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logoREN (ex-Republic Protocol) (REN)

A Protocol For Inter-Blockchain Liquidity.
  • REN (formerly Republic Protocol) is a protocol aiming to provide access to inter-blockchain liquidity for all decentralized applications. In short, the project attempts to bring Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and other crypto-assets (e.g., ZCash) onto Ethereum dApps.
  • At its core, REN relies on the RenVM, a trustless and decentralized virtual machine. RenVM serves as the engine that powers Ren. RenVM has four core characteristics:
    • Shamir's Secret Sharing: a form of secret sharing, where a secret is divided into parts, giving each participant its own unique part. In Ren, Shamir's Secret Sharing represents the key foundation of the protocol to keep the data secret.
    • Secure Multi-Party Computation (sMPC): a mechanism that allows "untrusted Darknodes" to run scripts without revealing their inputs or outputs to any party.
    • Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) algorithm: a set of network consensus rules that allows the network to work properly even when some nodes are acting maliciously.
    • Hyperdrive: a modified version of the Tendermint consensus algorithm designed specifically for sharding and sMPC.
  • The project attempts to expand the capability of existing dApps, and to create entirely new business cases within the decentralized world (e.g., addition of new collaterals for DeFi applications). The REN token is used as a bond to run a Darknode, which powers the sMPC network (RenVM). The decentralized network of Darknodes is permissionless, but a bond of 100,000 REN tokens is required to register and run a Darknode to prevent attacks.

This project report is from December 2018.

1. What is Republic Network (REN)?

Republic Protocol is a decentralized dark pool protocol for trading large volumes of digital assets.

Republic Protocol utilizes secure multi-party computation ("sMPC") to match orders without exposing the price or volumes of the orders. The Project aims to have its dark pool exchanges support large volume trades, with minimal price slippage and market impact while adhering to the rules of the dark pool.

The Republic Protocol has various features that contribute to its decentralized dark pool ecosystem as highlighted below:

  • RenEx dark pool: Decentralized dark pool exchange.
  • Hidden order book: Private orders until execution for large amounts of tokens.
  • Cross-chain asset trading: Trade digital assets cross-chain.
  • Infrastructure for large orders: Place large trades with minimal market impact and price slippage.
  • Darknodes: Nodes that match order fragments and collect trading fees as order matching and settling rewards.

Republic Protocol launched its mainnet beta in Sep 2018, with the project team running all 24 Darknodes on the platform.

As of 23 Nov 2018, 1,229 transactions have been processed since the launch of the mainnet beta, averaging 21 transactions processed per day.

The project's mission is to build a fair means of exchange for the financial tools and digital assets of the future.

2. Economics and supply

2.1 Key metrics

Token NameREN
Token TypeERC-20
Private Sale Allocation56.6% of tokens
Private Sale Token Price$0.0513
Private Sale Date (Completed)28 Jan 2018
Private Sale Amount Raised$28,950,000 (30,000 ETH)
Public Sale Allocation8.6% of Tokens
Public Sale Price$0.0561
Public Sale Date2 Feb 2018
Public Sale Amount Raised$4,825,000 [5,000 ETH]

2.2 REN token overview

The REN token is currently used as means of payment for trading fees on the RenEX mainnet beta. REN will also be used as a bond that traders and Darknodes have to stake in order to participate in the RenEx Dark Pool exchange.

REN token sale

  • Private sale: it was conductedon 28 Jan 2018 for 565,988,000 REN at a rate of 18,025 REN = 1 ETH and raised a total of 30,000 ETH (~$28,950,000) at ~$0.0513 per token, selling 56.6% of the total token supply.
  • Public sale: it was conductedon 2 Feb 2018 for 86,000,000 REN at a rate of 17,200 = 1 ETH and raised a total of 5,000 ETH (~$4,825,000) at ~$0.05610 per token, selling 8.6% of the total token supply.

Token supply breakdown

  • Private Sale tokens all unlocked 17 Feb 2018 (565,988,000 REN).
  • Public Sale tokens all unlocked 17 Feb 2018 (86,000,000 REN).
  • Community development & partners tokens all unlocked 17 Feb 2018 (50,000,000 REN).
  • Team and advisors tokens will begin unlocking in Feb 2019, vesting every 4 months until Feb 2020 (99,000,000 REN).
  • Company reserve tokens all unlocked 17 Feb 2018 (199,012,000 REN).
REN token supply breakdown

2.3 Token governance and use of funds

As of 23 Nov 2018, 90% of funds have been used for hiring developers and marketing staff. The remaining 10% has been for legal, administrative and compliance expenses. Republic Protocol did not reveal the total amount used out of their funds raised.

2.4 REN token release schedule

The chart below represents the number and breakdown of all REN tokens that are and will be released into circulation on a monthly basis from Feb 2018 (Private Sale) to Feb 2020, at which point 91% of all REN tokens will be in circulation.

