Decentralized exchanges remain a utopian idea despite numerous projects attempting to make them go mainstream.
The fact that there is no way to swap Bitcoin for Ethereum (and vice versa) without relying on third parties is ‘embarrassing’ for Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin who recently floated the idea of a ‘trustless’ and ‘serverless’ DEX.
He wants to make it as easy to exchange BTC for ETH as to trade ERC-20 tokens with the help of the Uniswap protocol.
We should put resources toward a proper (trustless, serverless, maximally Uniswap-like UX) ETH <-> BTC decentralized exchange. It's embarrassing that we still can't easily move between the two largest crypto ecosystems trustlessly.— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) March 24, 2020
Why decentralized exchanges struggle
Entrusting your assets with a third party goes against the ethos of crypto. Centralized exchanges have been plagued by hacks, manipulation accusations, and regulatory hurdles. Yet, the market share of DEXs in the likes of IDEX and EtherDelta barely represents a drop in the bucket.
The problem is that DEXs have a slew of shortcomings that overwhelm the allure of decentralization. With extremely low liquidity, no customer support, and a very limited number of trading options, these exchanges are too slow, inconvenient, and cumbersome for traders to touch.
Buterin’s proposal extends far beyond Bitcoin. The Canadian prodigy also wants to build DEX bridges between Ethereum and other ecosystems.
We should also be building DEX bridges between ethereum and other crypto ecosystems. I've talked to @zooko about this re Zcash, though I think we can both work harder to translate the talk into action. Would love to see more.— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) March 24, 2020
He has already had a conversation about this with Zooko Wilcox, the CEO Electric Coin Company (ECC), to perform swaps between Ether and Zcash. Now, he wants to walk the walk.