Best Decentralized Crypto Exchanges (DEX) in 2024: Rankings & Expert Analysis

    Decentralization is the main idea behind digital money. However, most cryptocurrency exchanges are centralized (they control transactions and store users’ funds). The absence of regulating center for transactions with crypto assets was the goal of creating decentralized trading platforms.

    DEX exchange is a platform for trading cryptocurrencies without intermediaries.

    When working with decentralized platforms, users do not need to trust their funds to third parties. The exchange acts only as a place to conduct a transaction, while all funds are stored in users’ wallets.

    We may talk about DEX exchanges as about a new round in development of crypto industry. They are based on smart contracts, so all processes are fully automated. In addition, when working with the DEX, users remain completely anonymous. Getting started with such platforms is simple: you just need to connect your crypto wallet to the exchange.

    In this article, I reviewed the best DEX exchanges and the criteria for choosing them.

    Top 10 best decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges in 2024

    Let’s take a look at the top 10 DEX platforms and their features.

    1. Uniswap

    Address: https://uniswap.org/

    Rating of the best decentralized crypto exchanges DEX
    Uniswap homepage

    Uniswap is one of the first decentralized marketplaces, created in 2018. At first, the exchange only supported pairs with Ethereum, but in 2020, the second version, Uniswap V2, was released, and it had a much wider list of available pairs. A feature of the third version of Uniswap V3, released in 2021, was the introduction of the concentrated liquidity mechanism (it means that liquidity is not distributed evenly, but where it is most needed at one time or another).

    Uniswap is one of the most liquid and largest DEX exchanges. The platform integrates with 200+ DeFi sites and supports a large number of crypto wallets.

    • Foundation year: 2018;
    • Fees: 0.05%, 0.3% or 1% (depending on the expected volatility of cryptocurrencies);
    • Cryptocurrencies available: Uniswap V2 (Ethereum) – 1980+, Uniswap V3 (Arbitrum One) – 160, Uniswap V3 (Ethereum) – 890+;
    • Number of trading pairs: Uniswap V2 (Ethereum) – 3400+, Uniswap V3 (Arbitrum One) – 620+, Uniswap V3 (Ethereum) – 1700+;
    • Additional features: earning on liquidity providing (one can add coins to existing pools or create your own), an internal UNI token for managing the protocol.

    2. PancakeSwap

    Address: https://pancakeswap.finance/

    PancakeSwap homepage
    PancakeSwap homepage

    PancakeSwap is also one of the largest DEX exchanges with millions of users and more than $2.2 billion locked up on the platform.

    The platform runs on three blockchains: BNB Chain, Ethereum and Aptos. PancakeSwap has wide functionality: it allows you to exchange cryptocurrencies, work with NFTs, participate in IFO (Initial Farm Offering), etc.

    • Foundation year: 2020;
    • Fees: 0.25%;
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 3300+;
    • Number of trading pairs: 3500+;
    • Additional features: trading perpetual contracts, limit orders, farming, competitions and lotteries, NFT, affiliate program, participation in IFO.

    3. Curve

    Address: https://curve.fi/

    Curve home page
    Curve homepage

    Curve specializes in stablecoin exchanges. It offers multiple liquidity pools and has a own stablecoin smart contract that reduces transaction fees and increases liquidity provider revenue.

    • Foundation year: 2020;
    • Fees: from 0.04%;
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 70+;
    • Number of trading pairs: 100+;
    • Additional features: liquidity pools, CRV staking, Curve DAO voting system.

    4. dYdX

    Address: https://dydx.exchange/

    dYdX homepage
    dYdX homepage

    dYdX is a professional decentralized exchange specialized in trading perpetual contracts. The platform is built on a layer 2 solution for Ethereum – StarkEx. To ensure a high level of decentralization as well as confidentiality. It provides due to Starkware zero-knowledge proof protocol.

    • Foundation year: 2019;
    • Fees: 0% – 0.02% for makers, 0% – 0.05% for takers;
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 36;
    • Number of trading pairs: 36 contracts;
    • Additional features: margin trading, perpetual contract trading, NFTs.

    5. Covo Finance

    Address: https://covo.finance/#/

    Covo Finance homepage
    Covo Finance homepage

    Covo Finance is a DEX platform for perpetual contracts trades. Users can trade top cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH and MATIC as well as Forex and metals. It is possible to place limit, stop loss and take profit orders, short orders and OCOs with leverage up to 100x.

    The protocol provides zero slippage trading with dynamic funding, which guarantees the best price for orders without additional fees.

