How to use the Polygon Bridge

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The Polygon Bridge facilitates seamless asset transfers between different blockchain networks, enabling users to navigate diverse ecosystems and leverage decentralized finance (DeFi) opportunities.

What is the Polygon Bridge?

Polygon blockchain is an Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution. The Polygon Bridge is a cross-chain interoperability channel assisting interchain communication between different blockchains to Ethereum and vice versa.

The Polygon Network also provides resources for developing scalable decentralized applications (DApps). Polygon enables the quick and easy deployment of DApps to well-known DeFi platforms such as SushiSwap, Aave and Curve.

Since Polygon transactions are faster and cheaper than Ethereum transactions, users and DApp developers opt for digital asset migration via the Polygon Bridge. But how fast is the Polygon Bridge? While the Ethereum network can handle 14 transactions per second (TPS), the Polygon Bridge facilitates up to 65,000 TPS.

How does the Polygon Bridge work?

Polygon Bridge operates on a trustless, dual-consensus architecture to maximize efficiency and decentralization. It uses a single-token architecture and allows arbitrary state transitions on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible sidechains.

The Polygon network has two bridges — the Plasma Bridge and the proof-of-stake (PoS) Bridge — to validate transactions. The cheapest way to bridge Ether (ETH) to Polygon is via the PoS Bridge.

The Plasma Bridge utilizes Ethereum Plasma’s scaling technology to enhance transfer security. It can handle transfers of native tokens such as Polygon’s MATIC (MATIC) and some Ethereum tokens, such as ETH, ERC-20 and ERC-721.

On the other hand, the PoS Bridge relies on a PoS consensus for its network security. While withdrawals may take time to confirm, Polygon processes deposits instantly. Users can use the PoS Bridge to transfer most ERC tokens and Ether. For the PoS Bridge, withdrawals can take from 45 minutes to three hours, while for the Plasma Bridge, it can take up to seven days.​

Tokens will continue circulating if they cross over the Polygon Bridge since the circulating supply of the token will not change. In short, when a user transfers tokens from the Ethereum network to the Polygon network, they remain locked.

The number of tokens created on the Polygon network will equal those created on the Ethereum network (token wrapping). Polygon will burn the pegged tokens while bridging the tokens back to Ethereum, unlocking the tokens on Ethereum.

Why use Polygon Bridge

Due to its widespread use, Ethereum often faces considerable network congestion from the substantial volume of transactions. The Polygon sidechain provides a layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum transactions, making it easier, faster and cheaper to access the network and transfer crypto assets between platforms.

Moreover, Polygon Bridge’s utility lies in enhancing interoperability, reducing transaction costs and accelerating transaction speeds, thereby providing users with a more efficient and cost-effective means of transferring assets across networks. Additionally, it opens up opportunities for utilizing diverse DApps and accessing various financial services available on both the Ethereum and Polygon chains.

How to transfer assets from Ethereum to Polygon via the PoS Bridge

A user needs a compatible crypto wallet to transfer assets from Ethereum to Polygon. Polygon supports several wallets, chiefly MetaMask, Coinbase, Bitski and Venly. In this article, we’ll be using the MetaMask wallet to explain below the step-by-step process of using the Polygon Bridge:

Step 1: Click the “Polygon Bridge” icon to log in to the Polygon wallet suite.

Step 2: Connect to the MetaMask crypto wallet by scanning the QR code with your smartphone.

Step 3: Click “Connect” on the smartphone to confirm the connection.

Step 4: Once you’ve successfully linked to the wallet, the page will redirect you to the Polygon Bridge interface.

Step 5: Click the “Bridge” button on the left to transfer assets from the Ethereum mainnet to Polygon.

Step 6: Select a token to use for the bridge by clicking its name. After entering the desired amount, click the “Transfer” icon. Deposits take about seven to eight minutes.

Step 7: Carefully review all the transaction details, including the token transfers and estimated cost, before clicking “Continue.”

Step 8: Verify the deposit’s estimated gas fees, and if you’re satisfied, click “Continue.”

Step 9: In the MetaMask wallet, you can review the transaction’s details, but you must click “Confirm” to sign and approve the transfer.

Step 10: You have to wait for the tokens to appear in your Polygon wallet. The transaction can be tracked by clicking on “View on Polygonscan” in the MetaMask wallet.

How to bridge MATIC tokens from the Polygon network to the Ethereum blockchain via the PoS Bridge

Before transferring assets between the Polygon PoS Bridge and the Ethereum blockchain, users must map tokens between the platforms using the Polygon Token Mapper.

Once that’s done, follow these steps to use the PoS bridge, utilizing MetaMask:

Step 1: On the “Bridge” interface, click “Withdrawal.”

