How to Move Your Money to Ethereum L2

Transfer to L2

Don’t you hate it when you open a recipe and the first page of it is just someone’s life story? Yeah, me too. So I don’t want to bore you with general information about Layer 2 blockchains and non-custodial web3 wallets. In case you do want to read about it, I’ll leave it at the end of this post.

This guide is for people who already have tokens in their Ethereum mainnet wallet that they want to use on an L2 chain. If you don’t – you can withdraw tokens from crypto exchanges like Kraken, Binance or Coinbase directly to your L2 wallet by choosing an L2 network to withdraw to. That will save you money on gas fees.

Let’s get to the point

You’ve chosen a blockchain game to participate in but it’s not on Ethereum, it’s on an Ethereum L2 chain. How do you transfer your money to an L2 chain?

Step 1: Download MetaMask if you haven’t already. This guide will talk about MetaMask but you can use any non-custodial wallet.

You can transfer other tokens besides ETH. However, the gas fees are in ETH so you have to have some in your wallet. 

One more thing: if you only have ETH in your wallet, keep it that way. Don’t buy other tokens on the mainnet. Move your ETH to L2 and then buy the tokens. That will save you money on gas.

Using bridges

Step 2:  If the crypto game you chose is on Polygon – you can transfer your funds there through Polygon bridge. It works similarly with other L2 chains, like Arbitrum or Optimism  – you need to find an official bridge. 

Once you’re there, connect your Ethereum mainnet wallet. You’ll be prompted to sign a message to login – do it, it’s free.

Bridge login

After logging in, select the amount and the type of tokens you want to transfer and click “Transfer”. It takes under 10 minutes for the transfer to go through.

Transfer to Polygon

Once you click “Transfer”, you’ll be greeted with this message:

Notice of transfer

Choose “Continue”. At this point MetaMask will ask you to approve the transaction in your wallet, showing you the amount of gas you’re paying. After approving you’ll see the progress bar of your transfer.

If you want to transfer your funds back to Ethereum L1 you can do so through the same bridge using the “Withdraw” option. It will cost more gas and the transaction may take up to three hours. Doing so is optional.

To see the tokens you just transferred in your wallet, you’ll need to add Polygon to MetaMask. Here’s a good guide on how to do that. Works the same way with other L2 networks.

And that is it, you can now purchase game tokens, pay gas for in-game staking, and play the game with much lower gas fees.

As promised, here are definitions of L2 chains and non-custodial wallets. I’ll keep it short and simple.

What are Ethereum L2 chains

In simple terms, Ethereum Level 2 chains allow for faster and cheaper transactions while relying on Ethereum for things like security. With Ethereum based technology, L2s are great to build dApps and games on. They are arguably the best blockchains for gaming.

You can find out more about Level 2 chains here if you’re curious. 

What is a non-custodial wallet

To simplify, a non-custodial wallet is the one that you have private keys to and therefore have control of your crypto funds. Examples are MetaMask, Trust Wallet, and Exodus. A custodial wallet is usually a centralized exchange wallet where you don’t own the private keys. 

What that means is – if funds get stolen from your non-custodial wallet, you probably got scammed and lost your private keys. While a custodial wallet can potentially block or nullify your funds without your participation. You’ve possibly heard the saying “not your keys, not your coins” – it’s about not really owning your cryptocurrency if you store it in a custodial wallet. 


Thank you for reading this far! This is the second post in a series of educational posts about entering crypto gaming. You can find the first one about finding good NFT games here. Stay tuned for the next article in the series!

Do you have specific questions about blockchain gaming that you want me to elaborate on? Let me know!