The Prime Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) in 2021


  • Decentralized exchanges allow you to commerce tokens immediately with different customers.
  • They emerged as a preferred various to centralized exchanges like Coinbase and Binance.

Even should you’re comparatively new to crypto, you will have purchased or traded Bitcoin, Ethereum and different property on a cryptocurrency change. Exchanges like Binance and Coinbase are a few of the most profitable companies within the crypto house; Coinbase, one of many main exchanges, went public in a direct itemizing earlier this 12 months. Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken, and others are referred to as “centralized exchanges,” since one firm operates them and reaps revenue from working them.

However what should you don’t wish to belief a centralized change together with your funds? In any case, cryptocurrency was based on the precept of casting off intermediaries. That’s the place decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, are available.

What’s a decentralized change?

Decentralized exchanges are one of many key constructing blocks of the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. A DEX is a platform the place customers can commerce cryptocurrency immediately with one another, with out utilizing a intermediary. A standard centralized change like Binance, for instance, acts as a custodian in your behalf, with any buying and selling going down on Binance’s database, relatively than immediately on the blockchain itself. 

Whereas this can be a extra beginner-friendly strategy to commerce, it has its downsides. For one factor, a centralized change presents a single level of failure, which means that you can lose entry to your funds if the change is hacked or faces server issues. Certainly, many centralized exchanges have struggled with downtime in periods of maximum volatility.

There’s additionally the truth that many centralized exchanges require KYC authentication, which implies you’ve received to supply proof of ID akin to a driving license or passport (which, once more, means trusting that the change will not be hacked, doubtlessly exposing you to identification theft).and your identification particulars stolen

In distinction, DEXs allow you to commerce immediately with different customers, which signifies that property are below your management always. The negatives are that trades will be costlier and take longer, as they’re run on the blockchain.

Take a look at our devoted article on decentralized exchanges for more information, or be happy to crack on with our round-up of the most effective choices under.


Uniswap is essentially the most broadly used DEX on Ethereum. Picture: Uniswap

What’s Uniswap?

Uniswap is an Ethereum-based DEX that permits customers to swap ERC-20 tokens. It’s probably the most widespread platforms within the DeFi ecosystem, and goals to counteract one drawback that’s related to DEXs—a scarcity of liquidity.

It does this by permitting tokens to be swapped, which implies the platform doesn’t need to depend on consumers and sellers creating liquidity (and all with out charging platform charges within the course of). Created in 2018 by former Siemens mechanical engineer Hayden Adams, the change has grown in recognition, reaching a mean every day buying and selling quantity of $337 million as of June 2021.

What cash can I purchase on it?

Uniswap has a complete of over 5,500 tokens out there for its customers to commerce throughout its common and Professional change. These embrace the likes of AAVE, WBTC, ETH, DAI, and USDT. Notable omissions embrace COMP and Binance’s BNB, the latter of which is locked by Uniswap because of the change’s views (see tweet).

What are the charges like?

Uniswap charges a 0.3% payment for swapping tokens, with charges deposited into liquidity reserves. There are at present no protocol charges, although there’s provision for a 0.05% payment to be switched on sooner or later.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

Uniswap doesn’t have a KYC verification course of, so there’s no must fiddle with supplying proof of ID—making it friendlier for freshmen. Swapping tokens is as straightforward as connecting a pockets akin to MetaMask, choosing which two property you wish to swap, and the quantity you want to commerce.

Because it’s fully decentralized, a number of initiatives launch immediately on Uniswap, offering customers with quick entry to a broad vary of tokens. Sadly, on account of its decentralized nature, anybody can checklist faux cash too, tricking inexperienced customers into swapping property for sham tokens which might be nugatory. 


Sushi swap marketing material
The SushiSwap brand. Picture: Sushiswap.

What’s SushiSwap?

