Are you looking to get into buying, selling, or swapping cryptocurrency? Then you’re going to need to use some sort of exchange unless you know someone personally to swap with. Of course, not all exchanges are legit or safe to use—and that’s where this article comes in!
If you are looking for a safe exchange that is decentralized, read on, as we cover the best decentralized exchanges available to customers in 2024.
What is a Decentralized Exchange(DEX)?
A decentralized cryptocurrency exchange is one that isn’t overseen by a governing body, which allows customers to exchange cryptocurrencies with one another. The platform usually takes a small fee for facilitating these exchanges, but it’s only for platform maintenance—nothing more. These platforms don’t have market makers, instead using liquidity pools and smart contracts to facilitate swaps between users.
There is no KYC, or AML, as you are trading directly with other customers on the site. But in the same way, there is no help if you get locked out of your account and no one to help you learn how to use the platform in the first place.
While this may sound dangerous, decentralized exchanges have actually come a long way and as long as you use them cautiously, you shouldn’t run into problems. Of course, if you are still nervous or not sure about using a decentralized exchange, using a centralized exchange like Coinbase or Gemini might be a better choice for you.
5 Best Decentralized Exchanges
Uniswap has long been revered as one of the best decentralized exchanges. Run by Ethereum, Uniswap is about as safe as it gets in the DEX world, and with over 4 million daily users, you should have no problem finding someone to swap with.
Uniswap runs on liquidity pools, also allowing you to invest in the platform if you please. While they do offer over 400 tokens, they don’t take fiat currency, so you’ll need to arrive at the platform with some sort of cryptocurrency to get started.
If you are looking to buy or sell stablecoins, then Curve.fi is the best DEX to visit. Unlike any other DEX on this list, Curve.fi just focuses on stablecoins, so it isn’t ideal if you want to trade something that isn’t a stablecoin.
Similar to Uniswap, Curve.fi has liquidity pools that can allow stablecoin fanatics to invest and stake their currencies—an option that isn’t always available to stablecoin users.
Pancakeswap is basically Uniswap’s sister. A DEX built on Binance Smart Chain instead of Ethereum, Pancakeswap was built when the gas fees for Ethereum were too high for most traders to use Uniswap. Built on a liquidity pool model, Pancakeswap is now just as popular as Uniswap, boasting a liquidity of over 1 billion—meaning you can likely make any swap your heart desires!
4. OKX DEX
OKX is a centralized exchange, but it also has a decentralized branch called OKX DEX. It’s a little bit newer than Uniswap, so you might have to wait a bit to find your perfect trade. But it is user-friendly and not aligned with any cryptocurrency in particular, making it a favorite among traders.
Additionally, OKX DEX uses a price aggregator to help you find the best price across all decentralized exchanges, which it will match on its platform. This means you can save money when you use OKX DEX.
Hopefully, you’re not tired of the food named DEX’s yet, as next up, we have Sushiswap, which was a fork off of Uniswap. While they are basically run on the same idea, Sushiswap wanted to expand in ways that Uniswap didn’t, which is what caused the fork.
Sushiswap is known for its rewards, paid in the native token SUSHI, which allows users to both stake and farm. While it currently has less liquidity than Uniswap, it is still a good platform to keep in mind!
Safety Tips When Using Decentralized Exchanges
As we mentioned above, it can be a bit risky to choose a decentralized exchange over a centralized one, but as long as you take the following precautions, you shouldn’t have to worry.
1. Check Reputation/Reviews Before Using
All of the decentralized exchanges we mentioned here have a good reputation among users. Obviously, there are many more DEXs that we didn’t name, but know that they aren’t always created equal. Before using a DEX, perform at least a simple Google search to see if it has a good reputation and good reviews. If you can’t find anything, then this isn’t a good sign.
2. Don’t Store Crypto on the Platform
Decentralized exchanges are frequently hacked. For this reason, we highly recommend storing your cryptocurrency off the platform unless you are using it for staking or yield farming. We especially recommend a hardware wallet, which can protect you even further if your software is compromised.
If you are participating in staking, then this isn’t an option. But this goes back to looking into reputation, which can inform you whether or not the security features of the platform are sufficient.
3. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, IT IS
Just as you learned in real life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Despite common belief, cryptocurrency isn’t magic money, and it won’t make you rich overnight. Any platform claiming they can do so is a scam and should not be used.
When in doubt, stick to one of the DEXs we mentioned in this list.
Overall, the decentralized exchange space is expanding rapidly, and there are many platforms to consider if you want to swap crypto. If you are interested in one that we didn’t mention, ensure you research it before using the platform. Remember, investing with crypto is inherently risky, and no matter what you do, there is a chance you could lose everything, so only invest money that you can afford to lose.
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