This guide is for anyone new to Ravencoin. It will also serve those who are new to crypto. Each section is standalone. If you already know it, feel free to skip. Lots of links are included so you can drill down and get more detail when you want it.
Ravencoin’s Roots — Bitcoin and Crypto Currencies
This is a super-deep topic that can take a year to grasp, so this section will only scratch the surface if this is your entry point. Skip this section if you are already very familiar with Bitcoin.
In late 2008, a paper was published that explained software that would run a global accounting ledger without anyone being in charge. The software enforced the rules, and if everyone followed the same rules, the ledger could track a cash-like token called bitcoin with a known limited supply.
The issuance of this token would initially go to those that run software to help replicate and secure the ledger, and these folks are called miners. There is now an entire world-wide industry of crypto miners.
The miners work on a puzzle, or maybe more accurately, a global lottery where each ticket takes a bit of computing work. Once they win this lottery, they can attach a new block full of bitcoin transactions to the end of a list of all the previous transactions. Each block that gets added can be verified by all the other participants, and each one can check that the lottery winner is valid, when the miner that adds the block and gets some bitcoin. This chain of blocks is known as the blockchain.
The first instance of the software launched on Jan 3rd, 2009. New participants have joined and Bitcoin has been running continuously for over eleven years. It gained a tiny value (under a penny) after a few years, and through market supply and demand, the price has gone up and down, but now sits at just over $10,000 per bitcoin. If you want to participate, you can get a tiny fraction of bitcoin because each bitcoin is divisible into 100,000,000 tiny pieces called “sats”
Entire books have been written about bitcoin, and if you want to learn more, I’d recommend these resources to start:
What is Ravencoin’s origin?
In 2013, there was a recognition that the ledger technology behind bitcoin was working as intended, and there were several new projects put forward to track other assets. These included Mastercoin (now OMNI), Counterparty, and OpenAssets. What these had in common is that they would use the Bitcoin blockchain, and include information about new tokens that were created out of thin air. Whoever created them had to make a bitcoin transaction at the same time. Then they could transfer the bitcoin, and their new token at the same time. It was a genius idea, but really clunky because the Bitcoin software wasn’t really participating. These projects were just using a memo field in Bitcoin, and relying on the security of the blockchain.
These projects all still exist, but they aren’t used very much because they aren’t user-friendly, and have some user interface quirks that arise from trying to trick the Bitcoin software into being a ledger for something it isn’t even aware of.
In 2017, almost exactly nine years after the Bitcoin whitepaper was introduced, Bruce Fenton spoke about Ravencoin at Texas Bitcoin Conference. This idea was discussed with Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock, and Patrick offered some development resources from Overstock’s subsidiary Medici Ventures. Tron Black, the author of this document, was explaining to the Overstock corporate accountants how their Bitcoin holdings had babies, and that they now had Bitcoin Cash also. During this meeting, Patrick knocked on the glass window, entered, and introduced the idea of Ravencoin and helping out with development. I jumped at the opportunity because I had worked previously with Counterparty, and OpenAssets and knew there were lots of improvements possible by integrating the two layers.
Ravencoin Phase 1— RVN
Research began right away on Counterparty, Mastercoin, Multichain, Open Assets and a compilation of the best features of each. Most of them operate the same way, by embedding asset issuance transactions, and transfer transactions that are “carried” on a bitcoin transaction.
Since Bitcoin began, lots of other coins have been created that operate on the same principles that Bitcoin uses, but with some changes, or improvements. We decided to begin with the strongest codebase, which was Bitcoin’s code. The code was copied in the spirit of open-source and under the MIT license, and then changed, improved, and turned into Ravencoin. A new mining algorithm called X16R was conceived to prevent Ravencoin from being dominated by custom mining hardware (ASICs) and mining was added back into the Ravencoin software because it had been removed from Bitcoin.
Ravencoin was widely announced and launched on Bitcoin’s ninth birthday (Jan 3, 2018), and mining began world-wide. Ravencoin has been running continuously since then.
