Ever thought of ditching the mainstream choice and using dex for trading instead? We’ve prepared a list of the top decentralized exchanges, one of which could become your new favorite cryptocurrency trading platform.
What is a trader’s worst nightmare? Imagine for a second that you wake up to a frozen wallet account as your exchange has been hacked. Every now and then, centralized cryptocurrency exchanges suffer attacks, go bankrupt, or even vanish into thin air. Unfortunately, these things do happen.
Now, we’ve all learned the basics of blockchain and cryptocurrency security and yet many of us keep holding our cryptocurrency assets in exchange wallets despite all the risks. Why? Because it’s convenient.
More sophisticated cryptocurrency users continuously transfer their precious assets back and forth, but for traders who deal with cryptocurrency on a daily basis, it’s not that handy.
The Deal with Decentralized Exchanges
What if you could trade cryptocurrency peer-to-peer? As a matter of fact, you already can. Decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, were created exactly for this purpose. A decentralized exchange is a platform that eliminates the intermediaries from the trading process and allows its users to exchange cryptocurrency directly with each other.
Which means no KYC procedures, an advanced level of security, and no state regulations. At the same time, considering the current stage of development, it also means lower liquidity, a questionable user experience, and a lack of useful trading tools.
But all exchanges are different and some of them have managed to overcome some of the issues, to a certain degree.
List of the Best Decentralized Exchanges in 2019
Once you become brave enough to give decentralized exchanges a try, you need to check out what’s trending. We’ve done the work for you and picked several platforms that can compete for the title of the best decentralized exchange in 2019.
First, let us mention two platforms that stand out from the others in our list.
0x and Kyber Network are two very popular blockchain protocols in the modern cryptocurrency space that can form a new future for the decentralized exchange space. Although they are not decentralized exchanges themselves, they provide developers with the tools to build decentralized exchanges of their own. The concepts of these two are quite similar and they both use their native ERC20 tokens to stimulate their customers, there are a few aspects that make them different.
A lot of decentralized exchanges use one of these two protocols to run their operations smoothly.
1. 0x Protocol
- Off-chain order matching and on-chain settlement
- Adjustable market makers fees
- Networked liquidity
- Variety of use cases for blockchain businesses
- No Bitcoin trade
0x is an open source protocol that enables decentralized exchanges on the Ethereum blockchain and allows for the trade of ERC20 and ERC721 cryptocurrency, where anyone can become a matchmaker. The principal difference of 0x Protocol is that it executes off-chain order matching but the trade itself takes place on the blockchain.
0x offers a wide range of solutions for cryptocurrency-powered companies: marketplaces for NFT trading, tradable cryptocurrency tokens for prediction markets, order book hosting, decentralized loans, and mechanisms for stable coins.
- Reserves system that helps with liquidity
- No order book
- Powered by smart contracts
- Popular with dapps, wallets, and exchanges
- No Bitcoin trade
Unlike 0x, Kyber uses Smart Contracts and reserves to enable cryptocurrency transactions between users and dapps. These reserves are necessary to sustain high liquidity. They can be private, and set their rates themselves, or public. Additionally, there is a singular reserve controlled by Kyber.
Kyber does not use the order book model, and all transactions are executed on-chain via smart contracts. Wallets, e-commerce payments, exchanges, and other decentralized finance platforms can integrate Kyber and benefit from the top decentralized exchange.
- Hybrid model
- ETH token trade
- DAO structure with three native cryptocurrencies
- No Bitcoin trading
IDEX cryptocurrency exchange is a decentralized exchange for Ethereum tokens. It is slightly different from the others due to the fact that it runs on top of the Aurora DAO.
Aurora’s ecosystem includes several cryptocurrencies: IDXM, AURA, and Boreal, and each of them serves a separate purpose. You can stake IDEX’s AURA token or run an AURA node and get a percentage of the fees. IDXM (IDEX cryptocurrency) is a membership token that provides its holders with discounts on trades or even lets them trade for free. And finally, Boreal is a stablecoin that also enables p2p lending. IDEX users are encouraged to get the Boreal token if they want to receive a 5% discount on their trades.
However, the entire concept behind the IDEX exchange, despite many positive reviews and the highest market volumes, is a little controversial. One cannot affirm that IDEX is entirely decentralized, because it uses the model in which only the exchange itself can submit signed trades to Ethereum.
Nevertheless, it is still considered to be one of the best decentralized apps thanks to its arbiter system that brings in the speed, high volume, and advanced user experience that we’re used to with centralized exchanges.
