Uniswap Is the Number One Gas Guzzler on Ethereum

Decentralized exchange Uniswap burns through more gas than any other application on Ethereum.

AccessTimeIconDec 21, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 10, 2022 at 7:59 p.m. UTC
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Decentralized exchange Uniswap is the number one gas burner on Ethereum. It has been responsible for close to 30% of all transactions initiated on the network in the last 8 hours. 

Since as early as Nov. 13, Uniswap has consistently ranked as the top decentralized application (dapp) for the amount of fees used. The runner-up for this same time period, making up about 11% of total fees on Ethereum, is Tether, the company behind the eponymous dollar-pegged stablecoin that began to migrate its token supply onto Ethereum back in 2019. 

Computational resources on Ethereum are measured in units of gas and paid for by users on the network in the native cryptocurrency ETH. Since the official debut of the second iteration of Uniswap in March, users have paid close to 240,000 ETH to use the dapp, which is equivalent to roughly $146 million at time of writing. 

More specifically, users have been paying for the Uniswap router, which enables swaps between Ethereum-based tokens. There are two other known components to Uniswap and that is its token distributor and governance token, UNI. These components are less frequently interacted with by users and only make up about 1% and 3%, respectively, of the transaction activity generated by the Uniswap router.

Gas consumption highlights activity on Uniswap

As a decentralized exchange, Uniswap has created over 24,000 different markets for trading and attracts close to 100,000 weekly users. Given these figures, founder and CEO of Dune Analytics Fredrik Haga told CoinDesk he’s not surprised by the high gas consumption of the dapp in comparison to other DeFi applications on Ethereum.

Number of Uniswap markets
Number of Uniswap markets

“Trading is something many users do frequently and requires interactions all the time, while lending on the other hand (i.e. Maker/Compound) is more passive,” said Haga in an email. 

While decentralized finance (DeFi) dapps like MakerDAO and Compound have higher amounts of total value locked (TVL) in their protocols, Uniswap takes the lead for the total amount of transactions initiated and gas consumed. 

Additional metrics like gas consumed highlight how the activity of DeFi apps can be compared and ranked in different ways according to their use case. 

Though TVL is the most popular metric for measuring the growth and activity of DeFi dapps, it often paints an incomplete picture of the myriad of ways DeFi is beginning to take off on Ethereum. 

Ilya Abugov, lead analyst at DappRadar, said in an interview with CoinDesk in November:

“It’s very important to supplement TVL with as many additional metrics as possible. There’s been a tendency to see TVL as the metric [for DeFi],  partially because it’s very elegant and simple. But that simplicity and elegance obscures some of the realities.”

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