Michelle Legge
By Michelle LeggeHead of Crypto Tax Education
Updated Feb 2, 2024
This article has been fact checked and reviewed as per our editorial policy.

10 Best Decentralized Exchanges in 2024

Looking for the best decentralized exchanges to swap your coins and tokens? We got you. Learn about the top decentralized exchanges to trade your crypto safely.

What’s the best decentralized exchange?

Here’s our list of the best decentralized exchanges to try in 2024:

Best For DEXTokenTVL
Best for EthereumUniswapUNI$4 billion+
Best for BNB Smart Chain PancakeSwapCAKE$2 billion+
Best for stablecoinsCurveCRV$4 billion+
Best for derivativesdYdXDYDX$350 million+
Best for weighted poolsBalancerBAL$1 billion+
Best for low fees1inch1INCH$5 million+
Best for liquidity provider rewardsSushiSwapSUSHI$400 million+
Best for Tron SunSwapSUN$420 million+
Best for CardanoSundaeSwapSUNDAE$7 million+
Best for Cosmos SDK Osmosis DexOSMO$150 million+

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer for each dex in more detail.

Uniswap

Uniswap is the biggest decentralized exchange for Ethereum by total value locked, with a TVL of more than $4 billion!

This makes it an excellent option for investors looking to swap Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens as the dex has high liquidity and low slippage. Ethereum isn’t the only blockchain Uniswap supports either, as investors can also trade on BNB Smart Chain, Arbitrum, Optimism, Polygon, and Celo.

As well as this, if you’re looking to earn rewards by becoming a liquidity provider, it’s very easy to do so with Uniswap and all liquidity providers earn a proportional amount of the 0.3% fee for trades, relative to their capital in the pool.

Uniswap has its own governance token too - UNI. UNI token holders can vote on developments to the protocol, as well as buy, sell, and trade their UNI tokens like any other token.

To use Uniswap, all you need is a non-custodial wallet like MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet.

Uniswap key features:

  • TVL: $4.09 billion

  • Supported chains: 6

  • Governance token: UNI

A banner prompting investors to connect Uniswap and koinly crypto tax calculatorRead next: Learn how your Uniswap transactions are taxed!

PancakeSwap

PancakeSwap is the most popular dex for BNB Smart Chain, allowing investors to swap BEP-20 tokens easily using popular non-custodial wallets like Trust Wallet.

As well as BNB Smart Chain, PancakeSwap also supports Ethereum and Aptos. Investors can provide liquidity in order to earn rewards, but there are also a number of other ways to earn on the exchange, including farms and staking that can make PancakeSwap a very lucrative dex to provide liquidity for comparatively so some other dexes. And for those who like a flutter, PancakeSwap's lottery is a very popular way to see if you can win it big.

PancakeSwap has its own token - CAKE. CAKE isn’t strictly a governance token, rather it’s a liquidity provision token that PancakeSwap uses to incentivize liquidity providers to the dex.

To get started using PancakeSwap, all you need is to connect using a non-custodial wallet with the tokens you want to trade in and you’re set.

PancakeSwap key features:

  • TVL: $2.13 billion

  • Supported chains: 3

  • Governance token: CAKE

A banner prompting investors to connect Pancakeswap and koinly crypto tax calculatorRead next: Learn how your PancakeSwap transactions are taxed!

Curve

Curve is a popular dex for those looking to securely trade stablecoins and other pegged cryptocurrencies like wBTC using a decentralized protocol.

Curve was originally built for Ethereum, but now supports 10 other blockchains including Avalanche, Fantom, Moonbeam, and Gnosis.

As well as being able to swap stablecoins using Curve, investors can provide liquidity to the protocol to earn rewards from trading fees.

Curve also has a native token - CRV, which you can buy or earn by providing liquidity to specific liquidity pools. You can also stake your CRV tokens on a variety of other popular yield farming protocols like Convex Finance to multiply your rewards.

Like with other DeFi protocols, to get started trading stablecoins and other pegged assets on Curve, you just need to connect to the dex using a non-custodial wallet.