Ravencoin Phase 2 — Assets
The second phase of Ravencoin was adding the ability to create your own token. The work began immediately, and once it was ready, it needed to be adopted by the miners, and the exchanges. This began on Oct 31, 2018, but because there were some miners that tried to prevent the upgrade, the upgrade didn’t happen until November 5th, 2018.
After phase 2 launched, anyone can now create tokens on the Ravencoin platform. Tokens with a unique name originate when created by someone and 500 RVN are burned.
These tokens can be used for anything. They can represent an hour of your time, a pre-paid gift card, a loan, digital currency, a stock, allowance due, a stable coin, gold, art, fractionalized ownership of anything, a tokenized and transferable promise, wine aging in a barrel, a proof-of-authenticity for a collectible item, barter credits, a cap table for a startup, proof-of-ownership of a rare item, money, airline miles, loyalty points, etc.
Sub-assets are tokens that are issued by the holder of the parent token. For example, the owner of the ART token can create ART/PICASSO_PRINTS. Creating these burns 100 RVN.
Unique assets are tokens that are issued by the holder of the parent token and for there will only be one indivisible token with that name. For example, ART#MonaLisaOriginal Creating these burns 5 RVN. Check out this example that is for a limited edition print.
Ravencoin Phase 3 — Tags, Restricted Assets, Messaging, Memos, Dividends
Phase 3 added new capabilities and activated on mainnet on Feb 7th.
Tags and Restricted Assets were conceived to give Security Token Offering (STO) issuers a way to stay compliant in jurisdictions that have strict guidelines for securities or “investment contracts”. Because of the flexibility of Tags and Restricted Assets, there are many other uses, like subscription-based games and other membership related use-cases.
Messaging and Memos are features that really leverage the power of IPFS. The linkage between IPFS and Ravencoin has been very popular and opened up some really interesting possibilities. Messaging allows you to use IPFS to communicate with your token holders, and Memos lets you add IPFS hashes to every RVN, Tag, or Asset transaction. (tell me more…)
Because the willing participants are forward-thinking and can choose from many different options, there has been a bit of self-selection toward an ethos of friendliness, helpfulness, volunteerism, incentivized mining, and speculation.
Join in the Ravencoin community to learn about crypto and ask questions without getting your face ripped off. We all started somewhere in this crypto-journey, and having a place to ask beginner questions and experiment and learn really benefits everyone in the space. Ravencoin is friendly.
No Ravencoin Beginner's Guide would be complete without telling you a bit more about the Ravencoin community.
The community consists of so many people, projects, and moving parts that it will be impossible to enumerate them all here. So, I will point you to some key projects, people, and places to get more information. None of these are considered “official”. If you want to be on this list, contact me and tell me how you’re helping Ravencoin and I’ll add you.
- @Ravencoin — Ravencoin twitter
- @Pathfinder — Chief Meme Officer, making amazing memes (John Lester)
- @TronBlack — me (Tron Black)
- @OpPWN3nT_sL4y3R — Mixed Culture
- @medici_ventures — for supporting the Ravencoin platform
- @Overstock — for supporting @medici_ventures
- @tZeroBlockchain — for being philosophically aligned
- @GuardaWallet — RVN storage
- @MangoFarmAssets — Web wallet and legal help
- @ravenland_org — OS, trading, IPFS, etc.
- @EquaEvangalist — Equa Start on Ravencoin
- @blondfrogs — awesome development on core
- @rvncoin_network — Creating Ravencoin explorer.
- @RavencoinGirl1 — Superhero with amazing Ravencoin music.
- @vertbase — USD to/from RVN
- @RavencoinShop — Ravencoin Gear, Coins, Mugs, Clothes, etc.
- @ravencoinmeetup — keeping us informed.
