Decentralized cryptocurrency exchange protocol 0x has gone from white paper to functioning early-stage application in three months – all without leveraging an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise funds (so far).
Revealed today, the early stage over-the-counter (OTC) platform for exchanging ethereum-based tokens is expected to start settling trades soon after the publication of this article.
But what’s going on under the hood of the application, called 0x OTC, is about more than just creating a new way for token owners to trade, according to 0x advisor and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam.
In conversation with CoinDesk, Ehrsam explained how the manual process launched today is just the beginning of a larger plan to automate the trading process, creating a cryptocurrency switchboard that could someday power a network of decentralized applications.
What it does
0x OTC is designed to let counterparties exchange tokens built using the ERC20 token standard without the assistance of a centralized exchange. Users can generate and cryptographically sign and share orders using a variety of off-chain communication channels and execute the trades directly on the blockchain.
At launch, users will be able to trade ERC20 ether tokens, MakerDao tokens, Melon tokens, 0x protocol tokens, Augur tokens, Digix DAO tokens and Golem Network tokens.
Initially, the open-source smart contracts powering the free trades will be deployed on the Kovan network co-developed by Digix, Etherscan, Parity, Maker, MelonPort and several others.
The exchange, backed by investors including Polychain Capital, Blockchain Capital and Pantera Capital, is not a real-time public order book, according to a statement provided to CoinDesk. Instead the platform, which will host an ICO later this year, was designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to build decentralized exchanges that can charge increasingly competitive fees.
0x co-founder Will Warren said:
The need for interoperability
The release of 0x OTC marks an advance towards a more decentralized infrastructure for building cryptocurrency applications, according to Ehrsam.
Last month, Ehrsam penned an article about why he believes the decentralized application market stalled in 2014, just when he was expecting it would explode.
Unlike in 2014, when decentralized app builders had few tools, he now paints a picture of an increasingly mature developer stack in the form of file storage provided by firms such as IPFS and Storj, for example; external data from oracles including Augur; and a monetization model in the form of token sales.
But each of those tools is powered by a native token, and to interact with each other, they will require a seamless means of exchange, perhaps similar to what 0x launched today.
Vintage switchboard image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.