People within the world of cryptocurrency are getting increasingly frustrated with the fact that their exchanges are centralized. It is somewhat absurd that centralized exchanges like Binance, Kraken, and Coinbase are mainly being used to purchase decentralized coins. The act of centralization is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it does allow for the market to be exploited through the act of theft or exit scams (such as what happened with Mt. G0x). Decentralised exchanges prevent such situations from happening since they are trustless.
Here is a list of high-quality decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges that can be used right now.
Created with the Stellar network, StellarTerm is a decentralized exchange that facilitates trades between several popular coins like Ethereum and Litecoin, and between some lesser known like Mobius and SALT. The exchange is lightweight and fast, allowing for trades to take place within minutes. Withdrawal fees are also cheap.
StellarTerm runs on the SDEX (Stellar Decentralised Exchange) meaning that transactions and trades are handled by the Stellar blockchain, but you do not need to use Stellar’s currency (XLM) to take advantage of this system. StellarTerm is not the only exchange to be created with the Stellar network: FairX will also utilize it when it launches.
Bancor is a service that allows you to trade between two tokens with no real middleman or third party – it can offer this due to its built-in liquidity function that keeps the system running. Arguably, it is not even an exchange in the traditional sense. You don’t trade with other people, but rather Bancor converts your token into another token of your choice.
At the moment, Bancor only works with ERC20 tokens, but it is possible it could branch out in the future. Bancor also runs its token (BNT), which is used to help facilitate transactions. Since Bancor is a new service, it is still in the process of adding tokens to the exchange. In theory, it will be able to facilitate transactions between all ERC20 tokens, but it depends on whether the developers agree to have it listed on the site.
Much like Bancor, Kyber is also a service that allows users to convert their ERC20 tokens into another without any other parties. Sellers are not matched with buyers (or vice versa) but rather the network itself performs the actions on the blockchain. For the most part, there is little difference between Kyber and Bancor, but there are some smaller factors that they do not share. For instance, Kyber Network uses reserve managers to help arrive at a rate to convert, which is arguably fairer and more accurate than other services.
The Kyber token (KNC) is also available to trade. It is a new token that has only been in existence since Sept. 24, 2017. Its current price is $1.09, but you are under no obligation to purchase it as it is not necessary to use the service. What you do need, though, is an Ethereum wallet. You can connect to the network via MetaMask, Trezor storage, Ledger Nano S, or by inputting your private key or JSON file (the latter two methods are advised against for security purposes).
BlockTrades (and BitShares)
BlockTrades is a decentralized exchange aimed at Steemit users. At the moment, the exchange only allows for the purchasing of a handful of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, DASH, and Steem. It is a lightweight service that is not aimed at serious traders, but rather at individuals who handle smaller sums of money.
BlockTrades runs on the BitShares network, which is a decentralized exchange service. The official BitShares exchange is more complex than most exchanges as it offers more functionality. It mimics the style of centralized exchanges such as Binance and KuCoin.
Bisq is a decentralized Bitcoin and Litecoin exchange which also facilitates fiat trades. This means that you can purchase cryptocurrencies with legal tender, without any governing body to regulate or oversee. Much like its centralized competitors, Kraken and Bitstamp, it only offers a handful of trading pairs. You can trade Bitcoin, Litecoin, DASH, and Dogecoin. One of the perks of Bisq is that it can be used instantly, rather than other fiat exchanges where you need to wait for verification. The decentralized nature of the service means that there are no waiting times.
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Kai is a cryptocurrency copywriter and professional trader. He can often be found investigating various cryptocurrencies, whitepapers, and blockchain technologies. Kai has been a professional writer for 5+ years, and has invested in 50+ different coins and tokens. He also currently studies Law and Philosophy at university.