At its essence, DeFi is an attempt to construct a complex economic paradigm in which participants can do many of the things offered to them by traditional financial institutions, only, this time, on their own terms. These activities include borrowing and lending, acquisition of titles, rights and properties and much more. The problem is, however, in actuality, the DeFi platforms that most people use are little more than electronic versions of what is offered in traditional finance, namely services that allow you to do something at a price and under the condition that you trust them with your funds.
This is not the way it was supposed to be, but one of the reasons the industry has developed along those lines is how fractured everything is. There are thousands of digital currencies available now and almost as many platforms. The major platforms have siloed off access, only providing scant means of interacting with the larger, diverse market. If DeFi is truly going to work, the obstacles to interoperability have to be overcome.
How do blockchain bridges work?
One of the most promising solutions to DeFi’s interoperability issues is the cross-chain bridge platform. In the past couple of years, a number of platforms have emerged that allow users to transfer assets from one network to another and back. This can be invaluable, especially considering how rickety and expensive it can be to make transactions on some of the major networks, like Ethereum.
On its face, the idea of the cross-chain bridge is an ideal means of breaking down a lot of the barriers that have been built up in the burgeoning DeFi industry. Unfortunately though, in a similar fashion to the way DeFi itself became a terrain divided up by silos of power, many of the bridge platforms currently in operation have done more to fracture the overall experience than connect it.
The two main causes of this have been the rise of centralized bridges, and the technical inabilities of many of the decentralized bridge platforms. With centralized bridges, users are often given a more convenient experience, especially on major platforms like Binance, where many users already have deposited their funds, at the cost of ceding control of their funds and trusting a centralized authority. With decentralized bridges, the ability a user has to transfer among different blockchains is often limited by the scalability of the underlying network and the difficulty of integrating a multitude of blockchains together.
What is Octus Bridge?
One network that has been able to negotiate these wandering rocks and, as a result, garnered the attention of the DeFi space, has been Everscale. Though a relatively young network, Everscale has emerged as one of the most formidable blockchain networks out there, thanks in large part to its dedication to the original principles of the DeFi movement and the strength of the platforms in its ecosystem. Chief among those platforms is octusbridge.io, Everscale’s cross-chain bridge platform. This DeFi app was developed by Broxus, one of the core Everscale contributors.
Octus Bridge has proven its superiority by utilizing the technical capabilities of its underlying foundation; because the platform is based on Everscale protocol, which boasts the fastest processing times among all blockchains and has only fractional transaction fees, it has been able to provide nearly instantaneous network transfers in a simple and cost-efficient way. Statistics on all transactions made with Octus Bridge is available on its website:
Everscale is able to do this because of its sharding mechanism, which grants it the ability to adapt itself to any network load, regardless of size, without the load affecting network performance. Usually, when a blockchain has a higher load, users will experience longer wait times and higher transaction fees. That is not the case with Everscale, making it an ideal network for building bridge platforms and other high-load solutions. Additionally, cross-chain interoperability by the means of the crypto bridge is Everscale's strategic goal.
Universal and Invisible Bridge tech
While those capabilities have given Octus Bridge an edge, it was the introduction of two new technical features that have really pushed it into the spotlight of the DeFi industry. Recently, Octus Bridge introduced both Invisible Bridge and Universal Bridge technology. Invisible Bridge technology is a solution that applies to transfers made between EVM networks. Usually, when someone makes a cross-chain transfer among these networks, they have to go through a long process of transferring from one network to a neutral network and then from there to the destination network, while paying gas fees for each transfer.
With Invisible Bridge, all of that is done in one interface and gas is only paid for once, in the currency of the user’s choice. Invisible Bridge technology allows users to make EVM-EVM transfers using just their Metamask wallet, without needing to use their EVER Wallets. Additionally, EVM-TVM and vice versa transfers can also be made using just one wallet, either Metamask or EVER Wallet, with users just having to put the end receiver’s address in the corresponding field. There is also an EVER minimum receive feature that gives users the ability to exchange native tokens from the network where they are making an exchange for EVER. This greatly simplifies the process, saving users time and money and has even subsequently led to the rollout of another application called GetEVER.
Universal Bridge technology is a groundbreaking solution that has the potential to ameliorate many of the problems bogging down the further development of DeFi. With this technology, Octus Bridge users can transfer any asset, regardless of its origin network, to Everscale where they have more autonomy over it and back again, or to any network they want. This gives users of the bridge unprecedented control over their funds and opens the door for any holder of any coin or token to take advantage of that enhanced freedom.
How many blockchains does Octus Bridge connect?
