THORChain is a decentralized liquidity protocol that allows users to swap assets in a permissionless setting. It enables the exchange of native layer-1 assets like BTC by acting as a vault manager. To secure its network, THORChain uses Tendermint and Cosmos-SDK. It also utilizes Threshold Signature Schemes (TSS) for its leaderless primary vault.
How does THORChain work?
There are four key types of users in the THORChain ecosystem:
- Swappers who use liquidity pools to swap assets.
- Liquidity providers who add liquidity to pools and earn rewards.
- Node operators who provide bonds and are paid to secure the system.
- Traders who monitor and rebalance pools with the intention of making profits.
Unlike other cross-chain protocols, THORChain doesn’t wrap assets before swapping. Instead, it uses native assets on THORChain to perform autonomous, transparent asset swaps.
Node operators, called THORNodes, are independent and communicate with each other to form a cross-chain swapping network. In exchange for securing the network, they will receive rewards in the form of fees for every swap made. Before becoming a node operator, a user has to provide a bond of RUNE. These bonds are held as collateral to ensure that node operators behave in the best interest of THORChain. The total bonded needs to be twice as big as the RUNE pooled.
During an asset swap, swappers will send their assets to THORChain and receive another asset. For instance, when swapping BTC to ETH, swappers will send their BTC to THORChain. When BTC enters the network, there will be a BTC to RUNE swap and then a RUNE to ETH swap. ETH will then be sent to the swapper from a THORChain vault. This process allows THORChain to perform native swaps without wrapping assets.
With this liquidity pool model, THORChain is able to determine how much any asset is worth in any other asset simply by using pool balances. In effect, THORChain acts as a vault manager that monitors deposits and withdrawals while using pool ratios to price assets. This helps create decentralized liquidity, removing centralized intermediaries.
What makes THORChain unique?
THORChain is a DEX that doesn’t require wrapping for asset swaps. Other benefits of THORChain include:
Swappers and traders
Have the ability to swap layer-1 native assets across multiple blockchains.
Are not required to be registered – anyone can send a transaction and THORChain will execute the swap.
Do not need to wrap their assets – THORChain uses its vaults of native assets to perform swaps.
Can access transparent, fair prices without relying on centralized third parties or oracles.
Enjoy liquidity on demand at any time.
Earn yield on idle assets like native BTC, ETH, BNB, and LUNA.
- Enjoy impermanent loss (IL) protection of up to 100% after they have been in the pool for 100 days.
Not subjected to lock-in periods.
Not required to be registered.
Do not have to deal with third-parties.
Earn rewards when they secure the network.
Encouraged to remain anonymous to increase decentralization.
Not required to be registered.
What is RUNE?
RUNE is the native coin of THORChain. Within the network, it acts as a base pair for users to swap RUNE for any other supported asset. It has a supply of 500 million and four main use cases: settlement, security, governance and incentives.
RUNE as a settlement asset
RUNE is the settlement asset for all liquidity pools, facilitating swaps between two pools. A 1:1 ratio of RUNE:ASSET is required for each pool. For example, a pool with $100,000 in BTC will need to hold $100,000 worth of RUNE.
RUNE for security
To ensure security, node operators have to bond twice as many RUNE as the amount they added to a pool. The RUNE bonds are held as collateral to ensure that the node operators behave in the best interest of the network.
RUNE for governance
RUNE token holders can choose which asset or chain they want to give priority to. They do so by voting with their liquidity. For instance, a pool that has the most RUNE committed will enjoy higher priority.
RUNE for incentives
Block rewards and swap fees are paid to liquidity providers and node operators in RUNE on a set emission schedule. RUNE can also be used to pay for gas fees.
The smallest denomination of RUNE, called a Tor, is eight decimal points. RUNE aims to move towards a predictable deterministic value. By design, RUNE’s market cap should be minimally three times the total value of non-RUNE assets in the ecosystem’s liquidity pools.
How to buy RUNE on Binance?
You can buy RUNE on cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance.