What Is THORChain? How Does it Work? A Comprehensive Guide

What Is THORChain?

THORChain is a decentralized cross-chain liquidity protocol that enables users to swap native assets between different blockchains without the need for intermediaries. It utilizes unique continuous liquidity pools to facilitate direct asset transfers.

Powered by its native token, RUNE, THORChain provides a decentralized governance structure, enabling RUNE holders to participate in decision-making processes that shape the future of the protocol. Additionally, liquidity providers can earn passive income by depositing assets into the liquidity pools and receiving transaction fees and RUNE rewards.

Key Takeaways

  • THORChain is a decentralized cross-chain liquidity protocol that facilitates the exchange of digital assets.
  • THORChain provides a unique value proposition in the DeFi space, helping the token to surge by over 300% in the last year alone.
  • The chain has become a popular platform for swapping assets due to low slippage, a unique order book system, and an alternative to using wrapped tokens.

What Is The History of THORChain?

The concept of THORChain emerged in 20181 with a vision to bridge the fragmentation of the blockchain landscape by enabling seamless asset swaps between native tokens across different blockchains. In 2019, the team behind THORChain, inspired by the Cosmos ecosystem, launched the project on the Cosmos mainnet2.

2020 marked a crucial turning point for THORChain as it unveiled its novel mechanism, continuous liquidity pools (CLPs), which revolutionized the cross-chain liquidity landscape. CLPs eliminated the need for intermediaries or wrapped tokens, enabling direct asset swaps while maintaining user control and fostering trustless, decentralized exchanges.

In 2021, THORChain transitioned to its own mainnet, introducing major upgrades and enhancing its cross-chain capabilities. The protocol expanded its supported blockchains, including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Binance Smart Chain, and Avalanche, further cementing its position as a leading cross-chain liquidity provider.

2022 witnessed further growth and adoption for THORChain, with a growing community of users and liquidity providers embracing its innovative approach to cross-chain asset swapping. The protocol garnered recognition for its decentralization, security, and scalability, attracting institutional investors and partnerships.

As THORChain continues to evolve, its impact on the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem is undeniable. It has empowered users to seamlessly transfer assets across blockchains, breaking down silos and fostering a more interconnected Web3 experience.

How Does THORChain (RUNE) Work? What Are Its Value Propositions?

THORChain, a decentralized cross-chain liquidity protocol, operates on a unique mechanism called “continuous liquidity pools” (CLPs)3. These pools eliminate the need for intermediaries or wrapped tokens, allowing for direct asset swaps between native tokens on various blockchains.

Continuous liquidity pools serve as decentralized exchanges (DEXs) that hold and manage liquidity for multiple asset pairs. Users deposit their assets into these pools, earning rewards while providing liquidity to the network. When users initiate an asset swap, the protocol routes the transaction through the appropriate liquidity pools, enabling seamless transfers between different blockchains.

Key Components of THORChain’s Liquidity Mechanism:

  • Order Book: THORChain does not rely on an order book to match buy and sell orders. Instead, it employs a price oracle to determine the fair price of the asset being swapped.
  • Burn-and-Mint Mechanism: When users deposit assets into liquidity pools, they receive RUNE tokens, THORChain’s native token. Upon withdrawal, the equivalent amount of deposited assets is returned.
  • Slippage Tolerance: To ensure efficient asset swaps, THORChain allows a slight deviation from the fair price, known as slippage tolerance4.

The value of RUNE is derived from the various benefits that using the platform provides users. These include the following:

Direct Asset SwapsEliminates the need for wrapped tokens or intermediaries, ensuring users retain control over their funds.
Faster and Cheaper TransactionsOffers lower transaction fees and faster processing compared to traditional cross-chain solutions.
Enhanced SecurityLeverages blockchain technology’s inherent security, ensuring secure and transparent asset transfers.
Expanded Investment OpportunitiesEnables access to a broader range of investment opportunities across various blockchains.
THORChain offers DeFi users several valuable use cases.

