What are cross-chain swaps?

Created by Ethos Support, Modified on Fri, 24 May 2024 at 11:32 AM by Ethos Support

Cross-chain swaps, also known as atomic swaps or cross-chain transactions, are decentralized exchanges of digital assets between different blockchain networks without the need for intermediaries. They enable users to trade cryptocurrencies directly from one blockchain to another, allowing for interoperability and asset transfers between disparate blockchain ecosystems.


Here's how cross-chain swaps typically work:


Initiation: The process begins when two parties agree to exchange assets across different blockchain networks. Each party specifies the amount and type of cryptocurrency they want to exchange.

Hash Time Locked Contracts (HTLCs): Both parties create and lock their respective funds into Hash Time Locked Contracts (HTLCs) on their respective blockchain networks. An HTLC is a smart contract that requires a preimage (a cryptographic hash) to be revealed within a certain time frame for the contract to be executed.

Cross-Chain Communication: The parties communicate and share the necessary information, including the hash of the preimage, to facilitate the swap across the two blockchain networks.

Verification and Execution: Once the necessary information is shared, each party can independently verify the details and initiate the swap. By revealing the preimage, the HTLCs are fulfilled simultaneously, allowing the assets to be swapped directly between the two parties without the need for a trusted intermediary.

Completion: Once the swap is completed, both parties receive the swapped assets in their respective blockchain wallets, and the transaction is settled on both blockchain networks.

Cross-chain swaps offer several advantages:


Decentralization: Cross-chain swaps are decentralized, meaning they do not rely on centralized exchanges or intermediaries to facilitate transactions. This reduces counterparty risk and reliance on third parties.

Interoperability: Cross-chain swaps enable interoperability between different blockchain networks, allowing users to access and exchange assets across disparate ecosystems.

Privacy: Since cross-chain swaps occur directly between parties without the need for intermediaries, they can offer increased privacy and anonymity compared to centralized exchanges.

Security: Cross-chain swaps are secured by cryptographic techniques such as HTLCs, ensuring that funds are only released if the conditions of the smart contract are met by both parties.

Overall, cross-chain swaps play a crucial role in enabling seamless asset transfers and interoperability between blockchain networks, fostering greater adoption and utility of cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications (DApps).

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