Today marks the end of another month of hard work at the Ren project. As usual, this means it is time for our monthly development update, and I will dive straight into some of the work we have been doing. But, I will also give some insight into the upcoming release of the next version of RenVM, and some of the work we have planned for the future.
Since its release, the Multichain has seen a great deal of contributions from the open-source, and this month has been no different. Although the chains coming in the next release of RenVM have now been finalised, the Ren team will begin going through these new chains before the next release to assess which ones are the most viable.
The Ren core development team has also been working on the Multichain, and this month we successfully demonstrated cross-chain interoperability with the Acala Testnet. Although Acala Mainnet is not yet live, this work brings us a step closer to supporting it once it does go live, bringing BTC and other non-native assets to the Polkadot ecosystem. We also demonstrated a proof-of-concept with Solana. There is still lots more work to do, given its unique design, but we have now been able to develop a concrete execution model that supports every RenVM needs.
What is a chain without a wallet? Not much. This month, we began developing a new front-end library — the Multiwallet — that complements the Multichain. It allows developers to use one single unified library to interact with multiple wallets across multiple chains, while still being able to fine-tune their dependencies, keeping their UIs slim and fast.
Underneath all of the consensus and execution done by RenVM is its peer-to-peer network, Airwave. This month, we continued work on the next version, bringing support for several new features that improve the reliability, stability, and performance of the network.
- Channels that persist across connection failures. This makes for a more stable connection between nodes, even when network conditions are poor, and connections are constantly being dropped/re-connected.
- Slim message formats that reduce overhead. Message duplication in gossiping is unavoidable (and part of what makes it work), but the new sync on-demand semantics reduce resource wastage.
- Parallel handshakes for faster authentication/encryption, allowing nodes to handle many more simultaneous connection attempts, and reject bad ones sooner.
- Composable connection policies for simpler, but more powerful, rate-limiting and DoS protection.
We have also undergone a larger documentation effort to begin making Airwave more approachable to new developers. Once these features are stable and tested, we will begin auditing the implementation to ensure its correctness.
Lotan is the name of our internal testing framework. The next version of RenVM comes with some breaking changes, but also new features, and of course, new chains. This month, we worked on upgrading Lotan to (a) use the Multichain for all of its blockchain interactions, and (b) continuously test all of the new chains that RenVM will be supporting. This allows us to perform continuous random testing against RenVM, over the course of weeks and months, to gain confidence in its stability and correctness.
Once the next version of RenVM is available, we strongly encourage all developers to upgrade to the next version of RenJS in order to get access to all of the new features and chains supported.
Okay, on to RenVM itself, with some exciting information about the upcoming release.
This month, we deployed the next version of RenVM to mainnet as a private release candidate. This means we are satisfied with its stability and performance, and are moving to the final stages of testing on mainnet proper.
This deployment is happening in multiple steps over the next week, deploying one chain at a time. During this time, we will be making the deployment available to the developers and teams that we have been collaborating with, and in mid-November, we anticipate that this release will be available to the general public for use. This will bring support for:
- BCH, BTC, DGB, DOGE, FIL, LUNA, and ZEC on Binance Smart Chain.
- DGB, DOGE, FIL, and LUNA on Ethereum (BCH, BTC, and ZEC are already available on Ethereum).
- Dynamic underlying fees, so that users always get the cheapest gas price that is safe for RenVM.
- State querying, so that developers can easily query the internal workings of RenVM.
It will not be possible to move BTC from Ethereum directly to Binance Smart Chain (or vice versa), or to move native Ethereum assets to Binance Smart Chain (or vice versa). These two features will be available in the next release of RenVM, estimated to be available in early 2021.
This is not something we usually talk about in the monthly development updates, but this month I want to give a quick overview of some things that will be coming to RenVM in the next few months. This overview will be quick, and you should expect a more in-depth roadmap soon, but here is a taste:
- Support for ERC20s to/from Binance Smart Chain (including renBTC and other pegged assets moving directly between chains).
- Support for Avalanche and other chains that have been proposed in the Multichain repository.
- Expansion of the core shard to include new members and nodes, beginning the next steps on the road to decentralisation.
- Introduction of shard rotation to split and periodically move total value locked.
- Continued experimentation with minting and burning fees.
There is a lot to think about in all of these points, and I hope that the Ren community (and others) are as excited to see these developments as the Ren core development team. The last 6 months have been an incredibly successful period for the Ren project: $300M+ total value locked, $1B+ in transacted volume, $1M+ rewards for nodes, the opening of our forum, the acceptance of the first RIP, and so much more. Personally, I cannot wait to see what happens in the next 6.
— Loong, CTO
Ren is an open protocol that enables the permissionless and private transfer of value between any blockchain.