Union's New Protocol to Connect Major Blockchains

Union's New Protocol to Connect Major Blockchains


By Jakub Lazurek

20 May 2024 (29 days ago)

3 min read


Union's new protocol promises seamless blockchain interoperability, connecting major ecosystems like Ethereum and Polygon without centralized control.

Union's new permissionless protocol is changing interoperability across major blockchain ecosystems, promising seamless connectivity. Since Bitcoin's creation in 2009 and the wave of innovation that followed, the web3 industry has faced many challenges. Beyond dealing with regulators, improving user experience, and eliminating bad actors, blockchain engineers are tackling two major issues: scalability and interoperability.

Blockchain interoperability is crucial for industry growth. The World Economic Forum's 2020 whitepaper on the subject stressed the importance of avoiding platforms that limit future collaboration. Imagine having a Gmail account and being unable to email a Yahoo account; such a lack of interoperability would have hindered the internet's development. Blockchains need to follow the same path.

Cosmos has been a leader in this area with its Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, allowing sovereign chains to connect and interact without losing independence. According to Map of Zones, 91 zones are connected via IBC, facilitating over $2.1 billion in transactions in the past 30 days.

IBC is not just for Cosmos chains. The protocol has extended to EVM-compatible chains like Ethereum, Polygon, and Avalanche. However, most current bridging solutions are provided by centralized entities, requiring user trust.

Union, backed by Composable Finance, Consensys, Tokensoft, and Polygon Labs, offers a permissionless bridging protocol that connects blockchains and rollups without relying on trusted third parties. Instead, it uses advanced zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography.

Union has already connected several ecosystems and recently partnered with Polygon Labs. This partnership will use Polygon’s AggLayer to facilitate asset transfers and message passing between the Polygon ecosystem and IBC-enabled chains, effectively bridging Polygon and Cosmos.

Union founder and former CTO at Composable Finance, Karel Kubat, explained that Union's bridging protocol is not limited to Cosmos and Polygon. “It’s not just a Cosmos to Polygon bridge but anything that’s IBC-enabled," including Scroll, Arbitrum, Berrachain, Movement Labs, and M2. These can connect to Ethereum using Union, tapping into its vast liquidity.

Karel highlighted the limitations of current centralized solutions, which require each new chain to request permission from the bridging protocol. Union allows chains to open a channel with Ethereum without permission, enabling a future with millions of interconnected chains.

Karel mentioned dYdX, a large decentralized exchange, as an example. It started as a smart contract on Ethereum and then moved to a sovereign Cosmos app chain. “We all joined crypto for sovereignty,” he said. Successful smart contracts are considering moving to their own Layer 2 or app chain, suggesting a large market for Union. "It’s any existing app on Ethereum and Solana that could benefit from this move."

Union’s IBC to Polygon bridge is expected to be completed by the end of this year. This development will mark a significant step in creating a permissionless, interconnected blockchain ecosystem. Follow Union on X to stay updated on their progress and see how this innovative protocol shapes the future of blockchain interoperability.

In summary, Union's protocol is set to transform the blockchain world by enabling permissionless interoperability across major ecosystems. This development promises a more interconnected, scalable, and sovereign future for digital assets, in line with blockchain's original vision.

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