This Privacy-Focused Interoperable Blockchain Bridges Ethereum and Bitcoin

Journalist:
P. H. Madore @bitillionaire
December 11, 2018

“Wanchain is a separate, independent, public chain,” CEO Jack Lu says on a recent December morning. He explains that it is essentially a fork of Ethereum which integrated a lot of privacy-focused changes and primarily focuses on cross-chain compatibility.

Wanchain wants to be the bridge between blockchains, allowing multi-crypto transaction execution in a private manner. Officially, in text, it describes itself as “the world’s first and only interoperable blockchain with secure multi-party computation.”

Wanchain layman might think of it like Ethereum + Monero with a hint of ShapeShift. Wanchain seeks to perform the functions of all of the above. While it’s not necessarily competing with Ethereum as a token platform, if tokens leverage Wanchain’s capabilities, they would have the inherent ability to be transferred in terms of value between blockchains. They add a high degree of privacy not had in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and their ultimate goal is to act at the decentralized intermediary between blockchains, as ShapeShift and other exchanges currently do in a centralized manner. “You can have private transactions on Wanchain,” Lu tells this reporter.

Wanchain utilizes Secure Multi-Party Computing – SMPC – to execute cross-chain transactions. This means that the receiving party can be sure the funds are locked in the sending party’s anterior wallet. Lu explains:

“We have interoperability solutions, cross-chain solutions, which allow us to connect with other blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin. SMPC allows us to control assets in a separate chain. When the user wants to send a coin or transaction from Bitcoin to Wanchain, SPMC knows how to handle this bridge. It will send the Bitcoin transactions to a locked account in Bitcoin, and at the same time we will issue a token – but it’s not really an issuance because we just transfer a proxy token on Wanchain to that particular user.”

Wanchain Creates Bridge from Ethereum to Bitcoin

Lu says that in the future, public chains like Ethereum and Bitcoin can essentially be represented and shielded with the privacy of Wanchain. While the transparency inherent in Bitcoin is nice, there are plenty of users who wish for more privacy. Lu says that Wanchain uses the Monero style of private transactions. In Monero, at least, a view key is required to even know anything, really, about a given transaction, although the records are publicly accessible.

It is Wanchain’s interoperability that attracted the MakerDAO, a smart contract which contains as much as 1% of all Ethereum and stabilizes units to the dollar through algorithmic methods, to Wanchain when seeking a cross-chain compatibility partner.

Tuesday, Wanchain announced and launched its Bitcoin interoperability upgrade. The move marks its 3.0 iteration, the 2.0 series having been the generation when they focused on Ethereum interoperability.

The reader may call to mind the recent work of R3, as this reporter did, and their ability to move funds through the centralized clearinghouse networks of banks and certain value networks like Ripple, with their recently released Cordapp. Lu pointed out that the work R3 is doing is primarily for the blockchain consortiums it represents, which include large financial institutions who have specific needs. He said that Wanchain, in the present, is focused on linking blockchains and adding privacy wherever possible, and in the future, they fully intend to add more blockchains – virtually any blockchain that might have demand for it.

Using Wanchain for cross-chain transactions instead centralized exchanges means that transactions stay secure and decentralized. There is no counterparty risk, and as they point out in a press release around the 3.0 launch:

Decentralized exchanges leveraging Wanchain’s cross-chain (Ethereum-based) or build directly on Wanchain will now be able to offer Bitcoin trading pairs. New pairs on decentralized exchanges with BTC will allow for drastic increases in liquidity for the space at large. Other use cases for this cross-chain capability could include cross-chain crypto loans, crypto payments leveraging multiple chains, and any other use case for bringing Bitcoin to applications currently siloed to Ethereum. The opportunities cross-chain with Bitcoin will bring for Wanchain and the industry are quite exciting.

Basically, any exchange that’s running either Ethereum and Wanchain or Bitcoin and Wanchain can now offer additional pairs without an undue amount of work. Wanchain does the work for them, and Lu says, “For this release, we will add a lot of Ethereum tokens. We’ve already announced about MakerDAO, which is a stablecoin, but now we’ve also added other Ethereum tokens, so now all these ERC-20 tokens can be traded against Bitcoin in a decentralized exchange.”

The Wanchain wallet has a convenient “crosschain” button embedded in it, and documents make it clear how to execute cross-chain transactions. The Wan, the native token of the Wanchain, was trading at around 33 cents USD at time of writing. If significant demand for the network’s functions picks up, demand for the token would as well.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

P. H. Madore @bitillionaire

P. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014. Please send breaking news tips or requests for investigation to bitillionaire+phm@gmail.com. He lives in Maine, USA. A single father of four young children, he does not discourage financial donations, provided they do not come with strings attached.