REN token release schedule

(*) Of the 19.9% of tokens that were originally allocated as Reserve tokens, only a portion has been sold, with the rest to be released at a yet-to-be determined future date, hence the total of 91%

3. Roadmap, updates, and business development

Republic Protocol has successfully completed the majority of their announced milestones within the communicated timeframes and has achieved some additional milestones not disclosed in the original roadmap, including the upgrade of their P2P network and the design and development of the RenVM. The Project has also released an updated roadmap on 15 Nov 2018, with key milestones through Q2 2019.

3.1 Original roadmap and achievements

PLANNED DATEMILESTONEACTUAL DATETIMINGCOMMENTS
Q1 2018P2P overlay network (for network-wide communication)Q1 2018On TimeMedium
Q1 2018REN ERC20 contractQ1 2018On Time
Q1 2018Atomic Swapping contracts and scripts (support for BTC, ETH, ERC20, ERC721)Q1 2018On Time
Q1 2018P2P pooling network (for intra-pool communication)Q1 2018On Time
Q1 2018Registrar contracts (for registering nodes and traders)Q1 2018On Time
Q2 2018Secret sharing and computationQ1 2018EarlyMedium
Q2 2018Order booking contracts (for opening and closing orders)Q2 2018On TimeMedium
Q2 2018Official nodes maintained by RepublicQ2 2018On Time
Q2 2018Trader terminals (software allowing traders to open / expire orders and perform P2P atomic swapping)Q2 2018On Time
Q2 2018Verifiable secret sharingQ2 2018On Time
Q2 2018Republic Protocol testnetQ2 2018On TimeMedium
Q3 2018Open-source reference implementationQ3 2018On TimeMedium 1
Q3 2018Partner nodes maintained by Republic partnersQ3 2018On Time
Q3 2018Republic Protocol Mainnet BetaQ3 2018On Time
Q3 2018Package reference implementation for Ubuntu and DockerN/ACancelledRepublic Protocol has since relinquished Docker support due to performance impact of virtualisation.
Q3 2018REN powered DAON/ACancelledREN powered DAO delayed until more experimentation, community consensus, and best practices have been established for decentralized governance.
Q4 2018Swapperd atomic swapper tool to bring generic token support for atomic swaps on any blockchainQ4 2018N/AIn final stages and expected to be delivered on time.

3.2 Updated roadmap

Q4 2018

  • Release of an SDK for programmatic interaction with RenEx
  • Beginning of the User Referral Program
  • Support for "good-until-canceled" orders

Q1 2019

  • Improved atomic swaps with new Swapperd app
  • Added new BTC - ERC-20 trading pairs
  • Support for WBTC

Q2 2019

  • Dynamic fee model, with rebates for market-makers
  • Support for "pegged-to-midpoint" orders
  • Support for third-party dark pools

3.3 Commercial partnerships and business development

Wyre: Republic Protocol partnered with Wyre, a blockchain remittance company developing a regulated global payment infrastructure. This partnership brings Republic Protocol liquidity through Wyre's trading desk and also enables a seamless KYC experience.

TrueUSD: Republic Protocol will partner with TrueUSD for its crypto-fiat on and off ramp. TrueUSD will also be the stablecoin of choice on the RenEx platform.

4. Product description

4.1 Decentralized order matching

  • Traders first breakup their order into a set of order fragments using the Shamir's Secret Sharing Scheme — these fragments do not individually represent a fraction of the order's value, only the separation of sensitive data regarding the underlying order. On its own, an order fragment reveals nothing about the underlying order, but when at least half of the order fragments of an order are combined, the order can be reconstructed.
  • Each node performs an order matching computation using sMPC on order fragments from multiple different orders and combines the results with the results from nodes (who are using different fragments).
  • After the computations are applied, the resulting fragments can be combined to reveal not the underlying orders, but the result of the order matching computations for the underlying orders.

Order fragments are constructed in such a way that the order matching computations can use any function, applied over a polynomial, and can involve two or more underlying orders. This results in flexible order matching computations where nodes can match orders based on exact price points, partially matched orders, and match cross pairs (e.g., BTC/ETH then ETH/REN and then REN/BTC where direct REN/BTC pairs cannot be found) of orders to increase liquidity.

network

4.2 Trade execution

Nodes race to discover order matches and any match that is found must be registered so that other nodes can see which orders have been closed. Associated traders are notified and none of the matched orders can be involved in future matches. This process is done on the Ethereum network and if two orders do not match, they will continue to be used in future matching games. Traders can specify an expiry of up to 24 hours or cancel their order unless it has already been matched. Any fees associated with an unmatched order will be refunded upon expiry or cancellation of the order.

