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Ravencoin: Occam’s Razor of Assets?
Benefits & Drawbacks of RVN Network Design
Occam’s razor is the problem-solving principle that essentially says “simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.”
RVN is very simple.
We don’t know if it’s correct but it is definitely elegant.
It’s a basic fork of Bitcoin. It copies the Bitcoin code base — then copies many ideas from Counterparty / Omnilayer / Mastercoin. It has a different algo. One minute block time. Limited supply. Simple issuance schedule (same as BTC). No treasury. No premine. No fundraise. No central control. No execs. No offices. Just an idea. Some code that’s been built on with more ideas. More code. A lot of people run the code and use it — those users made a network— that’s it.
It’s a trade off: the Raven model is much more simple than Ethereum or projects like Cardano. It doesn’t offer smart contracts or the customization possibilities.
I was at the IOHK meeting in Miami last week — the type of stuff Charles and his team is doing is very exciting, different and in many ways much more complex than RVN.
That’s not a knock against simplicity or RVN — BTC is even more simple than Raven (identical code without asset layer etc) — but there is a massive amount of engineering effort focused on security. Simple can be a strength.
I don’t see projects like this as competitors. I also don’t see them as competitors to Bitcoin. They are all very different ideas and purposes.
Being decentralized has advantages — but also drawbacks.
It does help make assets issued on RVN harder to censor and hopefully improves security.
The drawback is that no one can make wholesale edits or actions which could help the network. For example, there is no way to enforce trademarks on the RVN network — so there is no one a court can order to move an asset to unless the user discloses their name or is discovered.
If the network becomes large a second layer party could try to work like ICANN and solve this but it would be voluntary only, not enforceable like ICANN.
These types of issues could be seen as a drawback to some issuers.
However — some issuers see the decentralization, permissionless nature and lack of central control as a benefit.
It’s really up to the issuers. In the spirit of the Cypherpunk manifesto, RVN offers some free code, the network doesn’t know or care what you use it for.
Decentralization is an overused buzzword in crypto — it’s sometimes good, sometimes not.
Raven is experimental so there’s no certainty any of this will work.
The simple base — both code wise and structure wise — gives the project a solid foundation.
That, combined with the large network and many users, is a great combination.
It will be inrersting to see what happens next!
Common Q: Do I sound bearish on RVN?
A: Two reasons it might seem this way:
1) because I have contributed & spoken positively about the project I feel an extra responsibility to disclose risks — this is open source there are no promises and no one should expect anything beyond what’s spelled out in the MIT software license!
It’s an all volunteer project.
Is it a dumb idea? I don’t know! All we can do is find out. So far it’s cool & done as well as could be but that’s a long way from being totally proven. Even if it works it might not have economic value.
2) I give advice often and take financial advice seriously — crypto is very risky and you can lose everything you invest — computer science projects with a tradable asset (like RVN) are cursed with being tied to speculation — inevitably there are traders and speculators who place value on assets without relation or care to what the tech actually does and if it even works — someone could come up with the dumbest idea in the world and if it’s tradable it might hit a market cap of tens of millions — that’s sort of a problem for science — because dumb ideas could end up with a bunch of money and bag holders behind them. Flip side is, if the science is fair — like Bitcoin Monero Rvn Flo or Litecoin — then it should be encouraged- let the market decide value, if any. If no one asks for or raises money and the devs release all code for free then imho that is usually a good start for an ethical science project. But we still have this issue of speculation and the inevitable financial failures as well as scams it inspires.
I love raven and think it’s a very cool project- I’m thrilled some of the open source ideas I give away helped create some things in our industry. — however as an investor and an advisor I cringe at all kinds of risky speculation — lots of people have no business buying crypto — and even if you do, as much as I like raven, it is absolutely not Bitcoin — Bitcoin is much larger and has a huge network effect — the two shouldn’t be compared — and even Bitcoin is very speculative!
Be really careful
Anyway — I’m not negative on the project at all — the devs and community is amazing — it shows the power of a fair and open network
I just don’t want to be responsible for people taking foolish risks — please participate but don’t do anything that could hurt you financially.
Turn on a miner, try out asset creation and if you are a dev poke around at the code — major investment — as with ANY crypto asset is VERY speculative
Anyway — the Occam’s razor model — let’s see if simplicity does something useful
My best prediction is that there will be benefits and use cases from this tech and that it will be a valuable contribution to open source and token creation
All we can do is experiment and try and learn.