What Are Blockchain Bridges?

What is a blockchain bridge? A blockchain bridge provides a connection that allows the transfer of tokens or data between two different blockchain ecosystems.

A significant challenge of blockchains to date has been their lack of interoperability. When a developer builds their decentralized application on any particular platform, they are often locked into that platform and not given the opportunity to take advantage of any of the benefits of other blockchains.

What are blockchain bridges?

A blockchain bridge creates a connection that allows the exchange of tokens or data between two different blockchain ecosystems.

The dilemma facing blockchains today is the lack of interoperability in interlinking implementation. Once a developer builds a decentralized application on any popular platform, they are invisibly tied to the platform itself and exclude themselves from any chance of upgrading the benefits of the platform. other blockchains.

For example, Ethereum has scalability problems that any developer wants to solve right away. If they switch to another platform, a faster platform, such as EOS, then they will lose the benefits that Ethereum has laid out such as: a large community, wide standard token support resources. pervasive, and lucrative contract platform with high relevance.

Thus, a developer can use a bridge to send their tokens from one blockchain to another, benefiting both. In an ecosystem of blockchains with real interoperability, tokens, data, or smart contracts can become potential excursions between different platforms.

In general, bridges use some combination of ice protocols to keep tokens available across platforms. When a token slips off the blockchain, it is very easy to be burned or locked, and the same token will be frozen immediately in another blockchain. Conversely, when a token moves back to its original network, the twin token will be burned or locked.

What are the benefits of blockchain bridges?

There are many benefits to using a blockchain bridge. For example, a DApp developer using Ethereum frequently has problems with poor user experience due to slow transaction processing speeds and expensive gas fees during times of high traffic and congestion. By using a bridge, they can send their tokens to another blockchain for processing with higher speed and lower cost. This means that developers can continue to run their DApps on Ethereum, use ERC-20 standard tokens, and participate in Ethereum's vibrant community of users and developers.

Both blockchain ecosystems also benefit from developers using the bridge. It reduces network traffic on Ethereum by dispersing it across other, less congested blockchains, thus solving some of Ethereum's ongoing scalability challenges. Other blockchains are exposed to – and accepted by – the Ethereum community.

Use cases for a bridge could include instant payments at the point of sale, which is virtually impossible given the scalability challenges of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) ). Bridges can also prove useful for DApps that need immediate resolution for a seamless user experience, such as casino games.

What are specific examples of blockchain bridges?

If you are wondering how to learn about blockchain bridges here. Let's go through some examples to make it easier to understand.

Currently, several projects are projecting their sights on a blockchain bridge. Typically here is The Syscoin-Ethereum bridge, a project launched earlier this year that does not believe in the feasibility of implementing the link between Ethereum and Syscoin's network. Syscoin spends ERC-20 tokens on an interaction, immediately establishing a protocol called “Zero-confirmation directed acyclic graph”. which is capable of processing up to 60,000 transactions per second, verified by an independent auditor.

RSK, a second-generation smart contract platform that operates on the Bitcoin blockchain, also unleashed demand for its RSK token around the beginning of this year. The RSK bridge allows assets to move back and forth between RSK and Ethereum, effectively spreading interoperability between Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Wanchain is one of the earliest projects to enter the interactive space. In January, it kicked off with the fourth version of its mainstream network, introducing the T-Bridge framework, which enables the transfer of data and digital assets between blockchains.

How do blockchain bridges work?

Like blockchains themselves, bridges can be operated on a range of decentralizations. The bridges mentioned above are divided into two categories: linked and untrusted.

A federated bridge is run in the same way as a private or licensed blockchain. The project establishes a set of criteria by which someone can qualify to be part of a federation that manages and oversees bridging transactions. For example, in Wanchain, specialized nodes called “stores” lock tokens on the Ethereum blockchain using secure multi-party computation. The equivalent value of tokens is minted on Wanchain, and when a user wants to transfer assets back to Ethereum, a store threshold must provide their private key fragment.

A trustless bridge can operate through a decentralized network of agents. Unlike the federated model, anyone can join the network as an agent, and agents are incentivized to ensure that bridging transactions are properly authenticated. For example, the Syscoin bridge uses a network of dealers that stake Ether and earn fees from bridge transactions, grouped into large blocks. If any actor believes that someone else is not acting in the network's interest by submitting invalid superkeys, they can issue a challenge. If the challenge is upheld, the challenger will win 3 ETH from the sender. In contrast, the challenger loses 3 ETH if their challenge is deemed unfounded.

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