What Is RChain?

With Bitcoin and Ethereum dominating the cryptocurrency and blockchain landscape, it is not surprising to witness new competitors emerge on a regular basis. One of these new entities is Rchain, a new type of blockchain technology. Its goal is to provide content delivery at the scale of Facebook and process transactions at the speed of Visa. Both of these claims are pretty bold. The company recently raised US$5 million in funding to advance the project.

RChain has a lot of Ambitious Goals

The transaction throughput of both Bitcoin and Ethereum leaves a lot to be desired. This is especially true for Bitcoin, as its throughput per second is still pretty small. Right now, the average hovers somewhere between 7 and 10 transactions at peak performance, although network statistics usually hover around 3.5 – 4 transactions per second. Compared to Visa’s 3,000 transactions per second, there is still a lot of work to be done. The Lightning Network may provide some relief moving forward.

Until that happens, a competing blockchain is looking to take away the spotlight from both Bitcoin and Ethereum in this regard. RChain, the brainchild of mathematician and software engineer Greg Meredith, is a force to be reckoned with. Although the ambitious goals put forth by the team are quite impressive, it remains to be seen if their technology can deliver on the initial promise. Delivering content on the scale of Facebook while providing Visa-levels of transaction throughput at the same time is not easy to accomplish.

This raises the question as to how this degree of scalability will be provided. While blockchain technology is a disruptive innovation, it seems to be plagued by scaling issues from day one. For the time being, it remains a bit unclear how all of this will be achieved, but we do know the first software project using RChain will be unveiled in late 2018. This tool will be called Mercury and will require the use of RHOCs, RChain’s native ICO tokens.

Considering how the sale of these ICO tokens has only begun recently, it remains to be seen how much money can be raised in the end. So far, over US$5 million has been collected from multiple investors, which is a positive sign. The end goal is US$15 million, assuming the project is as successful as the team hopes it will be. Additionally, one has to adhere to some commitments when purchasing these tokens. Every contributor must commit to joining the project in one way or another. For instance, they can offer to look at financial models, run a node, or perform code validation activity. It is a different take on things, as most investment projects require no active participation from buyers whatsoever.

It appears RChain will be compatible with both private and public blockchains moving forward. This would certainly introduce a whole new degree of compatibility between different blockchains. After all, with so many different blockchains in circulation right now, a way has to be found to make them all work together in one way or another. RChain may be the solution people have been looking for, although it remains to be seen if the project can deliver on its promise.

Some people may have heard the name RChain before, as it was scheduled to be used by the Synereo project. That is not surprising, as Meredith was CTO of that project until last year. With the company’s focus on monetizing the attention economy, using RChain made a lot of sense. However, the Synereo shareholders voted to remove Meredith from the project because he could not deliver any functioning code. RChain is now being developed independently, although there are still a fair few doubts regarding the functionality of this code. Time will tell what the future holds for this project.