Decentralized exchanges (DEXes) are crucial elements of the evolving web3 ecosystem, and the companies behind them are leading the way in this transformative landscape.
In October 2023, decentralized exchanges saw a daily trading volume estimated at $1,383,441,503, with more than 209 million users performing financial transactions on these platforms.
According to DefiLama, a major DeFi data aggregator, Uniswap is the largest decentralized exchange, significantly surpassing its competitors in trading volume and total value locked. But how can you build a robust DEX like Uniswap?
We prepared a comprehensive guide that will help you understand the vital features necessary for an efficient decentralized exchange and what steps to take when building one.
What are the business benefits of building a DEX?
Several significant business benefits motivate companies to build decentralized exchanges, namely:
Operating a DEX offers businesses multiple revenue generation opportunities, with trading fees being the primary source of income. These are shares of the transaction amount that users pay for trading on the platform.
In addition, some decentralized exchanges impose token listing fees. These fees are charged to cryptocurrency projects seeking to list their tokens on the DEX.
If a DEX has its decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), allowing users to participate in the project’s governance procedures, it can also profit from selling governance tokens.
Plus, decentralized exchanges can seek partnerships with other web3 projects, enabling them to raise money from advertisements.
Adding premium features is also a good profit-generating option. For example, DEXes can monetize their services by offering advanced trading analytics or customization options like personalized dashboards and alerts.
Thinking of building a DAO? Make sure to review all the key development stages in our comprehensive guide
Global client base
DEXes attract a diverse range of traders and investors since these exchange platforms are accessible 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection.
Decentralized exchanges also offer a wide range of trading pairs, including both popular and niche tokens, catering to the needs of both seasoned traders and newbies.
Another great advantage of DEXes is their ability to handle cross-border transactions. This way, users can send and receive assets globally without relying on traditional financial intermediaries.
Since DEX transactions are recorded on the blockchain, users can verify that the platform operates fairly and securely. It fosters trust and increases the chances that satisfied users will use DEX again and recommend it to others.
Successful DEXes often cultivate strong communities of users and token holders. These communities can be extremely valuable if the founding company chooses to introduce new projects.
As the web3 and blockchain continue to expand, companies founding decentralized exchanges remain at the forefront of emerging developments and trends.
Missed out on the web3 concept? We got you covered with our detailed web3 overview
What are the key components of a DEX?
Decentralized exchanges like Uniswap rely on a comprehensive set of features and components to operate efficiently. The most vital ones are smart contracts, liquidity pools, wallet integration, interoperability protocols, and security mechanisms.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.
Smart contracts are the driving force of decentralized exchanges, allowing users to manage their crypto assets without any centralized authority or intermediaries.
These are self-executing computer programs stored on a blockchain set to automatically carry out predefined actions as soon as specific conditions are met, without any human intervention.
Uniswap operates using a set of immutable smart contracts, ensuring that the defined contract logic remains unchanged and cannot be manipulated for personal gain. Each Uniswap smart contract oversees a liquidity pool containing reserves of a token pair, for example, ETH/USDC.
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Decentralized exchanges rely on liquidity pools, where users (liquidity providers) can deposit their crypto assets in exchange for earning interest. The more assets contributed to these pools, the greater the liquidity.
Liquidity providers receive a portion of the trading fees generated by the DEX as a reward for providing liquidity. It encourages them to keep their funds in the pool and contributes to the overall liquidity of the exchange.
Uniswap employs an automated market maker model to calculate the exchange rate between the two tokens in a pool, which relies on the quantities of each token present within that pool.
To interact with a DEX, users need a compatible crypto wallet. Decentralized exchanges typically support various wallet types, including software and hardware wallets.
Uniswap offers compatibility with a range of wallets, including its native Uniswap Wallet and other popular options such as MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet, and WalletConnect.
Large DEXes allow their users to trade assets across different blockchains by leveraging cross-chain bridges or protocols.
Uniswap already operates on several blockchains, like Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, and Celo. With its new protocol, UniswapX, the DEX will be able to swap tokens between different chains.
Even though decentralized exchanges are protected against many risks, such as centralized server hacks or the misuse of funds by exchange operators, they still have safety issues to consider. DEX must have safety mechanisms addressing smart contract vulnerabilities and hacking attacks.
To bolster its security, Uniswap has its smart contracts thoroughly checked by trusted third-party security companies. These reviews help pinpoint and address any potential weak spots in the code.
The platform also hosts an official Uniswap Bug Bounty initiative, encouraging users to spot and report bugs and vulnerabilities. Rewards can go up to 2,250 thousand USDC.
Ensure top-notch safety of your smart contracts with our audit services
How can you create a DEX in 11 steps?
To help you create a well-thought-out decentralized exchange that will efficiently cater to the needs of users and seamlessly execute asset trading, our blockchain expert came up with an eleven-step guide.
Step 1. Define business goals
Clearly outline the DEX’s objectives as well as types of assets it will support, functionality, and the target audience.
Furthermore, create a thorough monetization strategy that encompasses a detailed breakdown of fee categories, including transaction fees, withdrawal fees, and any other revenue-generating mechanisms. Specify the exact amounts for each fee type to provide a clear and transparent financial framework for your DEX.
