Buterin wants bitcoin-ether DEX
People,  Technology

Vitalik Buterin: Lack of bitcoin-ether bridge ‘embarrassing’

In a candid tweet, the Ethereum co-founder said it was ‘embarrassing that we still can’t easily move between the two largest crypto ecosystems trustlessly’

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has called for a decentralized exchange to be built that enables swaps between bitcoin and ether.

On Twitter, he said more resources should be put toward building a trustless, serverless platform—adding: “It’s embarrassing that we still can’t easily move between the two largest crypto ecosystems trustlessly.”

At present, those who want to convert their BTC into ETH, or vice versa, have little choice but to rely on centralized crypto exchanges, which often charge fees.

Buterin suggested that such a service could have a user experience not dissimilar to Uniswap, a decentralized exchange (DEX) that allows Ethereum’s ERC-20 tokens to be swapped with other users.

A broader vision

Asked why people would want to exchange bitcoin for ether on a DEX, he tweeted: “The ability to use applications based on ethereum, including makerdao, http://tornado.cash, smart contract wallets, prediction markets, status….?”

In a later tweet, Buterin said that he wasn’t only focused on creating connections between the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains. The programmer wrote that DEX bridges should also be established with other crypto ecosystems.

Buterin also revealed that he has already had discussions with Electric Coin Company CEO Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, the driving force behind the privacy-focused cryptocurrency Zcash.

“I think we can both work harder to translate the talk into action. Would love to see more,” Buterin added. Wilcox-O’Hearn later retweeted this message—apparently confirming that these discussions had indeed taken place.

Vitalik Buterin came fourth in Modern Consensus’ list of the 100 most influential people in crypto for 2020, while Wilcox-O’Hearn came 74th.

Will decentralized exchanges take off?

It is conceivable that there could be healthy demand for a decentralized bridge between Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two biggest cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization. However, it wouldn’t be without challenges.

In the past, many decentralized exchanges have been blighted by a lack of liquidity—making it difficult for users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on demand. A poor user experience has also been an issue for many of these platforms, something Buterin is clearly hoping to address by embracing Uniswap’s straightforward design.

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.