In the ever-evolving world of blockchain technology, no single blockchain reigns supreme in catering to all the needs of its users. Some chains boast superior earning potential, while others prioritize lower gas fees or heightened security. As the blockchain landscape continues to diversify, founders and developers seek innovative ways to connect their creations, freeing users from the constraints of a single chain.
Although centralized exchanges remain a popular choice, they come with their drawbacks, such as limited control over one’s tokens and the need to disclose personal information. As a result, the blockchain community has shifted its focus from chain maximalism to interconnectivity, allowing for seamless value transfer between chains.
While some blockchain ecosystems, like Polkadot and Cosmos, have built-in interoperability, others, such as Ethereum, Fantom, and Solana, still rely on centralized exchanges and bridges. Enter blockchain bridges, the connective tissue linking disparate chains and enabling the transfer of tokens, data, and value. These bridges function by locking tokens on one side and minting wrapped equivalents on the other, ensuring the value remains consistent across chains.
For example, if you wanted to move BNB tokens from the Binance Smart Chain to Astar in search of better yield opportunities, a bridging infrastructure would lock the BNB tokens on the BSC side and mint wrapped BNB tokens on Astar. To reverse the process, the bridging facility burns the wrapped tokens on Astar and releases the locked tokens on BSC.
There are two primary types of bridges: trusted and trustless.
- Trusted bridges require users to relinquish custody of their assets, which has led to criticisms of centralization due to the necessary trust in the bridge’s security and asset management.
- In contrast, trustless bridges rely on smart contracts to ensure the security and custody of user assets, bypassing the need for trust in the bridge operators.
Despite the undeniable benefits of bridges in facilitating token and value transfers between chains, they have not been immune to hacks and exploits. The Wormhole bridge hack, which resulted in a loss of over $350 million, is one such high-profile example. In response, bridge developers continue to work on improvements to enhance the security and stability of these essential tools.
Various bridge options are available for users looking to move tokens from Ethereum and other blockchains to Astar. Here are some notable examples:
XY Finance: A cross-chain interoperability protocol that integrates bridges and DEXs for seamless cross-chain transactions and token swaps. XY supports transfers to and from the Astar network.
Multichain bridge: With over $100 billion in volume, this bridge allows users to transfer tokens between 86 different chains, including Astar. Bridged tokens are wrapped with a “Multi-” prefix.
Celer bridge: Sporting over $13 billion in volume, Cbridg enables users to move tokens between blockchains, wrapping them with a “ce-” prefix, such as “ceUSDC” for bridged USDC.
Wanchain: A decentralized, non-custodial Layer 1 PoS blockchain solution that connects EVM and non-EVM chains. Wanchain also supports the transfer of certain NFTs across chains, further expanding its use cases.
Bridges play a crucial role in the blockchain ecosystem, acting as communication channels that enable users to move value across chains. This interconnectedness enhances the user experience, allowing token holders to maximize the potential of their assets and explore diverse opportunities.
To take advantage of Astar’s offerings, you can use any of the aforementioned bridges to transfer your tokens to the Astar network and stake on Algem. This will grant you access to Algem’s liquid staking services, further expanding your blockchain experience and investment possibilities.
In conclusion, as the blockchain landscape continues to evolve, the demand for seamless connectivity between chains will only grow. Blockchain bridges, both trusted and trustless, will remain indispensable tools in navigating this complex web of networks, allowing users to take advantage of the best opportunities available in the ever-expanding blockchain universe.
Algem is a decentralized application built on the Astar Network and offers two main features: liquid staking and liquid lending. As their names suggest, these two options let ASTR holders keep their assets liquid while putting them to work. Also, the liquid staking and lending solutions let users use Algem’s liquid nASTR tokens across Astar’s Defi ecosystem to earn staking rewards and make more money. In doing so, Algem supports other Defi protocols by providing liquidity and creating a sustainable and cooperative ecosystem on the Astar Network and Polkadot.