12 min read

Exploring the Ronin Blockchain

Ronin is a gamer's blockchain—an ecosystem forged from the Web3 space

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Published on

18 Dec, 2023

Exploring the Ronin Blockchain

Ronin is a gamer's blockchain—an ecosystem forged from the Web3 space. Sky Mavis, creator of the wildly popular Axie Infinity game, launched Ronin in January 2022. It boasts it's still the only blockchain to scale a single game to millions of daily users and process over $4B in NFT volumes at its peak.

Sky Mavis created Ronin for developers dedicated to building Web3 games with player-owned economies. Likewise, developers deploy on Ronin to gain access to its massive Web3 gaming community, which is chocked full of passionate gamers.

More importantly, activity on the Ronin chain has recently surged, helping to drive the optimistic narrative that the crypto bull market could be fast approaching.

Gaming in the Web3 Space

Web3 games are essential to the crypto ecosystem because they leverage blockchain technology to provide different features that players on other video game formats cannot experience.

These games use NFTs to represent in-game assets. That means players get to own their assets and can deploy them into other DeFi mechanisms to yield more returns. Take Axie Infinity, for example. It's a play-to-earn (P2E) blockchain game. Players buy pets called "Axies" to train, breed, and put them into battles. Again, one of the differences from traditional gaming is these assets are available as NFTs that earn in-game currency. Or, players can sell their Axies on the marketplace for real money.

Ronin's Axie Experience

As their website states, "Ronin is hyper-optimized for gaming." And much of their knowledge comes from their experience riding the Axie Infinity wave. The Axie experience and dealing with its explosive scaling demands gave Sky Mavis unique insights into product development and community building that new partners can leverage by deploying on Ronin.

Ronin's scaling solution combats network congestion and high transaction fees, which can destroy the gaming experience and send players fleeing in droves. That's why it's tailor-made for game developers and players alike.

Ronin is also EVM compatible, so developers can quickly deploy their Ethereum dApps without alterations. Near-instant transactions with negligible fees allow developers to process millions of in-game transactions on Ronin—more reasons why Sky Mavis is a leader in Web3 gaming.

Web3 Games and More

More games are always on the way, and one of the upcoming additions is ApeironNFT, the self-titled "world's first Godgame with NFTs," which is migrating to Ronin this month.

Ronin is also teaming up with ImpossibleFi to build a revolutionary launchpad infrastructure for ERC-20 token launches.

Another feature is the non-custodial Ronin Wallet. It only stands to reason that the Ronin network uses it as the primary wallet for storing RON (Ronin's native token). This wallet is available on desktops as a Chrome extension or an app on mobile devices. With it, users can send and receive crypto and NFTs without the high gas fees. Another item to check out is the Ronin Name Service (RNS). RNS is now available to claim your .Ron name.

The Ronin Hack

A defining moment in Sky Mavis's recent history was the infamous Ronin hack. Not long ago, in March 2022, the team suffered the Ronin Validator Breach. What happened is a group of hackers socially engineered their way to a payday of 173,600 ETH and 25.5M USDC via the Ronin Bridge. Sky Mavis reported that the hack was not due to a technical error. However, the damage was done.

The ensuing fallout might have rendered a lesser team wholly incapacitated. Others might have hobbled along for years afterward, never regaining their momentum. But Sky Mavis didn't use this breach as an excuse to call it quits. Instead, they saw this tumultuous event as a proving ground. The hack only strengthened the Ronin chain as they hardened their systems with rigorous internal security measures and thoroughly reviewed code with smart contract auditing by security experts.

In a way, the team feels fortunate for the hack. As pioneers, the extreme early challenges pushed them ahead of other contenders in the market regarding security threats and scaling roadblocks. Because they overcame the challenges, they've moved further along the path than newer entrants joining the Web3 gaming movement.

If you're a Web3 game developer or player, Ronin's blockchain has to rank at or near the top of your choice list. However, there are other ways to invest in its future, as we'll explore below.

Ronin's Consensus Mechanism

If you're unfamiliar with nodes, they're computers that run client software to perform functions on a blockchain network. Some nodes merely observe activity on the blockchain, while others validate transactions. Additionally, a consensus mechanism is an algorithm developers use to guarantee agreement between all nodes on a blockchain as to whether a block is part of the chain.