The Republic Protocol also includes an atomic swapping protocol that is initiated between traders that have had their orders matched. Nodes facilitate passing messages (and where possible, setting up a direct P2P connection between traders) that execute the order. Traders cannot be bound to execute on the orders, due to the limited way in which blockchains can communicate. However, the project believes that by making traders post bonds in the form of REN tokens, traders will be heavily incentivized to faithfully execute orders.

4.3 Fees & rewards

Order fees

Traders pay an order fee in REN when submitting an order. If the order expires before it is matched, the order fee is refunded to the trader. Any node that participates in the decentralized computation for an order that has been matched receives a share of the order fee (the shares are calculated by evenly splitting the order fee amongst all of the participating nodes). The order fee will be variable — orders with higher order fees will be favored by the order matching nodes. All order matches result in two payouts to each participating node, one from each side of the match. The only information available to the node is the amount of REN that they will receive upon successfully matching an order.

Currently, the fee structure on the RenEx mainnet beta is a flat fee of 0.2% per trade on both sides (maker and taker). 80% of the cumulative 0.4% fee will go to Darknodes while the remaining will be kept by RenEx and used for its Liquidity incentive program (20% of the fees collected are used to incentivize liquidity in the platform in the form of rebates to market makers and liquidity providers). The RenEx fees are currently determined by the Republic Protocol team in order to maintain the competitiveness of the RenEx.

4.4 Bonds

Orders are secured by breaking them down into several order fragments that are distributed throughout the network. In order to prevent Sybil attacks and provide a simple identity mechanism, traders and nodes must submit a bond in REN before they are allowed to access the network. This bond is associated with a single identity in the registrar smart contract of the protocol and the registration status can be queried by anyone. The bond is refunded in full when the trader or node leaves the network. The bond is slashed if the network detects malicious behavior, ensuring the security of the network through incentive mechanisms.

Traders are free to submit a flexible bond amount, with higher amounts allowing a higher number of parallel open orders. The threshold of the bond will be set dynamically and high enough such that it requires a sufficiently large financial commitment from participants. Both traders and nodes will not be allowed to participate unless their bond posted is above the threshold.

The mechanics of setting the bond threshold is currently under development. The Project has plans to set a 100,000 REN bond required to run a Darknode, which will allow a maximum of 10,000 nodes due to the fact that there is a total supply of 1,000,000,000 REN. The bond can be updated by the owner of the contracts (which would also update the maximum number of nodes). Republic Protocol has mentioned that the bond threshold will eventually be a Decentralized Autonomous Organization ("DAO") controlled by voting, giving the token a governance use case as well.

At present, no bonds are required to be posted in the mainnet beta. All 24 Darknodes are currently operated by the Republic Protocol team in the mainnet beta. This serves two purposes:

  • Final opportunity for the software to be battle-tested for security and stability on mainnet.
  • Chance for RenEx to approve the first KYC applications for traders.

5. Project team

Taiyang Zhang
CEO
Algorithmic trader and software engineer | Co-founder of Virgil Capital, a quant fund with over $45MM AUM
Loong Wang
CFO
Seasoned developer specializing in distributed systems and high performance computing
Michael Burgess
Chief Liquidity Officer
Former Assistant Director of Policy and Compliance at International Coach Federation
Hugh Greethead
Community Lead
Vinnie Ward
Marketing / Graphics Lead
Noah Ingham
Smart Contract & Backend Developer
Susruth Nadimpalli
Backend Developer
Yunshi Sun
Backend Developer
Divya Koshy
Backend Developer
Jaz Gulati
Backend & Frontend Developer
Ross Pure
R & D Developer
Vincent Au
Frontend Developer

6. Republic Protocol's activity and community overview

6.1 Development activity

6.2 Social and community data & strategy

Community strategy

Republic Protocol has a global community with a concentration in China and Europe. Republic Protocol is taking a community-first approach driven by core supporters. The Project has established a REN Ambassadors program to engage with the community and produce content. With the introduction of RenVM, Republic Protocol will also engage the wider blockchain developer community.

Republic Protocol's core strategy is to grow the core user base through online channels, specifically Twitter, where they frequently receive hundreds of thousands of impressions on their posts.

Metrics and information about the network will become available to the community through a public netstats website. This will show how the network is growing: number of transactions, percentage of tokens bonded into Darknodes, and revenue earned. Real-time volume-based fee metrics will not be possible due to the nature of the private computations, but delayed volume-based fee metrics will be available.

Introduction of advancements to the dark pools, as well as the introduction of block trading capabilities, will help drive liquidity to the dark pool and increase Darknode profitability. Furthermore, the introduction of private settlement layers, private transactions (including cross-chain) will drive create more revenue sources for the Darknodes by created use-cases beyond just dark pools.

Social media channels

Reddit
Twitter
Telegram
Medium
Facebook

7. Appendix

7.1 Additional product details - demo & screenshots

7.2 Advisors

7.3 Testnet statistics

testnet