Every blockchain project features specific defining parameters unique to the project, which create problems with interoperability. The working of a blockchain bridge can involve exchange of decentralized identities, off-chain information and smart contract calls. A crosschain bridge — also known as a blockchain bridge or DeFi bridge — is a protocol that enables the transfer of data between blockchain networks. Examples include an asset’s price on a decentralized exchange, a smart contract call, a request to transfer tokens between chains or any other arbitrary data.
- The relayers on Avalanche Bridge, such as Avascan, Protofire, POA Network, and Hashquark, work on ensuring the security of the bridge.
- Bridges exist to connect blockchains, allowing the transfer of information and tokens between them.
- Though complicated, the core feature of blockchains is verifying the data they hold without trust.
- Various projects have been developed over time to connect networks, allowing for the easy flow/exchange of data from one network to another while also increasing the adoption rate.
- It enables multiple blockchains to trade-off and connects their security feature sets, decentralization aspects, efficiencies, and speed.
- For instance, if a user wants to swap ETH for BNB, a wrapped token for ETH compatible with the BEP-20 format is created and sent to the user’s wallet.
On this note, always double-check against phishing to ensure you transfer funds to a genuine bridge application. In both cases one side of the bridge was exposed through a technical vulnerability. This doesn’t just lead to the loss of assets held by the exposed end of the bridge but has significant knock-on effects. In February the Wormhole Bridge hack saw 120,000 Wrapped Ether (wETH) tokens, valued at $326million, stolen from the Solana side of a bridge to Ethereum.
According to our Crypto Bridging Statistics and Trends deep dive, the safety of bridging crypto largely hinges on the technology and protocols in use. While some bridges employ robust on-chain security measures, others have been compromised. In 2022, over $3 billion of capital locked in bridges were hacked, mainly due to key vulnerabilities. Hop distinguishes itself as the fifth-best cross-chain bridge, standing out as a good alternative for Layer 2s. Unlike most bridges that rely on off-chain actors like multisigs or oracles, Hop’s security is 100% rooted on-chain, eliminating single points of failure or trusted off-chain actors.
From a user perspective, cross-chain technology promotes faster transaction processing speeds and instant exchanges between different tokens. The collection of cross-chain crypto bridges also includes Multichain Bridge as a promising contender for driving blockchain interoperability. It was known as Fantom Anyswap and served as a cross-chain bridge protocol for offering a flexible flow of data and assets among multiple blockchain networks. To perform cross-chain swaps, they create synthetic derivatives for native chain assets that are compatible with the destination chain. For instance, if a user wants to swap ETH for BNB, a wrapped token for ETH compatible with the BEP-20 format is created and sent to the user’s wallet. This simple mechanism allows users to swap assets between multiple chains in the industry, allowing them to leverage the low-cost, high scalability, and high speed of other new chains in the industry.
Bridges Supported by Web3 Foundation Grants
Alternatively, you might own BTC and want to use it in Ethereum DeFi protocols. This would require bridging the other way, from BTC to WBTC which can then be used as an asset on Ethereum. The road to achieving decentralization on a large scale can help in transforming various precedents of legacy financial systems.
Furthermore, the best bridges will be the most secure, interconnected, fast, capital-efficient, cost-effective, and censorship-resistant. These are the properties that need to be maximized if we want to realize the vision of an “internet of blockchains”. Since the light client on the target blockchain can reference previous block headers, it can verify that the proof-of-work confirming the transaction was executed correctly. When hashed using the source blockchain’s hashing algorithm, proof-of-work can be determined by checking if the output falls below the current network difficulty threshold. The light client can simply reject fraudulent block headers not backed by proof-of-work dictated by the source blockchain’s consensus rules.
How Do Blockchain Bridges Work?
If you own bitcoin but want to participate in DeFi activity on the Ethereum network, a blockchain bridge allows you to do that without selling your bitcoin. Blockchain bridges are fundamental to achieving interoperability within the blockchain space. Cross-chain interoperability allows users to perform a range of various DeFi (Decentralized Finance) tasks without being limited to only one network.
Once the conversion is complete, these tokens can be used as native BEP-20 tokens for staking and swapping across various protocols with the BSC ecosystem. It also provides general message bridging for cases such as cross-chain DEX and NFTs. Other exciting features include secured bridge node service, flexible security models, and native gas token unwrapping.
Two such key players in this arena are Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain (BSC), with the ETH to BSC bridge and BSC to ETH bridge serving as crucial pathways for seamless asset transfers. This type of market structure necessitates the need for interoperability between these distinct networks. Many developers have realized this, and the last year has seen an explosion in blockchain bridges that attempt to unify an increasingly fragmented landscape. Bidirectional bridges are another example of a blockchain bridge variant, working exactly opposite to the functioning of unidirectional bridges.
Blockchain bridges: Guide to cross-chain data sharing
Users can also seamlessly cross-chain swap between stablecoin assets on blockchain networks. For instance, BUSD on Binance Smart Chain can be swapped for USDT on Avalanche and vice-versa, using the Synapse Bridge. This cross-chain bridge infrastructure is powered by multi-party computation validators who secure the bridge and react to events on blockchain networks connected by Synapse. Still, in its nascent stages, the Bridge already has a TVL of over $96 million. The additional voting process makes Avalanche one of the most secure crypto bridges to transfer assets and it has a TVL of over $5 billion. When a user of the bridge requests token transfer, the native tokens are wrapped and converted into BEP-2 and BEP-20 formats.