NEAR Protocol launches Ethereum bridge for cross-chain interoperability

Blockchain project NEAR Protocol has launched its Ethereum bridge, called Rainbow, for cross-chain interoperability.

The bridge allows transferring ERC-20 tokens between the Ethereum and NEAR blockchains. Users can take advantage of faster transaction confirmation times and lower fees with the bridge, NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin told The Block.

"A unique sharding model gives the NEAR Protocol the ability to scale linearly while maintaining 1 to 2 second confirmation speeds and transaction fees usually under 1 cent," Polosukhin told The Block.

NEAR is a proof-of-stake blockchain and uses a dynamic sharding approach — a scalability solution, as The Block Research reported recently. Such scaling solutions can help decrease the load on Ethereum.

"Innovation across the decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) spaces has increased demand on the Ethereum network and escalated transaction fees to record-high levels," Polosukhin told The Block. "The bridge allows to merge economies between NEAR and Ethereum, and allows developers to build novel experiences not possible on Ethereum while still having users from Ethereum to seamlessly interact with them and economic activity from NEAR to flow back into Ethereum's DeFi."

NEAR plans to launch more bridges in the future. "We aim to connect with Cosmos and Polkadot ecosystems," Polosukhin told The Block. "This will make NEAR a 'hub' connecting various chains together."

NEAR is backed by a number of notable investors, including a16z, Coinbase Ventures, and Pantera Capital. The project has raised a total of over $70 million to date, Polosukhin told The Block.