Step 2. Choose a blockchain
Conduct thorough research on various blockchain networks and determine the one or several that align best with your project’s needs. While Ethereum stands out as a top choice thanks to its established ecosystem and robust smart contract capabilities, exploring alternatives like Polygon and Polkadot can bring about notable benefits in terms of speed and cost-efficiency.
Step 3. Define an order-matching mechanism
Two most common approaches for matching buy and sell orders include order books (limit orders) and automated market makers (AMMs).
In the first approach, users place orders specifying the price and quantity of the cryptocurrency they want to buy or sell. These orders are recorded in an order book. When a buy order’s price matches a sell order’s price, a trade is executed. Order book-based DEXes operate similarly to traditional stock exchanges in this regard.
In the meantime, AMMs use liquidity pools and smart contracts to facilitate trades. Instead of relying on an order book, they use a mathematical formula to determine token prices based on the ratio of assets in the pool. Users can swap tokens directly with the liquidity pool, and the prices are determined dynamically as a result.
Step 4. Develop smart contracts
Create smart contracts to manage the trading process, including order creation, matching, cancellation, settlement, and asset custody.
Remember to include smart contracts that will calculate and distribute trading fees and rewards to liquidity providers.
Always make security your top priority during smart contract development because even the smallest oversight can result in a compromised platform.
Step 5. Design an intuitive UI/UX
It is important to create a user-friendly interface that allows users to effortlessly interact with your decentralized exchange. Users should quickly find the functions they need, such as trading, adding and withdrawing tokens from liquidity pools, and accessing support.
Also, make sure that users have access to detailed information about each listed asset, including its name, symbol, description, price, trading volume, and market trends.
Make your solution’s interface both intuitive and enjoyable with the help of our UI/UX designers
Step 6. Ensure compliance with legal regulations
Laws and regulations related to cryptocurrency and financial services vary significantly from one country to another. That’s why you should understand and navigate the regulatory landscape in the jurisdiction where your DEX is registered or operates.
Discover if your DEX requires specific licenses or registrations to operate legally and check whether the assets listed on your DEX are considered securities in any jurisdiction. Securities laws may impose additional requirements for trading and listing these assets.
Step 7. Maintain strong security measures
Implement robust security measures for your decentralized exchange to protect user funds and the integrity of the platform:
- Encrypt sensitive user data and communications to safeguard against data breaches.
- Employ Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection measures to mitigate the risk of attacks that could disrupt your DEX’s availability.
- Regularly conduct security audits of your DEX infrastructure, including both the frontend and backend components.
- Develop a plan for responding to security incidents. Outline the steps to take in the event of a breach, including freezing user accounts, conducting investigations, and communicating with affected users.
- Keep your DEX’s software and infrastructure up to date with the latest security updates.
- If you rely on third-party services or APIs, ensure they meet stringent security standards.
Get acquainted with key API security practices to ensure the safety and integrity of your project
Step 8. Build the DEX
Hire experienced blockchain developers with expertise in smart contract creation, web3 security, and DEX protocols. They will help you define the project’s scope and tech stack as well as highlight which features are essential for the initial release and which can be added later.
Step 9. Test the DEX
Thoroughly test all components of your decentralized exchange, including smart contracts, backend infrastructure, and frontend interfaces, to ensure that everything works seamlessly and no bugs stay undiscovered.
You can also choose to invite users to participate in beta testing. This way, you can gather valuable user feedback, analyze their experiences, and pinpoint areas that require enhancement and refinement.
Step 10. Provide liquidity
When launching a DEX, it’s common to provide the platform with initial liquidity yourself. This involves depositing assets into liquidity pools to create trading pairs.
Work out an incentive strategy for liquidity providers and define how rewards will be calculated. You can offer a percentage of the trading fees generated from the liquidity pool or provide additional tokens as rewards.
Step 11. Deploy the DEX
Once everything is running smoothly, you can officially launch your decentralized exchange. But don’t forget to continue monitoring your DEX for any potential issues and vulnerabilities. This ongoing vigilance is essential to ensure the platform remains stable, secure, and user-friendly.
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PixelPlex success story: SOMA DEX
PixelPlex blockchain experts have hands-on experience working with decentralized exchanges. That’s why one of our clients reached out to us seeking assistance in creating a development strategy for the first globally compliant decentralized multi-asset marketplace and exchange platform, SOMA DEX.
Our blockchain consulting team has crafted an all-encompassing vision and scope document based on an extensive industry analysis. It highlighted such vital aspects as:
- Tech stack
- Product architecture
- Smart contracts’ functionality
- Tokenomics and governance
- Requirements of Reg D, Reg A+, and Reg S STO regulations
- Third-party integrations
With the development and implementation strategy outlined by PixelPlex, the client has successfully secured a $6.5 million seed round, garnering significant attention from the global DeFi community.
Get to know more about the SOMA DEX project in our detailed case study
Companies that build DEXes reap significant advantages, however, it’s important to understand that this is a highly competitive space, and success requires careful planning, technical expertise, and a deep understanding of the crypto market and its regulatory environment.
Don’t venture into this complex endeavor alone — seek the assistance of seasoned experts with a deep understanding of cryptocurrency exchange development.
With 16 years of technical expertise and an impressive portfolio of over 80 blockchain projects, we have the necessary skills and capabilities to fulfill your requirements and achieve exceptional results.
Feel free to get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can assist you.