The bedrock of multi-chain crypto is the cross-chain bridge, which allows users to swap tokens from one blockchain to another, and another project is emerging to see if it can improve the experience of crossing the chasm.
Swim Protocol, a Solana-based protocol aiming to build the cross-chain bridge of the future, announced Wednesday it raised $4 million in a seed round led by Pantera Capital. Founded by alums of Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research, Swim proposes a streamlined system for moving stablecoins across chains, using liquidity pools and automated market makers (AMM) to make cross-chain swaps quicker and more convenient for end-users.
Swim’s technology is built atop Wormhole, the bridge that suffered a $320 million exploit in early February.
In addition to decreasing the number of steps required to send assets through Wormhole, Swim’s main improvement to the everyday user experience will be enabling native swaps.
Swim CEO Troy Tsui told CoinDesk that his inspiration to start Swim started during his days as a quantitative trader.
How it works
As with other bridges, when you send an asset like UST from Terra to Solana via Wormhole, the UST that you receive in Solana is not actually UST, but a kind of “wrapped” UST that is compatible with the second chain (Solana in this instance). Wormhole-wrapped UST should trade on Solana around the value of regular UST, but wrapped tokens have less liquidity than the real thing, and you’ll need to use a separate service like Saber to unwrap your assets in order to take advantage of most decentralized finance (DeFi) apps and protocols.
Swim’s AMM-based mechanics will eliminate the unwrapping step. Swim is also adding the ability for users to more easily monitor swaps between chains, theoretically making it easier for users to troubleshoot transfers that get stuck on their way between chains (something that happens more often than one might hope).
The Swim team cites security as a core focus. Wormhole suffered a major exploit in February, and while the funds were ultimately reimbursed by Jump Crypto (which has also invested in Swim Protocol), the incident highlighted the need for reliable cross-chain infrastructure and the challenges that come with building bridging solutions.
Swim Protocol launches Wednesday with support for stablecoin bridging on Solana, BNB Chain and Ethereum. In the future, the team plans to expand to other chains supported by Wormhole, starting with Avalanche, Polygon, Terra and Fantom.
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