Hop Exchange (L2->L2 Bridge)
Ethereum Layer 2s are really starting to take hold with the long awaited snarks and rollup chains launching at a steady cadence over the past year. These have started to overshadow the previous scalability layers that relied more on trust.
This is a welcome development for anyone that has tried to do anything on the Ethereum mainnet in the ast few months, with DeFi and Nfts constantly spiking the gas prices. Eip1559 did bring a measure of predictability to the gas price bidding, but it was never intended to reduce gas fees... Only to help users avoid overpaying in the bidding.
So, we are starting to reach a point of transition from Eth1 (POW) to ETH2 (Pos) where the side chains and L2s take the transaction load to relieve congestion on the mainnet. Interestingly enough, in the distant (for crypto) past Vitalik Buterin even floated the idea that we could reach a stage of "1.5 and done"!
So, I've played around a bit on most of the L2s and side chains, and the difference in fees and speed is quite something. As more of them come online, I will try them as I'm a bit of curious mind...
However, in my toying around, what I have really missed is trustless portals that go directly from L2 to L2 without the need to bounce from the very expensive mainnet. If course there are the options to bounce in and out of exchanges that support L2 deposits and withdrawals (Binance and Crypto.com) do this for some tokens but it is a limited selection), but it would be nice to have a more elegant solution.
Hop Exchange is something that I've been meaning to try out, a L2 to L2 exchange that appears to be trustless that works by having pools on both sides of the bridge. It seems to be a solution that works at the moment, but I do wonder if it will scale well. I haven't really looked too deeply into how liquidity is managed to prevent it all sloshing to one side of the bridge... But I'm sure it has been thought about. Primarily, I am approaching this as a user at the moment and will look later into the staking pools.
So, all the modern L2s are supported as well as the Ethereum mainnet. One very nice addition for me is the xDAI chain which is one of the older ones, but one that I still use.
The supported tokens are limited to USDT, USDC AND Matic. It's not a terrible selection, but it might be difficult if you don't already have the native token to pay for gas fees on the other side. So, that would be ETH on OE and Arbitrum, DAI on xDAI and Matic on Polygon.
Well... Matic is no problem. But you will need a tiny amount of the native token to pay for a quick swap of the bridged currency!
Apparently ETH is coming soon (possibly even this week!), which would make life easier for everyone and would definitely make this a killer dApp that would be essential for all Ethereum users.
For me to quickly bridge over to xDAI and OE, the easiest of the withdrawal currencies was MATIC on the Polygon network from Binance (although, it would have been fine to also use the Polygon withdrawal from Crypto.com). This I could quickly convert to USDT on Hop Exchange...
... but I prefer to use Sushiswap which has a footprint on all the major smart contract chains. Plus, they have Dark Theme...
And so, the first test send from Polygon to Optimism without taking a detour through a CEX or mainnet! Of course, there is a validator and pool fee, but it is significantly less than the alternatives. This is definitely promising!
Just a quick look at the difference in USDT between the two ends leads me to think that this is at least one method that Hop Exchange have for keeping the pools balanced.
The usual spend approval for the smart contract and then the actual swap transaction. I have to say that I do find Polygon a touch slower than Optimism. However, the difference on the order of seconds, so it doesn't really matter too much.
Funds arrived safely on the other end after a few minutes. So onwards to start also moving some funds to xDAI and Arbitum!
I do find that this has been a pretty decent experience that has convinced me to add at least a little bit of liquidity to the pools. It might be more use here rather sitting on the lower return parking on Binance. On the other... There is always the risk of on chain exploits. But yes, I think I will definitely be using this more often to get around Ethereum main net!
Handy Crypto Tools
Ledger Nano S/X: Keep your crypto safe and offline with the leading hardware wallet provider. Not your keys, not your crypto!
Binance: My first choice of centralised exchange, featuring a wide variety of crypto and savings products.
Kucoin: My second choice in exchanges, many tokens listed here that you can't get on Binance!
FTX: Regulated US-based exchange with some pretty interesting and useful discounts on trading and withdrawal fees for FTT holders. Decent fiat on-ramp as well!
MXC: Listings of lots of interesting tokens that are usually only available on DEXs. Avoid high gas prices!
Coinbase: If you need a regulated and safe environment to trade, this is the first exchange for most newcomers!
Crypto.com: Mixed feelings, but they have the BEST looking VISA debit card in existence! Seriously, it is beautiful!
CoinList: Access to early investor and crowdsale of vetted and reserached projects.
Cointracking: Automated or manual tracking of crypto for accounting and taxation reports.
Stoic: A USD maximisation bot trading on Binance using long-term long strategies, powered by the AI/human system of Cindicator.
StakeDAO: Decentralised pooled staking of PoS assets.
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