Step 2: You must choose the token you want to transfer to the Ethereum network.

Step 3: You can click the “Switch Bridge” option beside the “Transfer Mode” to choose a compatible transfer bridge, although the PoS Bridge will automatically select the default option for transferring tokens from Polygon to Ethereum. In this case, choose the PoS Bridge.

Step 4: Enter the desired amount and click “Transfer.”

Step 5: Click “Continue” after reviewing the transaction’s details.

Step 6: Review the “Transfer Overview” prompt and projected gas fees. If the charges are acceptable, click “Continue.”

Step 7: Evaluate the transaction details once again and click “Confirm” if satisfied.

Step 8: Sign and approve the transfer to the Polygon Bridge MetaMask wallet. Ensure all the details are correct before clicking the “Confirm” button.

Step 9: The transfer progress will appear. The withdrawal process could take up to three hours to allow PoS validators to verify the transaction.

Step 10: Click “Continue” to transfer the assets to the MetaMask wallet. After logging in to the wallet, click “Import Tokens” after the validation and completion of the withdrawal.

How to bridge MATIC tokens from the Polygon network to the Ethereum blockchain via the Plasma Bridge

To bridge MATIC tokens from the Polygon network, users should initially integrate the Polygon network into their wallet. If using MetaMask, access the wallet, incorporate Polygon, or utilize the Polygon Wallet interface to integrate MetaMask.

Then, follow the steps below to bridge MATIC to Ethereum through the Plasma Bridge:

Step 1: Navigate to the “Bridge” interface and select “Withdraw.” Select “Matic Token” from the drop-down menu, enter the amount, and click “Transfer.” The system automatically chooses Plasma Bridge when clicking “Transfer.”

Step 2: Read the notification labeled “Important.” The interface will display the transaction’s estimated gas fee. Click “Continue” if the gas fee estimate is satisfactory. Double-check the transaction details.

Step 3: A MetaMask pop-up will appear, asking you to approve the transaction. When you click “Confirm,” the transfer will commence.

Step 4: Wait for the checkpoint as validators confirm the transaction. This may take three hours.

Step 5: Unlike the PoS Bridge, this transfer requires a second confirmation on arrival at the “Checkpoint.” After the second confirmation, click “Continue” to start the mandatory seven-day “Challenge Period.”

Step 6: Once the “Challenge Period” ends validating the transaction, select “Continue” to claim and send the MATIC tokens to the MetaMask wallet.

It is crucial to note that the Plasma Bridge also works with ERC-721 tokens.

Benefits of utilizing the Polygon Bridge for cross-chain transactions

Utilizing the Polygon Bridge for cross-chain transactions offers a spectrum of advantages. It presents a cost-effective and rapid solution, minimizing transaction fees and congestion experienced on the Ethereum network.

With seamless interoperability, it facilitates smooth asset transfers across diverse blockchains, amplifying accessibility to decentralized finance opportunities. The bridge enhances scalability by mitigating network bottlenecks and empowering users with faster transaction speeds.

Moreover, it fosters a secure environment, leveraging the robustness of Polygon’s architecture to ensure the integrity of cross-chain transactions. Overall, the Polygon Bridge stands as an efficient, economical and secure conduit for navigating between blockchain networks, enabling a more inclusive and streamlined decentralized ecosystem.

Risks of utilizing bridges for cross-chain transactions

There are risks associated with using cross-chain bridges in decentralized ecosystems. These bridges might have security flaws that expose assets to risks such as network intrusions or smart contract exploits. Complexities in interoperability may cause delays in transactions, inconsistent chains or even the loss of assets in transfers.

Moreover, depending on several networks makes one more vulnerable to network congestion or problems associated with it, which can affect transaction costs and speeds. The dynamic nature of blockchain technology and regulatory uncertainties present additional obstacles that could impact the functionality of cross-chain bridges.

In some cases, bridges may face liquidity issues, making it difficult to move large amounts of assets quickly. When conducting cross-chain transactions, users must be cautious, recognize these risks, and take appropriate precautions, just like with any newly developed technology.

The future of cross-chain bridges

The future of cross-chain bridges appears promising, poised for evolution and integration across diverse blockchain ecosystems. Improvements in interoperability, smooth asset transfers and network friction reduction are expected to be the main areas of focus.

Moreover, technological innovations have the potential to simplify user experiences, lower costs, and introduce more efficient protocols. In addition, anticipate more security measures to strengthen these bridges and guarantee dependability and trust when transferring assets.

Cross-chain bridges will be essential in promoting cooperation, opening up decentralized finance applications, and increasing the opportunities for users to easily engage across multiple blockchains as the blockchain landscape develops.