Curve key features:

  • TVL: $4.22 billion

  • Supported chains: 11

  • Governance token: CRV

A banner with the Koinly and Curve logos inviting crypto investors to connect their Curve account with Koinly, a crypto tax softwareRead next: Learn how your Curve transactions are taxed!

dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange focused on perpetual trading options, which are a specific kind of derivative trade.

Perpetual futures contracts let investors place buy or sell orders at a fixed price, indefinitely, so there's no expiry date like with other futures contracts. dYdX specializes in providing these kinds of trades to users for more than 35 different cryptocurrencies, with up to 20X leverage. Unlike centralized exchanges, trades are all executed using smart contracts.

dYdX also has a native token - DYDX. You can buy DYDX as you'd buy any other token, as well as earn DYDX tokens for trading using the protocol and stake your DYDX to earn a yield.

It is worth noting - dYdX is more of a hybrid decentralized exchange. The project started out with the clear goal of becoming fully decentralized, and most components of the exchange are now just that. The remaining centralized components are due to be removed in dYdX V4.

dYdX key features:

  • TVL: $352 million

  • Supported chains: 1

  • Governance token: DYDX

Balancer

Balancer is a decentralized exchange that's particularly unique as it works as a kind of index fund using Balancer pools.

Balancer provides the same service any other dex like Uniswap or Curve does in that you can swap crypto easily using smart contracts and liquidity pools, but where Balancer differs is that each liquidity pool may have up to eight different cryptocurrencies in the pool, while for other dexes, only two assets are in the pool.

This means when you provide liquidity on Balancer to a pool with multiple assets, you effectively diversify your portfolio, in a similar way to how an index fund of stocks or bonds functions. And this has the specific benefit of reducing your risk of impermanent loss when you deposit an asset or assets to Balancer liquidity pools, you can choose the ratio and select a lower percentage for more volatile assets.

Balancer also has a native token, BAL. You can buy, swap, and sell BAL like you would any other token, but you can also earn it by providing liquidity to Balancer pools.

Balancer key features:

  • TVL: $1.1 billion

  • Supported chains: 4

  • Governance token: BAL

1inch

1inch technically isn't a dex, is a dex price aggregator. It can help you find the lowest fees to execute a trade using a dex without trawling through different exchanges trying to figure it out yourself.

1inch does this by utilizing an algorithm and smart contracts to access live prices and provide them to users to ensure you're always getting the cheapest fees and the best price for your crypto, which may in some instances involve trading across several dexes, but you can execute your trade directly from the 1inch platform.

As well as aggregating other prices, 1inch also has its own liquidity pools that you can provide liquidity to and earn a reward for doing so.

1inch also has a native token - 1INCH, that you can buy, sell, or swap, as well as earn by providing liquidity to specific pools on 1inch. You can then also stake your 1inch tokens on the platform.

1inch key features:

  • TVL: $5.9 million

  • Supported chains: 2

  • Governance token: 1INCH

Banner inviting cryptocurrency investors to learn more about how to connect 1inch with KoinlyRead next: Learn how your 1inch transactions are taxed!

SushiSwap

SushiSwap is an Ethereum decentralized exchange that began as a fork of Uniswap. The dex originally used Uniswap's open-source code, but further incentivized users with rewards in the native token SUSHI, as well as building out a much larger offering of earning opportunities on the platform, including staking and farming.

As well as being able to trade on Ethereum, Sushiswap supports an additional 6 other blockchains, including Arbitrum One, BNB Smart Chain, and Moonriver.

SushiSwap's native governance token, SUSHI, is available to buy, sell, and swap on both centralized and decentralized exchanges, and you can earn and stake SUSHI on the exchange. One of the main benefits of SushiSwap over any other Ethereum dex is the increased earning potential for liquidity providers, however, Sushiswap is now sunsetting many

SushiSwap key features:

  • TVL: $400 million

  • Supported chains: 7

  • Governance token: SUSHI

A banner prompting investors to connect Sushiswap and koinly crypto tax calculatorRead next: Learn how your SushiSwap transactions are taxed!

SunSwap

SunSwap, or just Sun, is a decentralized exchange for the Tron network. The protocol came about as a merge of Sun.io and SunSwap and is now the largest Tron dex by TVL, at more than $422 million at the time of writing.

