What Are Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) And How Do They Work?

Decentralized exchange (DEX) is a new type of exchange that allows users to trade cryptocurrencies without an intermediary. On a DEX, orders are executed through smart contracts, which means that there is no need for a third party to manage the order book. This makes DEXs more secure and censorship-resistant than centralized exchanges.

Decentralized exchanges offer a solution to these problems. Because they are not managed by a centralized organization, DEXs are much more secure and censorship-resistant than centralized exchanges. They are also faster and cheaper to use, and there is no risk of them being shut down by the government.

However, DEXs currently have a much lower trading volume than centralized exchanges, mainly because they are less user-friendly. Over time, however, this may change as DEXs improve their user experience.

So far, there have been several successful decentralized exchanges, including IDEX, Ether Delta, and Switcheo. These exchanges allow users to trade a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lite Coin.

In the long run, decentralized exchanges could become the dominant form of exchange in the cryptocurrency market. This is because they offer several advantages over centralized exchanges, such as security, censorship resistance, and cost-efficiency. As DEXs continue to improve their user experience, they are likely to attract more users and overtake centralized exchanges in terms of the trading volume.

There are several advantages to using a DEX: security, speed, and decentralization.

Most DEXs are based on the Ethereum blockchain, which means they can support all ERC-20 tokens (tokens built on the Ethereum network). It also means that traders can use any wallet that supports Ether to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies through a DEX.

How do DEXs work?

Decentralized exchanges are an exciting new way to trade cryptocurrencies on the blockchain. No longer do you need a middleman, like yourself, as exchange operates through smart contracts and maintain custody of funds at all times! There are three main types: Automated Market Maker (MM), Order Books DEXs, or even more specific group called Derivative Exchange Aggregators, which allow users direct trading with each other without any centralized point in between them that could be hacked or exploited for personal gain – talk about cutting out bullseye!!

However, newer DEXs are using a variety of methods to allow users to trade. These include atomic swaps, which allow direct trading between different blockchains, and relayers, which allow orders to be placed off-chain and then filled on-chain.

Atomic Swaps

Fully decentralized exchanges like EtherDelta and OasisDEX use atomic swaps. An atomic swap is a method of exchange between two users where one’s funds are locked up by the smart contract until the other party sends their funds and thus receives one’s own. Atomic swaps use hash time-locked contracts (HTLC) to coordinate this process:

First, Bob sends Alice some amount of cryptocurrency directly on-chain with a transaction that locks his funds until they either reach Alice or go through an agreed-upon timeout. The transaction is sent with data such as Alice’s address that will receive the funds, how many Bob wants to send her, and the secret that unlocks the funds if the timeout is reached.

Atomic swaps between different blockchains is a relatively new development in the decentralized exchange space. In 2017, Decred and Lite coin tested cross-chain atomic swaps with favourable results. Altcoin exchanges have been attempted before.

In order for this process to work, there has to be a way of finding the secret that unlocks the funds. This can happen either via a regular hash function or through some large public keys/private keys known to both parties beforehand. The latter case has an additional step where Alice must use her private key to create a signature that proves she knows Bob’s secret without revealing it. If she does, this shows proof of knowledge, and Alice can claim Bob’s funds.

The use of atomic swaps removes the need for a third party and allows users to trade cryptocurrencies directly with each other. This process is trustless, as both parties are required to sign off on the transaction, meaning that neither can cheat the other. The main downside is that atomic swaps are currently limited to two blockchains at a time.


Another method of exchanging tokens on DEXs is through relayers. A relayer is a service that allows orders to be placed off-chain and then filled on-chain. This process is trustless as well, as it requires both parties to sign off on an order. The main advantage of relayers is that they allow users to trade tokens that do not have the tech to use atomic swaps.

The main disadvantage of decentralized exchanges is that they are still new, not all DEXs will accept fiat currencies, and some lack liquidity. However, decentralized exchanges are easier to code than centralized ones so expect there to be improvements in these areas over time.

Various Types of Decentralized exchanges

Automated market makers

The automated market maker (AMM) system was created to solve the liquidity problem. The inspiration for this exchange partly came from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s paper on decentralized exchanges, describing how trades can be executed using contracts holding tokens in a blockchain environment.

