So you think you can APE?

So you think you can APE?

You’re in an Uber and your driver has 4 phones open, ominously obscuring his field of vision. He is distracted by three of them, unfortunately not the one that shows he’s missed your turn. The first phone shows his Twitter feed, the second shows Bloomberg, and the third shows a strange-looking stonk trading app that you’ve never heard of, but stonks aren’t your game.

You look at his feed and swear you see your favourite NBA player’s name - but that’s not his profile picture... It’s an ape..or maybe it’s a monkey - either way, it's a glorious crayon eating primate. You know what that means, the pump is coming for the NFT collection you’ve had your eye on for a while and it’s time to slurp the floor. The only problem is, your wallet is full of Bitcoin, but you need SOL. You pull up your laptop and get to work.

Option one: Life is pretty straightforward if you have a KYC verified account on a centralised exchange that lists both Bitcoin and SOL. You open your wallet and authorise a deposit. You market sell your Bitcoin directly on the Bitcoin/SOL market. If your exchange doesn’t have this pairing, you would have to go from Bitcoin to USD, then USD to SOL. You would likely pay a taker fee anywhere from 0.05% to 0.5% on both legs. You initiate a withdrawal on your SOL (this may take some time depending on the exchange you use) to your browser wallet, connect your browser wallet to the NFT marketplace and execute your primate order. This process could take anywhere from 5-15 mins depending on the exchange, and you incur a bunch of fees along the way depending on the chains you are coming from and going to.

Option Two: If you don’t have a verified exchange account, life gets pretty miserable pretty quickly. Verification is the name of the game at most big exchanges these days and it’s only going to get worse. You’re likely going to have to wait anywhere between 1-14 days to get verified, then repeat the steps in option 1. You know you don’t have 14 days because you can already smell the lads at Three Arrows Capital flipping these things faster than a three armed chef at Burger King. You can’t help but think they front-ran the NBA player by a month, but you don’t have time to contemplate the sentiment algorithms and psychological social media war being waged on our collective subconscious.

Option Three: Wrap it up. Always a good idea, but not necessarily in this context. You want to get your hands on wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) because you know with wBTC, you’ll be closer to the goal of interacting with a blockchain that isn't Bitcoin. You head on over to a wrapping service. Unfortunately, you can't wrap your Bitcoin in the more liquid wBTC on any decentralised platform, so you’re back to square one.

You end up going for renBTC on Solana. Your phantom wallet is connected to the ren bridge (if you don’t have a Solana wallet, you can download the phantom chrome extension in around 1 minute). Your exchange rate + fees don’t look too bad so you send your BTC from your wallet to the destination address provided and wait for confirmation. The transaction confirmation threshold is 6 blocks, which will take 60 minutes. By this time, your Uber driver has arrived at your destination. As you exit the car, you take a glimpse at this second phone - Boomerberg is interviewing Paris Hilton - you sigh quietly and wonder if your parents will know about this NFT before your Bitcoin confirms. The thought of the emoji flow in the primate discord channel hits you right in your constitution.

Now you’ve got your renBTC (SOL) in your phantom wallet. You try to exchange it for SOL, but it doesn’t look like there’s a pool for that, so you change your renBTC (SOL) into USDC (SOL) and then finally into native SOL. Raydium has the option to exchange renBTC (SOL) for native SOL, but the pool looks like it’s currently unavailable, at least for the quantities you are trying to exchange. Sollet also has the option to go from renBTC (SOL) to native SOL, but it looks like it’s routed through a USDC (SOL) pool.

Sidenote - This method only works if you have a small amount of native SOL in your wallet to pay the Solana network fee on the BTC to renBTC (SOL), and the renBTC (SOL) to USDC (SOL) legs of the trade, which throws a spanner in the works.

By this time, CMS intern has created 3 production quality videos of the apes, been in and out of 6 positions, and the floor is higher than a speed dealing DJ at a Chainflip rave. All in all, you can live with the fees you paid for this experience given the cost of Solana, but you can’t help but think there must be a better way. You’d hate to think of the gas fees you woulda ate with ETH.

Before the renBTC Solana bridge went live a few months ago (June 2021), the route may have looked something like this:

  • BTC -> renBTC (ETH) on Renbridge
  • renBTC(ETH) to wETH ERC20 (Uniswap/Sushiswap)
  • Wormhole bridge wETH ERC20 to wETH SOL, then from wETH(SOL) to native SOL on Raydium or
If there is an easier way to go from BTC to native SOL without owning a small about of native ETH/SOL, please let us know in the comments.

Option 4? What if there was a way you could open a website, send your Bitcoin directly to a wallet address generated on the site, and receive SOL directly into your phantom, without ever having to touch a wrapped asset, bridge, or special wallet software?

This is Chainflip. It will be faster, cheaper, less clunky and far more secure than the alternatives. No brainer opportunities in crypto come around every so often, and there’s nothing more frustrating than the infrastructure letting you down. This NFT theme might be outdated as of this week, but it’s an illustration of what the future will hold. Multiple opportunities to benefit on multiple chains, but you’ll need to be able to capitalise quickly and safely.

Will it be faster and less expensive than option #1? Potentially... Will it allow the user to self custody and have complete control of their funds at every step? Absolutely.  

If you want to learn exactly how the Chainflip architecture solves this, have a read of our blog, and come join us on our social channels.

Cheers for reading,
DJ Hitch