Arbitrum is a layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum that processes transactions faster and cheaper. The project has been under development for years and recently launched on Aug 31, 2021. Since then, TVL (total value locked) in DeFi apps on Arbitrum has exploded to over $2.29 billion. For comparison, Polygon has about $4.7 billion TVL.
Whenever DeFi platforms launch on a new network, they reward early users with very high APYs to incentivize usage. If you’re looking to take advantage of some of these Arbitrum dApps, you’ll need to bridge your crypto over to the Arbitrum network.
Using the official Arbitrum bridge can be slow. You may have to wait a week or longer before receiving your funds. However, there are various L2 solutions that are much faster and cheaper.
Here are the best ways to bridge funds from Polygon to Arbitrum. Keep in mind since Arbitrum is an Ethereum L2, you’ll still need a bit of ETH in your Arbitrum wallet to pay for any gas fees if you want to bridge back to another chain.
1. Synapse Protocol
Synapse, formerly Nerve, is a cross-chain protocol that allows for seamless bridging between blockchains. Since launching in late August, Synapse has already bridged over $420 million to and from Arbitrum. They also support other ecosystems like Avalanche, Fantom, BSC, and Polygon.
To get started, go to Synapse Protocol’s website. Connect your wallet and select which chain to bridge from and to (Polygon to Arbitrum in our case). You’ll be able to swap from USDC, USDT, DAI, SYN, and nUSD which is Synapse’s stablecoin. If you want to swap another token like ETH, you’ll have to first exchange it to one of the supported coins on another platform like SushiSwap and rebuy on Arbitrum.
After you approve your wallet to make the swap, you’ll then press Bridge Token. Once the transaction is sent, you’ll receive the tokens within a couple minutes. As you can see, Synapse currently charges a 10 USDC transaction fee for Arbitrum bridges.
The Hop protocol was built as a general token bridge for L2 rollups and sidechains, allowing you to instantly send and receive tokens. Market makers provide the upfront liquidity at the destination chain in exchange for a small fee.
Hop was under development for over a year by a team of devs who previously worked on projects such as Augur, OpenZeppelin, Decentraland, and DyDx. The smart contracts have been audited by Solidified and Monoceros Alpha. Since Hop is non-custodial, the funds of both users and liquidity providers are never held by a single entity.
Using Hop Exchange is easy. Simply go to Hop.Exchange and enter the app with a crypto wallet. Select which network you want to bridge from and to – in our case that’s Polygon to Arbitrum.
Then choose which crypto to bridge. Right now Hop supports USDC, USDT, DAI, MATIC, and ETH. If you have crypto other than one of these you want to bridge, you can always sell it for one of the supported coins like USDC, transfer USDC over to Arbitrum, then use the USDC to re-buy that coin on Arbitrum.
After you approve and send the transaction, you should receive the bridged funds within minutes.
3. Celer Network cBridge
Celer Network is a layer 2 scaling platform on which apps from various blockchain networks can be built on top of it. The team consists of computer scientists from MIT, Berkeley, Princeton, and is backed by some of the largest institutions and VCs in crypto.
One of Celer Network’s apps is cBridge, which is a bridging solution that allows users to quickly transfer liquidity across layer 1s, layer 2s, and cross-chain. Since launching in July, the platform has already transacted over $500 million in volume. The app has also been upgraded to cBridge 2.0 as of September, lowering fees for users and improving LP experience.
cBridge works by tapping into relay nodes that act as liquidity providers on multiple chains. Like Hop Exchange, anyone can become a liquidity provider to earn fees. cBridge is non-custodial and decentralized so your assets are always under your own control.
To get started, head over to cBridge and connect your wallet. Select the source and destination chains and which crypto to bridge. The app currently supports USDT, USDC, DAI, BUSD, WETH, WBTC along with some smaller tokens.
Note the processing fee was $8.36 to bridge DAI from Polygon to Arbitrum on cBridge. This was cheaper than Synapse at the time I tried it.
Give the three L2 bridges a try if you’re looking to bridge from Polygon to Arbitrum, or some other cross-chain variation. As you can see from the images, some platforms charge a lower fee than others at times, so play around with them to get the best price.
Bridging and interoperability are two important themes in crypto going forward. There are a number of L1 blockchains but they currently don’t speak to each other, making it difficult to move from one chain to another. This is the primary issue these L2 bridges seek to solve.
From a portfolio standpoint, you may want to have exposure to some of these L2’s tokens to participate in their growth. Hop doesn’t have one currently, but Synapse’s native token is $SYN and Celer’s is $CELR. Both have appreciated quite a bit since inception, but are still early on in their life cycle.
I personally hold $SYN as I’ve used Synapse for a while now, back when it was Nerve, and think the devs are top notch. They’re also backed by leading VCs like 3AC, CMS Holdings, and Alameda. I may look to own CELR in the future as well.