For a long time, blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have operated in independent environments. This has been a significant challenge in the growth of blockchain technology. However, the narrative is now changing as innovators debut cross-chain solutions to enable communication between various blockchain networks.
Cross-chain technology is among the latest innovations within the crypto ecosystem. It has been gaining traction, especially with the rise of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocols which offer varied financial services and products. Most of these protocols are gradually realizing that they can only scale their services by featuring interoperability solutions.
Essentially, cross-chain technology eliminates the communication barrier that exists within the crypto ecosystem. Solutions built around this area of innovation are designed to link Layer-1 blockchains with upcoming Layer-2 networks and Layer-1 to Layer-1 blockchains. This means that one can transfer tokens seamlessly from Bitcoin’s blockchain to Ethereum or a Layer-2 network such as Arbitrum.
Connecting the Crypto Ecosystem
With so many blockchain networks coming up, the need to develop interoperability solutions is more significant than ever before. The young DeFi market is one of the prominent candidates for cross-chain interoperability solutions. According to DeFi Pulse, this ecosystem currently enjoys over $58 billion in total value locked (TVL), a figure that could be projectively higher if most blockchain environments could communicate with each other.
Cross-chain technology is emerging as a bridge to connect this nascent market. Fundamentally, cross-chain networks solve the scalability part of the blockchain trilemma by creating interoperability solutions and composability in moving tokens from one blockchain network to another. Projects within this niche have taken different approaches, with some focusing on building Layer-1 solutions while others have integrated liquidity bridges.
Despite the varied approaches, cross-chain solutions are being embraced across the crypto ecosystem. Today, most DeFi projects have integrated a cross-chain bridge or are in the process of integrating one. Notably, several cross-chain solutions currently exist, with some gaining more adoption than others.
Cross-Chains Solutions in Crypto
Just like any free market, the crypto industry features several upcoming solutions to its current shortcomings. As for cross-chain technology, some of the projects proving to be long-term interoperability solutions include Wanchain and Celer cBridge.
Wanchain is a blockchain protocol designed to introduce a distributed ‘banking’ ecosystem by connecting multiple blockchain environments. This project uses cross-chain technology to bridge blockchain networks, including Bitcoin, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Ethereum, XRP, EOS and Wanchain.
🔴 Super fast 🚀
🔵 Secure 🚀
🟢 Decentralised 🚀
🟡 Scalable 🚀
🟠 100% EVM compatible 🚀
— Wanchain (@wanchain_org) June 29, 2021
Wanchain’s fundamental infrastructure enables the protocol to record both intra-chain and cross-chain transactions. This is supported by the protocol’s decentralized bridges which facilitate interoperability and composability. In doing so, Wanchain intends to build a decentralized ecosystem with so many bridges as possible.
The Wanchain protocol allows blockchain users to integrate public, private or consortium networks with enabled communication across the integrated platforms. Notably, this protocol operates as a fully decentralized platform which means that no third parties are involved.
2. Celer cBridge
Celer cBridge is one of the products of Celer Network purposely designed to bridge the interoperability gap in crypto markets. The Celer cBridge solution operates as a multi-chain functionality, reducing the cost and time taken to transfer crypto tokens between various blockchain networks. Unlike most existing cross-chain solutions, which only feature pairwise bridges, cBridge can bridge several blockchain networks through multiple hops.
This enables the project to create a significant value proposition by integrating most DApp-focused platforms, including Ethereum and parachains such as Polkadot. Celer’s cBridge solution extends the project’s state channel with a slight off-chain modification to feature ‘multi-homing, which enables simultaneous node presence across many blockchain networks.
Other than its interoperability solution, Celer Network also features a scaling solution dubbed Layer2.Finance. This solution allows developers to build scalable DApps using the platform’s off-chain scaling functions – ideally, Celer’s Layer2.Finance functions similarly to public transport as it provides a cheaper means to access the larger DeFi ecosystem.
Why Cross-Chain Technology Will Change Crypto
The underlying potential of the crypto market can only be underestimated at one’s peril. This nascent industry has grown into a trillion-dollar market within the past decade and seems to have just started. Recent months have been fundamentally bullish, with retail and institutions seeking a piece of the cake. While most are speculators, a significant percentage of the adopters are interested in the potential of blockchain networks.
As more people join the ecosystem, cross-chain solutions are becoming inevitable. Projects focusing on this area of innovation will likely give rise to the next frontier of the blockchain industry. This is because of their value proposition in bridging the liquidity gap due to limited communication across blockchain networks. In addition, cross-chain protocols lower the cost of entering and operating within the crypto ecosystem hence exposing more prospects to DeFi products amongst other upcoming niches such as Non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
With the world embracing the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), blockchain technology is set to play an essential part in changing the dynamics of traditional finance. This can be seen in upcoming innovations within the DeFi space, although most of the ongoing work is yet to scale up to the level of mainstream adoption.
Per the trends, cross-chain solutions will gradually set the stage for mainstream crypto adoption, given that users will be able to leverage communicative networks depending on their preferences and needs.