The beginner’s guide to choosing the best Arbitrum bridge in 2023

Tired of Ethereum’s congestion and exorbitant gas fees? It’s time to switch to Arbitrum, a buzzy Layer 2 chain with greater scalability and much lower transaction costs.

bridge over the sea on a starry night, art generated by Midjourney

What is Arbitrum?

Arbitrum is one of Ethereum’s Layer 2 solutions designed to overcome Ethereum's limitations while offering lower gas fees and faster execution. In the crypto space, Layer 2 scaling refers to techniques and protocols that operate on top of the Ethereum mainnet to enhance the network's scalability and transaction throughput. These solutions aim to alleviate congestion, reduce gas fees, and improve the overall user experience on the Ethereum network.

L2 protocols work by moving a significant portion of the computational and transactional load off-chain, thus reducing the burden on the mainnet. By doing so, they can process multiple transactions more efficiently and at a fraction of the cost compared to executing them directly on the Ethereum blockchain.

Now the most successful and widely adopted L2, the Arbitrum chain (which consists of two separate networks, Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nova) was created by the New-York based Offchain Labs, but the company has since transferred the governance of the network to the Arbitrum DAO to ensure a more community-driven and trustless ecosystem. The membership in DAO is token-based, which means that users only need to hold Arbitrum governance token ARB to vote on proposals. 

Optimism vs Arbitrum 

If you aren’t entirely new to crypto, you probably know that Arbitrum isn’t the only scaling solution for Ethereum: L2s are a big deal right now, as there is an urgent need to make the network more scalable. High gas fees on Ethereum are becoming more expensive with each passing day, making it virtually unusable for retail investors, but Ethereum’s native scaling, sharding, would take a long time to implement. Naturally, Layer 2 solutions picked up the momentum, with Arbitrum emerging as one of the key players, closely followed by Optimism, another popular L2 protocol. 

As competition heats up between Arbitrum and Optimism, which one will come out as a winner at the end of the scaling battle? Let’s take a brief look at their features, benefits, and drawbacks to find out which is best.

Both Arbitrum and Optimism employ a Layer 2 scaling technique known as Optimistic rollup that “rolls up” multiple Ethereum transactions — hence the name — into a single batch, verifies it off-chain, and then returns the transaction data back to the mainnet, offloading traffic from Ethereum and thus greatly reducing network congestion. The “optimistic” here refers to the hopeful assumption that all transaction data is valid unless proven otherwise. Thanks to such an approach, transaction finality is instant, but there’s also a drawback: there’s a seven-day window for verifiers to contest the validity of submitted fraud proofs.   

To verify data, both Arbitrum and Optimism use fraud proofs, with the only technical difference being the rounds of interaction required to compute the said proof. Optimism uses faster but more expensive single-round proofs, while Arbitrum uses multi-round proofs that take longer to execute but are more cost-effective, which translates to lower Arbitrum gas fees. 

Moreover, Arbitrum has an undeniable advantage in the form of its own Arbitrum Virtual Machine (AVM), which means that it can support all EVM languages. Optimism uses the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and is limited to just one programming language, Solidity. 

Finally, the Arbitrum protocol is also a clear winner in terms of TVL. With $2.2 billion in total assets locked on the chain, as per data from DefiLlama, Arbitrum outperforms its closest competitor by nearly four times. 

How to add Arbitrum to Metamask?

If you have trouble adding Arbitrum to your Metamask crypto wallet, don’t worry: we’re here to help you! Even though Metamask supports numerous blockchains, most of them aren’t enabled by default and have to be added manually, which can be at first confusing for first-time users but is actually super easy at a second glance. 

To add Arbitrum to Metamask, follow these steps:

1. In the top-right corner, find a dropdown menu next to the Metamask logo and click on the “Add network” option.

Add Arbitrum to Metamask, step by step instruction.

2. Next, you will see the list of popular custom networks. If you see Arbitrum on the list, click add and then approve in the pop-up that will appear. 

