Cardano-Based Decentralized Exchange SundaeSwap Off to Rocky Start

Users have complained that they have not received their tokens after swapping Cardano's ADA tokens for SUNDAE.

Jan 21, 2022 at 5:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 21, 2022 at 7:29 p.m. UTC

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

SundaeSwap, the first decentralized cryptocurrency exchange on the Cardano blockchain, went live this week, but users have complained that transactions are failing and they aren't receiving their swapped tokens.

Similar to Uniswap’s UNI token, which powers the automated liquidity provider, SundaeSwap has its own token, SUNDAE, but the data websites CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko don't have any pricing information.

SundaeSwap announced Thursday on Twitter that “swapping is now live” on the decentralized exchange, or DEX.

Since then, users have complained on Twitter, Discord and Telegram that they have not received their tokens after swapping Cardano's ADA tokens for SUNDAE. Some said they had been waiting over nine hours.

SundaeSwap's website currently displays a notice when attempting to swap ADA for SUNDAE, stating: “The network is extremely congested at the moment. Swaps may fail or not go through until congestion decreases. Please be patient.”

After initial publication of this story, a representative for SundaeSwap sent the following comment:

The congestion on the Cardano network is understandably frustrating, but also evidence of the network working as intended to live up to its mission of stability and economic fairness. The network didn't crash, the security didn't decrease, and it didn't create exploitive fees for the end user. Instead, it is creating queues at various breakpoints throughout the system so that it can soak up and process as many orders as possible.
There were also some unanticipated issues with wallets, which we're sure the developers at Nami, Blockfrost and ccVault are working diligently to resolve. We've been in contact with both Nami and ccVault to offer any support we can. It's important to understand that we've seen no evidence of anyone's funds being actually lost.
Finally, the DEX operates with a notion of slippage tolerance / acceptable price. Much like Uniswap or a classical exchange, the DEX is unable to execute an order outside of this price range in order to protect users funds. With each order moving the price, these orders would be outside the slippage tolerance regardless of how fast orders are processed.
We're working diligently to investigate issues people are having, coordinating closely with the wallet developers to strategize around solutions and ultimately are very excited about the performance improvements coming to Cardano later this year.
From: this is Pi the Chief Information Officer at SundaeSwap


In the lead-up to SundaeSwap’s launch, Cardano’s ADA token was rallying. The price of the token went from $1.28 on Sunday to $1.55 on Monday.

"Cardano had a lot riding on the successful launch of SundaeSwap to finally vindicate itself. Its supporters created a narrative that managed to see the ADA price rally 40%,” said Igneus Terrenus, head of communications at Bybit.

“The heightened attention became a curse, and brought to SundaeSwap more traffic than its team had prepared for,” Terrenus added. “Cardano has been such a target of ridicule and acrimony that it almost felt like this was completely predictable.”

Blockchain data suggests that Cardano whales – large holders of the cryptocurrency – have been able to swap their ADA for SUNDAE, whereas regular retail traders have suffered congestion and transaction issues.

In the SundaeSwap Discord chat, users reported getting “insufficient balance” errors and that their wallets had dropped to zero as a result of SundaeSwap’s teething problems. One user wrote: “I love Cardano and SundaeSwap, but as of now I have tried to process over 50 transactions and none have gone through.”

“It is fair to say that major launches can lead to a lot of congestion on the chain, resulting in slowing down transaction time,” said Denis Vinokourov, head of research at Corinthian Digital.

“Thus, in hindsight, it was inevitable, and, in fact, SundaeSwap Labs itself acknowledged the likely operational constraints and limitations that the blockchain and the DEX will exhibit on opening day,” he added.

Vinokourov said a DEX is far from the most complicated of product launches.

“There are much more complicated iterations that have been launched by other smart-contract blockchains, and one would have expected more stress testing to prepare for the real-world traffic onslaught,” he said.

The price of Cardano’s ADA token is down 15% in the last 24 hours, though bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies were down in what appeared to be a broad market sell-off. At press time, ADA was trading at $1.19.

Omkar Godbole contributed to this story.

UPDATE (19:17 UTC): This story was updated to add a comment sent by a SundaeSwap representative.


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Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

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Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

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