Given Metamask just came out with the ability to perform swaps through their wallet, I wanted to take some time to review swap exchanges and compare them. The key things to keep in mind are the cryptocurrency prices and the network fees on each exchange.
A swap exchange is a decentralized exchange that doesn’t have a fiat on-ramp meaning you can only swap cryptocurrency for other cryptocurrency and 99% of the time, only Ethereum and ERC20 tokens with some allowing you to trade NFTs. The benefit is that you do not have to KYC verify or make an account, you simply use a smart contract. The cryptocurrency provided for these trades are put up by liquidity providers who then earn some of the fees for doing and it gets deposited directly into your wallet. Whereas centralized exchanges have all your funds and give you true ownership only when you withdraw.
The exception for this is SimpleSwap which allows you to swap any cryptocurrency, but not through a smart contract and thus is subject to errors and issues. I’ve had a transaction fail and had to go through support to get my money back which is stressful and takes time, but that’s the price to pay to be able to trade cryptocurrency in a decentralized way.
To save you some time, Metamask is the worst exchange I could find with network fees anywhere between 30-60x the fees. For example, 1inch.exchange charged about $0.50 for a transaction, Uniswap charged about $1, and then Metamask was charging between $30-$111. While these fees will vary based on network usage for Ethereum, Metamask charges you well beyond anything reasonable. They also take a 0.875% fee for the “service” of quoting other exchanges and getting you the “best price.” Not only is their price worse, but their fees are insane.
Instead of going on and on about Metamask whom I expected much more from, let’s look at some swap exchanges that are good and that I do recommend. After checking out the exchanges quoted by Metamask I compared them and also looked at Kyberswap. I found that there were 3 ETH-based swap exchanges that stood above the rest. Namely, Kyberswap, 1inch.exchange, and Uniswap. They all offer different benefits and drawbacks.
https://simpleswap.io/ - Allows you to trade any cryptocurrency, but doesn’t use smart contracts.
https://kyberswap.com/swap/eth-knc - Offers the best prices, but has the highest gas fees.
https://1inch.exchange/#/ - Offers the lowest prices, but has the lowest gas fees.
https://app.uniswap.org/#/swap - Offers a happy medium of a great price, with a modest gas fee.
The only reason you would be using a high gas fee swap exchange is if you were trading in a very high volume and thus the gas fee wasn’t as important as getting the best price, so you would use something like KyberSwap. If you are trading a very small volume, then a low gas fee may get you the best value and you could use 1inch. When I use swap exchanges, my go-to has been Uniswap as I don’t do very small or very large trades and am fine to pay a modest gas fee around $1 or so.
Keep in mind gas fees are always changing and different exchanges have varying amounts of liquidity for each token, so I recommend comparing the costs between a few before going ahead. I really enjoy swap exchanges for the ease, speed, privacy, and control they offer you. I don’t have to wait a long time to withdraw because the smart contract executes, and the cryptocurrency shows up directly in my wallet whereas, with a centralized exchange, I may have to wait a long time and or go through a holding period of say 1 week before I’m allowed to withdraw after depositing money into the exchange.
What do you prefer to use? What’s your favorite decentralized and your favorite centralized exchange? Where do you trade? Which is better? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe as well!
PS. Let me know your thoughts on the new backdrop! :)