Add Arbitrum to Metamask,

3. If Arbitrum is not on the list, scroll down to the end of the list and click on “Add a network manually.”

How to add Arbitrum to Metamask

On the next page, enter the following network data:

Network name: Arbitrum One


Chain ID: 42161

Currency symbol: ETH

Block Explorer URL:

Arbitrum best bridge

After you’re done, click “Save.” Now you are ready to access the Arbitrum ecosystem from your Metamask wallet! 

Best bridge to Arbitrum

There are several notable bridges that facilitate interoperability between Ethereum and Arbitrum. These bridges enable the seamless transfer of assets and functionality between the two networks, allowing users to take advantage of the benefits offered by both chains. Here are some of the best bridges from Ethereum to Arbitrum and their advantages:

Arbitrum Bridge: The Arbitrum Bridge is the official bridge provided by Offchain Labs, the team behind Arbitrum. It allows users to transfer ETH and ERC-20 tokens between Ethereum and Arbitrum. The advantages of using the official bridge include reliability, security, and ongoing support from the core development team.

cBridge: cBridge developed by Celer Network allows users to transfer assets, such as ETH and ERC-20 tokens, between Ethereum and Arbitrum. It leverages Celer Network's technology to facilitate fast and secure transfers while maintaining a high level of decentralization. The bridge aims to provide a seamless user experience with low transaction costs and quick settlement times.

Hop Protocol: Hop Protocol is a decentralized protocol that offers cross-chain bridges, including Ethereum to Arbitrum. It enables users to transfer assets between Ethereum and Arbitrum in a trustless and permissionless manner. Hop Protocol's advantages include decentralized custody, efficient routing, and competitive fees.

Connext: Connext is a Layer 2 scaling solution that also provides a bridge between Ethereum and Arbitrum. It allows for fast and low-cost transfers of ETH and ERC-20 tokens across the two networks. Connext offers a user-friendly experience, with a focus on reducing transaction costs and increasing scalability.

Bottom line

With the rapid development of NFTs, DApps, and recent memecoin mania, Ethereum's exorbitant fees have become a significant obstacle to further adoption and development of the blockchain. Luckily, L2 networks like Arbitrum offer a potential solution to overcome Ethereum's scalability issues, enabling users to fully explore the value of this new technology.

By learning a few simple steps to connect the Arbitrum network to your MetaMask wallet and bridge your ETH, you can unlock the benefits of Web3 in a more sustainable and cost-effective manner. Embracing L2 solutions like Arbitrum and Optimism not only addresses the problem of high fees but also pens the new exciting world of decentralized applications, NFTs, and the Metaverse to millions of users globally.


Does Arbitrum have a token?

Yes, Arbitrum airdrop went live on March 23, 2023, rewarding early adopters with its long-awaited ARB token that is used to pay for Arbitrum gas fees and entitles its holders to vote on protocol changes. In the crypto space, an airdrop refers to the distribution of digital coins to the public, either for free or as a reward for previous activity.   

What is Arbitrum crypto price?

At the time of writing, the ARB token is trading at $1.17, down 90% from its all-time high of $11.80. You can always find the up-to-date token price and other crypto market data at CoinMarketCap

How to buy Arbitrum?

As a token of a popular scaling solution for Ethereum, ARB is listed by most top tier crypto exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, KuCoin, and OKX. You can also buy ARB from decentralized exchanges Uniswap and SushiSwap for crypto. 

What is Arbitrum block explorer?

Arbiscan is a block explorer for Arbitrum similar to Etherscan. This helpful;l online tool can provide you with valuable blockchain data, such as wallet addresses, smart contracts, tokens, blocks, transaction fees, and dApp assets. Note that you don’t have to connect your wallet to use Arbiscan and beware of malicious clones.  

What are the top Arbitrum NFTs?

At the time of writing, the top NFT collections by trading volume on Arbitrum are MetaLine-Mystery Box, Dragon’s Crossing Hero NFTs, The Beacon, Smol Cars, and Smithy Passes. You can always discover more Arbitrum NFTs on OpenSea by clicking on the Arbitrum logo in the chains bar.