DEX vs CEX: How to Choose Your Crypto Exchange?

DEX vs CEX: How to Choose Your Crypto Exchange?

The world of cryptocurrency has evolved significantly since the introduction of Bitcoin, and it's now dominated by two types of exchanges: centralized exchanges (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). While CEXs have traditionally been more popular due to their high trading volumes and ease of use, DEXs have been gaining popularity because of their decentralized nature and advanced security features. This article will explore the essential distinctions between DEXs and CEXs, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

CEX or DEX: what’s the difference?

The major difference between these two exchange platform types is the trade facilitation method. CEXs, such as XBO.com, use off-chain order books to match buyers with sellers. This system is based on the traditional order book model that has been used in traditional finance exchanges for many years. However, DEXs use a completely different execution system known as the Automated Market Maker (AMM) model. Let’s take a closer look at how both types of crypto exchanges operate and what are the pros and cons of using them for crypto trades.

DEX (Decentralized Exchange)

Decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, have become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer a safe and open market for transferring digital assets without the need for intermediaries. These exchanges are built on blockchain technology and utilize a peer-to-peer (P2P) network to facilitate transactions.

DEXs are often built on the Ethereum network and rely heavily on Ether as their primary currency. Other cryptocurrencies may be used as a base, but Ethereum has by far the highest financial market holding. As a result, DEXs may not be based on the transfer price and may not follow a single platform. This can make it more challenging for users to navigate the exchange and may limit their options for trading.

DEXs are considered anonymous since they require minimal customer information. To operate on a decentralized exchange, users usually simply need a public address.

 How DEXs work

Decentralized exchanges have undergone various changes and advancements over time. While the initial DEXs utilized the order book system, the more recent ones implemented an automated broker-dealer. Let's explore both methods in detail.

The order book approach involves the collection and management of open orders to facilitate asset purchases and sales. To buy a specific digital asset, a person must provide its expected price to the smart contract. When the smart contract finds a suitable match, the assets are exchanged, and the buyer receives the item they want to purchase. To sell assets, one must submit a request to the smart contract and wait for the platform to locate suitable buyers. The system may then use the order book to find a buyer, accept their terms, and complete the transaction.

On the other hand, the automated market maker (AMM) model comprises a liquidity pool that holds two tokens, which is managed by an algorithm that maintains a specific balance of the pool. When a buyer places a trade, the algorithm provides an appropriate price based on the token ratio and executes the trade on the buyer's behalf. When a seller comes along, it does the same thing, adjusting the price to restore balance to the pool. Although this method may seem complicated, it is a revolutionary way of facilitating trades in any on-chain market, removing the need for any third party and allowing traders to keep custody of their funds.

 DEX: pros and cons

Advantages of using a decentralized exchange:

  • Personal custody of funds
  • Privacy and anonymity
  • Lower entry barriers

Disadvantages of using a decentralized exchange:

  • Complexity
  • Lack of fiat
  • Liquidity issues
  • Lack of regulation

Overall, while DEXs offer many advantages, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. Unlike CEXs, DEXs lack external third parties overseeing or enforcing rules on the exchange. As a result, users may be more exposed to risks such as market manipulation and fraud. Additionally, DEXs may have more limited liquidity, which can result in slower transaction times and higher fees.

Centralized Exchanges (CEX)

Centralized exchanges (CEXs) offer several advantages over decentralized exchanges (DEXs). Firstly, CEXs have an efficient internal network that enables secure transmission of information, protected by robust security mechanisms. Additionally, CEXs follow an extensive know-your-customer policy and operate under regulatory supervision, providing protection against financial fraud.

Furthermore, CEXs provide a consumer-friendly interface, which makes it easier for beginners to acquire and manage virtual currency. They also offer a wide range of trade pairings and allow users to trade cryptocurrencies against fiat currency, which is not possible on DEXs.

In terms of trading speed, while DEXs execute transactions faster due to their decentralized nature, they come with greater risks. The private keys of connected wallets must remain on the exchange, which means that if there is a security breach, the user's stored crypto assets are at risk of being accessed by hackers.

CEXs are supported by for-profit corporations that provide a variety of support services to ensure a positive customer experience. They use matching algorithms to control market dynamics and maintain transactions in an order book, similar to any other exchange. Fixed costs are charged while trading on CEXs, providing greater transparency and predictability in trading fees.

 How CEXs work

Unlike decentralized exchanges, where traders have control over their assets, centralized exchanges assume custody of assets deposited by users. In exchange, the exchange issues IOUs, which are essentially documents confirming the debt one entity owes to another. These IOUs serve as smart contracts and are only transferable when the user withdraws their assets.

One of the advantages of using a centralized exchange is that transactions are typically conducted using Order Book technology, which is familiar to traders who have experience with stock markets. The Order Book keeps track of all pending transactions so that traders can purchase and sell securities accordingly. However, Order Books have some drawbacks, such as the delay for the exchange to complete and the incapacity of dealers to cross-check the deal.

Moreover, centralized exchanges offer additional benefits to traders, such as liquidity, security, and a user-friendly interface. By taking custody of assets and verifying traders' identities, centralized exchanges create a more secure trading environment. They also offer a wider range of trading pairs, which increases liquidity and enables traders to access more trading opportunities. Additionally, centralized exchanges often provide traders with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate the platform and execute trades.

CEX: pros and cons

Advantages of using a centralized exchange:

  • Easy-to-use
  • Protection and support
  • Additional services

Disadvantages of using a centralized exchange:

  • Susceptibility to hacks
  • Possible additional fees
  • No personal custody of assets

The centralized nature of CEXs means that they are susceptible to hacks, system failures, or even fraud. So, it is crucial to choose an exchange that offers maximum security and protection. For example, you check what XBO.com does to safeguard your data and funds and compare it to the latest industry standards.


In conclusion, cryptocurrency exchanges are of two types: centralized exchanges (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). CEXs have a long history of operation and provide high liquidity, better user interfaces, and offer fiat to crypto trading. They are also heavily regulated and offer advanced security features. However, they have a single point of failure and may pose security risks to the user. On the other hand, DEXs offer more privacy, anonymity, and personal custody of funds, but they are complex, less liquid, and lack regulatory compliance. The two types of exchanges have their advantages and disadvantages, and users must assess their needs and preferences before selecting a particular exchange.


Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute financial advice. It is only intended for informational and educational purposes.