Investors can use Sun to trade Tron and Tron tokens, including Tron stablecoins like USDD and other pegged assets, as well as provide liquidity to earn rewards.

There are also many other opportunities to earn on the Sun platform, including farming with governance mining, stablecoin mining pools, and simplified TRX staking.

All you need to do to get started using Sun is a non-custodial wallet that supports WalletConnect.

SunSwap key features:

  • TVL: $422 million

  • Supported chains: 1

  • Governance token: SUN

Banner inviting cryptocurrency investors to learn more about how to connect Tron with KoinlyRead next: Learn how your Tron transactions are taxed!

SundaeSwap

SundaeSwap is a decentralized exchange for the Cardno blockchain that lets users swap ADA and Cardano tokens, as well as provide liquidity in order to earn rewards.

As well as this, users can use the rewards platform on SundaeSwap to delegate their ADA with an approved reverse stake pool to receive rewards in a new token in exchange, helping grow the Cardano ecosystem.

To get started with SundaeSwap, all you need is a non-custodial Cardano wallet like Nami or Eternl.

SundaeSwap key features:

  • TVL: $7.3 million

  • Supported chains: 1

  • Governance token: SUNDAE

Banner inviting cryptocurrency investors to learn more about how to connect Cardano with KoinlyRead next: Learn how your Cardano transactions are taxed!

Osmosis Dex

Osmosis Dex is the largest decentralized Cosmos exchange, letting investors swap tokens like ATOM and OSMO on a variety of Cosmos SDK blockchains.

As with other dexes, investors can also provide liquidity to Osmosis Dex pools in order to earn rewards and are partnered with Keplr for staking and voting capabilities.

To get started with Osmosis Dex, all you need is a Keplr wallet or another Cosmos wallet with WalletConnect support.

Osmosis Dex key features:

  • TVL: $153 million

  • Supported chains: 1

  • Governance token: OSMO

Banner inviting cryptocurrency investors to learn more about how to connect Osmosis with KoinlyRead next: Learn how your Osmosis transactions are taxed!

What important factors should I consider when choosing a decentralized exchange?

When choosing a decentralized exchange, there are several important factors to consider. Here are some key factors we considered when curating our best decentralized exchange list that you should also consider:

  • Security: There have been plenty of notable dex hacks, rug pulls, bridge attacks, and more - so make sure you’re using a dex with a solid security background.

  • Liquidity: Higher liquidity means easier and faster trading, with lower slippage. You can use a site like DeFiLlama to check liquidity, trading volume, and active users.

  • User Experience: Some dexes are easy to use, while others are not so much. Check out the interface and find a dex that suits your experience level.

  • Supported tokens: If you’re just looking for the staples, any dex will do, but some dexes like SushiSwap support a huge number of smaller tokens for more adventurous investors.

  • Fees: All dexes charge different fees and fees will vary depending on network usage at that point. You can use a dex like 1inch to compare fees easily to find the cheapest trade.

  • Reputation: Most dexes are run by DAOs and these have an active community. Get to know the community and look for their feedback on any issues or risks.

  • Integration with wallets: Check if your dex integrates with the wallet you want to use. Some dexes also integrate with almost any wallet using WalletConnect.

What are decentralized exchanges?

Decentralized exchanges are cryptocurrency platforms that enable peer-to-peer transactions directly from your digital wallet, eliminating the need for intermediaries. Dexes like Uniswap, PancakeSwap, dYdX, and Curve facilitate secure and transparent trading, ensuring users maintain control of their funds. By operating on blockchain technology, dexes promote greater privacy, lower fees, and enhanced user autonomy, revolutionizing the traditional centralized exchange model.

Decentralized exchanges operate in a legal gray area, with regulations varying across jurisdictions. The legality of dexes depends on factors such as the country of operation and compliance with local financial laws. While some countries have embraced decentralized exchanges, others have imposed restrictions or are yet to establish clear regulations.

How do decentralized exchanges work?

Decentralized exchanges transform digital asset trading by eliminating intermediaries. Powered by blockchain technology and self-executing smart contracts, dexes facilitate direct peer-to-peer transactions. Through the automatic execution of trades, smart contracts ensure secure and transparent transfers without relying on a central authority or party.

