Recent high-profile crypto bridge hacks are driving crypto exchanges and other applications to offer more secure alternatives.
Users are able to swap digital tokens across different blockchains via whats known as ‘bridges’.
Coinbase and FTX are expanding their services to provide bridge-like services on various blockchains, enabling investors in Bitcoin and Ethereum to use the financial and gaming apps of other networks.
FTX, for example, launched a marketplace last year to allow customers to trade Solana-based nonfungible tokens, and had the ability to easily exchange their Eth for Sol, the chain’s native token. Instead of a bridge, users can deposit Ethereum-based NFTs on Solana and withdraw them via FTX. Moreover, more app developers, such as Maple Finance, are moving onto new blockchains, making bridges unnecessary for certain transactions.
After hackers siphoned more than $1 billion out of crypto bridges like Wormhole and Ronin in February and March, the urgency and attraction for alternatives to bridges has increased.
According to a OnePulse survey of 500 U.S. adults, 80% said they did not trust crypto networks to protect their funds. According to tracker Dune Analytics, Ethereum-connected bridges still contain $17.4 billion in locked value, down 17% in the past 30 days.
There has been a drop in crypto locked on Ethereum-connected bridges since the hacks made the headlines.
When it comes to decentralized bridges, which are run via software, it’s often unclear who runs them, who can access funds and how, and whether users will be reimbursed if hacked.
Coinbase Wallet also introduced support for Solana recently, letting users send, receive and store Solana and SPL tokens, which are coins native to the Solana blockchain. before, If investors wanted to move USDC from Ethereum to Solana, they would need to deposit USDC to Coinbase to buy Sol, and then swap that token for USDC-SPL on market maker Raydium. Solana Labs’ head of communications, Austin Federa, said it is now possible to do that through Coinbase directly.
To help customers avoid crypto bridge hacks some dApps like Maple Finance are building versions of their apps for other blockchains.
“The institutional and the corporate partners that we’ve dealt with really wanted this security,” said Sid Powell, CEO of Maple Finance. Decentralised bridges will become more popular as security and performance improve, he said, adding that Maple is considering expanding onto other networks, such as Avalanche.
Bridges won’t be disappearing anytime soon though. With more than 18,800 tokens, and thousands of blockchains, they are necessary for heavy users. Let’s just hope that we see less and less crypto bridge hacks.