been collaborating with, and in mid-November, we anticipate that this release will be available to the general public for use. This will bring support for:

  1. BCH, BTC, DGB, DOGE, FIL, LUNA, and ZEC on Binance Smart Chain.
  2. DGB, DOGE, FIL, and LUNA on Ethereum (BCH, BTC, and ZEC are already available on Ethereum).

It will not be possible to move BTC from Ethereum directly to Binance Smart Chain (or vice versa), or to move native Ethereum assets to Binance Smart Chain (or vice versa). These two features will be available in the next release of RenVM, estimated to be available in early 2021.

This month I want to give a quick overview of some things that will be coming to RenVM in the next few months. This overview will be quick, and you should expect a more in-depth roadmap soon, but here is a taste:

  1. Support for ERC20s to/from Binance Smart Chain (including renBTC and other pegged assets moving directly between chains).
  2. Support for Avalanche and other chains that have been proposed in the Multichain repository.
  3. Expansion of the core shard to include new members and nodes, beginning the next steps on the road to decentralisation.
  4. Introduction of shard rotation to split and periodically move total value locked.
  5. Continued experimentation with minting and burning fees."

"We are more confident than ever that, in Q2, we will be taking the next step towards phase zero, where the Greycore will be responsible for consensus and, eventually, execution."

  • From their blog (28-5-2021):

"The Greycore is finally underway and will be rolled out throughout 2021 and 2022. We will intentionally take this slow in order to ensure fund safety as that is paramount to all else. Greycore Testnet will be going public in the coming week so stay tuned!"

 Usage

  • From Our Network (13-11-2021):

"Cumulative volume transacted via RenVM has reached $8.76B. Ren charges mint and burn fees on this volume so, while mint value has fallen in recent weeks, Ren can still capture value. Revenue composition shows ~98% of protocol income is associated with users minting/burning a single asset — BTC."

  • With over 2.3 billion in total volume to date (28-1-2021).
  • From their September update (25-9-2020): Total Volume Transacted (TVT): $810,719,257. Total Volume Locked (TVL):$224,675,318.
  • From their blog (28-8-2020): "RenVM has moved $350M+ in volume between chains, with $110M+ total value locked."

Integrations

Projects that use or built on it

  • From its July update (28-7-2020):

"Loopring x Ren; If you haven’t already, check out our incentivized $renBTC-USDT Liquidity Mining on Loopring Exchange here. It’s a great way to put your BTC to work and just one of the many examples of DeFi x RenVM composability.

Kyber x Ren; $renBTC is accessible through KyberSwap, along with other DApps and platforms that are powered by Kyber’s on-chain liquidity protocol. Check it out here.

0x x Matcha x Ren; This collaboration provides deep $renBTC liquidity throughout the 0x Ecosystem, paired with one of the best user experiences in DeFi thanks to Matcha 🍵. Check it out here.

Aave x Ren; You can now lend and borrow $REN via the Aave Market. Check it out here.

Polkadot x Acala x Ren; Ren will be bringing $BTC to the Polkadot Ecosystem. Check it out here.

Bancor x Ren; $REN and $renBTC will be some of the first Bancor V2 Launch Pools. Check it out here.

Synthetix x Ren; $REN is on Synthetix's new binary options trading feature. Check it out here.

Binance x Ren; Binance Enables Isolated Margin Trading for $REN. Check it out here.

yEarn Finance x Ren; With credit delegation, individuals can soon farm yield with $REN. Check it out here.

0CF x Ren; 0confirmation Introduces Smart Finality which will use RenVM. Check it out here.

Chainlink x Ren; Chainlink’s REN/ETH Price Reference Feed is live on Mainnet. Developers utilizing $REN in their dApp now have access to a secure and reliable price oracle. Check it out here.

Pillar x Ren; With Pillar Wallet, we’ll be developing an in-app version of WBTC Cafe. While it is still a work in progress, the collab has already enabled WalletConnect support for WBTC Cafe. Check it out here."

Competition

Pros and Cons

Pros

"As it compares to other stake-based systems, REN is unique in the sense that rewards are paid in the form of transferred tokens and DAI. Taking this a step further, this means that darknode operators are paid in the form of something like BTC, ETH or XTZ, rather than being compensated in the form of REN tokens. As a result, REN’s staking system does not suffer from the inherent sell pressure resulting from validators looking to capitalize on their rewards. Instead, sell pressure from rewards is put on whichever blockchain garners the most traction, likely Bitcoin. Seeing as Bitcoin has much stronger buy-side pressure than that of REN, it’s safe to assume that validators will be able to capitalize on reward redemptions with little to no slippage.
Secondly, the high staking requirement (100,000 REN) necessary to host a darknode ensures that security of the network will be governed by high profile parties. This drastically reduces the chance for malicious actors to game the system as the initial bond requires a significant amount of capital. Furthermore, this staking requirement effectively removes REN from the circulating supply while the darknode is operational. As such, in the event that darknode’s become profitable in the medium term, it can be expected that scarcity will have an advantageous effect on the token price at large."

