Bridging has come a long way, cross chain interoperability is better than ever. Now it’s trivial to swap across various networks with very little friction.
You might recall my initial article on bridging, but we’ve come a long way since then. Why, just the other day I was wanting to claim an airdrop on Optimism. A lot of times, you’d just expect to bridge directly to Optimism from Ethereum on the website.
Even with low fees, depending on how complex the contract is, it still felt like this might be way more costly than I could afford on Ethereum mainnet. Luckily, I had a little bit of Sol lying around, but not a lot. Actually, just one Sol. What should I do?
The Problems & Risks
During the early stages of blockchain interconnectivity, you really only had one option in each ecosystem, and that could end up being a gatekeeper for one reason or another. It also meant that if there were attacks or exploits, they only had one or two targets.
Innovation is generally risky like that, especially on the bleeding edge, and sure enough Solana’s Wormhole saw an exploit as recently as February.
As more projects refine their approaches & bridge more ecosystems, though, we gradually begin to build an interconnected web that gives every ecosystem more utility and reduces overall friction. It also begins to open up entirely new avenues & approaches to preserving your privacy & obfuscating your trail, which is a pandora’s box in and of itself.
That being said, literally all of technology is a pandora’s box, so my position is that you should use it to your advantage, and try to be aware of the inherent risks.
This is not financial advice, and in some extreme cases you might find funds trapped in a bridge protocol, or ‘stuck’ indefinitely, so always try to assess the competency of the associated teams & the risk you’re willing to take on any one transaction.
Enough Disclaimer: Let’s Talk Utility
In my example above with my pitiful little stack of Sol, I actually couldn’t even afford to go through the Wormhole. I’m too broke!
I knew that I could probably get to Optimism from another Ethereum Layer 2 solution, so I went over to Saber Swap and swapped my Sol for some apUSDC, which is a Solana token the represents bridged Polygon USDC over at AllBridge.
Please note: liquidity is relatively low on some pairs, so it is great for low value transfers, but you’ll likely see a lot of slippage if you’re an early whale.
I paid a small fee, no more than a dollar or so, and bridged from Solana to Polygon, and in no time at all my assets were unlocked on Polygon, and I was able to head to Quickswap or elsewhere, if I wanted to.
I didn’t need to be on Polygon, though, so from there I headed over to Synapse Protocol, making sure my metamask network was switched to Polygon Network, I connected and bridged my USDC from Polygon over to Optimism.
This incurred a $10 fee, but I got some of Optimism’s Eth on their network in the process, along with my USDC. I then used that Eth to facilitate the claims process, and swap out the USDC for more Eth at Uniswap on Optimism. I also sold what I wanted to of the airdrop, and bridged some of that back to Polygon, and the rest back to Ethereum mainnet all through Synapse, paying fees on the Optimism end (dirt cheap) and none on Ethereum or Polygon.
Was this the cheapest way? Maybe! Maybe not. It depends on what Ethereum’s gas situation looked like, at the time. It was, however, a very fun & exciting way to explore how interconnected all of our ecosystems have become.
In future articles, I’m sure we’ll be exploring more specific bridge protocols, and new ecosystems being added into the mix, but in the end I hope this leaves you just as excited as I am for what’s ahead.
As this web grows, opportunities and options become more abundant, and in spite of all of the associated risks; at my core I believe that freedom is about having options. Until next time, I hope you’ll explore more of yours.