Wormhole Bridge Launches on Acala EVM+, Bringing Cross-Chain Assets and xApps to the Polkadot Ecosystem

Dan Reecer
Published in
5 min readFeb 1


We are excited to announce the launch of the Wormhole bridge, the industry-leading cross-chain interoperability protocol, on Acala’s EVM+. This cross-chain interoperability will enable Acala users to enjoy asset integrations and access to tens of billions of liquidity from leading layer-1 networks like Ethereum, BNB Chain, Polygon, and Solana.

Meet Wormhole

Wormhole is a generic message passing protocol that connects to multiple chains. Wormhole does this through emitting messages from one chain which are observed by a Guardian network of nodes and verified. After verification, this message is submitted to the target chain for processing.

This simple message passing primitive enables cross chain functionality. Users interact with xDapps (cross chain decentralized applications) to transfer xAssets (cross chain assets) between networks or access their xData (cross chain data) to provide them services on their current network.

On top of the Wormhole message protocol, there’s two specific applications that help concentrate liquidity for xAssets. The Portal Token Bridge and Portal NFT Bridge provide a standard message format for token and NFT transfers across the Wormhole bridge.

Here are some of the key features of Wormhole:

Fully generic

Wormhole cross-chain messages can contain arbitrary data. This allows for developers to build applications using the Wormhole that include, but are not limited to, asset transfers, oracle data, governance decisions, NFTs, and much more we haven’t even thought of.

Abstraction of consensus /application logic

Consensus is a very lightweight high-throughput process in Wormhole’s peer-to-peer network and is completed asynchronously. The resulting signed messages can then be relayed to any connected chain with custom application logic to parse and trigger events. This abstracts away the hairy/tedious multi-chain light client logic, and the trust assumptions/decentralization set while retaining full flexibility for developers looking to leverage this platform.


The asynchronous nature of Wormhole’s single-round consensus allows for low-latency consensus on state, allowing for the information to be used on any blockchain (or off-chain!) with minimal delay — keeping up even with high-throughput chains like Solana.

Easily extensible and fully upgradeable

Incorporating new chains is a straightforward governance process and requires no disruption of the activities on the rest of the network. All core contracts are also fully upgradeable with governance is controlled by the Guardian set, requiring a supermajority to pass upgrades.

New to Acala?

Acala is an appchain powering Web3 finance. With bank-grade security provided by Polkadot, Acala’s finance-customized blockchain offers a suite of financial products for users, developers, and institutions. Developers can deploy Solidity-based apps in Acala’s EVM+, or they can build natively on Acala using Polkadot’s SDK, Substrate. The blockchain infrastructure is trusted and utilized by integration partners such as Liquid Collective (Coinbase, Figment, Kraken, and more) and fintech companies like Current.com. Acala is the first-ever parachain to earn a slot on Polkadot, is backed by top industry firms like Polychain, Pantera, and Jump, and is the top engineering team in the Polkadot ecosystem by Substrate github commits.

Wormhole Connecting Acala to the Broader Web3 Ecosystem

Acala and Karura will enjoy several advantages due to the Wormhole integration. The most significant benefits users will enjoy:

Connection to Top Layer-1s

Wormhole is a fully generic network that allows cross-chain messages to contain abstract data and enables developers to create cross-chain apps (xApps) using Wormhole for message passing. Currently, there are two features built on top of the generic message-passing protocol which Acala DApp developers and users will enjoy:

  • A token bridge allowing users to bridge wrapped assets between supported chains seamlessly.
  • An NFT bridge that allows ERC721 (Ethereum) and SPL NFTs (Solana) to be transferred between chains.

Wormhole’s integration connects Acala users to networks already supported by Wormhole: Ethereum, Solana, Terra Classic, BSC, Near, Polygon, Avalanche, Fantom, Celo, Oasis, Aptos, Klaytn, Aurora, Karura, Terra2, Moonbeam, and Algorand.

Acala will benefit from Wormhole’s consensus abstraction, speed, and upgradeability mechanics. Consensus abstraction ensures the transaction process remains lightweight to facilitate high throughput during cross-chain transactions, severely limiting bottlenecks and congested usage. Wormhole Guardians protect the protocol from malicious actors and hacking attempts via observation and attestation of all Wormhole transactions.

Cross-chain Assets in Acala’s EVM+

Acala EVM+ provides a development environment analogous to Ethereum and a fully Ethereum-compatible experience for DeFi users (MetaMask), while still getting the full power, speed, and customizability of Polkadot’s SDK, Substrate (EVM + Substrate). Any DApp team can now deploy their EVM-based smart contracts onto Acala with minimal changes while using the same tooling they utilize in other Ethereum environments (MetaMask, Truffle, Waffle, etc.). With the integration of Wormhole, this means any DApp built on Acala, or any other parachain connected to Acala, will be able to integrate Wormhole assets for their users. For example, a money market built on Acala will be able to leverage Wormhole ETH as a collateral asset or a stableswap pool built on Acala will be able to integrate USDC via Wormhole. Other parachains on Polkadot are also able to leverage Wormhole via Acala to bridge assets into their chain. Teams like HydraDX are already leveraging this functionality, and other teams should reach out to Acala for the same.

Building in the Acala EVM+

The Acala EVM+ enables Acala’s blockchain to provide developers a complete full-stack (EVM+Substrate+WASM) experience seamlessly. Acala EVM also brings protocol composability for EVM and Substrate runtime (pallets) and enables developers to build and deploy Solidity-based DApps on Acala with full Ethereum tooling support. The Acala EVM+ is compatible with MetaMask and requires minimal code changes for deployment. Get started building on Acala EVM+ using the docs.

DeFi Users — Get started using Wormhole on Acala

Now that Wormhole is live on Acala, users can begin trying out the bridge. You can follow this written guide or watch the video tutorial below for getting started:

About Wormhole

Wormhole is a generic message passing protocol that connects to multiple chains including Acala, Ethereum, Solana, Terra Classic, BSC, Near, Polygon, Avalanche, Fantom, Celo, Oasis, Aptos, Klaytn, Aurora, Karura, Terra2, Moonbeam, and Algorand. Join our budding communities on Twitter, Discord, Medium, and Telegram.

About Acala

Acala is an appchain powering Web3 finance. Acala’s Ethereum-compatible blockchain has built-in DeFi protocols for application developers to leverage, including a trustless staking derivative (liquid DOT — LDOT), a decentralized exchange, the over-collateralized aUSD stablecoin, and the EVM+, a hybrid EVM offering fully Ethereum-compatible development environment plus full compatibility with Substrate. Karura is Acala’s sister parachain to serve the Kusama ecosystem and shares the same codebase as Acala.

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Dan Reecer
Editor for

Chief Growth Officer @ Acala and Karura. Previously launched Polkadot and Kusama @ Web3 Foundation.