Chia ETH Bridge Updates and Could it Lead to a Coinbase Listing?

The ETH-XCH bridge was one of my top 10 predictions for 2024 as a means to more easily on-ramp into XCH. Gene also mentioned improving on and off-ramps as one of CNI’s top 3 goals for 2024 with specific mention of the bridge.

Yakuhito (TibetSwap), Acevail (MintGarden), and dns (dexie) are the brains behind this important piece of the ecosystem. Here’s what I have learned from their tweets, public Discord messages, and doing a bit of sleuthing.

The bridge has an official name: is the URI as well as the name for the bridge.

Fun fact: looks like Yak had the Twitter handle registered since July 2022!

Validator interviews complete, selection to be announced

At the end of February, a call was put out for applications to become a validator. Apparently the response was great and the quality of applications was very high. Throughout the month of March, the selection committee interviewed all eligible candidates and they will be announcing the selected validators next week.

I’m not sure how many will be selected but I think there’s a sweet spot between 5 and 11 validators. You don’t want too few but also not so many that it is hard to coordinate and fee revenue split too thinly.

Potentially launching in May 2024

A version of the bridge has been functional on Testnet 11 for over a month now. The original target for mainnet launch was end of April but Gene mentioned on Discord that there might be a delay due to the team adding in “a lot”.

What could this mean? Perhaps two-way wrapping functionality?

The bridge could be two-way! Coinbase soon?

Sleuthing the GitHub repo, I stumbled upon a branch called wrapped_cats which contains what appears to be Chialisp puzzles for locking and unlocking CATs, and presumably issuing wrapped XCH or wrapped CATs on the Ethereum side as ERC-20/721 tokens.

Chialisp for locking CATs (Source: GitHub)

Originally it was mentioned that this bridge would be one-directional, only wrapping ETH and ERC-20 tokens onto the Chia blockchain but Gene had mentioned in discord that two-way might be a possibility as well.

If this becomes a two-way bridge, the implications are really interesting! One of the often cited reasons for a lack of exchange listings is the effort required for an exchange to support a unique L1 like Chia, and how it doesn’t outweigh the potential fee revenue from relatively low trading volumes.

However, exchanges can list ERC-20 tokens with little effort. If we can bridge wrapped-XCH onto Ethereum, could we see a wXCH listing on big exchanges like Coinbase even before an actual XCH listing?! Such a listing will provide an excellent on-ramp and off-ramp for customers. Simply buy wXCH and send it to the bridge to unwrap it as XCH directly to your Chia wallet. This would bypass the extra step of bridging USDC and swapping for XCH within the Chia ecosystem, which may or may not have enough liquidity.

We might even see some popular CATs get listed on centralized exchanges! wSBX or wMWIF anyone?

Fun fact: This wouldn’t be the first wrapped XCH on Ethereum. MaxiDAO had attempted to do a wrapped Chia but it didn’t gain much traction. Logo Contest

Similar to how TibetSwap held a logo design contest, Yak is running it back for, this time with a sizeable 4.2 XCH initial prize pool, along with community prize donations (see full prize pool). Go vote for your favorite entry or submit your own!

Work-in-progress UI preview

Taken from the bridge-ui repo, this UI is labelled as “Work in progress” but it might give a teaser as to what the final frontend might look like.

Note that the dropdown provides options to select Ethereum, Chia, or Base (Coinbase’s L2).

Early work-in-progress UI for

Not just an ETH bridge

Although often referred to as an ETH bridge, the way this is built is actually an EVM-XCH bridge as it can also support other EVM chains to bridge many more assets in and out of the Chia ecosystem. For example, Coinbase’s Base L2 is itself an EVM chain.

Stay tuned for more updates on the bridge, including a deep dive into a 1,000,000 XCH ($40M) transaction with baseless speculation on how it might be related!

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