In brief

  • 114,889 Bitcoins have been converted to Ethereum-based representations of Bitcoin.
  • Wrapped BTC dominates the synthetic BTC market.
  • This BTC can be used on DeFi protocols, which grow more popular by the day.

The amount of Bitcoin converted into Ethereum-based ERC-20 tokens had hit $1.2 billion, per data from Dune Analytics. This means that 0.5% of all of Bitcoin’s market cap has been ported to the Ethereum blockchain, also equivalent to 3% of Ethereum’s market cap.

This is the most Bitcoin that's moved over to the Ethereum blockchain to date. Just weeks ago, the figure was less than half what it is today, sitting at just over $500 million.

The Bitcoin blockchain is incompatible with the Ethereum blockchain, but it’s possible to stake Bitcoin in certain protocols and receive synthetic, Ethereum-based Bitcoin. These are ERC-20 tokens—the generic token standard on Ethereum—that represent Bitcoin

Popular options include wBTC, renBTC and the newly launched tBTC. Some, such as wBTC, are custodial, meaning that you give your Bitcoin to a company and they’ll give you wBTC, also known as Wrapped Bitcoin, in return. Others, such as tBTC, are non-custodial, meaning that you give your Bitcoin to a protocol and the code—not a company—issues you with tBTC.

People might port Bitcoin over to Ethereum to enjoy the full spectrum of decentralized finance (DeFi) products, such as non-custodial lending protocols, decentralized exchanges and (yet more) synthetic assets. These sorts of crypto-lending and yield-generating services are otherwise largely unavailable to Bitcoin holders.

DeFi is this summer’s great, big, new thing, partly responsible for this summer’s Ethereum bull run. As of this writing, $10.5 billion is locked up in DeFi smart contracts, per metrics site DeFi Pulse. Its rise is, again in part, due to the new token distribution mechanisms, such as giving out so-called governance tokens—tokens that let holders vote on proposals to update the network—for using the protocols. 

Some, such as Set Protocol, issue these yield farming rewards—the practice is known as yield farming—for wBTC, i.e. synthetic Bitcoin. 

wBTC is the most popular synthetic Bitcoin on Ethereum; it has 73.6% of the market’s supply. renBTC has 18.4%, and Huobi BTC, or hBTC, has 4.2%. 

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.