DEX and OTC Brokers Adoption Growing Significantly Since 2019, More Than Centralized Exchanges: Report

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and OTC brokers are gaining adoption as centralized and high-risk exchanges see their number dip slightly, according to a new report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

As cryptocurrency adoption grows and attracts institutional investors, the value moving to exchanges is trending upwards to its highest above $750 billion in May 2021.

So has grown the number of active crypto exchanges, which peaked in July 2020 at around 845. Since then, it has been going down and, as of August 2021, sits at 672.

Since the beginning of 2019, the data shows that the number of active DEXes and OTC brokers has actually been climbing significantly, with derivatives exchanges growing as well but only modestly.

DEXs popularity also coincides with the “explosive growth” of the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, as per the report.


Centralized exchanges and high-risk exchanges have actually seen their numbers dip slightly after initial increases.

“We see that DEX users carry out much larger transactions than centralized exchange users.”

“This is likely because DeFi is also more popular in countries with bigger, more established cryptocurrency markets, which also tend to be wealthier countries.”

While large DEXs, OTC brokers, and centralized exchanges grew their transaction volume substantially during this period, derivatives exchanges grew the most in value received at 686%.

Total value received by DEXes grew from $10 billion in July 2020 to an all-time high of $368 billion in May 2021 and sat at just under $143 billion as of September 2021. As for why larger exchanges are growing, the number of unique assets available is of significance here as more assets generally correlate with higher transaction volume.

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