Competitive Analysis: Top DEXs Under The Microscope
As we are on the verge of our mainnet release (Aug 20, 2018 — don’t miss!), we have decided to take a quick look at the leaders of the decentralized cryptocurrency exchange market. We have no intention of establishing a rating, so the positions taken in this review do not signify that one platform is better or worse than the other. Also, if you would like to have a deeper engagement in DEX thematics, check our previous article.
The IDEX: EtherDelta Smart Little Brother
It would be no exaggeration to say that today the IDEX is the most well-known decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The IDEX is a product of Aurora DAO, part of the decentralized financial system, which consists of the IDEX exchange, the Boreal stable currency, the Snowglobe decentralized exchange protocol, and Decentralized Capital, a digital banking solution for the cryptocurrency community. Launched in January 2018, it now brandishes a $1,7M daily amount of trade at the time of this article’s publication. The IDEX works on Ethereum network and only supports ERC-20 tokens. The trading volume of the site is mostly dominated by the tokens fresh from their ICOs. Among the main advantages are a high level of security, an elaborate interface for experienced traders and a high-level of technology used for exchanges. As for security, the IDEX supports both Metamask and Ledger Nano hardware wallets acting as a smart contract, a trading engine, and a transaction processing arbiter at the same time. Leading traders can take advantage of the TradingView trading charts and their useful features. Being decentralized, the IDEX delivers a full range of centralized and hybrid services. Among the disadvantages is an absence of Bitcoin and fiat currencies, low liquidity (the scourge of all DEXs), and a beginner unfriendly interface.
IDEX is on the threshold of entering the top-100 exchanges trading the no-name-coins.
Waves DEX: ‘Blockchain For The People’
Just like IDEX, the Waves DEX is part of a complex financial system built by the Waves Foundation. Launched in 2016, it was initially designed to combine the best features of centralized and decentralized exchanges. The Waves DEX is able of executing exchanges between its own WAVES token and all the tokens built on the Waves platform, so it can be called a ‘proxy-token’ DEX like its prototype, the NXT. It is important to mention that the easiest way to issue your own token is by using Waves: you just need to fill in a form and your token is ready to be launched on the Waves platform. By the way, this DEX has a lot of strong suits, such as a user-friendly interface, its own secure and easy-to-use wallet, some exotic features like direct trades from Visa and MasterCard (only 20 to 300 USD), and equivalents for fiat currencies (wUSD, wJPY, even Turkish Lira). This DEX is well-known due to its low and fixed transaction fee (some 0.01 USD for a transaction in WAVES equivalent). With Waves, there is a little to judge: maybe the only point of note is a short list of trading pairs, as well as strong binding to the WAVES token.
EtherDelta: Still Holds Its Place
During the last year, the EtherDelta trading platform was primarily mentioned in negative headlines. In December 2017, the attackers gained access to the DNS-server of EtherDelta and stole more than 300 ETH, while leaving the smart-contract of the exchange untouched. In January 2018, a group of unknown individuals organized the supposedly fraudulent ICO of EtherDelta. Some tokens were not sent to their purchasers. This crowdsale raised $69M with no information being made available about the exchange’s owners and beneficiaries. Finally, in February 2018, the fork of EtherDelta, the ForkDelta took place. The administration of the latter persuaded users that they still work on the EtherDelta smart-contract and send transaction fees to EtherDelta.
Despite this series of gossips, EtherDelta is still afloat. Maybe, this is so due to the two points: the ultimate functional of trading with Ethereum (250+ trading pairs) and a simple means of listing ERC-20 tokens on it. EtherDelta became the first platform our SWAP tokens are traded on. Moreover, this platform is familiar to the generation of traders who are using it from the summer of 2016. The weaknesses of Etherdelta are the stuff of legend: a confusing interface, very slow operations, ERC-20 as the only type of token to trade, relatively high transactional fees etc. Nevertheless, Swap.Online supposes it’s a bit early to call for the funeral of EtherDelta.
