L2s are a new and exciting technology that is redefining the way we use blockchains, especially for those of us in Africa. They offer a number of advantages over traditional L1s, including faster transaction speeds and lower fees. As a result, they are quickly becoming the preferred choice for developers and users alike. Some of the applications you can explore on L2s include Defi, Gamefi, Socialfi, gamblefi and much more.
The possibilities are endless, but before you explore these possibilities, which are opportunities, you have to first cross the bridge. You need to move from L1 to L2 by getting some asset on there. If you have already bridged, good for you, if you haven’t, this article is especially for you.
Crossing the Bridge.
There aren’t many onramping route in Africa so what we will demonstrate in this article might apply to many African countries. In countries where it doesn’t, the process might still be similar. We will spotlight Optimism to represent most of the L2s out there.
Make sure you have non-custodial wallet such as Taho or Metamask or any other of the numerous wallets out there.
A p2p account - there are many out there but Binance P2P is popular in lots of African countries
To use a centralized exchange like Binance, kucoin, or bybit, which are used on a lot of places across Africa, you need an account, so make sure you have signed up and KYC too.
Bridging in Africa usually takes the following routes
P2P/CEX purchase ➡️ Centralized Exchange ➡️ L2
P2P /CEX Purchase ➡️ Crypto Wallet ➡️ L2 bridge ➡️ L2
Most major CEXes in Africa such as Binance and Kucoin have direct bridges to some L2 networks such as Optimism, Arbitrum and Polygon(sidechain, as most like to refer). From your CEX wallet you should be able to see the various chains you can withdraw funds to either directly or at the network selection section. Follow the steps below to bridge using Binance. Note, Kucoin has the same interface as Binance!
You can either bridge USDT directly to L2(Optimism) but we don’t recommend this, especially for first time folks who do not have gas
Rather, use the Binance convert feature to convert your USDT to ethereum
Click on withdraw
Make sure you are on the crypto section
Search for Eth and click on it
Choose “Send via crypto Network”
Enter the amount
Select where to send the fund from. You have the option of a “spot wallet” or a “funding wallet”, if you used P2P, your funds is in the “funding wallet”. Select that
Not all exchanges provide bridging services directly to L2s. There are also certain times that existing CEX L2 bridges like Binance doesn’t work. In this situation you will have to send your crypto from your CEX wallet to your web3 wallet in order to bridge using a L2 bridge such as bungee bridge, hop bridge, layerswap bridge or the myriads of L2 bridges out there.
Transferring from your p2p or CEX wallet to your web3 wallet is pretty straightforward
Follow the same procedure above, instead of your L2 wallet address, enter the respective chain address instead, in this case ethereum or polygon(if available).
Proceed to bridge using any other web3 bridging protocol.
Ethereum to L2
Head over to https://www.bungee.exchange/
Connect your web3 wallet. E.g Taho or metamask
Make sure you are on the right chain.
Select the token you want to bridge, in this case Eth
Select the destination chain/L2, in this case Optimism
Click review route
Check to make sure everything is okay. Once you are certain. Click on bridge.
Sign the transaction in your wallet and wait for the token to show up on the respective L2!
Viola, welcome to the other side!
General Advice on Bridging
You want to avoid the Ethereum mainnet as much as possible. There are great bridges for moving funds around L2s. Most of the CEXs have withdrawal to Polygon. So instead of Ethereum, withdraw to Polygon and then bridge from polygon to any other L2 such as Optimism.
When bridging first, always bridge in Eth since most of the networks gas fees are denominated in Eth. this way you won’t get stuck without gas fees.