Bridge Arena — Episode 1: Ren vs OpenSwap

OpenSwap DEX
5 min readMar 16, 2022


A couple of days ago, we deployed the OpenSwap Bridge on ETH Kovan, AVAX Fuji C Chains, and BSC testnet for our community members to try and submit their feedback to us. We have been and still are in the process of gathering valuable and constructive feedback from our community members. Through evaluating some of the feedback we received so far, the OpenSwap team is now feeling confident that our project is going in the right direction!

Our target is to have OpenSwap Bridge successfully deployed on mainnet sometime in Q2-Q3 this year, as such, we are introducing a new series called Bridge Arena. A comparison series designed to assist our community members to better understand how our bridge differentiates from other traditional crosschain bridges.

For Episode 1, we will be comparing the OpenSwap Bridge against Ren, an OG crosschain bridge used and trusted by many.

What is Ren

Ren is a protocol that focuses on improving the interoperability of crypto assets. It allows locking and minting of assets on different chains such as Ethereum, Polygon, Fantom, and Avalanche, making non-native assets such as the likes of BTC and DOGE available on these networks.

Started as Republic Protocol that focused on trustless OTC trades, it later rebranded as Ren. Its mainnet launched May 2020, allowing non-evm assets to be bridged to Ethereum. Later, more assets were included such as Ren and more EVM chains supported such as Polygon and Avalanche.

How Do RenVM and Ren Bridge Work

Above is a graphical representation of how Ren VM works. Users can submit the said asset (in this case BTC) to the address provided, along with its address on the target chain. Ren VM, powered by Darknodes, will verify and mint the corresponding asset to the address provided by the user.

Ren Bridge is the application for the Ren VM. It allows users to lock-and-mint assets like renBTC on chains that do not support native BTC like Ethereum and Polygon. And the reverse, burn-and release of the same asset back to the native tokens.

Ren’s Limitations

While Ren has been around for a while now and has helped DeFi community members with their crosschain needs, we have identified a few limitations related to Ren’s way of crosschain bridging.

  • Limited Selection of Tokens and Limited Application

As of this moment, Ren supports 7 tokens such as BTC, DOGE, BCH, LUNA, etc. The application of the Ren bridge is making it interoperable between these non-EVM chains and EVM chains.

  • Ren Bridge Can be Slow

The biggest asset in terms of market capitalization is BTC. Ren requires 6 BTC blocks for confirmation before they can verify the deposit and mint renBTC on the corresponding chains. This process can take up to an hour.

Additionally, Ren’s synthetic cannot be bridged directly between different destination chains such as Polygon and Avalanche. This means that users will have to burn that asset and deposit again if they wish to move their asset between chains.

  • Synthetics Involvement

Ren relies on minting synthetics like renBTC, renDOGE or renZEC for its bridge to function. The requirement to mint new tokens opens a door to security risks as hacks often exploit such a feature. Additionally, the proliferation of synthetics complicates the landscape for DeFi users.

  • Decentralization

The Greycore controlled by the Ren team is the “only group responsible for consensus and execution”. Even though the arrangement is done for security reasons and the group does include some reputable members such as the University of Nicosia and Curve Finance, the code and operational group is still not the level of transparency and decentralization that the DeFi community expects.

How is OpenSwap Bridge Different

  • Seamlessly navigate between EVM-chains

While Ren’s focus is on bridging non-EVM chains and EVM chains, OpenSwap will excel at bringing EVM chains together. Given the similar nature of EVM chains, once OpenSwap Bridge is successfully deployed one 2 EVM chains, OpenSwap can quickly scale up and connect more EVM chains. This means that we can complement Ren’s synthetic assets too!

  • Instant listing

Since our bridge works very closely with our Hybrid Smart Router, as long as a token has a liquidity pool on any of the DEXes that we have integrated, users will be able to conduct crosschain swaps for those tokens. This makes the selection of tokens limitless, OpenSwap can even be used by users for the purchasing of renBTC!

  • Furiously Fast

Since most of our chains with planned support have a much lower block time. This means that with security, our crosschain swaps can be confirmed in a matter of seconds or minutes. This makes crosschain transactions through OpenSwap Bridge much faster than the 1 hour required from the 6 blocks of confirmations needed by Ren’s BTC.

  • No Synthetics

OpenSwap Bridge itself does not require synthetics to function. This way, we would not be contributing to the proliferation of synthetics and without the use of ‘minting contracts’, lowers the risk of attack. However, users can still swap for synthetics assets if they wish as long as these synthetics assets have liquidity in one of our integrated DEXes.


In this debut episode of Bridge Arena, we have looked into the basics of what Ren is and how Ren’s bridging mechanism works, as well as identifying some of their possible limitations such as being Non-EVM to EVM only, how they can be slow in speed, the proliferation of synthetics, as well as the challenges they may face with achieving true decentralization.

With OpenSwap Bridge, DeFi swappers of our supported chains can be relieved from these pain points as not only do we provide faster crosschain transactions to end-users, OpenSwap Bridge also supports token projects with hassle-free instantaneous listing through our Hybrid Smart Router technology, and most importantly — the OpenSwap Bridge itself does not require the use of synthetics, meaning lesser points of attack and greater protection for all stakeholders in the DeFi ecosystem. Ren is a respected leader in the crosschain space and we look forward to joining Ren in providing te DeFi community with more crosschain options.

About OpenSwap

OpenSwap is the world’s first DEX providing on-chain swaps at zero slippage with hybrid smart routing, and a single asset crosschain bridge. As the DeFi universe continues to expand, liquidity becomes increasingly scattered across multiple chains and the situation is poised to get worse as new chains emerge with individual DEXs on each chain. The OpenSwap team has been working for the past several months on building up a vision of a greater OpenSwap ecosystem that will become every crypto project’s BFF through a set of key offerings that will empower teams to establish funding and sustained token health, allowing teams to focus on what they do best — BUIDL.

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OpenSwap DEX

Integrated DeFi Hub designed for the decentralized landscape. Currently on Binance Smart Chain.