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What is Orion (ORN)? The Crypto Market Aggregator Explained

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A person holding the Orion (ORN) logo on a dark background.

You can probably name a few centralised exchanges, decentralised exchanges (DEXs), swap pools, and marketplaces. Perhaps you’ve chosen a couple of them as your go-to platforms. 

Now, do you ever think that you can get a better exchange rate elsewhere whenever you perform a trade? Most likely you do. The problem is, there are just so many platforms out there that it would be a daunting task to check every single one of them for the best exchange rate.

Fortunately, Orion Protocol provides a way for traders to conveniently find the best exchange rates from a great sample of exchange platforms, at any given time. In one respect, it works like a search engine for crypto prices. 

Of course, Orion does more than this, as you will learn in this article. Let’s dive into what makes Orion one of the best crypto market aggregators in existence.

What is the Orion Protocol?

Orion Protocol is a decentralised platform that is designed to aggregate the liquidity of the entire crypto market into a single platform. This means it doesn’t just collect price data from various platforms. Orion Protocol allows you to make trades solely through this one platform, giving you access to the liquidity of any market you choose.

One of the many products of Orion Protocol is the Orion Terminal, which on the surface looks like any other trading platform. However, having just one account on the Orion Terminal grants you access to the order books of all the listed centralised and decentralised exchanges. 

Aerial photograph of river tributaries.
Orion Terminal is much like this river, connecting liquidity from multiple sources. Source: Travis on Flickr

Interestingly, the platform does not demand users to perform a KYC registration. Additionally, unlike most exchanges, Orion Terminal is non-custodial. Assets that you buy will be sent directly to your wallet under your own private key. 

RelatedWhat is Uniswap (UNI)? The DEX Token Explained Simply.

What is the ORN token?

Powering the protocol is the Orion token (ORN), which is used to pay for transaction fees and unlock other premium features on the platform. ORN holders can earn passive income from staking (which is practically “loaning”) the token to provide an additional stock of ORN tokens on the platform. This is to add liquidity of ORN and other cryptocurrencies.  

ORN is an ERC-20 token and can be stored in most software wallets such as Exodus. Despite the fact, Orion Protocol is blockchain-agnostic, meaning that the platform is not technically hosted or deployed on any blockchain.

Rather, the platform communicates with various blockchains, such as Cardano, Binance Smart Chain, Elrond and Polkadot to settle transactions. This enables Orion Protocol to work with decentralised applications (DApps) that are built on top of various blockchains. ORN transactions, in particular, are settled on the Ethereum blockchain.

Learn more: What are ERC-20 tokens?

How does Orion work?

This article can never do justice to explain fully the inner workings of Orion Protocol. At the risk of oversimplifying, let’s first take a brief look at some of the components in the protocol.

  • Decentralised applications (DApps)

These are the interfaces between the user and the protocol. Orion Terminal is one such application, although Orion makes it easy for developers to connect their own DApps on any blockchain to the protocol.

  • Application Programming Interface (API)

APIs are data transmitters on various platforms, giving Orion Protocol the latest spot price feeds, order books and more. Orion Terminal, for example, can allow users to order directly from the application because the protocol’s API is connected to other trading platforms.

  • Shared liquidity pool

As mentioned before, Orion Protocol doesn’t just give users a directory of best spot prices. It allows users to order at any desired price and then fulfills the users’ order by delivering crypto assets from various platforms.

  • Order matching engine

It is possible for users’ orders to be fulfilled due to this order matching engine. This uses an algorithm to find the best ‘trading route’ across all platforms, to ensure that the users’ orders are filled at the users’ chosen buy or sell price.

  • Exchanges (centralised, decentralised, and swap pools)

Shared liquidity pools come from exchanges. This is a loose term for any centralised or decentralised exchanges, including swap pools that work slightly differently from crypto exchanges.

  • Blockchains

The final components are the blockchains that settle transactions. Some exchanges are custodial, meaning that transactions are settled within an ordinary database and that the users’ assets are kept under the exchanges’ own private key. In contrast, transactions are immediately settled on blockchains through Orion.

The diagram below is taken from the Orion Protocol whitepaper (2020). As you can see, Orion protocol is the central hub that connects DApp (users) with all the exchanges in the Orion ecosystem. The communication lines between exchanges and Orion Protocol is the API (not shown) that gives price feeds and order book data.

The order matching engine executes order by taking crypto assets from a shared liquidity pool, which is contributed by exchanges in the ecosystem. The protocol also connects to the blockchain to settle transactions directly without compromising security, as it is a non-custodial system. 

Finally, DApps can connect to Orion Protocol to allow users to interact with the protocol. The DApps don’t even have to connect to other non-native blockchains, as the protocol helps with the cross-chain settlement processes.

Diagram of how Orion Protocol works.
How Orion Protocol works in a nutshell. Source: Orion Whitepaper.

What makes ORN tokens valuable?

Although other cryptocurrencies are accepted as tools for exchange, ORN will give users, brokers, and other parties involved, extra benefits on the platform such as discounted trading fees. ORN can also be staked by brokers and liquidity providers so that they can earn transaction fees on the platform.

As a utility token, ORN will gain value the bigger Orion Protocol becomes. The maximum supply of ORN was predetermined to be 100 million. Only 29% of which are in circulation, with the rest to be put away for staking (providing market liquidity) or are stored in a wallet for future uses.

Although Orion Protocol isn’t the first liquidity aggregator protocol, it is certainly the most complete and the largest one yet. It is an attractive prospect both to retail consumers and businesses and earns revenue through payments in ORN tokens.

As the ORN token is not a stablecoin, i.e. not pegged to real-world currencies, there is room for ORN to grow. The bigger the ecosystem (and it could possibly get bigger), and the more users and businesses use Orion Protocol, the higher the demand for ORN.

Read also: What are Stablecoins and How Do They Work?

How to Buy Orion (ORN)

Feeling bullish on Orion’s protocol? With all things considered, Orion has a promising future ahead for it, especially as the technology continues to mature and develop.

Screenshot of Easy Crypto NZ homepage showcasing the ORN and NZD pairing.
Buying Orion (ORN) is quick and easy with Easy Crypto.

You can buy ORN tokens at a non-custodial retailer like Easy Crypto. We offer 100+ cryptocurrencies and tokens that are popular in the market, which will be easy to trade anywhere in the crypto space. 

Get started: Buy Orion (ORN) tokens here.

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