It is not so easy to deal with the EtherDelta interface
Bitsquare: Not Like Anyone Else
Bitsquare was founded in the distant year 2014 with live beta trades launched in April 2016. Its CEO Manfred Carrer planned to maintain the initial idea of the Bitcoin network in decentralized systems. The Bitsquare team intentionally refrained from an ICO in 2016, disseminating the BSQ tokens among the 200 to 400 first contributors of the project. Bitsquare still has some attractive features: a lot of fiat currencies available, ridiculously user-friendly interface, clear and beautiful philosophy, etc. By the way, there are some remarkable weak points, which have sent Bitsquare (or Bisq) to the middle of the second hundred of Coinmarketcap’s top-list. First of all, to trade via the Bisq, you need to have the application installed. Only then can one see the poor list of trading pairs, the complicated system of trading fees, and the small limits of withdrawal through traditional banking systems. For most bank-based payment methods like SEPA or Zelle, the trade limit is 0.25 BTC per trade. For the recently added payment methods like Venmo, Cash App, Revolut, Popmoney and MoneyBeam, the trade limit is 0.16 BTC. The trade limit in the first month is 25% of the full trade limit. As such, the Bitsquare seems to be the most controversial product in our review.
Stellar DEX: All in One
The Stellar Network, well-known for the popular cryptocurrency XLM (lumens), presented its own DEX where only trades in XLM are supported. Users can gain access to the trading features via the Stellar Term client (serving as a wallet at the same time). Every user creates a key pair, which consists of a public key used to identify the account and for receiving funds, and a secret key used for accessing the funds. The Stellar DEX delivers the services of the exchange with fiat money, the USD and EUR, as well as fiat remittances. For now, there are 15 live trading pairs with XLM. More than half of the daily trade amount is made through the XLM/CNY and XLM/EUR pairs. To publish the offer, one needs to deposit 20 XLM on the account. Among Stellar DEX’s more interesting features is the possibility of cross-asset trading. The cross-asset payment feature allows the user to look for the best path that offers the best rate of conversion for their assets at any given time. This involves the user scrolling through the orders in the current order books to find meaningful conversations that provide the best rate. The Stellar DEX also plans to use the Lightning Network, a second-layer scalability solution for the Bitcoin Network. The main limitation to project development is the fact that it is strictly pegged to the XLM cryptocurrency.
Changelly: Cryptocurrency Moneychanger
As Swap.Online is not only a DEX, but also an OTC-marketplace delivering the services of accepting cryptos to the startups via the Swap Button Widget, we need to have a look at centralized services as well. One of them, Changelly, seems to be one of the most convenient and rapid ways of exchanging your cryptos into fiat money and your altcoins into other altcoins. You need to submit your e-mail to start the trade. The average time of one trade is some 10 to 30 mins. By the way, there is one massive caveat you should take into account when sending your cryptos to Changelly. The transaction fee for fiat/crypto exchange can vary in the dozens of percentage points. It depends on a series of factors including the network workload, trading pair popularity etc. Finally, the owners of Changelly are still anonymous. Nevertheless, it is one of the fastest and safest ways of exchanging your cryptos.
In Place Of An Epilogue: Atomic Swap DEXs Coming Soon
To finish this review, we need to say a few word about Atomic Swaps DEXs. Among the most anticipated are Altcoin.io and BarterDEX by Komodo. Both of them are still under development: the release of the Altcoin.io mainnet is scheduled for Q4, 2018, when the BarterDEX reaches the Beta phase and can be downloaded as a desktop application. The latter is of particular interest, as the Komodo Platform is a pioneer of Atomic Swap technology itself. Both teams have announced safe, decentralized, user-friendly products based on state-of-the-art technology.
Coinmarketcap is eyeballing the Komodo’s Barterdex even before its release.
What’s the tally?
Swap.Online is in good company. Having so many worthy adversaries, we will build an interesting and revolutionary product
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