A Radix Review of 2020
The DeFI space grew substantially over 2020 and made history by seeing the year out with a bang by recording a colossal US$15.442 Billion in Total Locked Value. And this phenomenal amount continues to grow as we speak, making it a fascinating time to be in DeFi. 2020 was also an incredibly busy year for Radix with a range of new strategic partnerships secured and great strides taken to develop our ecosystem. We look back at some of the year's highlights and if you want more information, remember there is also a great deal of information on our blog, YouTube, and in the three whitepapers published on our website.
Radix started the year with an inspiring insight into our founder Dan's journey to bring Radix technology to life after seven years of development at the very cutting edge of consensus research. This research had a simple goal, to create a product that can only be described as revolutionary. Dan's resilience and innovation resulted in the creation of Cerberus, the groundbreaking core of Radix.
Radix’s focus on DeFi was driven by it becoming evident that DeFi applications built on top of legacy technology cannot scale successfully to meet the demands of an industry experiencing tremendous sustained growth, that is still only at the earliest stage of adoption. One of the first major releases of 2020 was the Cerberus whitepaper. This academic level paper goes into detail of Radix’s revolutionary consensus mechanism, Cerberus.
If you haven't done so yet, you can read the Cerberus whitepaper published in March right now.
Cerberus put to the test
Hot on the heels of the publication of the Cerberus whitepaper, Radix partnered with one of the top research labs in the US, ExpoLab, to put Cerberus through its paces in a range of theoretical and live tests to analyze the scalability of its consensus protocol and we were delighted with the results.
ExpoLab, working out of the University of California Davis Computer Science Department, used its ExpoDB exploratory data platform to study Cerberus' performance against strict security, liveness and security parameters. The project team's reputation and rigour of its consensus mechanism are undoubtedly important in the DeFi space; however, the mathematical proof and rock-solid performance data gained was invaluable and resulted in the publication of their own academic paper on Cerberus, which you can read here.
If delving into the code is not your thing, the Ravocates program may have been more to your liking. Launching around the same time as we shared our Public Network Road map, the Radvocate program is a way for community members to contribute to the success of Radix and was phenomenally successful, with over 150 people around the world participating in the first iteration of the program.
A range of challenges in varying difficulties were set, and work is on-going for the next exciting iteration of the Radvocate program. Keep a lookout for news on this in due course and, as always, we encourage you to spread the word, get involved, and join the wider Radix community on Telegram and Discord.
RPN-1 - Drop 1 Complete
Radix hit an important milestone in May with the completion of RPN-1 Drop 1. Drop 1 was a particularly rewarding and exciting development that represented some key elements to the foundation of the Radix Public Network.
Drop 1 was also the first milestone in the delivery of Cerberus, the final form of our massively scalable, sharded consensus design. The first step was to implement BFT (Byzantine fault-tolerant) 3-phase consensus, which provides the bedrock to build upon in a functional network. In fact, check out the demonstrations in this video to see an early network in action.
2020 was also a year for new partnerships
The middle of the year saw Radix form a range of strategic partnerships with several world-class companies.
The first was Copper, who share Radix's vision of a decentralized future. Copper upholds the highest security standards and were, therefore, the perfect choice to be our custodial partner for our ERC20 token launch. On top of this, it also means that we can use Copper's custody platform as part of the Radix Wrapping Service. Each token supported by Copper opens up another gateway to the Radix DeFi ecosystem by becoming a bridge for the native Radix token and its ERC20 wrapped version which can participate in the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem.
Shortly afterwards, Radix joined the Ren Alliance alongside other major DeFi projects such as Aave, Kyber Network, Dai and several others to further our goal of providing wrapping services on the Radix Public Network. RenVM is a key enabler for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Zcash to access the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem. The partnership with Ren means Radix comes ever closer to enabling seamless bridges between the Ethereum and Radix ecosystems.
Noether DLT and Object Computing were the next to partner with Radix to develop an Ethereum-based smart contract for the Radix Ledger. This partnership will add another layer of versatility for users by allowing Ethereum dApps to migrate smoothly to the Radix ecosystem with minimal effort. Users will be able to harness Ethereum smart contracts' power, but at the speed of Radix - an exciting proposition indeed. Object Computing's proven track record of developing successful blockchain solutions, blockchain consultancy and custom smart contract development at enterprise level makes them a powerful ally as we build-up to the launch of the Radix public network.
As well as partnerships, Radix also announced a key integration with Chainlink, a leading decentralised oracle provider. This integration will give Radix developers access to a wide range of secure, accurate off-ledger data that will help recreate traditional financial services as dApps, as well as develop completely new and innovative DeFi products on the Radix Network.
To provide a seamless mobile experience for Radix token holders, August saw Radix partner with the leading mobile non-custodial DeFi wallet, Argent. The feature-packed Argent wallet gives Radix ERC20 token holders a straightforward and secure way to access tokens without a seed phrase and unlocks access to the DeFi universe. Argent allows users to make one-click liquidity deployments to UniSwap, Kyber and many others and provides access to integrated DeFi dApps such as Maker, Aave, Compound and Uniswap.
Argents implementation of a superbly usable and inherently secure wallet may well be the breakthrough in digital wallet design that draws in a mainstream audience into the DeFi space. If you haven’t tried it yet, the Radix compatible Argent wallet is available to download today for iOS or Android.
