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How can we bridge our Substrate-based Solochain with other parachains within the Polkadot Ecosystem? Should it be a parathread or parachain migration?

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The short answer is to migrate your Solochain to a Parachain - that was the vision of Polkadot from the very start when the founders realized realized a scaling problem for security when there was an explosion of many new blockchains and thus is designed in-mind for truly decentralized and unstoppable applications.

XCM is Cross Consensus Messages (with XCMP being cross consensus message passing) is essentially bridging capabilities (https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/learn-xcm) but it is much more than bridging - it is generalized to all kinds of cross-chain messaging. You can think of amazing usecases such as triggering a defi loan on a defi parachain using an NFT asset as collateral on another parachain as example (see this demo with code here).

Why XCMP?

  • XCMP fits the preferred category of trustless bridging (not trusted bridging)
  • Trusted Bridges (cross-chain networks/ community bridges) are flawed based on the necessity of trust assumptions - either your chain becomes vulnerable to a new set of tokenomics (eg. the tokenomics of that cross-chain-message network) or a completely trusted setup like a multi-sig bridge. These approaches can be vulnerable.
  • Trustless Bridging: Because all parachains have the same consensus layer of Polkadot (which is the critical) and do not have control over the source of truth (ultimately it is the consensus of Polkadot relay chain through the validators of Polkadot that secures parachains which at time of writing has an economic security in the billions of dollars) - a message passed from one parachain to another is just as valid as the validation of Polkadot. The message can even be committed on the Polkadot relay chain block or simply across the parachains.
  • What's more? XCMP has defined these standards (much like standard APIs) such that your integrations work in-predefined agreements with major ecosystem parachains ( like Moonbeam and Astar etc.) that can be opened up with HRMP channels https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/build-hrmp-channels

Lastly, I want to highlight that a Parathread is simply a Pay-as-you-go Parachain.

In other words it is still a parachain. From a runtime/code development perspective, majority of the node stays the same. The key different is the interval of time you can choose to commit your blocks as proof-of-validity blocks for Polkadot Validators (hence you pay-as-you commit block proofs on Polkadot relay chain) - the full details for parathreads is not out yet as it has not been launched but to my understanding it will likely not affect how you develop runtime pallets significantly.

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