An ASIC resistant fork of Bitcoin, utilizing the pseudo-randomness of hashing algorithms to unpredictably select the algorithm to generate the next block, designed to facilitate distributed resources driving consensus.
Ravencoin is a free and open-source fork of the Bitcoin protocol that leverages hundreds of developers’ years of work to ensure the distributed ledger’s security and viability. Raven’s main additions to the Bitcoin blockchain include shortened blocktimes, a larger supply of tokens, user issued assets and a novel hashing algorithm designed to resist ASIC mining. The key innovation behind Ravencoin is the hashing algorithm, which switches unpredictably among a set of different hashing algorithms. This is designed to make ASIC optimization difficult, reducing what the project sees as an undesirable centralization risk.
The Ravencoin team are of the conviction that the benefits of an asset-transfer specific blockchain outweigh the security concerns of deviating from the Bitcoin mainchain. Although Bitcoin has a formidably well established hashrate, it was not designed to have multiple assets issued on it, so attempts to attach other assets to native Bitcoin transactions introduce inefficiencies since BTC must always be transferred (along with the intended associated asset) and it can be difficult to keep track of the additional assets.
The Ravencoin team developed their own hashing algorithm for their PoW consensus mechanism called x16r. The 16 in the name is a reference to the number of hashing algorithms Ravencoin utilities for hashing prospective blocks. After a set of transactions are hashed to produce a new block header, the last digit of the output hash is used to determine which hashing algorithm (of the 16) will be used to generate the next block header – this allows for an effectively random choice of hashing algorithm from one block to the next. The team expects this approach to generate sufficient complexity in the system that manufacture of ASICs at scale is not economically viable in the short term.
Anyone can issue their own token, with a unique name, on Raven in exchange for burning 500 of the Raven native tokens (RVN). Configurable parameters include the number of decimal places to which the token can be divided, the number of tokens to be issued and whether or not the option to issue additional tokens in the future exists. Ravencoin believe previous attempts to leverage the security of the Bitcoin ledger for the sake of a more diverse set of digital assets have suffered from a lack of focused design. For example, Coloured Coins, denoting additional tokens via a note type field on the transaction, carry a high risk of user’s losing their tokens since there is always the possibility of their accidental transfer along with their associated BTC.
The total supply of Ravencoin will be 21 billion and the block rewards are set to 5000 RVN. All Ravencoin issued will be mined by the community— there is no token sale or pre-mine event. The protocol reduces block rewards by half every four years, or, more precisely, every 2100000 blocks, on model of Bitcoin Ravencoin believe their asset creation functionality is suited for facilitating everything from corporate structures to tracking real-world assets. Every issuance of an asset atop Ravencoin will involve the burning of 500 RVN. This means that some 4.2 million assets being issued would imply a 10% reduction in the total supply of RVN.