Ravencoin is a fork of bitcoin which first appeared in 2018. If you aren’t familiar with forking, it’s the process of taking one cryptocurrency’s code and using it as the basis for a new one. It’s sometimes used as a timesaver because it cuts out the need to start building from scratch. Ravencoin’s developers were able to start with a tried and trusted mechanism and then focus on creating some unique additional features.
Ravencoin is still in its infancy compared to some of the more popular coins. Its block time is 60 seconds and the block reward is 5,000 RVN. It may be young but its transactions are processed much more quickly than those of Bitcoin. There are 21 billion Ravencoins in circulation which makes the currency a bit more usable, because users don’t have to worry about working in fractions like they do with bitcoin. Each coin may be lower in value but dealing in those whole coins is advantageous because users appreciate it, so there’s one less barrier to mass adoption.
Ravencoin’s proof-of-work algorithm (X16R) doesn’t offer any advantages to ASIC miners, which is great news for community miners. Its development has not been without some difficulty though. Although it came along with 16 different algorithms, because its developers knew that ASIC machines prefer to work on one, there was a spike in hash rate from July of 2019. This made it clear that somebody had worked out how to utilize ASICs, so the development team released X16Rv2 that October, essentially cutting off anybody who was trying to mine with the original algorithm.
Being a fork of bitcoin, Ravencoin couldn’t help but pick up some of Bitcoin’s pros and cons. Ravencoin’s initial difficulty adjustment algorithm adjusted difficulty every 2016 blocks, and this gave people of ill intention the chance to rent significant quantities of mining power and reduce block times to a high degree. When the difficulty changed to accommodate this power increase, these bad actors would then stop their activities, which resulted in stagnating block times and a network that suddenly became a lot slower than it had been before. In response to this problem, Ravencoin forked to a new difficulty algorithm, with the satisfyingly menacing name of Dark Gravity Wave. This algorithm was designed to make difficulty adjustments much more often, and its effect was to keep the network flowing.
Ravencoin has differentiated itself from many Bitcoin forks by delivering on their White Paper and actually developing the product. It’s possible for any Ravencoin holder to create assets, which function in a similar way to Ethereum’s ERC-20 tokens. The upshot of this is that Ravencoin lets you create your own token with a minimum of fuss.
You can create assets using the RVN desktop wallet, as long as you have at least 500 RVN in it. You’ll need to give your asset a name, and since names are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis you’ll probably find that all your really cool name ideas have already been snapped up. You’ll also need to specify how much your token can be divided up and the circulation figure, anywhere from 1 to 21 billion. Additionally, you can decide whether the asset can be reissued at a future date. Specify metadata to set conditions and you’ll be good to go in plenty of real-world situations.
Ravencoins which have been used to issue assets are destroyed, and this means that the maximum supply goes down. At the moment there are more than 22,000 RVN assets in circulation, which equates to in excess of 11 million RVN removed from the total supply.
You can view assets using the RVN asset explorer here.
You can make a basic Ravencoin asset unique for 5 RVN. Unique assets are standard RVN assets with non-standard properties, and they have their own unique identifier that leaves a trail in the blockchain. This means you can trace an asset right back to its inception. This level of transparency is ideal for authenticating products and assets, the uniqueness of assets sets Ravencoin apart from other Bitcoin forks.
There are eight stages of development in the Ravencoin master roadmap. With many other cryptocurrencies, roadmaps appear but aren’t fulfilled. In contrast, the Ravencoin development team has progressed to Phase 5 of its plan – Messaging. Decentralized voting will be dealt with in Phase 6. It’s heartening to see the team taking this versatile and progressive platform forward.