Ronin initially used Proof of Authority (PoA) exclusively as its consensus mechanism. PoA hand-picks validators to verify transactions and maintain the network. The positives are faster transaction speeds with lower transaction fees.

However, PoA relies on a validator's identity and reputation more than their staked assets, which are staples in Proof of Stake (PoS) networks. The most current validators can approve the addition or removal of validators, incentivizing them to protect their good reputations by making correct choices.

However, PoA gets criticized for being too centralized because it relies on this select group of trusted validators. The side effect is that the network must place high trust in said validators. Hence, malicious actors can be a potential point of failure since the network places so much faith in them.

So, to increase decentralization, Ronin integrated Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) into the validator selection process. Anyone possessing enough of the native RON token can become a validator. This situation opens up access to a more significant number of participants.

Delegated Proof of Stake

The DPoS consensus mechanism uses a distinct voting and delegation structure to validate transactions. At the same time, it retains the PoA benefits of lower transaction fees and faster transaction speeds. Here's how DPoS works: The community picks twelve trusted Governing Validators, while Ronin uses DPoS to allow token holders to help select the remaining validators.

Furthermore, DPoS lets token holders delegate their stake to a validator node and vote for that node to get selected as a validator. Approved validators receive the block reward after verifying transactions in a block and, in turn, share it with the users who delegated them as validators.

So, a delegator is a RON holder who delegates their stake to a validator. In exchange, they receive a portion of the validator's staking reward. The delegator-validator relationship will become more clear in the following paragraphs.

Staking RON Tokens

Staking is the process RON holders go through to lock or "stake" their tokens on the network. It's a part of the consensus mechanism that ensures the chain's security and functionality.

Delegators commit their RON as votes, and their voting power is proportional to the number of tokens they stake. Thus, delegators use their votes to elect validators to manage the blockchain on their behalf. Staking rewards then go to these elected validators, part of which gets redistributed to the delegators who voted for them.

So, validator nodes verify the block's data once a transaction block closes. They must also generate subsequent blocks and will earn native RON tokens as rewards for their work. Validators and delegators (those who delegate stakes to validators) share the rewards for producing blocks.

Three Types of Validator Nodes on Ronin

As mentioned, a validator is a person (or institution) that runs a node to validate transactions and generate blocks within a blockchain. On Ronin, delegators stake RON tokens to participate in validator selection and earn rewards.

The three types of Ronin validators are:

  • Validator Candidates
  • Standard Validators
  • Governing Validators

Validator Candidates

To become a Standard Validator, you must start as a Validator Candidate and then compete to become a block-producing Standard Validator.

The good news is that anyone who meets the basic requirements can become a Standard Validator. However, would-be candidates need a minimum stake of 250,000 RON and hardware that meets Ronin's specifications.

Total stake size determines which validator candidates make it to Standard Validators. So, to increase your chances of getting selected, you'll want a higher staking amount since this will attract more delegators to promote your validator. Unfortunately, validators who miss the cut will not receive any rewards.

Standard Validators

These Standard Validators help with block production and will also operate the Ronin Bridge. Remember, the Ronin Bridge allows users to move assets between Ronin and Ethereum, or other EVM chains.

Governing Validators

These are similar to Standard Validators, but they also govern the network through a process of proposals. Ronin counts Google, QU3ST, and DappRadar DAO as part of their Governing Validators community.

Staking Rewards on Ronin

But now, let's get to the good part: staking rewards! Rewards get split between the staking and bridge rewards, and Ronin allocated 180 million RON for the staking compensation and 1 million RON for the bridge.

Validators get a portion of these rewards for supporting the Ronin ecosystem. The reason for these large allocations is to jump-start the network. The goal is to keep the chain sufficiently seeded until it can sustain itself on transaction fees. But Ronin doesn’t expect to transition to transaction fees until about eight years.

Validators also receive commissions when their node earns a staking reward for delegators. The commission rate is a fraction of this staking reward.

Learn how to earn staking rewards on Luganodes today!

Let’s look at the RON Staking Rewards in more detail: A validator produces a block and receives ~2.85 RON in rewards. This number is based on ~2.85 RON per block reward as part of the 30 million total RON rewards scheduled for Year 1. The validator and delegators divvy up this 2.85 RON based on their contributions. Also, the validator gets another percentage of that 2.85 RON reward, called their commission rate.

