The March To An Open Web: The Rainbow Bridge is Live!


The long awaited announcement for the launch of the Rainbow bridge has finally arrived: The NEAR – ETH Rainbow Bridge is live! A new era of interoperability between blockchain ecosystems has begun. Beyond the hype and the enthusiasm for seeing lots of new applications and assets move onto NEAR Protocol, the launch of the Rainbow bridge is a small progression in a much larger process: The prospect of building an Open Web. 

“We live in a vastly interconnected world and the web3 ecosystem is no different. The concept of a new, accessible open web is aimed at making everything interoperable and building a permanent, ownerless, and borderless foundation for the connected global community of which we are all a part of.”

With the successful launch of the bridge, an initial advance has been made in creating a more connected and collaborative crypto-community, specifically between the NEAR and Ethereum Ecosystems:

The Rainbow Bridge allows developers to utilize Ethereum assets and smart contracts on NEAR—a fast, scalable, and low-cost environment. The Bridge has the power to accelerate community development as it allows ETH users immediate access to apps built on NEAR.”

Notably, the real value proposition of the Bridge is that it creates win-win solutions for developers looking to build across blockchains. While in the past, crypto development has been largely focused on expanding infrastructure and solutions inside of a particular ecosystem, the Rainbow bridge inaugurates a paradigm shift for developers looking to create collaborative solutions across ecosystems. This is at the very core of the NEAR Team’s mission in building the bridge. As they originally wrote

We want to freely move our assets and data between the blockchains, or even better — run our product on several blockchains at the same time and leverage each of them…At NEAR, we do not want Ethereum developers to choose between NEAR and Ethereum and commit to only one. We want them to have the same asset on both blockchains and even have apps that seamlessly communicate across the boundary. So we are building a bridge, called Rainbow Bridge, to connect the Ethereum and NEAR blockchains.”

Building the Open Web means building Open Infrastructure for Open-Source Communities interested in collaboratively preserving open systems of money, identity management, and data. The Rainbow Bridge is a massive step towards that future. 

“So a bridge is a way to bring these assets that are originating right now on Ethereum – and bring them to NEAR and unlock all of these abilities. Obviously as this progressed, there are a lot of applications that might have originated on Ethereum but don’t fit right now in the current paradigm of financial craziness. They need a home that still connects to Ethereum because there is still more liquidity there even for non financial assets like NFT’s or some other things. So this bridge can also host arbitrary communication – sending other types of data information – which NFT’s are, and this was also in its purview. So in reality, as it progressed, we kind of realized this can become a platform to really connect with Ethereum and provide all of the functionality that people want early on especially coming from Ethereum, kind of on NEAR – while we still can develop in the Ecosystem.”

Illia Polosukhin