- Hybrid model
- Runs on Waves cryptocurrency
- Requires the use of Waves wallet
- Low fees
- Advanced functionality
- Alleged fiat deposits (not the cheapest option) and Bitcoin trading
Waves decentralized exchange is based on the usage of the Waves cryptocurrency and runs on its own blockchain. Moreover, you are required to have a Waves wallet account in order to trade. Which, in a way, leaves the whole ‘decentralized’ part slightly behind, as the Waves platform becomes a controller itself. On the bright side, you can use trading bots on Waves, receive interest, and work with fiat. Compared to other decentralized exchanges, this cryptocurrency platform is very intuitive.
Enabling on-chain peer-to-peer transfers, Waves supports all kinds of fiat and cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, LTC, ETH, USD, and others.
- Supports crypto to fiat trading
- DAO model with native BSQ token
- End-to-end encryption routed by Tor
- Wide range of payment methods
- Bitcoin trading option
- Only desktop app, no web version
Bisq is an open source bitcoin-to-fiat decentralized exchange that comes in the form of desktop software. As a legitimate and non counterfeit decentralized exchange, Bisq doesn’t keep any Bitcoins or fiat currencies on its servers and asks no personal data from you. All trading data never leaves your computer (well, considering you’re taking adequate measures to protect it from malware). Basically, Bisq is the blockchain platform that connects the users that want to buy or sell cryptocurrency.
The interface, as it usually happens with such exchanges, is not the strongest side of Bisq. Although it’s intuitive enough, it is very basic. Other disadvantages include low volume and slow cryptocurrency transaction speed. However, it is one of the only decentralized platforms in the blockchain space that offers Bitcoin-to-fiat exchanges, so it might be worth it to wait a little longer.
- Open source fork of EtherDelta
- Token listing on request
- Tricky interface
- No Bitcoin trading
As predictable as it sounds, ForkDelta came into existence as a result of a fork. Apparently, some of the devs had disagreements with the new owners and built their own exchange, but this time, open source and more community-driven. The reason why we haven’t added EtherDelta to the list is because it’s not a platform for beginners due to its tricky interface and relatively high fees. On the other hand, blockchain old-timers seem to appreciate the platform.
But let’s get back to ForkDelta. There are no fees for cryptocurrency token listings, and they add new cryptocurrency daily. Despite the downfalls, it is a democratic exchange with the goal of building a strong community and the possibility of transforming into a highly competitive exchange.
However, at the moment, the interface of the exchange could be more straightforward and you cannot trade Bitcoin, as well as many other popular cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the trading fees are not the lowest on the market.
- Runs on Hydro protocol
- Off-chain order matching and on-chain settlement
- Low trading fees
- Free order cancellation
- Only ETH and ERC20, no Bitcoin trading
DDEX describes itself as the most user-friendly exchange in the cryptocurrency space, and judging by the feedback, they do have a reasonably comprehensive UI (although it might still be a bit tricky for beginners). It was the first exchange built on the Hydro Protocol, which offers real-time order matching and on-chain settlement.
If you want to trade Bitcoin, DDEX is not the exchange for you as it mainly supports the Ethereum blockchain and some popular altcoins like EOS, 0x (by the way, it is powered by that protocol), TRON, BAT. Additionally, you are not able to trade ERC20 for one another, as it offers only trading against Ethereum. Besides, as you have to depend a lot of the time on the Ethereum blockchain, there may be occasional delays in the network.
- Biggest decentralized exchange on the EOS blockchain
- Multichain exchange: also supports the TRON blockchain
- Flexible trading fees
- ‘Matching and settlement’ on chain smart contracts
The exchange was initially launched on the EOS blockchain and supports a very wide range of EOS tokens. Later on, the TRON blockchain was added.
Unlike the majority of decentralized exchanges, Newdex has a very decent interface, similar to Binance. Once you log into the exchange with your wallet, you will be able to see your RAM, CPU, and NET, which is a much-needed feature when it comes to transacting in EOS. Transaction speed is relatively fast, although when the network is overloaded delays are also possible. And there is a bonus: the exchange regularly holds airdrops with the listing tokens.
Moreover, Newdex has deployed “matching and settlement on chain” smart contracts; all the orders matching, settlement and order books are available on chain, transparent, tamper-proof, real-time checkable to everyone.
Decentralized exchanges are still not the most popular blockchain platforms to trade cryptocurrency due to the number of technical issues. Also, a lot of them run on the Ethereum blockchain, and offer no Bitcoin trading whatsoever.
Some of the exchanges like IDEX or Waves that use a so-called hybrid model (and actually are only partially decentralized) offer a better user experience and may even be suitable for beginners.
Other platforms are good for specific needs. For instance, the Bisq exchange would come in handy when you need to trade Bitcoin and fiat. And if you want to trade EOS tokens and enjoy a good airdrop, you should take a closer look at Newdex.
The majority of decentralized exchanges offer a slightly confusing user experience and beginners would probably need some time to figure it out. But once they do it, they get security, anonymity, and independency in exchange.