A smart contract is a computer program with specific instructions written in Solidity (a programming language for writing Ethereum Smart Contracts). If all conditions in its code are met or if President Trump tweets, “We’re going to war!”, then certain actions occur, causing it to perform one action over another due to events taking place in the real world and/or cryptocurrency space.

Two common types of smart contracts

Token contracts: These are contracts that create and manage tokens

Decentralized exchanges: These are contracts that allow for the exchange of one cryptocurrency for another without an intermediary.

AMM systems work by having a blockchain oracle provide it with market information from various exchanges in order to set the price of traded assets. The use of these oracles helps to ensure that prices are accurate and prevent front running.

An example of an oracle service is CoinMarketCap, which provides real-time information on prices, trade volume, and market capitalization for over 1300 cryptocurrencies.

AMMs are set to enable the creation of decentralized exchanges (DEX). DEXs will be important because they will operate without a central authority, and this eliminates many problems that exist with current centralized exchanges, such as hacking attempts. Decentralized exchanges will also enable crypto-to-crypto trading, which currently dominates the market. This has resulted in explosive growth within cryptocurrency trading platforms like Binance or Bitfinex, among others.

The future is bright for AMMs, but there are still some impediments holding them back from making their mark — mainly regulation and lack of liquidity due to slow systems used by AMMs at the present time. Legal regulations introduce uncertainty about whether decentralized systems could be allowed to exist, which prevents more people from investing in them. The lack of liquidity can be attributed to the fact that there are currently not many traders using these exchanges.

The technology powering AMMs is still being developed, so it will improve as time goes by and become more efficient. It would not be a surprise if we saw a large number of DEXs pop up over the next few years. However, this space remains difficult to predict at the present time because there are new technologies coming out all the time that could change the landscape of these decentralized finance platforms as we know it today.

Order book DEXs

Order book DEXs have two types of order books: on-chain and off-chain. On-chain order books are stored on the blockchain, while off-chain order books are stored off the blockchain.

Off-chain order books are faster and can handle more transactions than on-chain order books. However, on-chain order books are more secure because they are stored on the blockchain.

Both on-chain and off-chain order books can be used by DEXs to match buyers and sellers. Off-chain order books are generally used for more liquid assets, while on-chain order books are used for less liquid assets.

Order book DEXs offer a more secure and efficient way to trade assets than centralized exchanges. Centralized exchanges are vulnerable to hacks, while order book DEXs are not. Order book DEXs also offer a better user experience because they are faster and more reliable than centralized exchanges.

Order book DEXs are the future of cryptocurrency trading and will soon dominate the market. Centralized exchanges will eventually disappear as users switch to order book DEXs for their trading needs. Order book DEXs are the best way to trade cryptocurrencies and provide a more secure and efficient experience than centralized exchanges.

DEX aggregators

DEXs are a type of decentralized exchange that uses several different protocols and mechanisms to solve problems associated with liquidity. These platforms essentially aggregate orders from various DEX’s, minimizing slippage on large trades while optimizing swap fees or token prices in order to offer traders the best possible price right away – all without compromising speed!

By pooling liquidity from multiple sources, DEX aggregators help ensure that users can find a trade partner quickly and at a reasonable price. This not only makes it easier for traders to execute their desired trades but also helps reduce volatility in the markets.

DEX aggregators play an important role in the crypto trading ecosystem. However, there are still several challenges to overcome for this technology to enter the mainstream.

Typically, DEX aggregators will reward their partner DEXs by allocating a percentage of the profits generated from trades and swaps done via their platform and/or they share advertising revenue with those exchanges. In return, the aggregator receives rebates on swap costs and fees that would not otherwise be possible if they were acting as a stand-alone exchange. On average, liquidity providers can expect to earn about 10% more profit than if they traded directly on other DEXs. This is because orders placed on an aggregator consist of orders already available on multiple underlying marketplaces at once, so no double selling occurs. There is a fixed spread on every order, and the price tends to be more competitive.

