What is blockchain bridge?
To understand what a blockchain bridge is, you need to first understand what a blockchain is. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BNB Smart Chain are some of the major blockchain ecosystems, all relying on different consensus protocols, programming languages, and system rules.
A blockchain bridge is a protocol connecting two economically and technologically separate blockchains to enable interactions between them. These protocols function like a physical bridge linking one island to another, with the islands being separate blockchain ecosystems.
Thus, blockchain bridges enable what is called interoperability, meaning that digital assets and data hosted on one blockchain can interact with another. Interoperability is the cornerstone of the internet: Machines worldwide use the same set of open protocols to talk to each other. In the blockchain space, where there are many distinct protocols, blockchain bridges are essential to enabling a similar ease of exchanging data and value.
How do blockchain bridges work?
The most common use case for a blockchain bridge is token transfer. For example, you want to transfer your bitcoin (BTC) to the Ethereum network. One way is to sell your BTC and then purchase ether (ETH). However, this would incur transaction fees and expose you to price volatility.
Alternatively, you can achieve this objective by using a blockchain bridge without selling your crypto. When you bridge 1 BTC to an Ethereum wallet, a blockchain bridge contract will lock your BTC and create an equivalent amount of Wrapped BTC (WBTC), which is an ERC20 token compatible with the Ethereum network. The amount of BTC you want to port gets locked in a smart contract, and the equivalent tokens on the destination blockchain network are issued or minted.
A wrapped token is a tokenized version of another cryptocurrency. It’s pegged to the value of the asset it represents and typically can be redeemed for it (unwrapped) at any point.
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