Bridges will make or break the Ethereum ecosystem

Maximilian Rehn
2 min readMay 21


A good user experience (UX) using bridges between different Ethereum sidechains and Layer 2 solutions is essential for the new modular Ethereum ecosystem.

As more people use Ethereum, it’s getting slower and can’t handle many transactions at once. To help with this, two new solutions have appeared. The first one is called Layer 2 rollups (L2), and the second is parallel Layer 1 sidechains (which are essentially forks of Ethereum running alongside the original, like Gnosis Chain).

With Layer 2 rollups, multiple transactions are bundled into a single transaction on the Ethereum chain using some clever tech tricks. This makes Ethereum more capable of handling lots of transactions, but there is a massive user experience (UX) problem. There are many Layer 2 and L1 solutions, each with its own unique token, which is very confusing for the user.

In essence:

  1. The Ethereum ecosystem is becoming more modular. You have the base Ethereum chain (Layer 1 or L1) which is reaching its limit in terms of scale. L2s and sidechains are appearing to increase scale.
  2. This results in some UX problems. What if you want to transact with a friend who is on another L2 or L1 with another token? It is a UX nightmare.
  3. To make the current modular Ethereum ecosystem flourish in terms of UX, you need bridges. These are inter-ethereum protocols that allows you to transfer assets between Ethereum chains seamlessly (L1, L2, sidechains — the whole shebang).
  4. These bridges are ultimately what will make or break a scalable Ethereum. If you can make bridges work in a scalable, decentralized & private manner — then the current Ethereum ecosystem will flourish.
  5. The obvious next question: how well do bridges work (scalable, decentralized, private and good UX)? Ideally, the user will not even realize they are transacting between several different sidechains or L2’s because the UX is great — while having all the same features of the original Ethereum.

This is a hard technical problem to solve but not impossible. ZK-proofs in bridges seem very promising.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. As an alternative, you can of course create a new blockchain that allows for scalable transactions using sharding technology and just scale that original blockchain infinitely. However, for that to work, everyone would have to live and execute on that blockchain. It is hard to get coordination from so many people. Modular solutions are more antifragile and they are the reality we are building based on current trends.



Maximilian Rehn

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