Removing slippage is perhaps one of the most important benefits that DEX aggregators offer. Slippage occurs when there is a discrepancy between the expected price of an asset and the actual price at which it was traded. For example, say you wanted to sell one ETH for $1,000 but only got $999 instead because those placing the order before you lowered their asking prices slightly as your order went up in the queue. The opposite can happen as well if someone placed a large buy order ahead of yours: they might end up paying more than expected for your ETH because, by the time theirs came through, market conditions had changed, and fewer people were willing to sell at the initial asking price.

DEX aggregators help to minimize this problem by sourcing liquidity from multiple exchanges, which helps ensure that there is always someone available to trade with at the desired price point. This not only makes it easier for traders to execute their desired trades but also helps reduce volatility in the markets.

However, there are still several challenges to overcome for this technology to enter the mainstream. One of the biggest hurdles is user adoption: most people are unaware of what DEX aggregators are and how they work. Additionally, many of the current offerings suffer from a lack of features and poor user experience. Until these issues are addressed, DEX aggregators will likely remain a niche product used by more advanced traders.

Nevertheless, as the crypto markets continue to evolve, DEX aggregators are likely to play an increasingly important role in facilitating liquidity and ensuring a smoother trading experience.

How to use decentralized exchanges?

When it comes to cryptocurrency trading, decentralized exchanges (DEX) are becoming a more and more popular option. This is because they offer a number of advantages over centralized exchanges, including security, privacy, and freedom from censorship.

If you are thinking of using a DEX to trade cryptocurrencies, here is a guide on how to do it.

  1. Choose a DEX

The first step is to choose a DEX to use. There are a number of them available, so you will need to do some research to find the one that best suits your needs. Some of the most popular DEXs include IDEX, WavesDex, and EtherDelta.

  1. Create an account

Once you have chosen a DEX, you will need to create an account. This will involve entering your email address and creating a password.

  1. Deposit funds

The next step is to deposit funds into your account. This can be done by transferring cryptocurrency from your wallet to the DEX’s wallet.

  1. Trade cryptocurrencies

Once your account is funded, you can start trading cryptocurrencies. This can be done by selecting the currency you want to trade and then placing a buy or sell order.

  1. Withdraw funds

When you are finished trading, you can withdraw your funds by transferring them back to your wallet.

As you can see, it is not that difficult to use a decentralized exchange. Just keep in mind that DEXs have a few disadvantages compared to centralized exchanges, including low liquidity and poor customer service.

Advantages of using a DEX

  • Token availability
  • DEXs are faster and more secure than centralized exchanges.
  • You can get in on the ground floor of new projects.
  • Get a front-row seat to the next big thing!
  • You will have access to a wider range of tokens.
  • You can invest in ICOs before they list on centralized exchanges.
  • Be an early adopter of the next big thing.
  • Anonymity
  • Trade anonymously.
  • Trade with security and speed.
  • Be who you want to be on the internet.
  • Stay safe from hackers, scammers, and thieves.
  • Reduced security risks
  • Reduced risk of being hacked.
  • Liquidity providers are not at risk if the platform is hacked.
  • The peace of mind that comes with knowing your funds are safe.
  • You will have more control over your funds.
  • You can reduce the risk of being hacked by using a decentralized exchange.
  • Have peace of mind when trading crypto.
  • Reduced counterparty risk
  • Eliminate counterparty risk.
  • Trade with confidence.
  • Feel more secure when trading crypto.

Disadvantages of using DEXs

  • The first disadvantage is that DEXs are not as user-friendly as traditional exchanges. Users need to understand how to use cryptocurrency wallets and be familiar with security concepts in order to use them safely. In addition, they need to know which tokens to fund their wallets with in order to trade on specific networks.
  • Another disadvantage of DEXs is that they may be less reliable than traditional exchanges. Because they are decentralized, there is no one entity responsible for ensuring that they function properly. This means that there is a greater risk of experiencing technical issues or congestion on the network.


The popularity of decentralized exchanges has exploded in the past two years. These advantages include anonymity/Pseudonymity (no sign-ups required to use), which is a major draw for hackers and other malicious actors, as well as freedom from censorship or interference by third parties like governments, banks, payment processors, etc. This article provides an overview of how they work behind the scenes with smart contracts that are customized to match buyers and sellers efficiently.

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