Howdy, folks! ?Welcome back to the show that never ends!?
I've decided it's high time I did a Coin-a-Year on Raiblocks. This is a special feature I do to
recycle old materialrevisit past coins I've covered of special note a year or more later. I originally posted my Coin-a-Day feature about Raiblocks on this subreddit March 7th, 2016; it didn't get much attention then, but I have a strange feeling people might be slightly interested to see the difference now.
Below is the original report. I'll strike out what is wrong now, and add [bracketed notes] for updated commentary.
I'm no expert on the current state of Rai by any means. I'd honestly thought the coin was dead later in 2016; just didn't check back into it. And now here we are.
Bias note: I got a significant bit of Rai from the original faucet. I have sold a fraction of that this year but still have a lot of it. I'm biased both by holding it and from selling it.
Hello, y'all! I saw a comment pointing to this coin as being designed for free transactions, which is a core interest to me, so I decided to look into it a little bit and do a write-up. Enjoy!
Today's coin is Raiblocks (
RAIXRB), which are designed to support free transactions and no block rewards. The coins will be initially distributed by a CAPTCHA controlled faucet with an annual halving rate.
[Faucet now closed.]
• Initial creation: October 15th, 2015 
• Coin supply: 4.8 x 1012 rai current supply in circulation; 3.4 x 1014 rai maximum supply 
[XRB is the new standard base unit which was Mrai before (and still I suppose). Also, supply is distributed. So we now have about 133 million XRB as the outstanding and max supply.]
• All-time high: Not yet traded as far as I know. 
[About $37.5 or 0.0028 per CMC max so far, about two days ago]
• Current price: Not yet traded as far as I know.
[Depending on the exchange and moment, somewhere around $30-35 currently or about 0.002-0.0022 BTC]
• Current market cap: Not yet traded as far as I know.
[Somewhere around $4 billion]
• Block rate (average): Unlimited 
• Transaction rate: ? 
[I'm too lazy to find this right now. Maybe someone will chime in with it in the comments.]
• Transaction limit (currently): None 
• Transaction cost: Free 
• Rich list: ?
[https://raiblocks.net/page/frontiers.php - Top 100 own ~63%]
• Exchanges: None yet.
[Bitgrail and Mercatox have been the two main. Kucoin just added it and Binance has it in its voting which is ending shortly.]
• Processing method: Proof-of-stake 
[Above refers I believe to dispute resolution (double spend). There's also a minor PoW for send/receive.]
• Distribution method: Faucet 
• Community: New-born
[Fairly strong and growing. Good memes. Slightly drunk on euphoria currently.]
• Code/development: Active development at https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks
• Leadership: Colin LeMahieu
• Innovation or special feature: Protocol designed without a limited throughput or block rate, as well as not supporting block rewards nor transaction fees.
Raiblocks is, as far as I know, the first cryptocurrency designed from its start to not support any block reward or transaction fee. In addition, it has no block size or rate limit. Further, all coins will be initially distributed through a captcha-controlled faucet on the main site. It's a bold attempt, going against the conventional wisdom of what is possible.
Edit: I should mention a couple things. First, there is a PoW attached to transactions as an anti-spam defense. This PoW can be attached by the recipient rather than the sender as well, which means that large automated sends could be done without the PoW if needed and the recipient could attach that.
Also, the natural question coming from how all the rest of the cryptocurrencies work is "how does it work without an incentive to run a node?" The idea presented in the whitepaper is basically that operating a cryptocurrency has a lot of expenses, and most of them are paid "out-of-band", so why not have funding nodes be that way too? It leaves it open to whatever other incentives there may be, of which the most obvious are first: that there are only full nodes so far, so if one wants to use the coin, then one is going to run a node. More long-term, even after SPV, presumably large holders might choose to operate one regardless. Someday, if merchants accept it, they would presumably run one. And enthusiasts. It sounds very tenuous, and this is why this is such an audacious attempt in my opinion.
After six months running, the number I heard for the blockchain size was about 20 MB, which is insanely small, but the coin has gotten so little attention that I suspect there hasn't been significant load yet. I'm very curious to see how it will perform under load. I think its design actually makes it more efficient when there aren't transactions, because nothing is added to the blockchain (actually termed block lattice here, but using blockchain generically to refer to any cryptocurrency's core data), unlike in the conventional / Bitcoin model where blocks are being generated whether or not there are transactions in them. Of course that doesn't matter much when there are tons of transactions, as on Bitcoin currently, but, for instance, in Nyancoin, we accumulate tons of empty blocks all the time, where Raiblocks would just wait for more transactions. However, again, under load perhaps it could start growing "too quickly" by some metric, or eventually reach the point where it starts losing users because of the requirements of running a full node.