Octus Bridge is intended to be an all-in-one solution that will connect all major blockchain networks. As such, the list of supported networks is constantly being expanded. Currently, the platform supports seven networks: Ethereum, Everscale, BNB Chain, Polygon, Fantom Opera, Avalanche, Klaytn. Additionally, via Universal Bridge technology, users can use Octus Bridge to transfer virtually any asset from any network to and from Everscale.
What are Relayers in Octus Bridge?
In the Octus Bridge ecosystem, relayers play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth and secure operation of cross-chain transactions. Relayers, also referred to as validators, serve as integral components of the bridge infrastructure. Their primary responsibility involves reaching a consensus regarding the validity of transactions executed on one blockchain network and subsequently issuing the corresponding amount of tokens on the target network. This synchronization is paramount to the proper functioning of the bridge. The current list of Relayers is tracked on the Octus Bridge website:
Rewards and incentives
The participation of relayers is incentivized by the issuance of rewards. These rewards act as a driving force behind the commitment of validators to maintain accurate transaction records and uphold the integrity of the bridge. The systematic issuance of rewards encourages continued and effective participation, ultimately contributing to the reliability of cross-chain transactions.
Relayers vs stakers
It's important to differentiate between relayers and stakers within the Octus Bridge ecosystem. While both roles involve receiving cryptocurrency rewards, they operate on distinct algorithms. Relayers focus on transaction validation and synchronization across networks, while stakers engage in token locking within staking contracts to participate in consensus mechanisms.
Validator nodes and mining nodes
In the realm of Octus Bridge, validator nodes encompass a broader category that includes mining nodes. While mining nodes are a subset of validator nodes, their functions are different. Validator nodes collectively work towards consensus and transaction validation, ensuring the accurate transfer of tokens across blockchain networks.
Ensuring accountability via slashing mechanisms
To maintain the credibility of the bridge network, mechanisms are in place to mitigate the influence of unscrupulous or irresponsible relayers. A slashing mechanism serves as a deterrent against fraudulent activities. Relayers attempting to initiate transactions that do not have corresponding validity face penalties, including partial or complete loss of their stake. This mechanism reinforces the accountability of relayers and fortifies the overall security of the crypto bridge.
Minimum stake requirement
Participation as a bridge relayer requires a minimum stake size of 100,000 BRIDGE tokens. This stipulation ensures a level of commitment and investment from relayers, contributing to the overall stability and effectiveness of cross-chain transactions.
How to make a cross-chain transfer on Octus Bridge
The process of making a cross-chain transfer on Octus Bridge is incredibly simple. There are just a few things necessary to get started. First, a user will need two wallets, an EVER Wallet and a wallet that is compatible with the other network they are working with. Once they arrive at the octusbridge.io app, they will be prompted to connect these wallets, after they have selected the networks they will be working with.
Secondly, a user will need some EVER in order to pay for the platform’s minimal gas fees and an asset they want to transfer from one network to another. However, paying EVER is not necessary if you transfer funds between two EVM-compatible networks. Once a user has all that in place, they can initiate their transfer by specifying the amount they wish to transfer and clicking on the corresponding button. They will then be prompted to enter their password for their wallet to authorize their transaction and have to wait just a few moments for the transfer to be complete and their funds to appear in their wallet on their target network.
Staking in Octus Bridge
Staking on Octus Bridge is a way to earn revenue from your BRIDGE tokens while also supporting platform liquidity. Similarly to making a cross-chain transfer with Octus Bridge, staking on the platform is very simple. All you need to have is an EVER Wallet and some BRIDGE tokens, which you can get on Everscale’s FlatQube DEX.
Once you have connected your wallet at octusbridge.io, head to the “My Stake” section where you will be asked to enter the amount you want to stake. Once that has been set, you will be prompted to authorize the transaction and your stake will be locked in. From your locked-in assets, you will be able to generate revenue up until you unlock your stake and reclaim your assets.
Octus Bridge token and governance
True to its word, both the Everscale network and the Octus Bridge platform are controlled by DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), meaning that everyone willing is able to participate in their governance and propose changes and improvements. In effect, what these technological breakthroughs have done is break down the barriers impeding fluid movement in the DeFi space and once again place power in the hands of the individual. The final vision of Octus Bridge is not just a tool for transferring assets from one network to another, but a means of transferring data of any kind in a decentralized manner from any network to another.
The way this all works is through the BRIDGE token. In addition to its functionality as a staking and relaying asset, BRIDGE serves as the governance token of the platform allowing holders to vote on and create proposals to make changes to the platform. Here is how a proposal’s page looks like:
All the features and functionalities present on Octus Bridge have made it one of the most dynamic and important platforms not just on the Everscale network, but in all of DeFi. As more networks get integrated into the platform and more features get built, the platform’s importance will only grow. To experience quick and cheap cross-chain transactions as well as everything else the bridge has to offer, head to octusbridge.io.