Centralized exchanges are the single-most popular method of trading and swapping cryptocurrencies. However, crypto-purists argue that centralizing so much power into the hands of a few exchanges runs contrary to the ethos of decentralization that guides the cryptocurrency world.
There are now several excellent decentralized exchanges that closely align with that vision. With that in mind, here are the eight best decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges.
Changelly remains one of the most popular decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges. Based in Prague, Changelly features a straightforward fee model that charges users a flat 0.5 percent on each trade. You can use Changelly for direct crypto-to-crypto transactions or fiat-to-crypto transactions. However, fiat-to-crypto transactions receive high transaction fees. So, while very convenient, you could lose more money than you realize for the sake of a speedy transaction.
Changelly aggregates the prices across numerous other cryptocurrency exchanges, then presents traders with the current trading price.
Like Changelly, Shapeshift is one of the most popular decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges available. The exchanges have a few major differences. Perhaps the biggest two are that Shapeshift does not feature any fiat currency pairings, and uses two methods for peer-to-peer cryptocurrency swapping.
Shapeshift doesn’t charge any service or transaction fee. You only have to pay the mining fee for the coin you receive. However, this is a flat fee, which means at times you pay more than the mining fee. The difference between the flat fee and mining fee is one-way Shapeshift creates revenue. Furthermore, the crypto exchanges on Shapeshift compare poorly to Changelly and other decentralized exchanges. But the ease of trading, friendly interface, and almost anonymous sign-up process keep users coming back to Shapeshift.
IDEX, or the Decentralized Ethereum Asset Exchange, is a popular decentralized exchange that focuses on peer-to-peer ERC-20 token trading. IDEX does have some more traditional features. For instance, you do have to deposit your tokens on IDEX before trading, unlike Changelly or Shapeshift. However, IDEX works in real time with instant transactions, has very low Gas costs, and has a bunch of built-in market analysis and chart tools.
4. Binance DEX
Binance launched a decentralized exchange in early 2019. At the time of writing, 27-coin pairs are available. The number of coin pairs will increase over time. You have to think that with the vast resources of Binance and the considerable success of the regular Binance exchange, the Binance DEX will become one of the most popular DEXs over time.
Trades on the Binance DEX all use Binance Coin (BNB). Check out our BNB coin study to learn about the official cryptocurrency of the Binance Exchange.
5. Waves DEX
The Waves DEX is part of the Waves Platform. The Waves Platform is sometimes styled as the cryptocurrency equivalent of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. Anyone can use the Waves Platform to launch a token in support of their fundraising project or otherwise.
Once you create a custom token on the Waves Platform, you can begin trading it on the Waves DEX. The Waves DEX uses “matcher nodes” to connect sellers and buyers in peer-to-peer transactions. Transaction approval is fast, and the Wavex DEX has some of the lowest transaction fees of any exchange.
Komodo’s BarterDEX is a decentralized exchange built using atomic swaps. (What is an atomic swap, anyway?) The BarterDEX exchange is, however, currently undergoing vital maintenance to upgrade the entire platform.
“Komodo’s decentralized exchange, BarterDEX, allows people to trade cryptocurrency coins without a counterparty risk. The protocol is open-source and trading is available for any coin that any developers choose to connect to BarterDEX. The parent project, Komodo, freely provides BarterDEX technology through open-source philosophy.”
The new BarterDEX will be known as Marketmaker 2.0 and will feature support for decentralized mobile exchanges complete with support for atomic swaps. One of the first new developments using the tool is Komodo’s AtomicDEX, a decentralized atomic swap mobile platform.
7. Radar Relay
Radar Relay is another decentralized exchange that allows you trade Ethereum ERC-20 tokens directly. Radar Relay interfaces with the MetaMask wallet to allow peer-to-peer trades while keeping your tokens secure and in your possession. However, you can also connect your Ledger or Trezor hardware wallet and trade directly from your secure hardware.
Radar Relay uses 0x protocol smart contracts to complete orders on the Ethereum blockchain. 0x allows a decentralized exchange to swap ERC-20 tokens easily. Furthermore, 0x keeps the transactions rapid by hosting off-chain order books, allowing token swaps to take place without waiting for a potentially slower blockchain to process the transaction.
Block DX is the decentralized exchange of the Blocknet Protocol. The Blocknet Protocol allows direct communication and interaction between blockchains. Blocknet allows for “multi-chain applications and blockchain microservices, creating exponentially more capabilities and possibilities for the blockchain ecosystem.”
One of those services is Block DX. Block DX is one of the fastest decentralized exchanges, allowing token exchanges across multiple connected blockchains. Because of this, you can safely trade any coin pairing on Block DX, regardless of the original blockchain. There are no limits, very low fees, and importantly for many decentralized exchange users, no sign-up process. Just connect the cryptocurrency wallet you want to trade from, and off you go.
What Is the Best Decentralized Exchange?
The best decentralized exchange is the one that has the token you want to trade—at the best price, too! However, in the future, that issue won’t hold you back. For example, you can use the Waves DEX to trade almost any token on any blockchain. Blocknet’s Block DX exchange has similar functionality, too.
Decentralized exchanges will use swapping protocols like 0x, Bancor, or Kyber to change tokens from one cryptocurrency to another rapidly. Other’s still will use atomic swaps to bypass blockchain restrictions.
Not convinced about the decentralized exchanges? Check out the best crypto exchanges where you can buy Bitcoin right now.