Rainbow bridge: foundation of global crypto adoption?
What is NEAR?
NEAR is the latest stage in blockchain evolution: a decentralized application platform that is:
- Secure enough to store money or identity
- Performant enough to make them accessible to all people (go, Satoshi’s legacy, go!)
- Decentralized so that organizations like Google or banks can’t close your account whenever they want
- Easy microtransactions and monetization techniques make attracting big teams and serious players easy.
- Fantastical scalability solutions: the NEAR protocol is getting closer and closer solving the problem that plagued crypto for years
- Sharding means using advanced tech to get really fast at significantly lower costs:
“Through sharding by state, it is possible to allow the blockchain to scale linearly with the number of nodes in a network (we are targeting ~100k tps @ 1 million mobile nodes)”. — NEAR team
- Convenience of use thanks to a total redesign of basic components by staff that have unrivalled experience in designing user-focused UI: “ a dream team of builders: 3 ICPC Gold medallist (Mikhail was 2-time world champion), 3 early MemSQL (built sharding for the distributed database), 4 Xooglers (built distributed systems at scale)”. This means a team capable of fully solving the problem of kludge interfaces: blockchains are no more scary, technical, and impossible to understand, which means much faster global adoption.
Read more about NEAR’s other numerous advantages here.
What is Ethereum?
You probably know about Ethereum even if you don’t know much about crypto, so we won’t go into too much detail, but Ethereum blockchain came after Bitcoin and is now extremely important in the world of crypto. While Bitcoin is an astonishingly awesome security system, Ethereum blockchain is fantastically flexible, allowing you to create decentralized projects on blockchain.
- Anyone can gain access to the platform.
- Build software for banks and investment funds or for monetizing video game ratings or crowdfunding
- Use any programming language
- We have to thank Ethereum for the famous smart contracts, which you can rightly call a technological breakthrough
- Much, much more
“It turns out that Ethereum is a Pandora Box of blockchains with almost unlimited possibilities for use, due to its flexibility, power and versatility. It really is. Otherwise, companies like Microsoft, IBM, JPMorgan would not show interest in it.” — Prosto Coin
What are bridges and what potential do they have for the community?
A bridge is a system that connects channels belonging to two other systems. In this case, we’re connecting blockchains with a channel that transfers data.
The beautiful thing about the world of crypto is that this is a community united by a single noble cause — to give power back to the people in line with Satoshi’s original vision. Competitiveness here is healthy and (almost, ahem) all participants view each other as colleagues all working on the same goals.
That’s why lately bridges, which connect blockchains and allow them to exchange data, have been so sought after. Building bridges between blockchains makes them stronger, faster, and way more powerful.
Think of a boat with just several thin planks of wood. Not great at floating. Now, when bridges grow between them, the boat (the crypto community) gets better at sailing.
What was it created for and why is it needed for Eth\Near?
Advanced enough to be irritated by metaphors in layman’s terms? Try this:
- What if you could connect all blockchains into one huge web with all their best features combined?
- What if you could easily, safely, and freely access your data on multiple blockchains or run your product on several blockchains at the same time and leverage each of them? Bridges keep the information on the originating ledger (e.g. Ethereum), and carry to the “other side” the proof of such an event.
- What if you could discover the first truly decentralized bridge (the bridge is not fully ready yet) that is far more rapid than everything else and has the most prominent players in the industry backing it up? It’s generic too, but for that you’d have to read the full description here.
What is ETH-NEAR Rainbow Bridge?
For now, the Ethereum-Near Bridge is working on fully implementing the functionality of exchanging ERC-20 tokens between Ethereum and NEAR:
“We can bridge fungible tokens, non-fungible tokens, or any kind of asset…we can write Ethereum contracts that use the state of a contract or validator from NEAR…we can do cross-contract calls across the bridge.” — Near.org
How does it work?
A good way of thinking of bridges without having to complete an MA in structural engineering is: “bridges are pathways between blockchains used for transferring liquidity from one blockchain to another in the same way we transfer money from one bank to another”. That’s not all bridges can do, but if you got that, you got bridges handled.
Which problems does it solve?
- The simplest bridge you can build is — 1 blockchain ===> multisig wallet ===> another blockchain. Which is not really decentralized. So NEAR decided to build a truly decentralized bridge. This is the core of the problem that NEAR Rainbow Bridge solves. In most cases , there’s a man-in-the-middle who can block/slow down the bridge arbitrarily — a colossal problem if we want to build unstoppable applications!
- Liquidity doesn’t need to stay only on Ethereum (decentralization again).
- Developers don’t need to choose one blockchain to work with:
“We want to freely move our assets and data between the blockchains, or even better — run our product on several blockchains at the same time and leverage each of them. For example, we can leverage performance on one blockchain while leveraging community and ecosystem on another blockchain.
At NEAR, we do not want Ethereum developers to choose between NEAR and Ethereum and commit to only one. We want them to have the same asset on both blockchains and even have apps that seamlessly communicate across the boundary. So we are building a bridge, called Rainbow Bridge, to connect the Ethereum and NEAR blockchains.”
What stage is the product at?
The bridge is not fully operational yet but you can open this presentation for a more techy explanation on how everything works. As the community confirms, it took place at EthDenver a couple of days ago and has a really good explanation on how the bridge works. It includes a link to download the slides and step-by-step instructions on how to use the bridge in Ropsten / Testnet now.
You can check out more on the Rainbow Bridge development and code nuances on GitHub.
Here you may see the latest updates on Rainbow Bridge.
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