Ren began in late 2017 as Republic Protocol, a cross-chain decentralized dark pool; a secret exchange where traders could open orders without anyone knowing what their order was.
During development, we quickly realized that dedicating an entire network of machines to a single dark pool — consuming their compute power, storage, and network bandwidth — did not make sense. So, in 2018, we started expanding the protocol to allow anyone to build their own dark pool with its own set of rules. RenEx was the first of these dark pools, built and supported by us, and launched at the end of 2018.
We continued to advance the underlying technology in an attempt to solve the problems that still remained. A hidden order book was one thing, and it was a huge step forward, but the protocol needed more than that to capture a true use case. End-to-end privacy was needed; from opening orders to executing them. Cross-chain interoperability was needed; integrating liquidity from different blockchains, from BTC to ZEC to EOS to everything else, and forcing order execution (in ways that atomic swaps never will).
The development of RenVM solved these problems. For context on our evolution, we highly recommend you listen to Loong’s discussion about Ren on the Wyre Talks podcast.
It was obvious that we had solved something much bigger, beyond the challenges faced by just dark pools. All decentralized finance (DeFi) applications need a way to solve privacy and interoperability and our solution could be made generic. While it solved privacy and interoperable liquidity for dark pools it also solves the same issues for DEXs, lending platforms, leveraging platforms, collateral platforms, and so much more.
This is exactly what we have done with the evolution of Ren, bringing privacy and interoperable liquidity to all of DeFi.
Privacy, Interoperability, and Liquidity
For many decentralized applications, in particular decentralized finance, solutions for privacy and interoperability are fundamental pieces of the puzzle that are still missing. Privacy and interoperability — without compromising user experience (UX) — are absolutely necessary for achieving truly decentralized applications that are secure, liquid, and usable.
RenVM serves as a privacy and interoperability layer for all decentralized applications; Secure multiparty computation (sMPC) is currently one of the only practical privacy solutions that can scale and is the only solution that allows for private computation over multiple inputs from multiple parties. Dark pools, DEXs, lending platforms, leveraging platforms, collateral platforms, and many other use cases are made private and interoperable through sMPC.
You can trust a blockchain to run your contract correctly but you cannot trust it to keep anything secret, especially when multiple parties are involved. RenVM solves this problem. You can trust RenVM to run your contract correctly, just like a blockchain, but you can also trust it to keep everything secret. This opens a world of new opportunities.
The ability to run programs in secret, across thousands of machines, allows us to focus on one of the most exciting applications of the technology: interoperability. Ren enables the most general form of interoperability between blockchains by bridging tokens across RenVM from one blockchain into another. This makes it possible to do an instant exchange between tokens from any blockchains, integrating seamlessly with existing contracts on Ethereum (and in the future, other smart contract blockchains too), without the user ever needing to worry about wrapping/unwrapping tokens or handling different types of gas.
By building Ren, there is now a method for enabling private and interoperable liquidity between all blockchains. This will vastly improve the capability of all decentralized finance applications and open up many new possibilities for these platforms to grow and capture new value.
How it works
RenVM is a virtual machine that replicates itself over a decentralized network of thousands of machines. It executes programs by leveraging the computational, storage, and network resources of these underlying machines. But what makes RenVM unique is that it does all of this in secrecy by using zero-knowledge proofs and our newly developed secure multiparty computation protocol. The state, inputs and outputs of all programs in RenVM are kept hidden from everyone, even the machines that power it.
What’s coming up next?
We will continue to build the components that make up Ren, highlighting RenEx as a first use case and application of Ren — guiding our development of the underlying protocol technology and moving focus towards building out the interoperability capability of RenVM.
The following details what we are focused on as we continue to build out Ren:
- Finalizing research into the new token economics model and beginning implementation
- Implementation of consensus mechanisms for coordination of Darknodes with the Hyperdrive iteration of Tendermint
- Building of the Ren interoperability layer and launching of the first packaged interoperable solution for all dApps
- Security and performance improvements in the implementation of RenVM
- SDKs tooling built for RenVM interaction
- General scripting language built for RenVM
We are excited as ever about what our technology and platform is capable of, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about potential integrations with our technology.
Onwards and upwards,
— Taiyang Zhang, CEO, Ren
Ren is a private and interoperable liquidity layer for decentralized finance. Freely move value between blockchains and transfer tokens in zero-knowledge while maintaining complete privacy.