  1. "Dark Nodes need to just hold a certain amount of REN tokens rather than having the same collateral value.
  2. Since nodes aren’t over collateralised this makes it cheaper to bring an asset from another chain to Ethereum and vice versa
  3. Users can deposit any amount of BTC, not confined to “slots”"
  • From Hackernoon (16-1-2021):
  1. "Multi collateral lending, where users can utilize their existing non-custodial smart contracts as collateral for cross-chain assets
  2. Enables cross-chain OTC trading with the large volume traders not facing high risks of untrustworthy trade counterparties
  3. Allows users to take cross-chain assets to their decentralized exchanges"

Cons

"The existing market for cross-chain private transactions of digital assets is still extremely nascent. As it stands today, the average individual does not recognize why using something like REN is beneficial in the short or long term. While there may be a number of DeFi applications interested in integrating the RenVM, the system is heavily reliant on the support of it’s partners for long term success.
Secondly, privacy and interoperability are by no means novel ideas anymore. The concept of combining the two is certainly novel, but Ren must compete with a large number of projects looking to specialize in either private or interoperable transactions.

While the advantages of having a high staking requirement were listed above, it’s also worth noting that this entry-level poses a significant barrier to entry for dedicated community members who do not have the capital necessary to become a Darknode operator. As such, we hope that the project will consider some sort of delegation system for token holders of smaller volumes to enjoy Darknode rewards via smaller bonding amounts."

  1. "The value of REN tokens could be less than the BTC held in custody. This is slightly harder to achieve since shards are shuffled every 24 hours but still worth mentioning.
  2. You can’t redeem the exact BTC you deposited since the network doesn’t actively track/store it.

What are some questionable choices to Ren’s approach?

  1. The use of Greycore making the network somewhat permissioned (members can be voted and removed by token holders down the line). I won’t say it’s a bad thing since it’s unlikely that any of the members will cheat but for the decentralisation maximalists, Ren may raise some eyebrows. Conversely those that don’t care about strong decentralisation guarantees might not care.
  2. They’re using their own MPC algorithm which is a somewhat risky move considering that these things are highly complex and only those that have stood the test of time can be trusted."

Team, investors, partners

  • Loong Wang; CTO
  • The team plans to fund itself long term by having Darknodes.
  • The team has joined Alameda and says Alameda "will be helping to accelerate the decentralisation of RenVM by participating in the Greycore early on (in Testnet and Mainnet)" (2-2-2021).

Advisors (as of 8-2019)

Funding

  • From DeFi Weekly (7-5-2020): "Originally started in 2017 with a raise to the tune of $30m-$40m."

Partnerships

  • From REN's blog (7-9-2020):

"uUSD is a “yield dollar.” The yield dollar model is described here and the first iteration UMA pursued was based on ETH, which resulted in over 10mm in minted yUSD. In partnership with UMA, we will be pursuing the same concept but with renBTC."

Ren Alliance

  • Starting members include (2-3-2020):

First cohort of utility members: 0confirmation, Aave, Airswap, Authereum, Bit Team, bZx Protocol, Curve Finance, dDAiDeFiZapDexWalletFlare WalletFortmaticFutureswapiearn.financeIncognitoMatic NetworkMosendoPieDAORoundaboutSoda.networkTotleYOLORekt.

First cohort of security members: Curve Finance, KyberPolychain Capital, Synapse Capital, Totle.

First cohort of development members: 0Confirmation, AirSwap, BlockDevs AsiaBlocklyticsBlockpoolCoinspectCrypkitDefi PrimeDeFi WatchDexlabDune Analytics, Fortmatic, Insula InvestmentsLabrysPortal.network.

"The Ren Alliance has added 14 new members, expanding the network up to 51 firms. The new entrants include IDEX, Switcheo, Dex.Blue, 1inch, Jarvis Network, Charged Particles, DEXTF, Zerion, and others."

  • From their blog (19-6-2020), the new members are:

Gitcoin, Hodl Tree, Loopring, Maker, Metronome, Morpheus Labs, Quantum Labs, Stake Capital, VirgoX and Zcoin.

This makes a total 61 members.

(:

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