I think it will be very interesting to see how this turns out in practice.
[And it's certainly going to be interesting to see how it goes. So far, it's still working. Which is better than I'd hoped or expected.]
The coin is relatively young but even for a young coin it's not a huge community. But there is clear discussion and interest both on BCT and on their Google Group. It looks like a healthy start to me.
[As per my comment above: Fairly strong and growing. Good memes. Slightly drunk on euphoria currently. Seems well-intentioned generally: looking to try to have some caution mixed in and putting up a bug bounty and that sort of thing. Still has a little bit of some of the common negative characteristics in crypto communities but this may be due to growth from outside communities overwhelming the local culture temporarily more than anything.]
 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1208830.0 - Initial announcement, didn't get much attention apparently. Also, this thread mentions a built-in block-explorer with a rich list. I don't have a working client to access this at the moment but that's pretty cool.
 There are 2128 total units, and a rai is 1024 total units, so total supply should be about 3.4 x 1014. https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks/wiki/Distribution-and-Mining Distribution has been going since about November 2015, so I would expect about one-third of the initial 50% to be distributed. The block explorer seems pretty primitive; it just takes a hash. No overall stats. So I'll use that one-third of the initial 50% estimate. So about 5.7 x 1013. Note by comparison that the faucet gives 108 coins at a time currently.
Actually, this comment puts the amount of rai in circulation as 4,763,023...that can't be right, that many Mrai I think? Yeah, 1030 stated as divider there. So 4.8 x 1012 rai in current circulation.
 https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/raiblocks/PSbX_onjLfU - This topic discusses it a bit. Also comments from meor in this thread
However, I have also paid 100 NYAN for 100 Mrai. This is basically a test transaction, but 1 NYAN for 1 Mrai (106 rai) would imply a marketcap of 4.8 million NYAN, or about 0.34 BTC in current circulation. I had initially thought this was higher before recalculating with the actual amount circulating as per ; may also have screwed up the math initially or here.
 https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - whitepaper ; each transaction could be thought of as its own block if I am grokking this right. It goes through as fast as the network can handle it. There is no fixed interval or period.
 I believe https://raiblocks.net/#/block-explorer is the only block explorer so far and it only supports entering a hash, so I don't have a way to determine the transactions in the last 24 hours.
|Rate (per day)||2.11||391.02|
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THIS POST IS MORE GEARED TOWARDS NEWCOMERS OR THOSE ON THE FENCE. Not a lot of technical information at all.
RaiBlocks is the closest you can get to a “sure thing” in the crypto world, and I’d like to lay out my reasoning for that statement. I will do my best to put the case forward for RaiBlocks without putting down other major cryptos, as they all have their use cases. Anyone who thinks “Bitcoin is dead” is foolish as it is still by far the most used, stress-tested, worked on and secure crypto and the value of that cannot be overstated. However, looking towards the future, RaiBlocks is the clearly superior form of transaction.
There are no fees, and it is virtually instant. By no fees I do not mean low fees, I mean no fees. You can send $10 to and from another wallet a million times, and still have exactly $10. This allows for the very first time a crypto to be used as a real world currency, and not just a store of value. Any fee, even a small $1 fee, is a disincentive to spend and unsuitable for any currency that is going to be used for everyday purchases. Would you buy a 50c item from a corner store if it cost you at least double that amount in fees? Of course not, psychologically there is a massive barrier there. Even credit card processor fees have limited small purchases, many small businesses thus have minimum buys or add a % fee on top of credit or debit card transactions. With Raiblocks, you can send any amount, big or small, and not pay a dime for it, and neither does the receiver. Raiblocks focuses on one thing and one thing only – being a useable currency. Virtually every other “currency” is ruined by attempting other use cases at the same time. Rai is NOT trying to be a currency AND a smartcontract platform, and a place to store your virtual pets, and a quantum processor for the storage of decentralized beanie babies, it is doing one thing and one thing correctly. What else do you use cash for, besides buying and selling? Have you ever had the desire to write contracts on your bills, even though you could? Smart contracts and DAPPs are fantastic, but not in conjunction with also trying to be a currency.
The first major use case we will see, is as a medium of exchange for exchanges. When enough major cryptocurrency exchanges list Rai (KuCoin just did, Binance will soon, and I guarantee many others will be following), sending Rai from one exchange’s wallet to the other will become the cheapest and fastest way to transfer. So even before widespread adoption, it will have a major use case for transferring money between exchanges and wallets, it is simply the easiest and cheapest option. This is in the near future, measured in weeks and months not years.
