What are decentralized exchanges: How does it work?

In Brief

Trades occur directly between users (peer-to-peer) through an automated process

They use both order books and smart contracts to provide liquidity

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Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) are cryptocurrency exchanges that do not rely on a third party to hold customers’ funds. Instead, trades occur directly between users (peer-to-peer) through an automated process. This type of exchange is also sometimes referred to as a “DEX aggregator.”

decentralized exchange

What is a decentralized exchange?

This is a valid question. A decentralized exchange is an exchange market that does not rely on a third-party service to hold the customer’s funds. Trades occur directly between users (peer-to-peer) through an automated process. This type of exchange is also called a “DEX aggregator.”

When using a decentralized exchange, it’s important to remember that there is no central authority that can freeze your account or reverse a transaction. You are fully responsible for your own funds and trades. This can be both good and bad. On the one hand, it gives you more control over your money. On the other hand, it also means that you need to be extra careful with security, as there is no one to help you if you make a mistake.

How do decentralized exchanges work?

There are many different ways that decentralized exchanges can work, but the basic idea is that they all use smart contracts to facilitate trade. A smart contract is a piece of code that automates the execution of a contract.

So, for example, if you wanted to trade 1 ETH for BTC, you could create a smart contract that would automatically execute the trade as soon as both parties had agreed to it.

Types of decentralized exchanges

types of decentralized exchanges

Here are some of the most popular types of decentralized exchanges:

Automated Market Makers (AMM)

AMMs are a type of decentralized exchange that uses smart contracts to provide liquidity. They do this by pooling together all the funds from users who want to trade and then using those funds to create markets.

Order Book DEXs

Order book DEXs are decentralized exchanges that use order books to match buyers and sellers. An order book is a list of all the buy and sell orders for a particular asset, organized by price.

Hybrid DEXs

Hybrid DEXs are a combination of AMMs and order book DEXs. They use both order books and smart contracts to provide liquidity.

Advantages of decentralized exchanges

There are many advantages to using a decentralized exchange, including:

  • Security: Since decentralized exchanges do not hold users’ funds, they are much less likely to be hacked than centralized exchanges.
  • Privacy: Decentralized exchanges typically do not require users to go through Know Your Customer (KYC) or Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures. This means that users can trade anonymously.
  • Decentralization: As the name suggests, decentralized exchanges are not controlled by any central authority. This makes them much more resistant to censorship.

Disadvantages of decentralized exchanges

There are also some disadvantages to using decentralized exchanges, including:

  • Complexity: Decentralized exchanges can be difficult to use for people who are not familiar with cryptocurrencies.
  • Lack of features: Decentralized exchanges often lack the same features as centralized exchanges, such as stop-loss orders and margin trading.
  • Lower liquidity: Decentralized exchanges often have lower liquidity than centralized exchanges, as they are not as well known or used.


As the platform of cryptocurrency continues to grow and mature, decentralized exchanges are becoming more popular. They offer many advantages over centralized exchanges, such as security, privacy, and decentralization. However, they also have some disadvantages like complexity and lack of features. Ultimately, whether or not to use a decentralized exchange is a personal decision.

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Any data, text, or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.

Ken Gitonga

Ken Gitonga is passionate about writing. His work involves writing crypto articles on SEO, TAs, News writing, Web3 articles, crypto price prediction, and white paper drafting. Ken is a content writer and marketer. He has worked in the SEO and content marketing industries for over 3 years and has helped businesses grow their online presence and traffic.

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