    • Foundation year: 2023;
    • Fees: from 0.2% to 1% (depending on the trading pair);
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 10;
    • Number of trading pairs: 10 Crypto/USD pairs, 9 FX pairs (USD/Fiat), XAG/USD (spot Silver/USD);
    • Additional features: staking, COVO Wallet, affiliate program.

    6. Sushiswap

    Address: https://www.sushi.com/

    Sushiswap homepage
    Sushiswap homepage

    The Sushiswap protocol is a fork of Uniswap (based on the same code) and uses the Automated Market Maker (AMM) model. For filling the pools, platform users receive liquidity provider tokens — SLP.

    In addition to trading, the platform has a lending market and tools for passive income.

    • Foundation year: 2020;
    • Fees: 0.3%;
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 300+;
    • Number of trading pairs: 450+;
    • Additional features: liquidity mining, staking, farming.

    7. Kyber Swap

    Address: https://kyberswap.com/

    Kyber Swap homepage
    Kyber homepage

    KyberSwap is an ecosystem that includes DEX exchange KyberSwap and decentralized exchange aggregator. The exchange allows users to make transactions using any of 12 supported networks, including Ethereum, Polygon, BNB, Avalanche and Optimism. The exchange aggregator analyzes rates from 67+ DEX and provides users with the best prices. To make this service use dynamic trade routing technology.

    KyberSwap is also focused on maximizing profits for liquidity providers by allowing ones to earn more rewards and fees for tokens placed in pools.

    • Foundation year: 2018;
    • Fees: 5 levels (0.008%, 0.01%, 0.03%, 0.04% and 1%);
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 8;
    • Number of trading pairs: 16;
    • Additional features: buying cryptocurrency using a card, staking, farming.

    *Data are for Kyberswap Elastic (Polygon) protocol.

    8. DODO

    Address: https://dodoex.io/

    DODO homepage
    DODO homepage

    DODO is a multi-platform protocol that uses the Proactive Market Maker Algorithm (PMMA). This allows users to make more accurate rate and liquidity calculations than standard AMMs.

    Another feature of the platform is the Crowdpooling protocol, which combines crowdfunding and liquidity pools. Crowdpooling works according to the principle of an auction: a user places tokens for a certain period at a fixed cost, and other users invest in tokens, increasing demand for them. After the end of the campaign, investors receive a reward proportional to their contribution.

    • Foundation year: 2020;
    • Fees: 0.3%;
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 4;
    • Number of trading pairs: 8;
    • Additional features: liquidity mining, NFT.

    9. ApeX Exchange

    Address: https://www.apex.exchange/

    ApeX Exchange Home Page
    ApeX homepage

    ApeX exchange is a derivatives decentralized crypto exchange created by the popular CEX exchange Bybit. It offers perpetual contracts with up to 30x leverage and low fees.

    • Foundation year: 2022;
    • Fees: 0.02%/0.05%;
    • Cryptocurrencies available: 10+;
    • Number of trading pairs: 14+;
    • Additional features: staking, referral program.

    10. 1inch

    Address: https://1inch.io/

    1inch homepage
    1inch homepage

    1inch is a DEX liquidity aggregator using data from 380 real-time liquidity sources. Thus, 1inch offers users better rates than any single exchange.

    1inch Liquidity Protocol is a next-generation AMM that protects users from preemptive attacks. The 1inch limit order protocol provides an innovative DeFi limit order exchange experience.

    Centralized vs. decentralized exchanges

    Unlike centralized exchanges, DEX exchanges do not store user assets and do not have access to private keys. The funds come directly from the user’s wallet, which connect to the platform before starting work.

    DEX exchanges are not an intermediary for transactions, and all transactions are made using smart contracts.

    The fundamental difference between DEX and CEX exchanges is also in how the trading process perform. A distinctive feature of DEX sites is the automated market maker (AMM) technology. Decentralized exchanges do not have an order book, instead they use liquidity pools. They represent reserves for each trading pair, which are created to accumulate the required amount of assets (one liquidity pool is a reserve for one pair). When using AMM, an exchange user submits a request to a liquidity pool that holds funds from a large number of liquidity providers. This allows you to make instant exchanges and get a fair price, which is determined by the ratio of supply and demand.

    Another significant difference between DEX platforms is that they do not require registration and identity verification, like the most centralized exchanges.

    Main criteria for choosing the best DEX

    To choose a DEX exchange, you should evaluate the platform on several criteria: user interface, supported cryptocurrencies, liquidity and fees.

    Supported cryptocurrencies and trading pairs

    The advantage of the trading platform is the wide selection of trading pairs. This allows you to choose the most suitable cryptocurrencies for trading and diversify your portfolio.

    Liquidity and trading volume

    As a rule, DEX platforms are inferior to centralized exchanges in terms of liquidity. Therefore, choose the option with maximum liquidity and trading volume.

