Back in May 2020, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin tweeted that stablecoins often miss the opportunity to improve interoperability between blockchains. In fact, it was this tweet that called for the creation of as many blockchain bridges as possible, bypassing traditional cryptocurrency exchanges.
“Our Broxus team is developing the ETH-Freeton decentralized bridge. Our key idea is to open the DEFI market to retail investors. In fact, due to the fees of the ETH network, most of the opportunities are closed, full open/close of DEFI positions costs hundreds of dollars. If your funds are less than $10k, then commissions kill all profitability. With the help of the bridge, you can transfer most of the business logic and, accordingly, the fees associated, from ETH to Free TON, where the fees will be very low – near zero. The bridge will connect the high speeds and low fees of Free TON to the liquidity of the ETH ecosystem. We are planning a bridge launch by the end of February 2021, ”said Sergey Shashev, Broxus founder.
At the moment, the cryptocurrency world embraces about 10 various blockchain bridge projects at different stages of readiness. Among such projects are the ecosystems Free TON, BTC Relay, Solana, Polkadot, Consensys, Cosmos, Tendermit, as well as Syscoin and Wanchain.
The speed of wrapping a token when migrating from one blockchain to another is a function that depends on two variables: 1) a number of smart contracts, the group of which the protocol accesses, 2) a set value of a user’s transaction fee sent with each transaction for its subsequent confirmation by validators on the blockchain network, which makes it difficult to conduct comparative analysis, all other things being equal. Also, speed can be considered a function of bandwidth and latency.
In this regard, it seems appropriate to compare existing blockchain solutions, taking as a basis the network throughput (TPS, transaction per second) parameter at peak load.
|Project||Bridged blockchains||Year of foundation||Current TPS||Average block time||Declared (aimed) TPS||Market cap|
|Wanchain||Ethereum, WAN||2017||3000||5 sec||160,000||$ 63 million|
|Free TON||Ethereum, TONCrystal||2020||60,000||0.2 sec||1,000,000||$ 200 million|
|Polkadot||Bitcoin, Polkadot||2016||1000||6 sec||1,000,000||$ 15,903 million|
|Solana||Solana, Ethereum||2018||1,000||0.5 sec||50,000||$ 1,054 million|
|Syscoin||Syscoin, Ethereum||2014||60,000||1 min 39 sec||140,000||$ 59 million|
Source: Coinmarketcap open source, blockchain observers
In general, all bridges work the same way. The differences, as a rule, lie in the method of validating a transaction between blockchains — having their own miners or paying a commission to third-party validators.
As the Free TON community members explain, when a token leaves one blockchain, it is burned or blocked, and an equivalent token appears in the opposite blockchain, if a token is returned, then a double token is burned or blocked. “We are bringing real tokens into the ecosystem, for example, Ethereum. Virtual equivalent tokens are created on contracts in Free TON. After that, they can be transferred within the ecosystem and withdrawn by new owners,” the Free TON experts say.
The blockchain bridge allows for the transfer of tokens or data between two different ecosystems cheaper, faster and more efficiently than in the original network. So, for example, in the Ethereum blockchain, on the basis of which most decentralized finance applications are developed, the average transaction fee is 8.6 US dollars, and in January 2021 it reached 19 US dollars. And the transaction speed there, on average, is about 6 minutes. For Bitcoin, the speed can go down to 90 minutes or more, depending on fee and network throughput. Under these conditions, faster blockchains can create bridges between cryptocurrencies to reduce costs and increase transaction speed by wrapping one cryptocurrency in another. However, it’s not just about the cryptocurrency transfer.
“Today, there is a boom of DEFI projects. Since most of them run on Ethereum smart contracts, this significantly increases the load on the Ethereum blockchain. Therefore, Ethereum is interested in scaling through bridges with faster blockchains. The developers of DApps on Ethereum fail to create a convenient and fast user interface due to the same problem of congestion and high fees. A working bridge between Ethereum and Free TON will provide developers and users with the highest speed possible. At the moment, Free TON has the fastest blockchain speed in the world — 0.2 seconds, and the ecosystem will continue to maintain the highest rates, attracting other projects and liquidity,” said the Free TON community experts.
At the moment, an Ethereum bridge is launched in test mode on the Free TON platform, and the TON ecosystem already has more than 60 types of smart contracts.
“Basically, anyone with a fast blockchain wants to bridge and attract some liquidity right now. Free TON is a very advanced smart contract platform and the fastest blockchain. Thus, Free TON helps you create a variety of tools and applications which are not available on any other platform. And that’s why it is exciting to bridge the most relevant blockchains. Today, we have 63 projects on Free TON — these are 63 smart contract systems. And we want to have thousands of smart contracts on our platform by the end of 2021, for anyone to see the scale of our system,” the developers and members of the Free TON community say.
In the future, it is assumed that tokens and smart contracts will be able to effortlessly move between different ecosystems, bypassing cryptocurrency exchangers. At the same time, of course, the exchanges will remain useful for speculative market players. Meanwhile, DEFI projects will become a replacement for decentralized cryptocurrency wallets and banks that issue instant loans for various assets via a more user-friendly WEB 3.0 interface.
“The average users should not be aware that they are using the blockchain. The killer feature of our project is a decentralized browser, which will actually be the user’s wallet. You no longer need complex sets of numbers and extra manipulations. Communicating with the blockchain should be no more difficult than opening a browser or chatting with a chatbot. This is exactly what we are working on now, in addition to high speed and bridges,” explain the experts at the Free TON ecosystem.
However, there are some challenges in creating bridges. Until now, stablecoin issuers cannot decide who should be engaged in bridge development, the issuers themselves, or third-party companies. The developers have yet to resolve security issues, and, possibly, the cryptocurrency world will face regulators and new standards that will apply to bridge transactions.
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