- @RavencoinX — letting us trade tokens
- @exodus_io — Supporting RVN
- @RavenCoinWorld — Ravencoin.world
- @InteractiveRvn — RVN bot
- @haxmat— Exchange help
- @Zel_Core — Wallet including RVN and assets
- @RVNWhale — Insights on RVN
- @RavencoinUK — RVN support
- @QBTC_platform — Trading RVN
- @rvncoin — Supporting RVN
- @originalbradar — Amazing RVN support
- @bitqist — Supporting RVN
- @GetRavencoin — IPFS guide for RVN
- @E_Q_U_A_ — Building on Ravencoin
- @ArtUnits — Custom glass Ravencoin art
- @EdgeWallet — Wallet including RVN
- @_WhaleSt — Supporting RVN
- @RavencoinAsia — The most amazing meetup in South Korea
- @flarewallet — Wallet supporting RVN
- @HomeWebb — Participating in Ravencoin.
- @ravencoinnl — Amazing moderation
- @TrustWalletApp — Wallet added RVN
- @DigiFinex — Trading RVN
- @C_M_BoardGame — Added RVN in the crypto game
- @ChangeNOW_io — Swapping RVN
- @ishowcrypto — Translations to Korean
- @binance — Trading RVN
- @KomodoPlatform — Trading RVN
- @cz_binance — Supporting of RVN
- @AtomicWallet — Wallet for send/recv RVN
- @MinerMore — RVN mining pool
- @jeroz6 — Helping users and excellent moderation
- @changeangel_io — RVN swaps
- @BittrexExchange — Exchange adding RVN pairs
- @SafeCoins — RVN wallet
- @BinanceAmerica —Trading of RVN pairings
- @Cobo_Wallet — Wallet for RVN
- @RavenMinerPool — RVN mining pool
- @ProBit_Exchange —Trading RVN
- @CoinPaymentsNET —RVN merchant tools
- @cryptocom — RVN debit card
- @dovewallet_en — Wallet with RVN support
- @altillycom — Exchanging RVN
- @SuprnovaPools — RVN mining pool
- @graviex_net — Trading RVN
- @SpendCard — RVN debit card
- @CoinallU — Trading RVN
- @WorldCryptoCon — Amazing conference — pro-Ravencoin
- @BitrueOfficial — Trading RVN pairs
- @RobertBeadles — Podcast with RVN
- @upbitglobal — Trading RVN pairs
- @Changelly_team — Swap site for RVN
- @ChaoExHK — RVN trades
- @PatriotByrne — Supports this bird
- @RealBokito — Meetup site and asset explorer
- @VinsentWineApp — Tokenizing wine futures
- @shiny_tokens — shiny (trusted moderator)
- @Jeroz1 — Jeroz (trusted moderator)
- @RavenTron — me (Tron Black)
- @Scotty0448 — Developer
- @dougscrib — Ravencoin ATM (Vault Logic)
- @Ondalf — Moderator
- @pho3nixmonk3y — Core member
- @brucefenton — Bruce
- Pathfinder#0001 — Chief Meme Officer, making amazing memes (John Lester)
- shiggidy#4554 — Discord admin for “Ravencoin Community”
- traysi ⚒#9529 — Discord admin for “Ravencoin Community”
- Tron#2687 — me (Tron Black)
- blondfrogs#8615 — Core dev
- MTarget#0001 — Early community member
- Bradar#9865 — Helped build South Korea community
- Jeroz#2560 — Early RVN — Moderator
- Mango Farm#3764 — Runs MangoFarmAssets.com — Helped RVN with legal
- [Muten] roshii#6113 — Helped build RVN Wallets (mobile)
- RealBokito#8574 — Early RVN — Moderator
- push | ravenland.org#1786 — Builder of Ravenland
- Bianca_NL#8521 — Moderator
- Charlie(Raptoreum)#2132 — Pool operator and moderator
- Mrs_Delish#7403 — Miner and moderator
- Sevvy#2259 — Community leader
- Synicide#1295 — Community leader
- BitsBeTrippin#4249 — Crypto media
- PlayHard#2220 — Developer (community)
- purpletentacle#8044 — Developer (community)
Welcome to the Ravencoin community.