What’s a Blockchain Bridges? 

What's a Blockchain Bridges?


Blockchain bridges are protocols that connect different blockchain ecosystems to allow interactions between them. These bridges enable interoperability and facilitate the exchange of digital assets and data across blockchains. This article explains what blockchain bridges are, their benefits and risks, and how they work.

What is a blockchain bridge?

A blockchain bridge is a protocol connecting two separate blockchain ecosystems to enable interactions between them. These bridges enable interoperability, allowing digital assets and data hosted on one blockchain to interact with another. There are different types of blockchain bridges, including wrapped asset bridges, sidechain bridges, custodial and non-custodial bridges, and one-way and two-way bridges.

Why do we need blockchain bridges?

Blockchain bridges are necessary because each blockchain has its own rules, tokens, protocols, and smart contracts. By connecting different blockchains, blockchain bridges enable the exchange of tokens, assets, and data across different blockchains, improving interoperability, and scalability. In addition, blockchain bridges enable users to access new protocols on other chains and allow developers from different blockchain communities to collaborate.

How do blockchain bridges work?

The most common use case for blockchain bridges is token transfer. For example, a user can transfer Bitcoin to the Ethereum network without selling it. A blockchain bridge contract locks the Bitcoin and creates an equivalent amount of Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), which is an ERC20 token compatible with the Ethereum network. The user can convert back the wrapped tokens to their original Bitcoin using the reverse process.

What types of blockchain bridges are there?

Blockchain bridges can be categorized based on their functions, mechanisms, and levels of centralization. Custodial and non-custodial bridges are two common categories. Wrapped asset bridges and sidechain bridges are based on their functions, while one-way and two-way bridges are based on their mechanisms.

Benefits of blockchain bridges

The main benefit of blockchain bridges is interoperability. Blockchain bridges enable the exchange of tokens, assets, and data across different blockchains, improving scalability and efficiency. For example, the Ethereum-Polygon Bridge is a decentralized two-way bridge that works as a scaling solution to the Ethereum network, providing faster transactions and lower transaction costs.

Risks of blockchain bridges

Blockchain bridges have limitations, including the risk of hacks, smart contract vulnerabilities, and centralization. Custodial bridges require users to trust a central entity, while non-custodial bridges rely on smart contracts, which are only as good as the underlying code. As with any new technology, blockchain bridges need to be thoroughly tested and improved over time to ensure their security and effectiveness.