Blockchain Bridges - Why You May Need Them

By Krystal DeFi | Krystal DeFi | 5 Apr 2022


“The future is multi-chain”. You may have come across this quote while exploring the decentralised finance (DeFi) world.

At Krystal, we are dedicated to giving you access to as many blockchain networks as possible.

However, to fully harness the power of ‘multi-chain’, transferring your tokens from one network to another will be very important.

Here’s how blockchain bridges can help you out:

What is a blockchain bridge?

A blockchain bridge allows you to transfer cryptocurrency assets from one blockchain network to another. For example, you will need a bridge to transfer Ethereum from the ERC20 network to the BNB Smart Chain (BEP20).

There are many blockchain networks in the crypto world. Here are some of them which are integrated with our platform:

  1. Ethereum
  2. BNB Smart Chain
  3. Polygon
  4. Avalanche
  5. Fantom
  6. Cronos
  7. Solana

On each of these networks, you may like to use a certain decentralised app (DApp), and here are some of the popular DApps (based on rankings by DappRadar):

Some of these DApps exist on multiple networks too!

There have been many protocols that are built to perform this bridging process across the different blockchain networks. However, the types of networks that are supported may vary from one platform to another.

It will be good to check the bridge’s documentation to view all of their supported networks before using it!

Why do I need to use a blockchain bridge?

Here are 3 reasons why you may need to use a blockchain bridge:

#1 Some DApps are native to one (or a few) networks

If you want to use a certain DApp, you may have some assets on a network that is not compatible with that particular DApp.

For example, you may want to purchase NFTs on OpenSea. However, OpenSea currently supports the Ethereum, Polygon and Klaytn networks.

If the assets you hold are on another network (e.g. BNB Smart Chain), you won’t be able to use them on OpenSea!

As such, you will need to use a bridge to bridge your assets from the BNB Smart Chain to either the Ethereum or Polygon networks.

#2 Some networks may have cheaper gas fees

For every transaction that you make with your decentralised wallet, you will need to pay a gas fee (AKA network fee) to process your transaction.

There are some networks where the gas fees can be really high. Ethereum is most notorious for this, particularly when the network is very congested.

You can use tools such as Etherscan to view the current gas fees that you’ll need to pay on the Ethereum network.

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The gas fees may be cheaper on other networks, where each transaction may only cost a few cents!

For example, the Polygon network was built as a scaling solution for the Ethereum network that boasts lower gas fees and faster transactions.

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If you would like to use a network that has a lower gas fee, you can bridge your assets to that network and enjoy cheaper transactions!

#3 Centralised exchanges are more troublesome for bridging assets

There are some centralised exchanges (e.g. Binance, KuCoin) that support multiple networks for the same cryptocurrency.

In a decentralised wallet, your funds are segregated based on the network that you choose.

For example, the ETH that you hold in your Krystal wallet on the Ethereum network will be separate from the ETH on the BNB Smart Chain.

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In contrast, a centralised exchange will aggregate all of your balances together, regardless of which network you used to deposit them to the exchange.

It is possible to ‘bridge’ your assets by sending them over to a centralised exchange via a certain network, and then withdrawing the same asset via another network.

Here’s an example of how you can ‘bridge’ your assets with a centralised exchange:

  1. Send ETH via the ERC20 network to your Binance account
  2. Withdraw ETH via the BNB Smart Chain to your destination wallet

However, this process can be quite troublesome. If you are not familiar with the process, your funds may be lost along the way!

As such, using bridges will be a more convenient way to bridge your assets from one network to another.

What bridges can I use?

Krystal currently does not have a bridging function on our platform. However, here are some platforms that you can consider using to bridge your assets.

#1 Multichain

Multichain is one of the most well-established blockchain bridges, supporting over 1,00 tokens and over 30 blockchain networks.

Here’s how you can bridge your assets on Multichain:

1. Connect your decentralised wallet with Multichain

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2. Select the correct network that the assets you want to bridge is currently on

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For example, if you want to bridge your assets on the Ethereum network to another network, you will need to select the Ethereum Mainnet at this step.

3. Select the asset that you want to bridge on the ‘From’ tab

You will need to select the asset that you wish to bridge under the ‘From’ tab

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4. Select the network you wish to bridge your asset to

Under the ‘To’ tab, you can select the network that you wish to bridge your assets to

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In this example, you will be bridging USDC from the Ethereum network to the BNB Smart Chain.

For this bridging transaction, you will need to pay approximately 0.9 USDC as the gas fee.

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This may vary depending on the cryptocurrency that you intend to bridge.

Moreover, it may take around 10–30 minutes before your assets will appear on the new network that you have bridged to.

#2 Portal Bridge

Currently, Multichain does not support blockchain bridges to the Solana network. This is because the Solana network is not Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible, so it may be harder to support such a bridging process.

Portal Bridge solves this problem, as it allows you to bridge assets across these networks:

  • Avalanche
  • BNB Smart Chain
  • Ethereum
  • Fantom
  • Oasis
  • Polygon
  • Solana
  • Terra

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You can find out how to use the Portal Bridge with their video and text guides.

For example, if you are bridging assets from Ethereum to Solana, here are some pointers for you:

  • Connect a crypto wallet that supports the Ethereum Mainnet
  • Send your tokens to a Solana wallet address (this is different from an Ethereum address!)

Ethereum addresses will start with ‘0x’, while Solana addresses do not. If you send a Solana asset to an Ethereum network, there is a chance that your funds may be lost!

You can use Krystal’s DApp Browser to access these bridges

On the Krystal app (iOS | Android), you are able to use our DApp Browser and access these 2 bridges.

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For a full guide on our DApp Browser, you can view our dedicated support page here.

You will need to enter the URLs (https://app.multichain.org/ and https://portalbridge.com/#/transfer).

Always make sure that you are entering the correct URL when accessing any DApp. There may be some phishing websites that may have a similar URL and will steal your data!

On the DApp Browser, you will be able to switch between the different networks that are supported on Krystal (Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, Polygon, Avalanche, Fantom and Cronos) by clicking on the icon on the top right-hand corner.

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This will allow you to use these bridges with your Krystal wallet, all within just one app!

Be careful when using bridges!

While bridging can help you to seamless move from one network to another, the security is not foolproof.

There have been numerous hacks that have occurred on bridges, such as the Wormhole Bridge and Ronin Bridge.

This was due to certain exploits that the hackers took advantage of, which resulted in the hackers draining the funds that are stored on these platforms.

This shows the vulnerabilities of the DeFi world, where smart contracts can be exploited if hackers are able to identify any vulnerabilities in the bridge.

You may want to be aware of these risks when using any of the bridges. Moreover, if there are any platforms that have their code audited, they may be a safer place to bridge your funds!

Conclusion

Bridging your assets to different networks may become an important skill to have when you navigate across the DeFi world.

How has your bridging experience been so far? Do tweet us or send us a message on Telegram to let us know!

Navigate the DeFi Space now with Krystal!

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Krystal DeFi
Krystal DeFi

Krystal is a non-custodial multi-chain platform to easily access popular DeFi services and manage NFTs. Swap, earn passive income, manage your portfolio & benefit from our rewards programme. Now supporting services on 9 blockchains.


Krystal DeFi
Krystal DeFi

Krystal is a non-custodial multi-chain platform to easily access popular DeFi services and manage NFTs. Swap, earn passive income, manage your portfolio & benefit from our rewards programme. Now supporting services on 9 networks.

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