What is Ren (REN)?

The Ren protocol (previously Republic Protocol) is designed to provide interoperability by allowing people to transfer cryptocurrency across different blockchains. It lets anyone lock cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Zcash (ZEC) into the Ren software and mint the ERC-20 equivalent tokens RenBTC, RenBCH, and RenZEC in a 1:1 ratio on Ethereum.

These new ERC-20 coins can now be used in DeFi products for a range of functions, like trading, portfolio management, borrowing and lending. The original assets remain locked in the Ren software and can be unlocked at any time by paying a fee.

How Does Ren Work?

The Ren protocol relies on the Ren Virtual Machine, or RenVM, which is powered by a decentralized network of machines called “Darknodes”. These machines contribute their computing power and storage space to the virtual machine in exchange for fees, which enables the movement of cryptocurrencies across blockchains.

RenVM is a sort of trustless custodian for your cryptocurrency – every RenBTC token you mint is backed by an equivalent BTC token stored in the RenVM. In order to facilitate this and protect privacy, the RenVM makes use of some pretty advanced tech:

Shamir’s Secret Sharing – this is a cryptographic principle that divides secret data into parts held by different participants. Ren employs this process to keep private keys used in the RenVM network hidden, even from the Darknodes themselves.

Secure Multiparty Computation (sMPC) – an algorithm that allows developers’ code to be run without revealing the inputs or outputs.

Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) – this algorithm means that the Ren network will still function effectively, even if some of the nodes go down.

Hyperdrive – the RenVM’s consensus mechanism which is designed to complete transactions at super fast speeds.

Ren vs WBTC

You may be thinking that RenBTC sounds pretty similar to Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), which also mints and burns ERC-20 equivalent tokens, but there are some key differences.

Firstly, for WBTC, the BTC token backing it is kept by BitGo, a centralized custodian that holds the keys to the Bitcoin wallets, and therefore represents a central point of failure. Ren, though, keeps the original cryptocurrencies on the decentralized network of Darknodes, which are run completely by code and so can’t choose to deny certain requests.

Because it’s governed entirely by code, the RenVM network is also trustless, meaning there is no central authority that can stop you minting or redeeming tokens. With WBTC, on the other hand, users have to trust that BitGo is storing their keys securely and will honour their requests – BitGo could technically deny a user’s request to redeem their token.

Who Are The Founders of Ren? (History of Ren)

Originally called Republic Protocol, Ren was founded in 2017 by software developer Taiyang Zhang and Loong Wang. Prior to Republic protocol, Taiyang Zhang also co-founded crypto quantitative trading firm Virgil Capital and software development startup Neucode. In 2019, Zhang went on to co-found mining pool KeeperDAO.

The REN token private sale was conducted in January 2018, followed by the REN token public sale the next month, then in 2019, Republic Protocol was rebranded to Ren.

What Makes Ren Unique?

Ren uses advanced cryptography and algorithms to enable the movement of certain crypto assets between different blockchains – without the need for complicated middle steps like using “wrapped” versions of tokens.

In addition to Bitcoin, Ren supports the movement of BCH, ZEC, and DOGE onto the Ethereum network and Binance Smart Chain. Ren has plans to support more coins and blockchains in the future to ultimately connect the entire crypto space.

What Gives Ren Value?

Originally, when Ren was conceived as a dark pool decentralized exchange, the value of the REN token was as a means to pay for transaction and computation fees in the Ren protocol. Following the rebrand of Ren as a DeFi interoperability protocol, the REN coin now functions solely as a bond for operating a Darknode.

100,000 REN tokens are required to register and run a Darknode in order to prevent malicious actors from forging a large number of identities and running many different nodes. Darknode operators receive the fees generated from facilitating exchanges, which are paid in the token being converted rather than in REN coins.

Although this means the REN token has no use case other than for operating a node, it also means more people are encouraged to run Darknodes as they can earn fees in more popular cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH. This increases the number of participants in the Ren ecosystem, thereby making the RenVM more secure and scalable. So the more Darknode operators there are, the more valuable Ren becomes, thereby influencing REN price and market cap.

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How Many Ren (REN) Coins Are There In Circulation?

REN has a max supply of 1 billion REN and a circulating supply of 996,163,051 REN as of March 2021. A total of 65.2% of the REN token supply was sold to investors in 2018, including 56.6% in a private sale and 8.6% in a public sale. Of the rest of the supply, 50 million REN were allocated to community development and partners, 99 million REN to the team and advisors, and almost 200 million REN to the company reserve.

The broader supply of the REN token is restricted as the REN used as a bond for operating a Darknode is taken off the market. There are currently 1,769 Darknodes registered, which means that 176.9 million REN, or 17.69% of the max supply, is bonded in these nodes.

