It was launched on the 3rd of January 2018. A fair launch with no pre-mine. Announced by Bruce Fenton on twitter. It's a truly open source project, no pre-mine, no ICO, no masternodes, focused on building a useful technology, with a strong and growing community.
A selection of thoughts from Bruce, and the core team, about the background and future direction for Ravencoin is available in The Fenton Files
The coin aims to implement a blockchain which is optimized specifically for the use case of transferring assets such as tokens from one holder to another. To avoid centralized ASIC mining of Ravencoin the developers created a new algorithm, x16r.
What makes this algorithm unique is the order of the 16 hashing algorithms is constantly changed based on the hash of the previous block, this randomness of hashing algorithms makes it reasonably resistant to ASIC development. The developers have also stated they are committed to keeping it ASIC free and can easily alter the algorithm if an ASIC is developed.
The Ravencoin medium post explains some of the early reasons for creating Ravencoin and what it hopes to achieve.
Testnet asset functionality was launched on 30th July 2018 - further details can be found on the testnet page.
A whitepaper type document describing the background and intention of the project was published on the same date on Ravencoin.org here and Bruce posted a Twitter thread summarizing some key points of the whitepaper and growth of the project to date.
At the time of launch, the core team is funded by Medici Ventures who are owned by Overstock.com - the CEO of Overstock can be seen talking about Ravencoin in this BusinessInsider interview.
Block Time: 1 minute
Block Reward: 5000 RVN
Total Coin Supply: 21 Billion