Ren, a company developing a protocol for private transactions between blockchains, has launched its core product: a network aimed at connecting the Ethereum blockchain to other popular chains.
The new network, called RenVM, will start off by connecting Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Zcash to Ethereum. The company says this will be a boost for decentralized finance (DeFi). “By removing liquidity silos that have long hindered DeFi’s growth potential, RenVM will serve as a robust and permissionless tool for all of DeFi to utilize,” it said in a statement.
Essentially, RenVM takes custody of users’ non-Ethereum assets and then mints corresponding ERC-20 tokens for those assets. The first three — called renBTC, renBCH and renZEC — are now live on the Ethereum network.
DeFi projects can use RenVM as a plug-in and add it to their existing smart contracts. This creates an interface on their own applications for users to deposit and withdraw renBTC, renBCH and renZEC. Ren says the protocol differs from similar projects like WBTC and imBTC since it does not rely on a centralized custodian.
In 2018, the project raised 35,000 ether (approximately $30.5 million at the time) in an initial coin offering. Big names including Polychain Capital, FBG and Huobi Capital participated in the round.
In a statement, Ren CTO and co-founder Loong Wang said the team also wants to support other assets, including stablecoins like Libra and China’s digital yuan.