If you have bid on an NFT collection on a major Ethereum NFT marketplace, like OpenSea, you may have seen the collections listed for “WETH” instead of ETH, or Ether. While Ethereum is one of the largest blockchains for NFTs, you cannot use ETH to bid or auction off your collection- you must use Wrapped ETH, or WETH. But what is WETH? Is it different than ETH? How do you wrap ETH?
What Are Wrapped Cryptocurrencies?
It is important to understand what “wrapping” a cryptocurrency is. A wrapped token is an investment vessel that holds the original asset inside of the new token. In other words, it is a way to convert a coin from one blockchain to another.
For example, wrapped Bitcoin, or WBTC, is a Bitcoin that has been wrapped in an ERC-20 token to work on the Ethereum blockchain. Normally, it is not possible for you to trade Bitcoin using the Ethereum blockchain. However, when you wrap a Bitcoin into WBTC, it becomes usable on the Ethereum blockchain for things like trading and staking. You can unwrap your WBTC at anytime to return it to the original Bitcoin blockchain.
Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) is a form of Ethereum that has been “wrapped” in a ERC-20 compatible smart contract. This allows it to be used in the same way as other ERC-20 tokens, such as being traded on decentralized exchanges or used as collateral in lending protocols.
What is WETH Used For?
One of the main reasons for wrapping Ethereum is to make it more compatible with decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. DeFi protocols are a new type of financial application that is built on blockchain technology and allows users to access a range of financial services, such as lending, borrowing, and trading, without the need for a traditional financial institution.
Many DeFi protocols only support ERC-20 tokens, which are a specific type of blockchain-based asset. This means that in order to use these protocols, users must first convert their Ether (the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain) into an ERC-20 token. This can be inconvenient and may require users to go through additional steps, such as setting up a wallet for the ERC-20 token.
By wrapping Ethereum, users can take advantage of DeFi protocols without having to convert their Ether into an ERC-20 token. This makes it easier and more convenient to access the growing world of DeFi.
WETH is especially important for NFT auctions because it allows bidding on NFTs, something normal ETH is not capable of doing. By using WETH to bid, you are authorizing the smart contract to withdraw a certain amount of WETH from your wallet should you win the auction. However, if you do not win the auction, your WETH stays securely in your wallet. This is vital for auctions to be trusted and decentralized.
Using WETH on Decentralized Exchanges
Another reason for wrapping Ethereum is to enable users to trade it on decentralized exchanges. Decentralized exchanges (also known as DEXs) are online platforms that allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies without the need for a central authority, such as a traditional exchange.
While it is possible to trade Ether on some decentralized exchanges, the process is often more complex than trading ERC-20 tokens. This is because each decentralized exchange has its own unique set of rules and requirements, and some may not support Ether directly. By wrapping Ether, users can easily trade it on any decentralized exchange that supports ERC-20 tokens.
How Do You Wrap ETH?
To wrap Ether, users can use a platform such as the WETH dApp. This allows them to easily convert their Ether into WETH and vice versa. The process is simple and only requires users to have a web3 wallet, such as MetaMask, and some Ether to wrap.
Once a user has wrapped their Ether, they can use it in the same way as any other ERC-20 token. This includes trading it on decentralized exchanges, using it as collateral in lending protocols, or participating in other DeFi applications.
In conclusion, Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) is a valuable tool for Ethereum users who want to take advantage of DeFi protocols and decentralized exchanges. By wrapping their Ether, they can easily use it in the same way as other ERC-20 tokens, making it more convenient and accessible. This opens up a wide range of new opportunities for users to access financial services and participate in the growing world of DeFi.