Building a Decentralised Exchange with Don Mosites from AirSwap

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A central limit order book is something that does very well in a centralised context: very high performance, highly automatable, singular execution engine and if you attempt to decentralise that you encounter a variety of issues and that is why there is an attraction to remain centralised.
— Don Mosites

Exchange hacks have plagued Crypto markets since the infamous hack of Mt.Gox in 2014, which triggered a 2-year bear market. At the time, 850,000 Bitcoins were stolen at a value of over $450m, though today that would be over $8bn. Since then, other notable hacks have included the $72m stolen from Bitfinex, and $500m of NEM stolen from Coincheck, so far, the largest hack to date.

These crypto honeypots present an attractive opportunity for skilled hackers and probably the most significant fear for exchange operators. Users are at risk too, Buyers and sellers have to balance the convenience of holding coins on an exchange with the risk of a hack. Often, once a hack has been made public, you will see a flurry of Twitter posts saying "This is why you shouldn't keep your coins on an exchange."

The nature of exchange risk has led to the emergence of decentralised exchanges, such as EtherDelta, IDEX and 0x. And while not a true exchange, the team will explain they are a marketplace, Airswap has thrown its hat into the ring with the launch of their platform.

In this interview, I talk with Don Mosites, the engineering side of the co-founding team about the launch of the platform and the challenges they face with security, liquidity and market maker pricing.



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  • 00.00.00 Intro

  • 00.04.55 Airswap Launch

  • 00.06.10 Don's background

  • 00.09.45 Why a decentralised exchange

  • 00.16.27 How prices are supplied on the platform

  • 00.18.29 The user experience

  • 00.21.32 Target customer for Airswap

  • 00.23.46 Phishing risk with allowing Airswap to exist on other websites

  • 00.26.40 Asset pricing on the platform

  • 00.32.37 Security challenges

  • 00.37.11 Avoiding the issues of liquidity

  • 00.39.12 How Airswap makes money and enterprise v token value

  • 00.46.35 Integrations with Metamask, Ledger, and Trezor

  • 00.49.00 Cross blockchain swaps (atomic swaps) and trading pairs

  • 00.53.53 Future plans

  • 00.56.35 How to get hold of Don and find Airswap

  • 00.57.16 Outro