SushiSwap is a DeFi platform working on the Ethereum blockchain that permits customers to immediately swap tokens with one another. Holders of the platform’s native token, SUSHI, can suggest adjustments to the way it operates, voting on proposals submitted by different customers. Created in 2020 by the pseudonymous “Chef Nomi”, the platform was created by copying Uniswap’s open-source code, promising customers SUSHI token rewards for locked funds. 

Nonetheless, it wasn’t all plain crusing. Chef Nomi brought on outrage when $13 million price of funds had been eliminated from the DEX’s liquidity pool. Chef Nomi later returned the eliminated funds and handed management of the DEX to Sam Bankman-Fried, head of a cryptocurrencies spinoff buying and selling agency referred to as Alameda Analysis. Now, SushiSwap is driving excessive, with 24h quantity of practically $180 million as of June 2021.

What cash can I purchase on it?

SushiSwap has round 1,400 tokens out there to commerce on its platform, together with many of the main DeFi tokens akin to AAVE, BAL, MATIC, and rival DEX token UNI.

What are the charges like?

SushiSwap has quite a few charges for its customers:

  • Buying and selling charges: As with Uniswap, SushiSwap expenses a flat 0.3% payment for buying and selling on the change. This payment is charged immediately by the change, whereas Ethereum fuel charges are charged individually by the Ethereum wallets that you simply use to work together with the change itself.
  • Withdrawal charges: On the time of writing, there are not any withdrawal charges charged on SushiSwap. As a substitute, customers need to pay fuel charges in the event that they wish to switch their property to an exterior pockets.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

Provided that it’s constructed on Uniswap’s supply code, SushiSwap is simply as minimally designed and simple to make use of, with a easy, clear interface. Swapping tokens is simplicity itself, as is the choice so as to add to liquidity swimming pools.


PancakeSwap screenshot
PancakeSwap. Picture: Decrypt

What’s PancakeSwap?

PancakeSwap is one other Uniswap clone constructed on the latter’s supply code. Relatively than working on the Ethereum blockchain, nonetheless, PancakeSwap is powered by Binance Sensible Chain, permitting customers to immediately commerce its BEP-20 tokens and dApps.

It’s operated by a gaggle of nameless builders, however customers management the platform by voting utilizing the CAKE governance token. Beginning off sluggish, the platform shot up in recognition earlier this 12 months following the Ethereum community’s steep hike in charges. PancakeSwap’s 24-hour quantity at present sits at round $13 million.

What cash can I purchase on it?

PancakeSwap at present lets customers swap 290 supported tokens, together with Binance’s personal BNB, ETH, and the favored DeFi tokens Pancake Bunny (BUNNY) and SAFEMOON. You may also commerce in Binance Pegged Dogecoin (DOGE).

What are the charges like?

  • Dealer charges: PancakeSwap expenses a flat 0.2% buying and selling payment per transaction, which is on the decrease finish of the spectrum.
  • Withdrawal charges: As with most DEXs, PancakeSwap doesn’t cost withdrawal charges. Because it’s constructed on Binance Sensible Chain relatively than Ethereum, it advantages from that blockchain’s decrease fuel charges, too, which can add to its attraction.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

As with the opposite DEXs on this checklist, PancakeSwap is clear, minimal, and simple to make use of, particularly because it’s additionally constructed on Uniswap’s unique supply code. Connecting a pockets akin to MetaMask, MathWallet or Binance Chain Pockets is simple, as is selecting your buying and selling pairs is simple.

The one barely extra sophisticated ingredient entails changing your ERC-20 tokens to BEP-20 utilizing Binance Bridge—one thing that is achieved utilizing the hyperlink on the backside of the Exchange web page.


iPad showing 1inch logo
1inch Change. Picture: Shutterstock

What’s 1inch?

1inch stands out from the pack, because it’s a DEX change aggregator, relatively than a devoted DEX itself. In essence, it scrapes different exchanges to robotically present customers with the most cost effective costs, rerouting your trades through the exchanges that provide the most effective costs and general charges for the transaction you wish to make. Model two of the platform launched in November 2020, supporting 21 totally different DDEXs, together with SushiSwap and 1inch’s personal Mooniswap.