Other Technical Data

The REN token hit an all time high of $1.84 on 20 February 2021, around which time it also achieved its highest ever market cap of over $1.7 billion and highest 24 hour trading volume of almost $1 billion. The nodes are concentrated in Europe and the US and have so far received over $5.1 million in network fees, the vast majority of which have been paid in BTC, with others paid in DOGE, ZEC, FIL, BCH, LUNA, and DGB.

$750 million worth of cryptocurrency minted through RenVM is currently locked in Ethereum and $42,500 in Binance Smart Chain. The fee for minting cryptocurrency on Ethereum is 0.25% and 0.1% for burning, while both minting and burning incur a 0.1% fee on Binance Smart Chain. These fees are voted on by the community based on recent network volume and total value locked.

How To Use Ren?

The sole use case for the REN cryptocurrency is as a bond for operating a Darknode, although people also purchase REN coins as a speculative investment. A darknode can be set up with Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Service, and Google Cloud.

Many DeFi investors have taken advantage of the RenVM to move their cryptocurrency into DeFi applications such as MyEtherWallet, KeeperDAO, and Curve Finance – where they can earn income on crypto that would otherwise be lying idle.

DeFi projects integrate the RenVM in order to benefit from cross-chain liquidity, speedy transfers, and cross-chain OTC trading.

How To Choose a Ren Wallet?

REN is an ERC-20 token so any Ethereum-supporting wallet can be used to store REN. The type you choose will likely depend on the amount of REN coins you have and what you intend to do with it.

Hardware wallets (aka cold wallets) like Ledger or Trezor offer the most secure option with offline storage and backup. However, they tend to be more expensive and difficult to understand so are probably more suitable for those with experience and large amounts of REN tokens to store.

A simpler, and usually free, option is software wallets. These can be downloaded to your smartphone or computer and may be custodial or non-custodial. With custodial wallets, the private keys are managed and backed up on your behalf by the service provider. Non-custodial wallets make use of secure elements on your device to store the private keys. Software wallets are more convenient for making transactions but less secure than their hardware counterparts, meaning they’re better suited to inexperienced users with smaller amounts of REN tokens.

Finally, there are online wallets or exchanges, known as hot wallets, which can be accessed with a web browser. These are less secure than the alternatives and require users to place their trust in a platform to manage their REN tokens. These are best for those who are holding small amounts of REN coins or making frequent trades. Just make sure to pick a service with strong security measures and a good reputation.

Kriptomat offers a secure storage solution, allowing you to both store and trade your REN tokens without hassle. Storing your REN coins with Kriptomat provides you with enterprise-grade security and user-friendly functionality.

Buying and selling REN, or exchanging them for any other cryptocurrency, is done in mere moments when you choose our secure platform as your storage solution.

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Ren Consensus Mechanism

The max supply of REN is 1 billion and no more will ever be minted. Ren uses the Hyperdrive consensus algorithm which is a modified version of Tendermint and works even if some of the nodes fail.

Operating a node requires a “good behaviour” bond of 100,000 REN bonded into an Ethereum smart contract. This is similar to the way that computational work is used to restrict block production in Proof of Work blockchains, or the way that staked tokens are used to restrict block production in Proof of Stake blockchains.

Conclusion

The Ren protocol is well positioned to take advantage of the DeFi revolution as the launch of the RenVM is able to capture the growing demand for cross-chain liquidity. Ren consists of a network of nodes which employs some pretty advanced technical algorithms to keep it secure. This makes Ren stand out from other similar products as Ren is truly trustless and decentralized.

Ren has seen frequent developments and integrations, and although there are only a handful of cryptocurrencies and blockchains currently supported, more are planned for the future. Soon, the entire crypto sector could be connected – with Ren providing the link.

Ren FAQ

What is RenBridge?

RenBridge is the decentralized application (dApp) that allows for anyone to mint real BTC, ZEC, and BCH on Ethereum as an ERC20 token (renBTC, renZEC, renBCH). It also allows users to convert them back to real BTC, BCH, and ZEC.

How long does it take to burn (release) my assets back to the original chain?

RenVM releases the original assets after 30 Ethereum confirmations.

How to Buy Ren?

Buying REN is as easy as visiting Kriptomat’s how to buy Ren (REN) page and choosing your preferred method of payment.

How to Sell Ren?

If you already own Ren (REN) and hold it on a Kriptomat exchange wallet, you can easily sell it by navigating the interface and choosing your desired payment option.

Ren Price

Ren (REN) price is influenced by a lot of the traditional factors such as project news and developments, market sentiment, the flow of cryptocurrency on exchanges and the economy in general. Additionally, as adoption of the RenVM grows, more people will be incentivized to run nodes and hence the demand for REN to bond will increase, driving up REN price and market cap.

The current REN price is loading EUR.

The 24-hour trading volume of REN is loading EUR. REN is currently ranked of all cryptocurrencies by total market cap, with a market cap of loading EUR. It has a circulating supply of loading REN and a max supply of 1 billion REN.

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