What are Blockchain Bridges and How Do They Work?
Blockchain technology has covered quite an extensive journey since its introduction to the world in 2008 with the Bitcoin whitepaper. The subsequent rise in the number of cryptocurrencies and development of blockchain networks with programmability, such as Ethereum, have created a completely new ecosystem. Blockchain promises the value of decentralization and freedom from the control of any individual or institution. 

However, majority of blockchain networks exist in the form of isolated communities with their own economies. Therefore, blockchain bridges have become one of the inevitable necessities for the decentralized application ecosystem. The restriction on interactions between different blockchain networks creates limits for decentralization, the core principle of blockchain technology. 

A blockchain bridge serves as the ideal solution for interoperability among different types of blockchain networks. It opens up the scope for applications based on one blockchain network to use the resources of another blockchain network. The maturity and evolution of blockchain technology have led to the demand for blockchain bridge projects to improve interoperability among different blockchain networks. 

What is the Need for Blockchain Bridges?
All blockchains have their limitations. However, all blockchains develop in isolated environments and have different rules and consensus mechanisms. This means they cannot natively communicate, and tokens cannot move freely between blockchains.

Bridges exist to connect blockchains, allowing the transfer of information and tokens between them.

Bridges enable:
> The cross-chain transfer of assets and information
> dapps to access the strengths of various blockchains – thus enhancing their capabilities (as protocols now have more design space for innovation).
> Users to access new platforms and leverage the benefits of different chains.
> Developers from different blockchain ecosystems to collaborate and build new platforms for the users.

Types of bridge
Trusted Bridges:
– Trusted bridges depend upon a central entity or system for their operations.
– They have trust assumptions with respect to the custody of funds and the security of the bridge. Users mostly rely on the bridge operator’s reputation.
– Users need to give up control of their crypto assets.

Trustless Bridges:
– Trustless bridges operate using smart contracts and algorithms.
– They are trustless, i.e., the security of the bridge is the same as that of the underlying blockchain.
– Through smart contracts, trustless bridges enable users to remain in control of their funds.

Unidirectional Bridges:
The next entry among types of blockchain bridges would point at unidirectional bridges. Unidirectional bridges take the direction of transactions into account. As the name implies, unidirectional bridges can only ensure irreversible asset transfers from one network to another. Such types of bridges are only suitable for one-way transactions. 

Bidirectional Bridges:
Bidirectional bridges are another example of a blockchain bridge variant, working exactly opposite to the functioning of unidirectional bridges. A bidirectional blockchain bridge helps in ensuring seamless transfer of assets and information between two networks. Therefore, bidirectional bridges serve as a favorable alternative to using two different unidirectional bridges. 

Risk using bridges
– Smart Contract Risk
– Technology Risk
– Censorship Risk
– Custodial Risk

Popular Blockchain Bridge
The basics of a blockchain bridge explain the potential as well as downsides of the new solution. You can find a few blockchain bridge projects making their way towards popularity. The bridges provide seamless transactions between popular blockchain networks. In addition, every bridge has a different approach to operations based on its time. Therefore, you are more likely to identify profound variations in the transfer times for every bridge. Here are some of the popular examples that you should take note of.

Binance Bridge:
The blockchain bridge by Binance serves as a bidirectional bridge between Ethereum and the main Binance chain. It also utilizes specific features of the Ethereum-compatible BNB Smart Chain for wrapping token assets. Therefore, it can help in transferring assets to Ethereum from Binance. The Binance Bridge helps users utilize Ethereum-based assets on the BNB Smart Chain by wrapping tokens in the BEP-20 token standard.

Avalanche Bridge:
The next popular entry among examples of blockchain bridges would be Avalanche Bridge. It is also a bidirectional bridge for transferring assets between Ethereum and Avalanche networks. Furthermore, the Avalanche Bridge also supports ERC-721 and ERC-20 functionality, thereby supporting the transfer of NFTs and cryptocurrencies. The Avalanche team introduced an update for the bridge in June 2022 and included support for transferring assets between Bitcoin blockchain and Avalanche network.

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