The Ren Alliance is a consortium of Decentralized Finance projects and companies that are helping to secure, develop, and utilize RenVM.
The Ren project is the latest iteration of a project started in 2017, dubbed the Republic Protocol. The team has focused on building a protocol for trading large volumes of digital assets securely, facilitated through decentralized dark pools.
Privacy is a core focus for the Ren team. The Republic Protocol addressed moving value between blockchains while keeping balances private, keeping order matching private, and keeping on-chain settlements private. Solving these hurdles remains the goal.
Ren is designed to be a private and interoperable liquidity layer for the decentralized world, powering the free movement of value between blockchains with zero-knowledge privacy features.
“The real goal of interoperability is to make it possible for users to exchange value on any chain, without even knowing that they are interacting with a blockchain,“ Ren CTO and cofounder Loong Wang told Brave New Coin. “Everything should happen seamlessly in the background.”
What’s happening in the background is based on two core features. The first is a zero-knowledge transaction layer that makes it possible to store and transfer tokens from any blockchain without exposing wallet balances or transaction amounts. The second is an interoperability layer that extends zero-knowledge transactions and makes it possible to execute trustless swaps between blockchains in secret, and to bridge tokens from one blockchain to another.
But Ren isn’t needed by the user, Wang explains. “We have opted to pursue the best UX possible, and with RenVM the user never has to touch Ren, or any digital asset other than the one they are actually trying to use.”
RenVM is a virtual machine for performing decentralized computations in complete privacy. It underpins the entire stack. RenVM can execute general-purpose programs, without revealing information to the users or to the nodes powering the virtual machine.
The Ren Alliance is a consortium of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) projects and companies that are helping to secure, develop, and utilize RenVM. “By joining the Ren Alliance, projects are helping ensure that RenVM is a robust and permissionless tool for all of DeFi,” explained Wang. “We ultimately want RenVM to be an agnostic utility that anyone can use. So for us, gathering all these ecosystem stakeholders is the impetus for achieving that goal.”
However, due to a strong developer community having been attracted to the Ethereum ecosystem, the majority of DeFi projects are based on Ethereum and use the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Even so, Wang says that most DeFi projects are aware of each other, and are open to collaborating and working together towards a common goal.
“A lot of DeFi projects are based out of the US and they have tight communities of developers and enthusiasts, where all the developers and users use all the same DeFi projects. It is a testament to the strong community that Ethereum has built, and the boon of composability; something that only gets stronger when you add interoperability into the mix.”
The Ren Alliance wants its members to focus on utility, security, and development. The projects are encouraged to enable cross-chain assets with their DeFi projects, by integrating the Ren protocol and interacting with each other.
For the DeFi projects that have joined the Ren Alliance to date, the benefits of being involved include publicity, making a contribution to improving DeFi liquidity, and enhancing utility and user adoption for the wider ecosystem.
Original members of the Ren Alliance include Polychain Capital, AirSwap, Kyber, and DexLabs. The most recent list of newly announced DeFi projects to join the alliance are Dex.Blue, Switcheo, 1inch, Jarvis Network, Charged Particles, DEXTF, Zerion, Fusem, Paytrie, STP, IDEX, Elastos, Multi, and Portion.
After a significant period in development, the Ren team are preparing to launch their mainnet in May. In the meantime, Wang is excited about being able to buy and sell Bitcoin, “without permission, without trust, and without risk. I’m obviously most worried about security, but we have taken lots of measures to ensure things roll out smoothly and in a way that we can correct any initial issues that might arise.”
“We are trying to achieve a lofty goal,” Wang told us, “but I think we are on track as best as we can be. These final weeks are the hardest to predict timelines for, but I would say we are on track; definitely opting for safety above the speed of delivery.”
To hear more of Wang’s views on DeFi, and how REN is building out the future internet, listen to his recent appearance on Brave New Coin’s Crypto Conversation podcast. Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens can be traded on Binance.