It goes so far beyond that, though. When Rai is an option for a transfer, it will ALWAYS be the fastest and cheapest option in any use case, since there is nothing cheaper than free or quicker than a few seconds.
Another major indicator of its future success is its community. As I write this Rai is trending on Github, and has one of the most active Githubs besides Bitcoin itself. I don’t need to explain the implications of this and how essential it is for the coin’s long-term success. The team makes the coin (literally and figuratively) so that alone should inspire confidence. Raiblocks uses DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) based block-lattice structure, which essentially means each user possesses their own blockchain. Instead of tracking transaction amounts, the user’s chain will record balances, which means much less storage. Rai uses hardly any electricity in comparison to other major coins – which is an enormous bonus in this environmentally friendly environment. I think government regulation threatening cryptocurrency is more likely to target mining than the coin itself, since government’s need excuses and massive energy being burned is a great excuse, so I think that Rai is also significantly less likely to be the target of regulation or swept up in a new regulatory law.
Because each user has control over their own blockchain, neither PoW or PoS is used in the traditional sense to decide on the global state of the ledger. The exceptions are it uses dPOS which allows users to choose a representative node on their behalf, which outsources the work of verifying signatures and voting when there is a conflict. PoW is also used sparingly, but only as an anti-spam measure. This unique system means it is very hard to spam the network (since it’s fee free, something like this is needed) since each block requires about 5 seconds to generate. That means an attempted spammer would require a lot of computational power, while the rest of the network would be completely unaffected. We’re talking many thousands of transactions in a very short period of time before the anti-spam measures are relevant, though.
In a space where every coin or token is trying to do everything and anything (usually, by tokenizing something that is completely unnecessary to tokenize, where the token adds no utility) it is fantastic to see a coin focus on one specific use, and do it perfectly. Rai is a libertarian’s wet dream, an inflation-proof, provably fair store of value and perfectly liquid currency rolled into one.
The implications for money transfer, especially for the enormous migrant remittance industry (582 billion in 2015 and growing) are enormous. Migrant workers who come from the Philippines, Mexico, etc and send money back to their families are sending smaller amounts every week. They are being fleeced by Western Union fees, and although Bitcoin had potential for this industry, for a short period of time, now it is only feasible to send much larger amounts with $30 transaction fees. I picture a scenario, when adoption is increased (it is still so early!) where people can buy Raiblocks via cash or card in their country of choice for a small fee, and send it back to their families FOR FREE and instantly, who can then choose to hold and sell when needed or cash out instantly. Not much infrastructure is needed to make this dream a reality.
Arbitrage will also be a major use case when Rai adoption is increased. Is there a price difference in any nonphysical product or commodity between countries? With Rai, that difference can be taken advantage of in a short period of time. Price differences between exchanges in different countries are often enormous, but with no fees and a few second transaction time, as long as both exchanges accept Rai that gap can be almost instantly leveraged for profit bringing perfect pricing to imperfect markets.
No fees allow the option for countless use cases that have never been considered before for any sort of electronic money, including fiat. There was a recent post on /raiblocks that made me smile, about a father using Rai for his son’s allowance. Think about it – if you want to give your child a few dollars here and there, while also being able to see how and where he spends it, what other option is there? A bank transfer for a few dollars would be absurd, and simply giving cash would require you to have perfect change (for example he gets two dollars for taking out the garbage, but you have two $5’s and a $20). Absolutely not for everyone, however for many people this is the perfect option. In this case the father is also teaching his son about the markets, about online security, probably a little about technology, and the importance of saving and investing. Speaking of that, how about tips? In the largest consumer economy on earth many people are paid majority in tips, which are often cash only. You can’t tip the doorman a few bucks with card, and many people including myself have had to shell out $5 or even $20 since they didn’t have dollar bills. Raiblocks is finally a cryptocurrency that is not just amazing because it is decentralized, because you truly own it and not the bank, but all that and it is more CONVENIENT. The only limit is adoption.
Raiblocks brings all the positives of cash and bank accounts, combined, and does each BETTER. It’s that simple.
edit: Since this seems to be taking off, I should mention this is from the twentyfiveeagles.com newsletter. twentyfiveeagles.com free sign up, great info.
edit edit: Also you get a free intro-to-crypto welcome guide/epub when you sign up via email, I've read it and only worth it if you're a total noob if not just enjoy the content don't bother reading.
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