What cash can I purchase on it?

The 1inch platform helps hundreds of tokens, which isn’t any shock given the truth that it searches over 20 totally different DEXs to search out the absolute best transactions for its customers.

What are the charges like?

One of many advantages of utilizing 1inch is that as a DEX aggregator, it doesn’t cost you change charges, deposit charges, or withdrawal charges. As a substitute, the one prices to customers come from the chosen DEX used to hold out their transaction. As a helpful bonus, you need to use Chi Gastoken on 1inch to assist minimise Fuel charges on the Ethereum community.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

1inch is a bit more sophisticated to make use of for freshmen, provided that it aggregates searches for the most effective transactions, however it nonetheless shouldn’t trigger a lot hassle, even for novices. 

Step one is to decide on which community you’d like to make use of, from a selection of Ethereum, Binance Sensible Chain, or Polygon

The following step is to attach your pockets of selection (akin to MetaMask, MEW, Trezor, or Coinbase Pockets), which is as straightforward as clicking in your pockets, then connecting through your pockets’s app. After that, it’s merely a matter of looking for your buying and selling pairs and choosing your best option offered by 1inch.


The cryptocurrency COMP next to stack of coins and dice

What’s Compound?

Based by former economist Robert Leshner in 2017, Compound is a specialised DEX that permits the tokenization of property locked in its platform. To do that, it makes use of cTokens, which let customers earn curiosity on their saved property whereas additionally nonetheless having the ability to switch, commerce and use these property in different functions. 

Locking USDC within the protocol, for instance, gives you with cUSDC tokens, which might earn you curiosity. You’re free to redeem your cUSDC tokens for normal USDC at any time, which incorporates any curiosity paid in USDC.

What cash can I purchase on it?

Compound at present helps tokens throughout 12 markets, together with BAT, ETH, DAI, UNI, USDT and LINK.

What are the charges like?

The Compound platform itself has no charges of any sort, though you’ll be on the mercy of Fuel charges for transactions.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

Whereas slick and easy to make use of for knowledgeable merchants, Compound is a far cry from an everyday centralized change like Coinbase or Binance. In case your buying and selling expertise has to this point been restricted to extra fundamental exchanges, then utilizing Compound’s platform gained’t be instantly apparent or intuitive. Take the time to learn by way of guides just like the one linked under, although, and also you’ll quickly have your head wrapped round all of it.

Curve Finance

Curve Finance logo
Picture: Curve Finance

What’s Curve Finance?

Curve Finance is a DEX particularly designed for swapping between stablecoins, in addition to exchanging totally different tokenized variations of stablecoins. 

The platform acts as a decentralized liquidity aggregator, the place any person can add property to totally different liquidity swimming pools, incomes charges within the course of. The CEO of Curve Finance is Michael Egorov, CTO of community safety firm NuCypher, who’s additionally the person to whom many of the undertaking’s GitHub contributions are attributed.

What cash can I purchase on it?

Curve Finance has a complete of 17 Curve swimming pools out there which permits customers to swap between many alternative stablecoins and property. A number of the extra widespread stablecoins on provide embrace USDT, USDC, BUSD, DAI, and TUSD.

What are the charges like?

As with most DEXs, the fees for Curve Finance are decided by the DAO. The payment on all swimming pools is 0.04%, with 50% going to liquidity suppliers and 50% going to DAO members holding veCRV tokens.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

As with Compound, the very nature of the Curve platform won’t be intuitive or straightforward for crypto newbies who’ve solely dabbled in additional conventional exchanges.

The truth that the platform appears to be like like an internet site straight out of the early 90s (whereas cool, in a basic retro method), will do little to ease individuals in gently. Nonetheless, there are many assets to become familiar with the way it all works, so simply take your time and perceive the fundamentals earlier than diving in, because it had been.

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