How DEX Works: Unravelling the Mechanics of Decentralized Crypto Exchanges

Decentralized crypto exchanges, or DEXs, are like digital platforms on the blockchain that facilitate extensive trading of cryptocurrencies among numerous users. Unlike the traditional method, where they act as intermediaries connecting buyers and sellers, DEXs rely on automated algorithms.

These algorithms, essentially smart contracts, are snippets of code developed on blockchain networks. They execute specific actions based on predefined inputs, eliminating the need for intermediaries in the trading process.

Disrupting the Crypto Space Through Users 

So, here’s the deal with DEXs-they’re all about cutting out the intermediary. You know, that guy that usually gets in the way when you’re trying to do business? Well, DEXs ditched that whole scene, letting regular investors like you and myself trade directly.

And get this. Unlike some platforms that keep a tight hold on your crypto assets, DEXs are all about giving you control. Your assets? They stay right in your wallet with no strings attached.

Now, the cool part? These DEXs aren’t just playing around. According to a report from KPMG, the big names in decentralized exchanges were giving the major centralized ones a run for their money in terms of trading volume by the end of 2021. It’s like the rebels taking on the empire in the crypto world.

Think about it. Meanwhile, regular exchanges are the big shots in the crypto-game. DEXs are like the rebels, shaking things up and making their mark as the largest decentralized organizations.

Advantages of DEXs


DEXs are like the chill guardians of your crypto. You don’t have to hand over control of your private keys for transactions.

Centralized exchanges, on the other hand, act like strict custodians, holding your private keys. It’s a trade-off between control and trusting someone else with your keys for security.


Picture this. Over 7,400 cryptocurrencies are in the market. Crazy, right? Centralized exchanges handpick which ones to list based on trading activity, prevalence, and security. DEXs, though, open the door to a range of cryptocurrencies. You can trade even the less popular ones without needing a big crowd.

Trustless Transactions

On centralized exchanges, there’s always someone watching and recording every move you make.

DEXs, with their smart contracts, make transactions happen without a central authority overseeing everything. There is less oversight and more freedom. Plus, since DEXs don’t hold your funds, hackers have fewer reasons to target them.

Lower Fees

DEXs are like a budget-friendly option. They use the Ethereum blockchain’s fee structure, so you only pay what’s needed for the transaction.

Uniswap, for example, charges around 0.3%, way lower than what you might face on centralized exchanges. Surely, fees might fluctuate, but they stay reasonable.


DEX users are like the mystery agents of crypto. No need to spill your private keys because your wallet and the DEX aren’t joined at the hip.

You can often skip the whole KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-money laundering) procedure too, which is super convenient. Still, it may beg legal concerns.

Disadvantages of DEXs


The more transactions a blockchain network can handle, the better. However, decentralized exchanges are somewhat stuck with the limitations of their home network. Think of it as trying to fit too many people in a small room-it just won’t work smoothly.

User Experience

DEXs are still finding their way. They are not the most user-friendly for those not deep in the blockchain world. You’ve got to dance through a few hoops, like setting up an external wallet and transferring funds. Compared to traditional exchanges, it’s a bit like taking the scenic route instead of the highway.


Picture a new kid on the block. DEXs are still figuring things out, and because they support a variety of trading pairs, markets can be a bit scattered. But hey, with the rise of DeFi, things are gradually getting better.

On and Off-Ramps

See, DEXs don’t really speak fiat. You can’t use your regular pounds to join the crypto party, and cashing out isn’t a straightforward trip to the bank. While Stablecoins are trying to fill in the gaps, it’s still a bit of a hurdle for newbies looking to dive into the decentralized world.

What does DEX Hold for the Future?

Even though centralized exchanges are currently the primary players in the crypto markets, catering to the everyday needs of crypto traders and investors, decentralized alternatives present a fascinating option. DEXs, facilitated by on-chain smart contracts, offer a bespoke way to link buyers and sellers. They introduce novel models of fair participation and governance for stakeholders. 

Nevertheless, these platforms are still in their early stages. To gain wider acceptance in the future, there’s a need to refine the user experience, develop infrastructure, enhance scaling mechanisms, and establishing stronger connections with centralized crypto and traditional financial institutions.

Some of the best Decentralized Crypto Exchanges In 2023

UniSwap (overall top DEX exchange)
PancakeSwap (the best DEX for earning)
dYdX ( the best DEX platform for traders)
Curve Finance (the best DEX for security)
SushiSwap (top crypto DEX for features)
Bisq (good DEX for Bitcoin trading)

Image source: Adobe stock

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.