RFC: XCM Locations for foreign assets should include a Bridge ID


Upgrade NetworkId::Ethereum variant to optionally specify a Bridge ID.


As a convention, assets in foreign consensus systems are generally identified using locations of the form

Location {
    parents: 0
    interior: [GlobalConsensus(NetworkId), ...]

For example, in the context of a the Polkadot network, a smart contract on Ethereum can be identified using this location:

Location {
    parents: 0
    interior: [GlobalConsensus(Ethereum), AccountKey20("0xf1d2d2f924e986ac86fdf7b36c94bcdf32beec15")]

At first glance, this seems reasonable. However there is missing information. Foreign networks always have their consensus exported to Polkadot through the use of bridging technology.

Assets exported through different bridges are not fungible with one another, for many reasons. So there must be a means to discriminate foreign assets based on the bridge they came through.


Apply the following changes in XCMv4:

  1. Add ExporterId type:
    pub struct ExporterId([u8; 32])
  1. Update NetworkId::Ethereum variant as to include an optional exporter_id field:
	/// An Ethereum network specified by its chain ID.
	Ethereum {
		/// The EIP-155 chain ID.
		chain_id: u64,
		exporter_id: Some(ExporterId)

The ExporterId type wraps an uninterpreted 32-byte identifier for a bridge. The XCM format, as an abstract specification, does not bless any concrete bridging implementations. Therefore, an uninterpreted ID is appropriate.

Security considerations

  • The change affects the ABI of XCM and so careful attention needs to paid to versioning.

  • Parachains dealing with synthetic Ethereum assets from multiple bridges need to pay careful attention to the ExporterId as these assets are not fungible.


This changes the ABI of the NetworkId type and all types that rely on it. As such, it is breaking change that will require storage upgrades and so on.


What other designs have been considered and what is the rationale for not choosing them?

We have considered putting the bridge ID in Location.interior as a junction, such as GeneralKey, or GeneralIndex. However this is a hack, since the Bridge is not really a consensus system on Ethereum.

Therefore this approach subverts the meaning and intent of the Location type.

Similarly, we have also thought about prepending into the location the address of our bridge’s gateway contract on Ethereum. Again, this also a hack, since it implies that our gateway contract is the parent consensus system of all other consensus systems on Ethereum, which it certainly is not.

What is the impact of not doing this?

Snowbridge is currently intending to register wrapped Ethereum tokens in the ForeignAssets pallet of AssetHub. We intend to reserve the NetworkId::Ethereum junction for our assets, within the context of AssetHub, and for other parachains that wish to reserve-transfer assets from the AssetHub.ForeignAssets pallet.

Specific ethereum bridges that come online in future will need to request a new NetworkId variant for their bridge. These bridges must have the following properties:

  1. The bridge wants to use the XCM ExportMessage message as its core bridging interface
  2. The bridge wants to identify its assets using the GlobalConsensus(Ethereum) prefix.

Other existing Ethereum bridges (Wormhole, ChainBridge, etc) are not affected since according to my knowledge they don’t require (1) or (2).