Are decentralized exchanges safe?

Decentralized exchanges offer enhanced safety features compared to traditional centralized exchanges. By enabling peer-to-peer transactions directly from users' wallets, dexes eliminate the need to transfer assets to a central authority. This significantly reduces the risk of hacking associated with centralized exchanges. However, it's important to note that users should still exercise caution and follow best security practices such as safeguarding private keys.

What are the risks of decentralized exchanges?

While decentralized exchanges offer many advantages, there are risks too. A significant risk is the lower liquidity compared to centralized exchanges. This can potentially lead to higher price volatility and challenges in executing larger trades. Additionally, dexes may be susceptible to smart contract vulnerabilities or security risks associated with user-controlled wallets. It's crucial for users to exercise caution and follow best practices to mitigate these risks when using a dex.

How do decentralized exchanges make money?

Decentralized exchanges generate revenue primarily through trading fees. When users trade on a dex, they incur a small fee, usually a percentage of the trade value, which contributes to the exchange's revenue. As well as this, some dexes also have native tokens within their ecosystem which may bring in additional revenue through value appreciation.

Which is safer a dex or a cex?

Decentralized and centralized exchanges offer distinct safety advantages. Dexes prioritize enhanced security by empowering users to maintain full control over their funds, eliminating the need for a central authority or third-party custody. In contrast, cexes may provide additional security measures like insurance and compliance frameworks, but users need to trust the centralized platform with their funds. Ultimately, the choice between a dex and a cex comes down to individual preference.

DexCex
Users have full control over their funds and private keysUsers deposit funds into the exchange, giving up control over their private keys
No central authority or intermediary governing the exchangeCentral authority or intermediary controls operations
Users can trade with non-custodial wallets, offering a higher level of privacyUsers typically undergo KYC verification in order to trade
Users are responsible for securing their fundsExchange takes some responsibility for the security of user funds
Transactions are recorded on the blockchain and can be audited publiclyTransparency may vary, but usually limited to the exchange's reporting or auditing standards
Generally lower trading fees, excluding gas fees Higher trading fees, although some exchanges offer discounts
Open to anyone with a compatible wallet and internet Often subject to geographical restrictions
Minimal regulatory oversight due to decentralized natureSubject to regulatory compliance and may require licenses in certain jurisdictions
Resistant to censorship, as it's challenging to shut down or censor decentralized networksSusceptible to shutdowns, hacking attempts, and potential censorship from centralized authorities
Open-source development and decentralized decision-making through consensus mechanismsCentralized development and decision-making under the control of the exchange company

FAQs

More questions on decentralized exchanges? Find the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Which dex has no fees?

All dexes generally charge a fee, although there may be some incentivized discounts available for using specific pools. However, fees on dexes are usually considerably lower than fees on centralized exchanges, starting from as low as 0.1%.

How do I get started with a decentralized wallet?

It’s easy to get started with a non-custodial wallet in 3 steps:

  1. Find a wallet that works with the dex you want to use. MetaMask, Trust Wallet, and Coinbase Wallet are some of the most popular options. You can easily download them as apps or as browser extensions.

  2. Fund your wallet. Transfer crypto from a centralized exchange or another wallet to your chosen non-custodial wallet.

  3. Connect to a dex. Head over to the dex you want to use and find the connect option to connect your wallet so you can begin making trades!

Do I need to pay tax on decentralized exchange transactions?

Yes. Your transactions on dexes are taxed just like your transactions on centralized exchanges - that means you may pay Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax depending on your specific transaction and where you live. Find out more in our crypto tax guides.

What’s the best decentralized exchange for beginners?

Uniswap and PancakeSwap both have simple interfaces that make it easy for beginners to start trading.

Do decentralized exchanges report to the IRS?

No. When you interact with a decentralized exchange you’ll use a non-custodial wallet to do so, and these wallets are not currently required to report to the IRS as centralized exchanges may be. This said transactions on blockchains like Ethereum or BNB Smart Chain are public and permanent, so you should always report your crypto to the IRS accurately.

What is the cheapest decentralized exchange?

1inch is technically a dex price aggregator more than an exchange, but it can help you find the lowest fees for your trade at that time based on network usage.

Disclaimer
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