What Is Uniswap? A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Getting started with Uniswap is relatively straightforward, however, you will need to make sure you already have an ERC-20 supported wallet setup such as MetaMask, WalletConnect, Coinbase wallet, Portis, or Fortmatic. Once you have one of those wallets, you need to add ether to it in order to trade on Uniswap and pay for gas – this is what Ethereum transaction fees are called. Gas payments vary in price depending on how many people are using the network. Most ERC-20 compatible wallet services give you three choices when making a payment over the Ethereum blockchain: slow, medium or fast. Slow is the cheapest option, fast is the most expensive and medium is somewhere in between. This determines how quickly your transaction is processed by Ethereum network miners.

Who Are We?

Uniswap Interface

Uniswap is a completely different type of exchange that‘s fully decentralized – meaning it isn’t owned and operated by a single entity – and uses a relatively new type of trading model called an automated liquidity protocol (see below).

The Uniswap platform was built in 2018 on top of the Ethereum blockchain, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency project by market capitalization, which makes it compatible with all ERC-20 tokens and infrastructure such as wallet services like MetaMask and MyEtherWallet.

Uniswap is also completely open source, which means anyone can copy the code to create their own decentralized exchanges. It even allows users to list tokens on the exchange for free. Normal centralized exchanges are profit-driven and charge very high fees to list new coins, so this alone is a notable difference. Because Uniswap is a decentralized exchange (DEX), it also means users maintain control of their funds at all times as opposed to a centralized exchange that requires traders to give up control of their private keys so that orders can be logged on an internal database rather than be executed on a blockchain, which is more time consuming and expensive. By retaining control of private keys, it eliminates the risk of losing assets if the exchange is ever hacked. According to the latest figures, Uniswap is currently the fourth-largest decentralized finance (DeFi) platform and has over $3 billion worth of crypto assets locked away on its protocol.

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it also means users maintain control of their funds at all times as opposed to a centralized exchange that requires traders to give up control of their private keys so that orders can be logged on an internal database rather than be executed on a blockchain, which is more time consuming and expensive.

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How Uniswap works

Uniswap runs on two smart contracts; an “Exchange” contract and a “Factory” contract. These are automatic computer programs that are designed to perform specific functions when certain conditions are met. In this instance, the factory smart contract is used to add new tokens to the platform and the exchange contract facilitates all token swaps, or “trades.” Any ERC20-based token can be swapped with another on the updated Uniswap v.2 platform.