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Making Existing ERC20 Cross-chain Compatible

If you want to make an existing ERC20 asset cross-chain compatible, in an simple & easy way, please read on!

XC20+ Extension

In short, XC20 allows smart contracts to interact with cross-chain compatible assets same as if they were any other ERC20 asset. Unlike for standard ERC20 assets deployed in EVM, where balances, issuance, etc. is stored directly in EVM, XC20 assets are backed by a Substrate pallet. This means that developer will not have access to all the internal logic of ERC20, like _mint or _burn.

In general, this is fine for existing XC20 assets since we shouldn't be minting or burning them in smart contracts (e.g. there is no valid reason to mint cross-chain DOT on Astar). However, there are use cases where having an extended set of functionalities is useful and required, like wrapped tokens.

For this reason, we provide an extended XC20 interface called XC20+. It provides the following methods:

// Used to check what is the existential deposit of XC20 asset
function minimumBalance() external view returns (uint256);

// Used to mint new funds
function mint(address beneficiary, uint256 amount) external returns (bool);

// Used to burn funds
function burn(address who, uint256 amount) external returns (bool);

The aforementioned list could be extended in the future.

Please note that minting and burning requires certain priviliges - read about XC20 assets to learn more.

Wrapped token in General

A wrapped token is a token whose value is tied to an underlying cryptocurrency. An amount of the original token is locked in a digital vault, and in return this allows an equivalent amount of wrapped tokens to be minted.

This is useful for several reasons, to mention a few:

  • To extend the functionalities of an existing token in conjunction with other ERC20 modules.
  • Allow a native cryptocurrency to behave like an ERC20, e.g. Wrapped ether (WETH).
  • Allow the use of currencies outside its native blockchain, e.g. Wrapped bitcoin (WBTC).

In this example we'll do a mix of 1st and 3rd use case. We are wrapping existing ERC20 token to become XC20.

Wrapping ERC20 example

Underlaying token will be existing ERC20, let's name it BURRITO. We want to wrap this BURRITO token and make it cross-chain-ready. Using standard ERC20Wrapper token spec from OpenZeppelin will not be enough. Therefore we will override some of the ERC20Wrapper functions to use XC20+ functions. Let's call this new wrapped token xcBURRITO. This xcBURRITO takes the address of the underlaying token (BURITTO) and the newly created asset's address as a constructor parameters. And we’ll set values for all the other required parameters, notice that we have to include ERC20Permit constructor call because xcBURRITO is now a parent for BURITTO.

constructor(IERC20 burrito)
ERC20("Wrapped Burrito", "xcBUR")
ERC20Permit("Wrapped Burrito")

Since we can't use ERC20Wrapper out of box we'll override it to use XC20+ interface

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC20/extensions/ERC20Wrapper.sol";
import "./Burrito.sol";

contract XcBurrito is Xc20Plus, ERC20Wrapper, BURITTO{
constructor(IERC20 burrito)
Xc20Plus("Wrapped Burrito", "xcBUR")
ERC20Permit("Wrapped Burrito")

function _mint(address _to, uint256 _amount)
// add here your pre-mint hooks if needed

IERC20Plus(xcBurrito).mint(_to, _amount), "Minting xc token failed"

// add here your post-mint hooks if needed

Check the full example on the Github repo under examples.


1. Create XC20 asset

Follow the documentation on how to Create XC20 Assets.

2. Deploy XcBurrito.sol smart contract

To deploy XcBurrito contract you need 2 input parameters

  • Burrito ERC20 token address (H160)
  • XC20 asset address (H160)
    • Follow instructions on how to Generate XC20 Address. If your asset_id is 17 (=0x11), your EVM address will be 0xffffffff00000000000000000000000000000011

3. Transfer xc asset ownership to the XcBurrito smart contract

To enable xcBurrito contract to be able to mint/burn you need to call setTeam() extrinsic on pallet-assets. Configure the issuer and admin to be xcBurrito. This will enable the contract to issue wrapped XC20 assets. Since the EVM contract has 24 bytes (H160), we need to transform EVM address into SS58 format to be able to call this extrinsic. Set the team of XC20 asset by calling setTeam()

You can renounce ownership of the XC20 by calling transferOwnership() extrinsic on pallet-assets. Note that after this, you won't be able to change issuer or admin anymore so make sure those are set correctly.

Renounce the ownership of XC20 asset by calling transferOwnership()

Now XcBurrito contract can start minting XC20 tokens for the callers who own Burrito ERC20 token.

User actions

To convert Burrito token into XcBurrito assets, users will need to do two actions.

  1. User Approves XcBurrito smart contract to transfer ERC20 Burrito tokens from user's balance to the XcBurrito contract. As an alternative use permit() call to improve UX
  2. User calls XcBurrito depositFor() for minting new XC20 tokens or withdrawTo() for burning XC20 tokens
  3. Minted wrapped asset can be transferred cross-chain same as any other XC20 asset (please check other chapters in XCM documentation)

End result

The result for depositFor(user, amount) will be:

  • XcBurrito locks amount of ERC20 Burrito token
  • User's balance for ERC20 Buritto is decreased for amount
  • XcBurrito contract mints amount of XcBurrito asset
  • User's balance for XcBurrito asset is increased for amount

The result for withdrawTo(user, amount) will be:

  • XcBurrito contract burns amount of XcBurrito asset
  • User's balance for XcBurrito asset is decreased for amount
  • XcBurrito contract sends amount of ERC20 Burrito token to user
  • User's balance for ERC20 Burrito is increased for amount