What is RChain: An Efficient and Scalable Blockchain

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Besides their numerous benefits, popular blockchain platforms such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) also suffer from limited transaction speeds and scalability.

RChain (REV) is a blockchain platform that aims to solve these inefficiencies. RChain uses a number of innovative methods from computational mathematics, blockchain, and programming to achieve transactional efficiency and a high degree of scalability.

REV is the native token of the RChain platform. It should not be confused with two other similarly named crypto tokens from the Revain and Revelation crypto projects.

RChain’s REV currently trades at $0.13 USD, with a circulating supply of around 625 million tokens, for a market cap of nearly $84 million USD.

rchain

What Is RChain (REV)?

RChain was founded by mathematician Greg Meredith. Notable methodologies that are used by the platform to achieve transactional efficiency and scalability are:

  • Sharding, which dividesthe blockchain’s overall ledger into smaller, more manageable partitions
  • A variation of Proof of Stake (PoS) with a modified consensus mechanism designed by RChain’s founder Greg Meredith
  • Rho-calculus, a computational methodology developed by Meredith
  • Rholang, a general-purpose programming language, also a brainchild of Meredith

Using these methodologies, RChain is capable of processing anything between 40,000 to 100,000 transactions per second. This is much faster than transaction speeds on the majority of the bigger blockchains. The table below shows typical speeds measured in TPS (transactions per second) for RChain and some of the most popular blockchain platforms.

Blockchain TPS
RChain 40,000 to 100,000
Bitcoin 5-6
Ethereum (the current PoW version) 15-20
Ethereum 2.0 (the planned PoS version) 100,000
Solana (SOL) up to 65,000
Tron (TRX) up to 2,000
EOS (EOS) 4,000
Polkadot (DOT) 1,000

As evident from the table above, RChain is capable of faster speeds than any of the current well-known blockchains. However, Ethereum’s planned upgrade to a PoS mode may challenge RChain’s dominance in this metric.

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How Does RChain Work?

Sharding

To achieve high scalability, RChain uses sharding which divides the overall blockchain database into different parts called shards. Network nodes can carry out transactions on the local shard instead of the entire ledger.

Since the local shard is always smaller and more manageable than the entire blockchain ledger, speed and scalability are improved. Among the current large-cap altcoins, Polkadot is a platform that uses the sharding technology. However, even with sharding, Polkadot is not capable of the transaction speeds that RChain boasts.

Ethereum 2.0 also plans to use sharding to achieve speed and scalability gains.

Variation of Casper Proof of Stake

Casper PoS is a block verification method researched and contributed to by Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s researcher Vlad Zamfir, and Greg Meredith. It is currently planned for implementation on Ethereum 2.0. In essence, under Casper PoS, blockchain users can take part in the transaction verification process by posting a staking deposit or bond.

Greg Meredith further modified Ethereum’s Casper PoS to optimize operational characteristics of the verification method. RChain considers their own version of Casper PoS as a critical element for achieving high transaction speeds and scalability.

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Rho-Calculus and the Rholang Programming Language

Rho-Calculus is a variation of calculus developed by Greg Meredith and British mathematician Matthias Radestock. Meredith used rho-calculus principles to develop a new programming language called Rholang.

Rholang became the language of implementation for RChain. At the heart of Rholang is the principle of concurrency of computations. Unlike many other languages, Rholang processes blocks of code in a concurrent rather than sequential manner. This feature helps RChain achieve its superior efficiency.

A useful feature of Rholang is the ability for programmers to immediately see the results of their code being executed as it’s being typed. This is distinctly different from other languages, where you have to write the code, execute it, and then see the results. Rholang’s concurrent execution feature makes programming less error-prone.

Rholang is a general-purpose programming language, which means it can be used not only on RChain but in any other system. However, Rholang’s use has largely been confined to RChain so far.

Who Is Behind RChain?

Greg Meredith founded RChain in 2017 under the corporate name RChain Cooperative. Meredith is an acclaimed mathematician and software developer with many important contributions in various scientific fields. Most of RChain’s functionality is enabled by Meredith’s inventions and theories.

Before founding RChain, Meredith worked in various senior industry roles, including being the principal architect for Microsoft’s BizTalk Process Orchestration Engine. He enjoys a somewhat cult-like following on RChain.

RChain has not raised any Venture Capital (VC) money, but has invested in Open Platform, a blockchain payments infrastructure developer.

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REV Price History

RChain’s native token, REV, was listed on CoinMarketCap in late 2017 and for the initial few weeks on the market, traded at between $0.10 and $0.30 USD. It then started appreciating rapidly from December 2017, and quickly reached its all-time peak level of $3.00 on the 7th of January 2018.

After reaching its peak, REV went into a consistent decreasing trend throughout 2018, and was down to around $0.20 by early 2019. The decline was in line with the 2018 year-long crypto market crash.

REV price chart
The price of REV from late 2017 to October 2021. (Source:CoinMarketCap.com)

However, unlike many other cryptos that bounced back strongly following the market crash, and, in many instances, gained many multiples of their 2018 value, REV has bounced along the $0.10 to $0.30 levels for most of its time on the market since then.

In April/May 2021, the token briefly touched the $0.40 level but then declined to the sub-$0.20 level by June. Since then, it has traded at this level, with the current price being $0.13.

REV has not been a great performer on the market all this year. It started 2021 at around $0.18 and is now nearly 30% down from that price. In comparison, the overall cryptocurrency market is approximately 225% up from the beginning of the year.

What Is the Future for RChain?

RChain will always be supported at the very least by Meredith’s own efforts. However, RChain has not yet found any resemblance of business success. REV coin’s lackluster market performance for much of the last few years is a clear indicator.

For a blockchain that boasts great transaction speeds and scalability, this is both disappointing and somewhat unusual. The key reason for this situation might be due to RChain being used more as a research lab by Meredith rather than a true business venture. A blockchain user who gets an initial interest in RChain quickly finds themselves immersed in math-heavy language on the project’s website and documentation pages.

However, adopting a more commercially-oriented approach can really catapult RChain to future success. The technical fundamentals of the platform are great, but it requires savvy marketing and a business-oriented approach to turn its technical superiority into commercial success.

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Conclusion

RChain is an innovative project that achieves superior speeds and scalability. The use of sharding technology, a modification of the Casper PoS verification model, and the rho-calculus-based concurrent programming language Rholang, gives the platform many technical differentiators from other blockchains.

However, a more commercially-oriented approach is required to help RChain leverage its technical superiority into better business performance.


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