Bitcoin is rightly called the mother or father of all cryptocurrencies, because so many tokens took inspiration from its code, made tweaks and found new applications for the technology. Ethereum is a case in point here, itself spawning an uncountable number of tokens based on its protocol.
Those two networks laid the foundation for the era of decentralized exchange of value, which has since gone to encompass securities, commodities and other real world assets. Tokenization, as this is called, is one of the prominent trends of recent times, drawing in established companies involved in traditional markets. Several projects are focusing on this particular niche and many have already made headway with tokenizing assets like gold and art.
Here we examine Ravencoin (RVN), a token that forked from Bitcoin with key technical differences. Not just focusing on tokenizing assets, Ravencoin attempts to facilitate the transfer of assets from one user to another. We take a look at these differences, how the development sees the platform being utilized and how it stacks up against the numerous other projects that are executing similar goals.
The History of Ravencoin (RVN)
Ravencoin was launched in January 2018 as a fork of the Bitcoin protocol. The launch saw no ICO, no pre-mined tokens and the entire network features no set development or management team. The project’s white paper was written by Bruce Fenton and Tron Black. Black is the project’s lead developer.
The name for the network comes from the fantasy series Game of Thrones, this origin story and the project’s mission is described in an early Medium post as the following:
“In the fictional world of Westeros, ravens are used as messengers who carry statements of truth. Ravencoin is a use case specific blockchain designed to carry statements of truth about who owns what assets.”
Although the vision of the project has changed slightly since it originally, now being more focused on other goals besides building asset solution for securities, securities continue to be a big part of the project’s solutions. Keen on the idea of the network being as open and decentralized as possible, the development of the project is overseen by a network of volunteers, and volunteers alone. Existing developers and supporters champion this feature of the project.
What are the Technical Differences with Respect to Bitcoin?
Despite being a fork of the Bitcoin protocol, the Ravencoin network differs from Bitcoin in several key areas that make for a starkly different network and token. The following are some of the most notable differences between Ravencoin and Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s block time are 10 minutes, while Ravencoin’s is 1 minute. There is a corresponding increase in token supply, with Raven possessing 21 billion RVN tokens in total compared to Bitcoin’s 21 million. Bitcoin’s algorithm has received criticism for lending itself to centralization, so the Ravencoin developers implemented a mining algorithm called X16R that they state will offer more decentralized mining.
As for network features, there will be the issuance of assets and sub-assets, along with their transfer. Lastly, the development team has made room for future changes that may include rewards, messaging and voting systems.
What Does Ravencoin (RVN) Do?
The most unique feature, which ties in with its main purpose, is that the Ravencoin blockchain allows users to transfer ownership of various kinds of assets - unique assets, as Ravencoin terms it. There are several projects, like Qtum, which takes inspiration from both Bitcoin and Ethereum to offer something extra. Ravencoin is similar in this way, it allows users on the network to deal with more assets, thereby opening up use cases.
Ravencoin’s white paper describes this as “ One goal of the Raven protocol is to create a use case focused blockchain and development effort which can create code, providing advantages for specific use cases, while contributing to open source code which could be used by Bitcoin or other projects.”
With “a fully asset aware system”, the developers believe that Ravencoin provides a lot of advantages, namely that it prevents assets from being destroyed accidentally, and allows a single native client to issue, track and transfer assets. Being based on the Bitcoin protocol, it is also well secured.
Using the Ravencoin protocol, it is possible to create unique assets without having them mined - and give them all the regular features of an asset, including a name and purpose. It is here that the purpose ties in with that of the tokenization of securities. The team has laid out a few specific use cases for this feature, including the tokenization of precious metals, currency, land deeds, shares of a company, royalties, virtual goods, loyalty points and airline miles.
Ravencoin’s roadmap splits development into 7 phases, which better detail what the project is attempting to achieve. Development has seen the first 4 phases complete. These phases saw the fundamental construction of the blockchain, ASIC resistance and asset support, RVN rewards to asset holders and unique assets. The RVN token can be seen as something of an incentive for asset holders.
Essentially, Ravencoin is attempting to broaden the possibilities of a Bitcoin-like blockchain by going beyond the use case of cash.
Arguably the biggest challenge comes via what the project considers to be one of its strong suits - the decentralized, open source approach to development. Such an approach commendable as it showcases an adherence to the principles with which blockchain and cryptocurrencies were designed, but this may not result in the most results as far as development and adoption is concerned.
That said, the project has made decent progress given this constraint. However, in the long run, there is the question if volunteer efforts alone can drive this project into widespread use. To its credit, it possesses a vibrant community.
The project does not have many partnerships to speak of, though Ravencoin has been listed on several exchanges and platforms. In fact, the team explicitly references the lack of partnerships, as seen in the tweet above - both highlighting the fact that it is a decentralized project made of volunteers and making a dig at the many projects that sound the trumpets over even the smallest of collaborations.
Ravencoin has found itself being listed on platforms like tZero (also focused on securities) and Crypto.com. The interesting part about these collaborations is that the success of tZero and the like is closely linked to Ravencoin’s success, as the two can utilize each other to grow their networks and use cases.
What Does Ravencoin Compete With?
Ravencoin’s focus on doing a few different things is both a boon and a curse. While the platform certainly seems to be going for its goal allowing users to transfer unique assets to and from one another, there are several projects that are operating in a similar space, or at least possess the technology to do the same.
Generally speaking, this kind of asset transfer can be considered to be one of the invariable benefits of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs). This is one of the several changes that will accompany our transition into the era of decentralized exchange of value.
Additionally, tokenization of securities is all the rage in the market and there are several platforms that have already tokenized many millions worth of real world assets, including real estate, gold and art, on the blockchain. Granted, there could be multiple such entities that co-exist, but it is a point to consider nonetheless.
However, Ravencoin appears to be going for a little more than just working on tokenization. The scope of this project is broader - allowing for tokenization possibilities as well as giving businesses and individuals the potential to create their own assets and develop their own use cases.
Ravencoin Price History
The RVN token has had an erratic price history, with the token quickly swerving between new highs and new lows, though it has now settled into a more steady rhythm. At its peak, the token was priced at $0.075, which last occurred in June 2019.
Ravencoin is ranked relatively high on Coinmarketcap at 41, with a market cap of roughly $142 million. Currently, there are about 4.7 billion RVN tokens in circulation with about 12 billion in 24 hour trading volume.
For a project that launched relatively recently, and is purely dependent on open source contributions, Ravencoin has done rather well in the market.
RavenCoin is a unique project for sure, partially because of what it’s trying to do and partially because it stands strongly by its open sourced nature. The ASIC resistance and mining-friendly algorithm is in keeping with its open nature, and this combined with the potential to create a unique asset and use cases from it is interesting.
As far as investment is concerned, one cannot be entirely sure of how the future might pan out. Tokenization by this point is a guaranteed mainstay of the blockchain space, but it will be interesting to see how strongly Ravencoin manages to succeed with its network.