What Are The Tokenomics of THORChain (RUNE)?

RUNE has a maximum supply of 500 million of which 300 million coins are circulating as of December 2023 according to CoinGecko5. RUNE has a market capitalization of $1.5 billion, putting it among the top 50 cryptos by market cap. RUNE offers various use cases, including the following:


RUNE is used to participate in the governance of the THORChain network. RUNE holders can vote on proposals that affect the protocol’s development and operation. This ensures that the network is shaped by the community of users who depend on it.

Liquidity Provision

Liquidity providers deposit assets into THORChain’s liquidity pools and earn rewards in the form of RUNE tokens proportionate to their contribution to the pool. This provides an incentive for users to lock up their assets and help to maintain the liquidity of the network.


A small portion of transaction fees is burned, reducing the supply of RUNE in circulation and increasing its value. This mechanism helps to control the inflation of RUNE and maintain its price stability.


RUNE is used as collateral to secure the network and incentivize node operators to participate in the consensus process. This ensures that the network is robust and resistant to attacks.


RUNE holders can stake their tokens to earn additional RUNE rewards. This provides an additional incentive for users to hold RUNE and helps to secure the network.

RUNE has a maximum supply of 500 million and offers various use cases within the THORChain ecosystem.
RUNE has a maximum supply of 500 million and offers various use cases within the THORChain ecosystem. Source: CoinGecko

How Has THORChain (RUNE) Traded In 2023, And What Is The RUNE Price Prediction?

RUNE has had an outstanding year. It has surged by over 300% year to date, according to TradingView6. This year’s performance is part of a long-term trend that has generated nearly 30,000% in returns over the past five years.

Coincodex7 has a maximum price target of $17 for 2025 and a minimum target of $5. They don’t expect it to reach a new all-time high of $20 before 2028 or 2029.

Techopedia8 forecasts consistent gains for the next few years with an average price target of $11 for 2024. By the end of the decade, they believe a new all-time high could be possible with a maximum target of $30.

Remember that crypto prices are extremely volatile, and you should always do your own research before risking your capital. Nothing in this post should be considered as financial advice.

RUNE has surged by over 300% year to date.
RUNE has surged by over 300% year to date. Source: TradingView

Final Thoughts THORChain (RUNE)?

THORChain (RUNE) has become one of the most popular DeFi solutions for swapping digital assets. The protocol’s continuous liquidity pools (CLPs) remove the need for intermediaries and allow users to operate across chains without relying on wrapped tokens. The swapping features have drawn a large user base, with the total swap count nearing 20 million and a total volume of $57 billion9. RUNE was one of the most successful large-cap coins in 2022, and some analysts expect more gains if the bull market accelerates next year.

THORChain has accumulated over $800 million in total value locked.
THORChain has accumulated over $800 million in total value locked. Source: THORChain

Frequently Asked Questions

How does THORChain enhance cross-chain transactions?

THORChain is a Layer 1 cross-chain decentralized exchange (DEX) that allows for the exchange of assets across various blockchains in a non-custodial manner. THORChain uses a unique protocol that allows for the swapping of digital assets across different blockchains without requiring any intermediaries.

This protocol is designed to be trustless, permissionless, and non-custodial, which enhances the security and transparency of cross-chain transactions.

Who are the founders of THORChain?

The identities of the THORChain founders and developers are not publicly known, as they prefer to remain anonymous.

In what ways does THORChain differ from other cryptocurrencies?

THORChain is different from other cryptocurrencies in that it is specifically designed to facilitate cross-chain transactions. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that are limited to a single blockchain, THORChain is built to enable the exchange of assets across different blockchains. Additionally, THORChain uses a unique protocol that allows for the swapping of digital assets without requiring intermediaries.

Peter Barker


Peter Barker

Peter is an experienced crypto content writer and a DeFi enthusiast with more than 3+ years of experience in the space. Previously a journalist and news editor at a leading European news sourcing agency.

Recent posts

View more