What is RChain?
RChain is a cooperative blockchain platform that uses Proof-of-Stake consensus for faster transactions, which its developers claim make it the first truly scalable blockchain system. Since its inception, however, a lot of high-profile blockchains developed PoS or Delegated PoS (DPoS) algorithms. The cryptocurrency that powers RChain is the RHOC token.
An Introduction to RChain
Although cryptos like Ethereum and Bitcoin are media darlings, their early lead in the blockchain industry found them stumbling on obstacles of speed, security, and scalability. RChain began development in Seattle, Washington in 2016 to address these issues.
Designed by mathematician Greg Meredith (a co-creator of Reflective High-Order Calculus), this cooperative-run new blockchain platform has a lot of experience behind it.
But is it too late to the table?
Solutions like Plasma are actively addressing scalability issues in older blockchains. Meanwhile, newer blockchains like Ontology, Stratis, Bytom, and Lisk address scalability issues using sidechains and blockchain interoperability. The issues the RChain Cooperative addresses are being addressed throughout the crypto sector, and partnerships are going to be key to any blockchain’s success, no matter how impressive the tech specs.
The RChain Cooperative isn’t without partnerships though – it partnered with several Seattle-based blockchain groups, including Reflective Venture Partners, a venture capital fund seeding RChain-based startups, and Resonate, a digital music platform migrating to the blockchain.
Whether these partnerships are strong enough to sustain RChain remains to be seen. Before diving into the nuts and bolts of the project, let’s review the RHOC token, RChain’s proprietary cryptocurrency. We can look at the RHOC price, Rchain market cap and more.
Breakdown of RHOC
The RChain cryptocurrency has a total supply of 1,000,000,000 RHOC. Its peak price so far was $3.10 on January 7, 2018, but it since dropped dramatically under $1 for the majority of 2018 and 2019. RChain RHOC is not minable, instead it’s awarded as interest for hodling.
RChain held a private ICO token sale in August 2017 for qualified investors with a minimum investment of $50,000. The cooperative sold $15 million worth of RHOC (valued at $0.20 each at the time) during this sale.
The current iteration of RChain RHOC is an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. Once the RChain mainnet launches (tentatively scheduled for Q2 2019, after several delays from 2018), RHOC tokens will convert to REV tokens at a 1:1 ratio.
The tokens are used to compensate node operators for computing and storing system contracts, along with bandwidth resources. They’re also a staking currency used for consensus and validator bonding.
RChain RHOC tokens may be purchased on Bitinka, Etherdelta, Forkdelta, and Idex, and over $100k worth of RHOC is traded on a daily basis. They are supported by the RChain wallet, along with any wallets that support ERC-20 tokens.
Rise of the Blockchain Co-op
Meredith isn’t the only person working there, of course. Its board includes Alexandr Bulkin, co-founder of Coinfund, Kenny Rowe, co-founder of MakerDAO, and Ethereum developer/researchers Vlad Zamfir and David Currin.
The co-op also has partnerships with Pyrofex and Pithia Inc., along with the partnerships above. Each partner is dedicated to expanding the RChain ecosystem while solidifying its core technical development.
RChain isn’t without its controversy, however. Meredith started on the project as Chief Technology Officer of Synereo, a content monetization platform that uses the AMP token. Meredith and Synereo CEO Dor Konforty had a public falling out that caused Meredith to head out on his own to start the RChain co-op. Stories swirled around the Internet from company insiders about both projects being vaporware.
While RChain is touted as a faster solution than Ethereum or Bitcoin that’s able to scale easier, a completed project has yet to materialize. Supporters compare the blockchain only to these popular blockchains, ignoring the dozens of others that improve upon their formulas. Conservative investors will want to see real world applications before they buy RChain RHOC and market capitalization is an essential part of the process.
Detractors point out most of the development appears to be outsourced and we’ve yet to see a working product. The testnet is scheduled for launch July 2018, and once it’s up, we’ll have more of an opportunity to see how it truly works in the real world.
Even then, partnerships are going to be key to RChain’s success. While the co-op is working hard to fund startups and incubate development on the chain, it’s a house of cards without partnerships from major enterprises to fund and implement the distributed ledger technology. For the company to succeed, it needs partners in the Fortune 500.
How RChain Works
RChain got its name from the RHO calculus mentioned in the intro. This is one of its key features and is a simplified variant of asynchronous polyadic pi calculus. Basically, it allows concurrent computations over networks. It’s all done using Rholang, a proprietary smart-contract programming language.
The RChain smart contracts are processed on a RhoVM virtual machine and verified using a proof-of-stake consensus protocol (more specifically, the Casper algorithm is used). Like Ethereum, smart contracts are Turing complete, and each block has a dynamic size.
In theory this is a step forward for distributed ledger technology and proof-of-stake is a hot topic in the blockchain news right now. How that affects the RChain price at the cryptocurrency exchanges remains to be seen.
An RChain node includes the RhoVM, a Java VM (on which the RhoVM runs), and a P2P network. Each node can theoretically process multiple blockchains concurrently and can be configured as a public, private, or consortium blockchain. In this sense, RChain will be one of the many crypto projects that runs as a network of blockchains, rather than a single one.
In this respect, clients can pick and choose which blocks to subscribe to, without needing to process the entire blockchain. This is one of the features that helps improve speed.
RChain is certainly an ambitious project, but a working product has yet to hit the cryptocurrency market. It often compares itself to Bitcoin and Ethereum, but in the time it has so far taken to release a platform, hundreds of projects already addressed the issues in these early blockchains. Scalability will no longer be an issue by the time RChain’s mainnet finally goes live. It does have several key factors working in its favor though.
- The current iteration of RChain exists as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. These tokens will be exchangeable for the REV token once the RChain mainnet is launched.
- RChain uses reflective-high-order calculus to achieve multithreaded concurrent computing. It’s the basis of Rholang, the proprietary programming language run on a RhoVM environment within the Java virtual machine.
- RChain hopes to have faster transaction speeds than any other cryptocurrency and more users than Facebook, although it has yet to achieve either.
- RChain has several partnerships in place to create an incubator of startups that use its environment. Although enterprise scalability is its major selling point, it has yet to forge any enterprise partnerships.
RChain is saying all the right things, but many analysts doubt its viability in the real world, and the word ‘vaporware’ is not something anyone likes to hear, even if it may be a baseless accusation. Once its mainnet launches, we’ll know more about whether it can actually fulfill these promises and can boost the REV price with market capitalization for the new blockchain platform.