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What Is Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC)? Is It Better than Bitcoin?

Wrapped Bitcoin is an Ethereum-based token pegged to the value of Bitcoin, allowing users to access Ethereum's DeFi ecosystem.
wrapped bitcoin

The world of cryptocurrencies is constantly changing, and new ideas are emerging to connect different blockchain ecosystems. Wrapped Bitcoin is one idea that has gained a lot of attention.

This article will explore Wrapped Bitcoin in-depth, discussing what it is, how it works, what benefits it offers, and how it’s changing the world of cryptocurrency.

Key Takeaways

  • Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) is a type of cryptocurrency that represents Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • The purpose of Wrapped Bitcoin is to enable Bitcoin holders to access decentralized finance and other Ethereum-based applications.
  • Wrapped Bitcoin outperforms Bitcoin in services but relies on the trust of third parties.

What Is Wrapped Bitcoin?

Wrapped Bitcoin, also known as the wBTC, is a cryptocurrency representing Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain.

The wBTC is created by a process called “wrapping”. In this way, Bitcoin is locked in the smart contract on the Bitcoin blockchain, and the equivalent currency (wBTC) will be released on the Ethereum blockchain.

Wrapped Bitcoin Purpose

The purpose of Wrapped Bitcoin is to allow Bitcoin holders to access the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem and other Ethereum-based applications. Enables users to engage in financial activities and services such as lending, borrowing, trading, and providing liquidity in various DeFi protocols on the Ethereum network, services that are typically only available to Ethereum users

Additionally, Wrapped Bitcoin serves as a bridge between Bitcoin and Ethereum, facilitating interoperability between the two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Wrapped Bitcoin enables the transfer of value and liquidity between the Bitcoin and Ethereum ecosystems without the need for centralized intermediaries.

It also enhances liquidity by providing a cryptographic representation of Bitcoin on Ethereum, the wBTC enhances the liquidity of Bitcoin in the Ethereum ecosystem. Makes Bitcoin easy to trade and use in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on the Ethereum network.

How Does Wrapped Bitcoin Work?

The process of converting Bitcoin to Wrapped Bitcoin is called “tokenization”. It involves turning BTC into an ERC-20 token, which can be used on the Ethereum blockchain. To do this, users deposit their BTC into a custodian who locks up an amount of assets equal to the amount of Wrapped tokens being created. The custodian can be a CEX, DEX, or DAO.

The custodian then receives and releases a corresponding amount of wBTC on the Ethereum blockchain using smart contracts. Each unit of wBTC corresponds to one unit of Bitcoin (1 wBTC = 1 BTC). Users will use wBTC to transact freely and access applications and services on the Ethereum platform.

The custodian plays a vital role in this process. They keep users’ BTC secure and issue the corresponding wBTC on the Ethereum blockchain. It is essential to ensure that this process is always carried out in a transparent, secure, and automated manner.

How to Get Wrapped Bitcoin?

Step 1: Own Bitcoin

Firstly, you need to have Bitcoin in your wallet. The wBTC is the cryptocurrency of Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain, so you need BTC to convert to the wBTC. 

Step 2: Choose a wBTC holder

The role of the holder is very important, so choose a trustworthy wBTC holder to deposit BTC 

Step 3: Send BTC and Receive wBTC

Send your BTC to the indicated wallet address wBTC holder’s decision. The holder will then return the corresponding amount of wBTC to your Ethereum address. 

Let’s take an example when you need to convert 10 BTC to wBTC, you will send 10 BTC to the custodian (the transaction will be recorded), then the custodian will generate 10 wBTC and send it back to you.

Step 4: Using wBTC

After receiving wBTC, you can use it in various services on the Ethereum blockchain, including trading on decentralized exchanges, participating in DeFi protocols, and more and more. 

Step 5: Redeem wBTC to BTC (Optional) 

If you want to convert wBTC back to BTC, you can perform the redemption process through the custodian or another authorized party. 

Continuing the previous example, when you have used 5 wBTC and no longer need it on Ethereum, simply send a token burn request to the custodian to get a refund of 5 BTC

Is Wrapped Bitcoin Better than Bitcoin?

The Wrapped Bitcoin was born to simplify the interoperability of Bitcoin (BTC) on the Ethereum blockchain, expanding the utility of the Ethereum network where modern cryptocurrency segments such as Defi and NFTs mainly revolve around it. Here are a few benefits and drawbacks of the wBTC.

Benefits of the wBTC 

  • Flexibility and interoperability: wBTC is a token version of Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain, allowing it to operate on the Ethereum platform and be compatible with the DeFi (Decentralized Finance) ecosystem. This makes it easy and flexible for Bitcoin users to participate in DeFi applications and services. 
  • Convenient and transparent liquidity: wBTC provides liquidity for Bitcoin by converting BTC into wBTC, allowing users to participate in trading, lending, borrowing, etc. activities on DeFi platforms. Allows Bitcoin holders to continue using their assets in a DeFi environment without having to sell BTC. This helps protect their assets from risk and also opens up opportunities to profit from DeFi activities 
  • Opportunity: The wBTC connects two leading cryptocurrency ecosystems, opening up new opportunities for the usage of Bitcoin in DeFi applications and experiencing flexibility and convenience.

Drawbacks of the wBTC 

  • Risks Related to Holders: wBTC requires a holder to maintain corresponding Bitcoin reserves. In case the holder encounters technical problems, carelessness or violations, it may cause risks to wBTC users. 
  • Dependency on Holders and Smart Contracts: wBTC depends on the trust of Bitcoin holders and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. If any problems or errors occur, it may affect the safety and reliability of wBTC.
  • Legal Capabilities and Risk Management: wBTC faces legal issues related to linking Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as managing risks related to maintaining reserves and operating wBTC.

Summary

  • Liquidity and Flexibility: wBTC enhances liquidity and flexibility by allowing Bitcoin to participate in the Ethereum ecosystem and other DeFi services. 
  • Trust: BTC is considered the safest store of value assets, while the wBTC depends on the trust of the holder. 
  • Access to DeFi: wBTC opens the door for Bitcoin to participate in DeFi services such as borrowing and trading on Ethereum. 
  • Preservation of Value: wBTC maintains a 1:1 value with Bitcoin, but users need to trust the holder to operate. 

It shows that wTBC outperforms BTC in services but relies on the trust of third parties. If you have a trustworthy partner, wTBC is a powerful weapon that can help you increase your profits on the cryptocurrency exchange.

The Bottom Line

In an era where cryptocurrencies are rapidly developing, Wrapped Bitcoin  has emerged as an important bridge to connect two leading cryptocurrency ecosystems: Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

The versatility of wBTC opens the door to many new opportunities in the decentralized finance environment. Bitcoin holders can not only participate in transactions, lend, and borrow but can also take advantage of other services such as yield farms and use wBTC as a tool to enhance their profits. 

With the potential and benefits it brings, wBTC is not only a useful tool for Bitcoin users but also an important step forward in building a more diverse and rich cryptocurrency ecosystem.

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