In brief

  • DEX trading volumes have skyrocketed in recent months led by dramatically increased interest in Uniswap, Curve, and Balancer.
  • The last month of DEX trading volume accounts for more than half of the DEX volume in the last year.
  • Volumes have been roughly doubling each month for three months, making Uniswap one of the 12 largest exchanges by trading volume.

Decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, have seen their popularity skyrocket in recent months thanks to platforms like Uniswap, Curve, and Balancer. As a result, trading volume on such DEXs have shot up to $22 billion in the last month—and are now over 70x higher than they were a year ago.

As their name suggests, decentralized exchanges are platforms that allow users to trade their assets without relying on a centralized authority to match orders. This means cryptocurrency holders can exchange their assets with fewer restrictions, and can often participate in other aspects of the trading economy such as market making and governance with a lower barrier to entry.

According to data from Dune Analytics, trading volumes on DEXs have been on what appears to be an exponential uptick for the last four months, largely catalyzed by the growth of Uniswap and Curve, which racked up $14.9 billion and $5.2 billion in trade volume last month respectively.

Other, smaller DEXs like Kyber Network and Balancer have also seen a significant increase in exchange volume over this time period, with Kyber Network more than doubling its activity since June. Similarly, Balancer has improved its activity by more than ten-fold over the same period.

DEX trading volume by month (Image: Dune Analytics)

Though most DEX protocols have seen their usage increase in the second half of 2020, Uniswap has seen by far the largest increase in market share. It reached a peak market share of 71.2% at the end of August. Oasis, 0x, and dYdX, on the other hand, have seen their market share collapse by as much as 95% after being outcompeted by newer protocols.

Overall, the last month saw DEX activity reach its highest ever value, and it's now equal to more than half of the trading volume seen in the last 12 month period. A total of $24 billion have been traded across the 13 DEXs tracked by Dune Analytics in the last 30 days, compared to $45.97 billion in the last 12 months.

As the largest decentralized exchange, Uniswap is now large enough to compete with some major centralized exchanges in terms of daily trading volume. With $309.5 million traded through Uniswap in the last 24 hours, Uniswap is now the 12th largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, though that could be several places higher if you discount exchanges that reportedly fake their trading volume. If—and that's a big if—Uniswap is able to maintain its pace of growth for a further three months, it could achieve a daily trading volume of over $2.4 billion, putting it neck-and-neck with the current largest centralized spot exchange by trading volume: Binance.