A few years ago, cryptocurrencies were derided as a fad, and Bitcoin was called a bubble that would burst sooner or later. Those predictions couldn’t have been more wrong. As we speak, cryptocurrencies are so successful that they were the most traded assets last year, and Bitcoin was crowned the most successful asset in the past decade. What this signals to is increased consumer interest in this emerging (or firmly established depending on who you ask) asset class.
The only problem is, each cryptocurrency currently exists in its own universe. Why is this not ideal? Because it creates a fragmented marketplace that partly impedes cryptocurrencies from going mainstream. It also confuses users. With the thousands of cryptocurrencies available today, how will users keep up with each, separately?
In light of this, it’s clear that the current blockchain infrastructure needs changing. Ren is a cryptocurrency and blockchain project that wants to facilitate interoperability between blockchains. The Ren team hopes that with this, blockchains can interact with each other for the good of both the industry and users.
Formerly known as Republic Protocol, Ren is a blockchain-enabled protocol that aims to provide liquidity and interoperability (through cross atomic swaps) for cryptocurrencies. The Ren protocol relies on a decentralized network of Darknodes to provide the highest level of security for transactions and network participants. Ren allows anyone anywhere to “transfer any token between any blockchain.” That’s the long-term goal, at least. For now, only four cryptocurrencies are currently supported: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and ZCash.
Ren says: “We facilitate cross-chain trains through atomic swaps and implement proper economic incentives to ensure these trades are executed thoroughly. Compared to a centralized dark pool or exchange, the Republic Protocol removes the risk of asset theft confiscation or the possibility of interference from a malicious exchange operator. The Republic protocol is available universally and is highly transparent with regards to how the underlying protocol operates.”
Why is Interoperability Important?
While cryptocurrency was invented for the noblest of reasons, it’s hard to achieve those goals if every blockchain operates on its own, like some island. Instead, if blockchains could work together, it could provide better liquidity for traders and a more seamless, intuitive experience for users.
Ren elaborates this, saying: “Without interoperability, it is impossible to connect different boxes together in a way that the decentralized applications can benefit from each other’s liquidity and provide a simple and complete experience for their users.”
Interoperability would also help to eliminate barriers to access to decentralized finance products, enhancing financial inclusivity.
Ren’s Darkpool and Secure Multi-party Computation (SMPC)
Ren uses a ‘secure multi-party computation’ (SMPC) to protect users’ and funds’ privacy. At its core, SMPC facilitates the matching of orders while keeping the price and the volume under wraps. The idea is to facilitate large-volume trades with as little price slippage as possible, while still playing by the rules of the dark pool.
Ren has the following features that support that make up a dark pool:
- RenEx dark pool: a decentralized exchange whose price, volume and transacting parties are hidden
- Hidden order book: a book where orders are kept private until they executed
- Cross-train asset trading: a functionality that allows the exchange of digital assets across chains
- Large orders infrastructure: a functionality that allows traders to place rust raids with little or no price slippage
- Darknodes: network participants who match orders and collect trading fees
The Ren Virtual Machine (RenVM)
RenVM is a decentralized and permissionless virtual machine that powers the Ren platform. The machine contacts operations in secret using zero-knowledge proofs (protocols are methods that allow for data to be verified without revealing that data). All info fed and put out by the RenVM is completely hidden such that not even the dark nodes can access it. This enables the machine to secure private keys across different blockchains, facilitating the travelers and decentralized exchange of tokens across those chains.
RenVM has four core characteristics:
- Shamir’s Secret Sharing: a cryptographic algorithm that’s a form of secret sharing in which a secret is distributed equally in a network. To reconstruct the secret, a minimum number of parts must be used.
- Secure Multi-party Computation(SMPC): a mechanism that allows the exchange of inputs and inputs to be run without revealing the content
- Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) algorithm: a feature that allows a distributed network to reach consensus even if some nodes act maliciously
- Hyperdrive: modification of the tournament call algorithm that supports SMPC
The Ren Token
REN is the native token of the Ren network. It powers transactions by being used as payment for trading fees. It’s also used as a staking bond that both traders and Darknodes have to submit before participating in the dark pool exchange.
This is how REN is currently performing in the crypto market. It has a per-token value of $0.187840 and a market cap of $162, 747, 417, which makes it the 58th biggest cryptocurrency. The coin has a 24-hour volume of $10, 995, 073, a circulating supply of 866, 416, 516, and a total supply of 999,999, 633. REN’s all-time high was $0. 199440 (July 08, 2020), while its all-time low was $0.015394 (Nov 27, 2018).
Buying and Storing REN
REN can be purchased at a variety of exchanges, including Binance, Huobi, Bilaxy, MXC, Hoo, HitBTC, Poloniex, IDEX, Uniswap, Fatbtc, Kyber Network, and Omgfin.
For storage, you’ve got several options, including user favorites Trezor and Ledger Nano, as well as Atomic Wallet, MyEtherWallet, and Trust Wallet.
Ren’s proposition for interoperable blockchains is not a novel one in cryptoverse. However, there’s something to be said about its pioneering secure multi-party computation, Darkpool and Dark nodes technologies that hide everything regarding trades and transacting individuals, guaranteeing complete and utter security and privacy. The Ren project is one to watch.