Let's look at the formula below for more clarification (CR is the commission rate in percentage terms, and REW equals the total RON reward):

  • Delegator Reward: (Initial Stake / Total Stake) * (1 - CR) * REW
  • Validator's Commission: CR * REW
  • Validator's Reward = (Initial Stake / Total Stake) * (1 - CR) * REW + (CR * REW)

Here's a walk-through example using real numbers plugged into the above formula:

Let's say a validator earns 10 RON by producing blocks. The validator sets a 10% commission (CR) and has a total stake of 10k RON. 1K RON comes from the validator, and 9k RON comes from its delegators. So, how many RON tokens does the validator keep of the 10 RON in rewards?

Delegator's Reward = 8.1 RON calculated as: (9k / 10k) * (1 - 10%) * 10 Validator's Commission = 1 RON calculated as: (10% * 10 RON) Validator's Total Reward = 1.9 RON calculated as: (1k / 10k) * (1 - 10%) * 10 + 1

If you guessed 1.9 RON in rewards, you'd be correct! 1 RON in commissions plus 0.9 RON as the validator's reward.

Different Types of Ronin Nodes

Now that we know better how the consensus mechanism works with delegators and validators. Let's dig into the specifics of Ronin nodes. You'll recall that nodes connect and work together to conduct valuable functions such as consensus on transactions and maintaining the blockchain ledger. Ronin deploys the following types to accomplish this:

  • Non-validator node This type of node connects to the network but does not conduct consensus. It simply observes the network status and synchronizes the ledger state. So, a non-validator node can act as a gateway for dApps to query the Ronin chain for info.
  • Validator node These nodes primarily verify and approve transactions.
  • Archive node Ronin considers validators and non-validators to be full nodes. They store complete blockchain data. However, the data gets systematically pruned so the node does not retain all the state data back to genesis. That's because historical data belongs to the realm of archive nodes. They store the same information as the full node but archive the historical state back to genesis. That makes this node better suited for fast queries about historical states. While it's less vital for the average user, it can be handy for block explorers and chain analytics.
  • Bridge operator node A bridge operator node acknowledges deposit and withdrawal events on Ronin Bridge, facilitating transfers between Ronin and other EVM-based chains.

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Beware of Slashing

Like other PoS blockchains, validators can get slashed on Ronin for various infractions. Rewards slashing refers to the rewards a validator misses out on that they would have otherwise earned. But validators can also get some or all of their stake slashed for malicious behavior. Furthermore, guilty validators may face other penalties, including getting banned from the network or jailed.

The Ronin Blockchain - Conclusion

The recent spike in RON price and the growing number of users confirm that RONIN is making a comeback. The team is listening to the community and making all the right moves. And even after suffering such a gargantuan hack, and despite unfavorable market conditions in the crypto space, the Ronin blockchain is proving it can still attract many players.

Ronin Blockchain-1.jpg

But, as this article has shown, gaming isn't the only way to participate in the Ronin blockchain. If you believe in the project's future, you can also stake your tokens as a delegator or validator and earn passive income.

The most significant rewards come to a validator, but that option brings the complexities of running your validator node and the risks of getting slashed. Besides, trying to muddle through all the different node types can be confusing. You can bypass all these hassles by staking your RON on a trusted, secure staking platform. Stake RON on Luganodes today. They'll simplify the process for you!

If you hold the RON token, you can enhance your portfolio by staking to earn rewards. Leverage Luganodes' institutional-grade infrastructure to stake your holdings and create a passive income. Staking with us ensures ease of use, support, and safety while you earn, and also contribute to the security of the Ronin chain.

Learn how to stake RON tokens using this guide. You can learn more about staking on our website, and feel free to contact us for any queries!

About Luganodes

Luganodes is a world-class, Swiss-operated, non-custodial blockchain infrastructure provider that has rapidly gained recognition in the industry for offering institutional-grade services. It was born out of the Lugano Plan B Program, an initiative driven by Tether and the City of Lugano. Luganodes maintains an exceptional 99.9% uptime with round-the-clock monitoring by SRE experts. With support for 36+ PoS networks, it ranks among the top validators on Polygon, Polkadot, Sui, and Tron. Luganodes prioritizes security and compliance, holding the distinction of being one of the first staking providers to adhere to all SOC 2 Type II, GDPR, and ISO 27001 standards as well as offering Chainproof insurance to institutional clients.

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