Learning all about bridges and finding out what makes Bridgr stand out from the crowd.
One of the most exciting aspects of the crypto space is decentralisation. By moving away from more centralised modes of governance and placing power in the hands of — potentially — thousands of stakeholders, participants can own their networks and exceed the structure of corporate models that often benefit the chosen few at the expense of the unmarked masses.
However, with the proliferation of blockchain networks comes the need for cross-chain communication. Individual blockchains tend to develop in isolation and operate according to different protocols, rules and governance models. Due to the salient variability in consensus rules, it is imperative to connect these disparate environments to encourage scalability and connectivity. This is where bridges come in.
Bridges, Bridges, What About Them?
Bridges act as connections that enable the transfer of digital assets and data from one chain to another, providing a compatible way to facilitate interoperability.
Generally, bridge designs are constituted of several elements, beginning with an actor that monitors information on the source chain. This actor could be an oracle, validator or relayer. After detecting an event, the actor relays the information to the destination chain. If required, the actor monitoring the source chain needs to reach consensus with other actors before this information can be transmitted to the destination chain. Finally, the actor must authenticate cryptographically (e.g. via signature) the information sent to the destination chain.
In terms of token transference, remote bridges utilise a lock-and-mint/burn-and-release process to effectively ‘move’ assets from one blockchain to another while retaining the amount and cost of tokens. To elaborate, this works by locking a set amount of tokens on the source chain and minting a corresponding amount on the destination chain. This doesn’t affect the number of circulating tokens — instead, the amount is split across the two chains. Suppose a user has 20 tokens on the source chain and wants to transfer half to the destination chain. In this instance, the source chain would still have 20 tokens, but ten would be locked. If users want to redeem these minted tokens, they can burn them from the destination chain and unlock them on the source chain. As these tokens remain locked on the source chain, their value remains consistent with their market price.
Types of Bridges
As DeFi expands, more and more platforms are offering blockchain bridge services to their users. This is a great way to promote interoperability, but not all bridges are built equally. When judging the quality of a bridge, users should consider factors such as security, speed, connectivity (some bridges do not offer multi-chain capabilities), capital efficiency and statefulness.
Let’s examine two bridges currently available on the market.
The Binance Bridge Project allows users to convert their crypto assets into Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain wrapped tokens and vice versa. To use this bridge, actors don’t post collateral, and users don’t recover funds in the event of system failure or malicious activity. Agreeing to these conditions means users are mainly relying on the reputation of Binance, i.e. users need to have faith or place trust in Binance as a bridge operator.
The Polygon Bridge is a chain-specific bridge that enables operations (such as lock-and-mint/burn-and-release) between two blockchains, i.e. Polygon and Ethereum. Such a bridge possesses relative simplicity, is not readily scalable to the broader environment, and the collateral used is the protocol token itself. This is risky as the token value could crash if the bridge fails, ultimately diminishing any guarantees of the bridge’s security. In case of an error or misbehaviour, users don’t recover funds as the slashed collateral is likely burned.
Bridgr — the Quintessential Solution
At Polkalokr, we developed an in-house bridge solution called Bridgr to support our token economy across multiple chains (Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain or Polygon). Our Decentralised Bridge as a Service (DBaaS) enables users to generate their own fully decentralised, cross-chain token bridges through Polkalokr’s platform. While we’ve taken every care to cultivate our ecosystem, we’re keen to connect with communities farther afield in our efforts to make DeFi a mainstay in this promising new digital era. We are quite literally ‘bridging’ the gap between platforms.
We built our DBaaS with ease-of-use in mind. By visiting the Bridgr dashboard, users can forge a bridge to suit their needs with just a few simple clicks. As mentioned earlier, transacting with bridges usually involves a tedious two-step process in which users execute two transactions when depositing and claiming assets from the bridge contract. From the user’s perspective, one of the most significant disadvantages of this traditional type of bridge is price aggregation — there are fees to be paid every step of the way. Bridgr counters this by streamlining the process of digital asset transference by enabling users to execute only one transaction. This is accomplished by charging the user a percentage of gas upfront, based on recent gas estimates at time of deposit, and is then used to facilitate the second transaction through the bridge on their behalf. We then refund any unused gas to the user on the other side. We decided to do this to make the user’s experience as seamless as possible. Polkalokr will also charge a small percentage fee to use Bridgr and bridges deployed on Bridgr. This becomes a way for us to generate revenue for further development. A percentage of the small fee also goes back to the project which deployed their own bridge.
The bridge smart contracts that a user creates is fully decentralised. Polkalokr holds no ownership of the bridge. The Bridgr protocol only generates the code; the rest is up to the user. Once the bridge is deployed, it will function like any other bridge, i.e. users deposit their tokens into the bridge contract; the tokens will be locked until they are redeemed; the tokens are then released on the other side of the bridge. If a user wishes to bridge back, the contract will burn the secondary tokens that were minted, and allow the user to redeem their original tokens from the contract. This allows developers and token creators to tap into the massive user bases of some of the more popular side chains while also maintaining their communities on Ethereum, etc.
We also provide white-label packaging of the Bridgr solution, allowing businesses to customise their bridges to match project-specific branding and offer a unified experience to their users. Bridgr goes further than any other white-label bridge solution and will even deploy the token smart contracts for new chains if the project hasn’t built them yet. As with all our products, deploying a multi-chain bridge through our console requires no prior knowledge of coding. This means there is no need for any additional smart contract development for token creators or developers, saving time, money and resources. Click here if you’d like to learn more about what users can do with Bridgr.
We constantly review our infrastructure and run internal checks using unit testing and automated security audits against all our code during development. We also work with external penetration testers to ensure all our dApps are invulnerable to attack and carry out bug bounties to make sure we stamp out every flaw. Our security partners include Hacken and Pessimistic. Even if one audit produces perfect results, we have our second partner run their own checks, so that we end up with a double audit of all our smart contracts. Moreover, both companies publish their security audit reports publicly on their websites and Medium pages respectively, so you don’t have to simply take our word for it. Everything is verifiable, and we go to great lengths to provide our investors and our community with peace of mind.
Trust, simplicity and scalability. With Bridgr, we deliver on our core values and encourage connectivity and interoperability in the crypto space.
Polkalokr is the first all-in-one, multi-chain token locking and escrow platform with built-in privacy functionality. Its products — Lokr, Swapr, Bridgr and Mintr — help to build trust within the DeFi space by removing the human element and focusing on governance through code, with a seamless, omnichannel digital experience platform.