Blockchain networks are often unable to effectively communicate with one another. Users find it difficult or even impossible to transact across different blockchain networks. As more developers became aware of this, the number of blockchain bridges that aim to integrate the increasingly dispersed ecosystem has increased dramatically in the past year.

Bridges open up a variety of new use cases that were not before conceivable by enabling the exchange of tokens, assets, and data between different blockchains, whether across layer 1 and layer 2 protocols or various sidechains.

LI.FI (Linked Finance) is one such cross-chain bridge aggregation protocol that enables you to swap any asset from any chain directly into the required asset on the dApp you are using. As an aggregator of cross-chain liquidity networks and protocols, LI.FI has worked closely with bridges to enhance the interoperability landscape, and it enables dApps and DeFi users to transfer any of their assets across multiple chains easily.

By disconnecting the liquidity pools on-chain and the bridges between them, LI.FI establish a layer in the middle between blockchains and decentralized applications. The presence of DEXs enables possible swaps between any two crypto-assets, whereas many bridges only accept stablecoin or native token swaps.

LI.FI offers a software development kit (SDK) that aggregates bridges and decentralized exchanges across 14 blockchains. The smart routing feature of the SDK helps find the cheapest and safest routes for transactions and multi-asset exchanges.

As LI.FI expands to other blockchains; it has raised $5.5 million in a funding round led by crypto-native investment firm 1kx. Other participants in the round included investment firms Dragonfly Capital, Lattice Capital, Scalar Capital, 6th Man Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and decentralized autonomous organizations BairesDAO and AngelDAO, among others.

LI.FI plans to include more layer 1 blockchains in its expansion. The company will also launch a new widget product, which will provide developers with a simplified user interface that will allow their users to swap from anywhere into a selected decentralized application, smart contract, or asset.

“Bridging is an anxiety-inducing and often risky experience for both end users and developers, and LI.FI does the hard work of abstracting away the underlying complexity to enable more innovative applications and collaboration across ecosystems” 1kx founding partner Lasse Clausen said in a press release.

BIS Requests International Cooperation With CBDC Designs

A report created in cooperation with the IMF and World Bank was released on Monday by the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS). It has urged nations to work together early in creating central bank digital currency (CBDC) to make it simpler for systems to function internationally.

It stated that to improve cross-border payments , central banks must make essential decisions on the access of non-residents and foreign financial institutions to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and assuring global interoperability. The early CBDC design requires international cooperation and coordination.

"By the end of 2021, more than a quarter of central banks were developing or running CBDC pilots. To make sure that cross-border functionalities are considered in time, central banks across the globe must collaborate at an early stage. Only then can CBDCs have a significant impact on the costs, speed, access and transparency of cross-border payments."  said Cecilia Skingsley, Chair of the CPMI Future of Payments Working Group and First Deputy Governor of Sveriges Riksbank

It noted that any system must also be flexible enough to change with the times and accommodate the CBDC designs that central banks are likely to select.

There is no "one size fits all" approach to interoperability and access to CBDCs. As a result, this study is a tool that central banks may use to determine how to use CBDCs to improve cross-border payments in the context of their own goals. Even governments not intending to issue a CBDC should be involved in this process as they will still be a part of this new coming cross-border payments ecosystem.

South Korea's biggest Telecom company to build its first Web3 wallet

The South Korean telecom company SK Telecom announced on Monday that it has joined up with the blockchain companies AhnLab Blockchain Company and Atomrigs Labs to create a digital wallet for managing cryptocurrencies and providing access to Web3.

Users of SK Telecom's wallet will be able to store, send, and receive blockchain-issued tokens, including cryptocurrencies, NFTs and "soulbound tokens" (SBTs), which are permanent, non-transferable NFTs for verifiable identifications and certificates. As of 2021, SK telecom accounted for about 47% of all mobile phone customers in South Korea.

In particular, the wallet service will be built on the digital wallet technology created by the Seoul-based start-up Atomrigs Lab, while SK Telecom and AhnLab Blockchain Company will be in charge of the service's product development and ongoing management, respectively. With an emphasis on blockchain technology services, Atomrigs Lab was established in 2018. The new digital wallet service will utilise Atomrigs Lab's Secure MPC encryption technology.

This is not the company's first foray into web3. The telecommunications division of conglomerate SK Group also runs its own metaverse, Ifland, with an estimated 1.1 million monthly users. It's interesting to note that SK Square, the information technology investment arm of SK Group, has been developing a cryptocurrency that will operate exclusively within SK's Web3 network.