Kava 14: Internal Bridge Deep Dive

July 13, 2023
4 min read

The Kava 14 upgrade brings the ‘internal bridge,’ designed to provide secure interoperability between the Cosmos and Ethereum ecosystems. In this article, we’ll unpack the internal bridge technology and how it works. Let’s dive in!

What is the Internal Bridge?

The internal bridge converts Cosmos tokens into ERC20 tokens, enabling their use within the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) environment. When the cosmos_denom of a Cosmos token is added to the evmutil module, a corresponding ERC20 smart contract is created and the conversion is executed.

This conversion process relies on the ConvertCosmosCoinToERC20 message. This message initiates a transfer of the Cosmos token to the evmutil module account. The token is then locked and an equivalent amount of ERC20 tokens is minted on the EVM side and sent to the receiver's 0x wallet address.

The ConvertCosmosCoinFromERC20 message is then used to reverse the process. This action burns the ERC20 from the initiator's account, and the equivalent Cosmos token is transferred from the EVM module account to the receiver's account. These operations take place within a single transaction, maintaining atomicity — either the operations are all completed or none are.

Kava 14 aims to improve user experience by making the conversion process of ATOM from Cosmos to the EVM on Kava more straightforward. This simplification means that users without deep knowledge of ERC20 contracts can now bring ATOM into the EVM ecosystem.

The ERC20 contract address for ATOM is: 0x15932E26f5BD4923d46a2b205191C4b5d5f43FE3. 

Input the contract address into your MetaMask and the ATOM token details will auto-populate. Alternatively, you can also add it using the Kava platform at app.kava.io. If you’re looking to transfer your ATOM from SDK to EVM, you can go to app.kava.io/transfer

Comparing Internal and External Bridges

One of the critical distinctions between internal and external bridges lies in their trust models. External bridges require a level of trust on both the sending and receiving chains and depend on smart contracts, which can potentially expose vulnerabilities due to their reduced restrictions on what code is able to do.

In contrast, the internal bridge is integrated directly into the blockchain and managed by evmutil, a Cosmos SDK module. This approach results in tighter access control and restrictions, ensuring a secure environment for the conversion between different types of assets.

Enhanced Interoperability & Streamlined UX

Kava 14's internal bridge introduces the possibility of bringing any Cosmos asset into the EVM ecosystem. This provides increased flexibility in converting Cosmos tokens to ERC20 tokens. Additionally, with USDt now available natively on Kava’s EVM, there's potential for all Cosmos chains to gain access to native USDt.

The role of the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol here is notable, as it enables the transfer of Cosmos tokens from any IBC-enabled chain to the Kava chain and EVM assets to the Cosmos ecosystem, increasing the reach of the EVM ecosystem.

Kava 14 significantly enhances the user experience. The simplified workflow allows Cosmo native tokens like ATOM, to be converted to the ERC20 token standard used by Ethereum without advanced technical knowledge. Not only that, Kava 14 allows Cosmos users to interact directly with sophisticated Ethereum ecosystem dApps like Curve, unlocking greater flexibility and more opportunity.

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