    The level of liquidity also affects the amount of fees: the higher the liquidity, the lower the fees.

    Fees

    Fees are one of the most important aspects when choosing a DEX exchange. The less you pay to the platform, the more it is profitable for you.

    User interface and ease of use

    The trading platform should be easy to use. You should see how the site navigation works, is a trading terminal easy to operate, and how quickly you can make transactions.

    How to start working on DEX cryptocurrency exchange?

    On decentralized exchanges, you do not need to register, create an account, go through verification and replenish the exchange wallet. It is enough just to connect your crypto wallet to the platform.

    Let’s take a look on example of how to get started with a DEX exchange. For this we’ll be using the Pancakeswap exchange and Trust Wallet.

    Crypto wallet settings

    1. Go to Trust Wallet (or install it on your computer) and select Settings;
      Trust Wallet Settings
      Trust wallet settings
    2. In Settings, select Connected dApps.
      Connect to dApps
      Connecting to dApps

    Connecting wallet to DEX

    1. Go to https://pancakeswap.finance/ (check the address bar, so as not to get on a phishing site). Click the Connect Wallet button in the upper right corner on the exchange website;
      Connecting a wallet
      Connecting a wallet
    2. Select Trust Wallet and click on the wallet name;
      Wallet selection
      Wallet selection
    3. Click Connect in pop-up window;
      Connecting Trust Wallet to Pancakeswap
      Connecting Trust Wallet to Pancakeswap
    4. Go to the exchange website and make sure that your wallet is connected to the platform and displayed on the main page at the top.
      A wallet connected to an exchange Trust Wallet
      An exchange-connected Trust Wallet

    First trade making on the DEX

    For an exchange operation, select the Trade → Swap tab.

    Pancakeswap Exchange
    Exchanging on Pancakeswap

    Conclusion

    Decentralized exchanges were created much later than centralized exchanges. But they offer new unique solutions that have taken the use of cryptocurrencies to a new level. DEX-exchanges strongly influenced the development of the cryptocurrency industry and, in fact, marked the creation of a separate sector – DeFi (decentralized finance).

    The main differences between DEX and centralized exchanges: using of smart contracts, AMM technology and liquidity pools (instead of order books), open source, absence identity verification.

    When choosing a DEX exchange, pay attention to the following criteria: user interface convenience, liquidity, number of trading pairs supported, fees.

    To start working with a decentralized exchange, you do not need to register, verify and make a deposit. It is enough to connect the crypto wallet that you use to the exchange.

    FAQ

    What is a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange (DEX)?
    DEX is a decentralized trading platform on which all transactions with cryptoassets perform using smart contracts. DEX exchanges are not intermediaries, do not control transactions and do not store user funds (transactions are made directly from a wallet connected to the platform). Registration and verification are not needed on DEX sites.
    Which DEX is the largest?
    According to Сoinmarketcap.com, Uniswap v3 (Ethereum) is the largest exchange by trading volume.
    Which decentralized exchange has the lowest fees?
    Among the low fee DEXs is KyberSwap, which uses 5 fee levels - 0.008%, 0.01%, 0.03%, 0.04% and 1%.
    Are decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges secure?
    Compared to centralized exchanges DEX platforms are more secure. Even the most trusted centralized exchanges fall prey to hackers, and this is a common problem with CEX sites. Such attacks on the DEX are impossible because users stor their private keys themselves and the exchange has no access to them. On the other hand, decentralized platforms do not have an admin center, so if there is a problem accured, the user cannot ask for help.
    Can I trade any cryptocurrency on the DEX?
    Different exchanges support a different number of cryptocurrencies and trading pairs. So check the list of supported assets before you start.
    Are decentralized crypto exchanges regulated?
    Unlike CEX exchanges, DEX exchanges are not regulated by financial regulators. However, most DEX platforms issue their own tokens that are traded on crypto exchanges. And since all crypto assets are treated as securities by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), then any issuer of tokens potentially falls under the supervision of the agency.
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    Agatha Redich
    Agatha Redich
    Articles author, editor
    Articles author and website editor. Works with texts for over 12 years. Among Agatha’s clients: Rossman, Zara, Bosch, ING Bank, Lexus and others. Crypto journalist since 2018. She wrote more than a hundred articles about cryptocurrencies and the crypto market. Agatha's professional credo is to reveal complex topics in an accessible and simple way.
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    Emil Rabin
    Emil Rabin
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    Cryptocurrency expert and financial analyst. Emil has working experience in Bain and KPMG, collaborated with PayPal and Revolut, organized more than 30 educational events about blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Eastern Europe. An expert of the TGDRatings.com portal since 2022.
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