February 26, 2024

What Are Cross-Chain Swaps?

In the cryptocurrency world that is rapidly evolving, the demand for compatibility between different blockchain systems has increased. As the variety and complexity of cryptocurrencies has increased, the capacity to transfer assets across different blockchain platforms has become essential. This is the place where cross-chain swaps take hold, offering a solution that will allow for the seamless conversion of cryptocurrencies between different blockchain networks.


Understanding Cross-Chain Swaps

A cross-chain swap is a blockchain-based technology that allows for the exchange of tokens between different blockchain systems. It facilitates the direct exchange of tokens on another blockchain without having to involve a middleman or authority. For example, trade ERC-20 tokens for BSC tokens. As a result, a cross-chain swap facilitates the exchange of tokens between participants in the blockchain network. Additionally, the exchange is directly from the wallet, which speeds up the process.


Tier Nolan initially came up with the concept of direct peer-to-peer exchanges between blockchain platforms. However, the innovation was popularized in 2017 by Charlie Lee, a renowned computer scientist and inventor of Litecoin. He exchanged LTC to BTC, which explained the process of cross-chain transfer.


Cross-chain swap is responsible for completing the transactions between participants (nodes). The word "atomic" is derived from computer science, which refers to transactions that are not divisible. It's intended to mean that the transaction follows the agreement's specifications, or all of the transaction is considered suspect.


How Cross-Chain Swaps Work

Cross-chain swaps are facilitated by smart contracts, hash time-locked contracts (HTLC) and interoperability protocols.


Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are automated contracts that have the text directly written into code. Regarding cross-chain swaps, smart contracts facilitate the conversion of assets between different blockchain by automatically executing based on predefined conditions.


Hash Time-Locked Contracts (HTLC)

The utilization of HTLCs is pivotal in cross-chain swaps. HTLCs define a specific time period during which the transfer must occur. If the stated conditions are not met by the designated time, the exchange is canceled, preventing potential fraud.


Interoperability Protocols

To facilitate cross-chain swaps, protocols for interoperability are of paramount importance. These protocols establish the rules and methods of communication that different blockchain platforms utilize to communicate with each other.


Cross-Chain Swaps’ Approaches

Centralized and decentralized approaches are the two most important kinds of approaches in cross-chain swaps.


Centralized Approaches

This is a bridge between two different blockchain systems and necessitates the participation of a third trusted party. As a result, the assets of the user are centralized and then distributed in the same amount of tokens across the target blockchain.


Centralized swaps facilitate the use of the technology, but they involve a certain degree of dependence on the central authority that is in opposition to the philosophy of blockchain technology.


Decentralized Approaches

Decentralized approaches utilize blockchain and smart contracts to facilitate trustless, non-custodial transfers of assets. Instead of necessitating a centralized authority, these swaps utilize cryptographic and code-based mechanisms for safety and verification.


Examples of primary interest include cross-chain atomic transfers and protocols for interoperability like Polkadot or Cosmos. Decentralized bridges are more associated with the concepts of blockchain (i.e. decentralization and safety), but they need a bit more of a technical process.


Benefits of Cross-Chain Swaps

Cross-chain swaps have multiple advantages, including increased liquidity, enhanced interoperability, and a wider range of accessible cryptocurrencies and assets.


✅ Increased Liquidity

Cross-chain swaps facilitate access to a larger pool of liquidity across different blockchain platforms, this enables more efficient trading and superior price discovery.


✅ Increased Interoperability

Cross-chain exchanges facilitate a smooth interaction between different blockchain networks, this promotes interoperability and allows the transfer of assets across different platforms.


✅ Increased Access to Different Cryptocurrencies and Assets

By facilitating cross-chain swaps, users can gain access to a larger variety of cryptocurrencies and assets, this will diversify their portfolio and allow them to take advantage of various investment opportunities.


Overall, cross-chain swaps have the potential to increase the connectivity and flexibility of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, allowing users to have greater access to liquidity, interoperability, and a variety of assets.


Challenges and Considerations

While cross-chain swaps have benefits that are significant, there are also several challenges and technical issues that need to be resolved.


⛔️ Safety

It's crucial to ensure the safety of cross-chain transactions, as the process involves moving assets between different blockchains. Vulnerabilities associated with security, like the potential for exploitation or attacks, need to be actively prevented to keep users' funds from being stolen during the transfer process.


⛔️ Complexity

Cross-chain swap is technically challenging due to the different protocols used in blockchain, the mechanism for consensus, and the different standards of smart contracting across different networks. Developing universal protocols and interfaces that facilitate smooth cross-chain transactions is a significant technical obstacle.


⛔️ Scalability

As the number of cross-chain transactions increases, scalability becomes of paramount importance. Ensuring that the infrastructure supporting cross-chain swaps can handle increased transaction volume without negatively affecting performance or causing high fees is crucial to the long term viability of this technology.



These challenges and technical issues should be addressed in order to ensure the successful implementation and widespread adoption of cross-chain swapping. This will have a positive effect on a more secure, efficient, and scalable system for decentralized asset exchange.


Nonbank and Cross-Chain Swaps

Nonbank recognizes the value of cross-chain functionalities in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and is going to incorporate this functionality into their comprehensive financial management solution. The platform will have a single integration point for banks, wallets, and exchanges, which will allow users to conveniently manage and exchange assets across different blockchain platforms with ease and security.


With a focus on user-friendly interface and powerful security measures (built-in analytics and management system, AML Watchtower, 2FA etc), Nonbank's approach to cross-chain swaps is intended to provide a smooth and trusted experience for users who want to conduct cross-chain swaps. Through the utilization of cross-chain swap features, Nonbank is dedicated to improving accessibility and versatility of the cryptocurrency community.



In the ever-increasing blockchain-based universe, swaps serve as a tribute to the blockchain's commitment to innovation and compatibility. As these transactions become more common and user-friendly, they could fundamentally alter the way we perceive and engage with blockchain networks.


It is essential for users to delve into the specifics of cross-chain swaps and explore how this cutting-edge technology can augment their cryptocurrency knowledge. By remaining aware of the latest updates, users can maximize their participation in the cryptocurrency community and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the greater interoperability and connectivity across different blockchain networks.

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