Best of both worlds
Q3 began with an exciting announcement about StakeHound, a Radix incubated platform which will unlock $20 billion in liquidity for the rapidly growing Ethereum and Radix DeFi ecosystems.
Traditionally token holders had to choose between earning rewards from staking tokens or retain token liquidity by not staking - StakeHound removes these limitations by creating stake-backed DeFi ready tokens. These stake-backed tokens give cryptocurrency the best of both worlds: liquidity and yield! Crucially, StakeHound token users need not choose between accessing Ethereum or Radix with their tokens, as StakeHound is cross-ledger by default.
With StakeHound, users can send Proof of Stake tokens (RADIX, XZT, ATOM, ALGO or DOT) to one of StakeHounds institutional-grade custodian partners. Users then receive a one-to-one representation of their original token on the Ethereum ledger, with an option for the token to be issued on the Radix Public Network set to come aboard this year.
StakeHound stakes the tokens it receives and distributes staking rewards directly to users as additional stake-backed tokens. Users can take their stake-backed tokens and use them in all popular DeFi applications, including Uniswap, Aave, Synthetix, etc., or swap their representative tokens back for their original tokens at any time.
Allowing users to enjoy the benefits of earning staking income while participating in DeFi at the same time is sure to be a driving factor in the growth of the industry.
Radix on the Messari Register
In the crypto and DeFi industry, transparency is crucial to gain both user and institutional trust. The Messari register is a well regarded and trusted repository providing factual information on decentralized projects. A fundamental part of the Radix mission is to build on the relationship of trust that has seen our community grow from strength to strength. Messari aids investors, regulators and the public by providing data and tools that can be used to inform decision making when looking at crypto/blockchain projects.
Radix’s commitment to provide the Messari Registry with regular project disclosures and updates (in addition to the measures set out in our DeFi whitepaper) are clear indicators on how Radix is creating a new digital commons for the wealth of the world built on the bedrock of trust and transparency.
E-Radix Token Launch
An incredibly exciting milestone was met in November when the E-Radix (eXRD) token distribution was completed shortly after the E-Radix token sale.
The E-Radix token sale lasted just two weeks and raised over $12.7 million from 652 participants from 67 countries. Everyone at Radix would like to once again thank our amazing community for your support in building the future of DeFi.
Shortly after putting eXRD into a circulating supply, the eXRD Community Liquidity Incentives program also launched. With 200 million eXRD being distributed, it's well worth a look if you haven't done so already.eXRD is already listed on Uniswap, and this handy guide may prove useful if you are new to the platform. It was also recently announced that Bitfinex will be listing eXRD with trading starting on January 21st 2021.
Quantstamp brings security audits to Radix
Our final partnership of the year was once again top-class. The unprecedented levels of innovation afforded by decentralized ledgers and DeFi applications are often overshadowed by flaws in smart contracts, potentially leading to the loss of millions of dollars. Radix's form of smart contracts, Components, have been designed specifically for DeFi use cases and maximise security while still allowing developers to quickly build dApps.
Any Component created by Radix will be audited by Quantstamp and will be covered by Quantstamp's Chainproof platform for market-driven smart contract insurance. This will bring the kind of confidence experienced in traditional finance and a welcome safety net for DeFi users funds if things go wrong.
Quantstamp's impressive pedigree already extends to securing and insuring some of the highest-profile systems in DeFi such as the DAI Backstop Syndicate that maintains the economic stability of a DAI currency with a market cap of nearly half a billion USD. Other customers include Binance, Crypto.com, Ampleforth, and Chainlink.
RPN-1 Drop 2
Radix finished the year in style with the completion of RPN-1 Drop 2. Drop 2 introduces a range of things needed to run a stable, secure public network and moves us ever closer to what is needed for a complete and secure RPN-1 release. An essential addition was getting real proof-of-stake running for Sybil protection. This meant that Radix had to build the ability for users to lock/unlock XRD tokens in order to delegate their stake to a chosen validator node - this is a crucial component which helps guarantee network security.
There was also the need to build the ability for the network to then correctly select the official consensus validator node-set according to the nodes with the greatest delegated stake.
Drop 2 also introduced robust synchronization between nodes, including the ability to recover from crashes and resync with the network. A new testing and monitoring infrastructure was also added, which was used in the longer-term testing of a 100 node network spread across different continents.Drop 2 also progressed with building subsystems which will come into play in Drops 3 and 4, including:
- An improved “pacemaker” – a part of the consensus mechanism that ensures consensus can always recover and proceed onward even with major network problems
- The mechanisms for applying the different XRD fees required for different kinds of transactions
- A “quorum timestamp” mechanism that we’ll need for the network to agree when it’s time for “epoch” changes – the points in time when the validator set and other network parameters can change smoothly
- Client library updates to expose the new functionality we’re building
We even got ahead on some wallet work with an improved desktop wallet and a nice implementation of Radix on the Ledger Nano hardware wallet for secure holding of XRD tokens or any token issued on Radix.
Going into 2021...
As you can see, 2020 was an incredibly productive year for Radix with a range of new partnerships secured, key milestones met and the launch of the E-Radix token. 2021 has got off to a flying start, with exciting milestones planned such as the launch of the Radix Public Network (RPN-1) and the Radix Engine V2 plus much more.
To keep up with all our technical and non-technical developments, you can follow us on the Radix GitHub page, our Telegram Group, by subscribing to our email list and following our social channels listed on our Community Page.