Token protocols on BSV: RUN

In the next article of our series of interviews with token protocol founders on BSV, we interview Brenton Gunning, founder of the RUN protocol.

What does RUN do that no other token protocol can?

Brenton Gunning: RUN really takes a different approach.

You write your jigs in JavaScript, which of course makes it easier to pick up (and hire for). There’s a lot of tech that goes into this! Sandboxing, rare language hacks, major testing infrastructure, and more. We took the time to really get this right, because JavaScript was built for animations on the web, not smart contracts. It would have been easier just to create a custom programming language, but that would have been worse for users.

Besides that, jigs interact with one another. They can be attached, created and consumed from other jigs, passed into functions, etc. This is really just about giving developers the tools they’re already used to having outside blockchain, but for jigs. For example, power-ups in CryptoFights can be consumed by the fighters to level them up. This also requires some real tech to make work.

Lastly, you can own code as well as objects. Even Ethereum doesn’t do this. Your contracts have owners and locations just like your tokens, and you can add features or update their properties over time. You can also reuse code from other apps, extending their classes or calling functions as needed. For example, Relay’s DEX listing code is already being used by others outside Relay.

Is RUN a profit-seeking business or just an open-source protocol that others can use?

Brenton Gunning: RUN’s open-source protocol is free and always will be. Our goal right now is a diverse ecosystem of apps and services because that grows the pie for everyone.

The way we’ll monetize down the road is via developer APIs. No matter how big or small your app is, it’s important you have great infrastructure available to you, that scales when you do. Those should start to launch later this year.

What are RUN’s top goals for 2021?

Brenton Gunning: Well, we have a great base of users right now so we’re going to support them first and help them grow.

We also have a few big feature launches coming in 2021—that will put RUN on par with Ethereum in terms of its programmability—and will expand the current developer APIs. Stay tuned.

What are you most excited to see built with RUN?

Brenton Gunning: Mostly, I’m so excited to see new users join in from outside crypto. We have a chance to reach everyday developers, not just crypto people, with RUN and JavaScript. The creator of More Duckies for example actually taught themselves to code in a month to build the game. That’s so powerful.

Besides that, I am excited to see apps that build on top of each other. This has always been a goal of RUN, and we’re just starting to see it, with interoperability between Relay, Tique, CryptoFights, and others. The more of this, the stronger the network effects, and the better chance we have of BSV succeeding.

Lastly, I’d love to see new wallets and infrastructure pop up. There are a ton of opportunities to make money by growing the ecosystem and carving out a place. Reach out if you need ideas!

Token protocols

Can you give your thoughts on the ‘Layer’ labels for Tokens? (ex. STAS is L0, sCrypt is L1 and Tokenized is L2)

Brenton Gunning: RUN uses Bitcoin transactions (L1) like Internet packets. These give RUN the tools to do ownership, ordering, and payments, and RUN couldn’t work without it. But all the higher-level JavaScript code is executed by users and services, not miners. This is like how the Internet scaled. It would be odd today if network routers ran Facebook code, but that’s what a lot of people expect of miners and tokens!

So using L2, you can do all sorts of things you can’t do in L1 alone. This includes running JavaScript, but it also allows new features, like linking to transactions without spending them. RUN takes full advantage of L2, and we think the combination is more powerful than choosing one or the other.One last thing—I think there’s a lot of confusion around layers, because frankly we don’t have great terminology yet. From my perspective, all token protocols on BSV today are Layer 2 at the moment. There are people using L0 and L1 to emphasize different aspects about their protocol, but when you dig into any of them, you’ll see there is some off-chain code somewhere needed. That’s L2 to me, and that’s OK.

What are your thoughts on using satoshis for tokens?

Brenton Gunning: RUN has a feature called backed jigs, that actually allows you to store BSV inside of a higher-level object. So there’s room for mixing satoshis and tokens.

As for other token protocols that use satoshis for token state, personally I think developers will find it a little limiting, but let’s see how it plays out.

Do you think multiple Token protocols atop BSV can exist? If so, why? And how is that not different than claiming multiple crypto currencies can co-exist?

Brenton Gunning: RUN’s long-term strengths are its ease of use and its ecosystem, but I fully expect other protocols. We are just at the start of a journey of experimentation and creativity. People have been doing smart contracts on account-based systems for a long time, but BSV is leading the way with doing these ideas on a UTXO-based system. This should scale better, and it also creates a lot of opportunities.

Ethereum

How can BSV out-compete Ethereum?

Brenton Gunning: We should think bigger than Ethereum. There’s also Flow, Solana, BCH, and many others. Basically, we need to accelerate everything. To help here, RUN is organizing a hackathon this weekend on June 4-6. There’s a prize pool over 100 BSV too, so please share this around with developers you know.

How can BSV profit from cooperating with ETH and DeFi?

Brenton Gunning: A lot of users and apps on ETH and other blockchains are struggling with fees right now. This is a huge problem. We have a chance to get them to come over and discover something better. But in addition to that, we can see what they are doing and learn from their success. Ideas can come from anywhere.

General

What impact do you think the LAW narrative has had on BSV with respect to tokenization?

Brenton Gunning: If you focus on building something people love, the world will follow. Laws lag behind culture and technology, not the other way around. What we need is more creativity and more experiments. 

I think Uber could be a great role model here. They created a service users loved and didn’t scam anyone. As a result, the laws mostly adapted to them. In some places yes Uber had to pay fines to continue operating, and taxi cartels forced them to shut down in others. That is the risk of success. But they’re here to stay and the world is better for it.

If you could wave a magic wand and change something about the BSV culture or business environment, what would it be?

Brenton Gunning: BSV is a big room. There’s a lot of space for different approaches and personalities!

We already see people joining BSV just to use one app or another, and then over time they discover all the other parts of the ecosystem. That’s how it should be.

But I wish more people knew what was really happening on BSV. If they did, BSV would never be delisted.

Thank you, Brenton, for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope the readers learned more about the RUN protocol. Please be on the lookout for the next interview in this series.

This article was lightly edited for grammatical and clarity purposes.

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