I have read no less than three dozen of articles in the last months of 2017 that were concerned by the fact that “the great thing” for 2018 in terms of cryptocurrencies would be the decentralized exchanges. Reasons were not lacking, regulations to traditional exchanges enjoyed a new wave of idiots who wanted to prohibit or apply taxes. In these articles the sames DEX (as they are abbreviated) were always cited , and they were never more than three or five. Having worked in Oasis DEX and being interested in the concept of a truly 100% decentralized exchange (I am writing a book about that) I had a mental map of no less than twenty DEXs.
But if very informed people who work for the Financial Times, Bloomberg, and other mass media and other specialized media, had that limited knowledge and I, a humble bitcoiner since 2011, quadrupled the data, what was the closest number to the true current scenario?
I decided then to let the collective intelligence act and publish in a repository that mental map that I had:
I started to research in my free time and the thing got really good.
From 20 they became 40, from 40 they went to 50, from 50 to 55. From 55 to 80 once I found the report “State of Decentralized Exchanges, 2018”  by Nathan Sexer of ConsenSys, maybe the most knowledgeable of the subject in the whole world, without exaggerations.
Currently the list has 140 decentralized exchanges of cryptocurrencies, tokens, derivatives and futures. And of course, their respective protocols. More than 60 projects I have listed privately for consideration and analysis, so maybe for the end of Q1 of 2018 we can say that there are at least 200 DEX projects operating or developing.
Now, what is the big deal with the DEX?
The cryptoeconomy in less than a decade went from worth two pizzas to “rub” the trillion of dollars  (in relative terms). And this was achieved despite all the frictions in the centralization of the process of exchange of value that represent the exchanges we met until this year. To illustrate what we are talking about, I will quote below some of these frictions (examples in the real world are redundant, I will only cite with source one of the most serious):
- Those who have your private keys, have your money. (If you are reading this you should already know, but it is never wrong to remember).
- There is no way to verify that there is no price manipulation.
- Genuine hackings.
- False hackings.
- Genuine shutdowns.
- False shutdowns.
- Maintenance shutdowns scheduled.
- Unscheduled maintenance shutdowns.
- They have your keys.
- Sign ups.
- State controlled.
- Legislations that prevent the borderless.
- Anti money laundering (AML) policies.
- Know your customer (KYC) policies.
- They have your information, so you could go to jail if you’re wrong about something.
- Fuck off bro!, they have your damn keys!!!.
- Infrastructure collapse.
- Collapse of the support before possible peaks in the price.
- Governance by real persons liable for threats, robberies and kidnappings. 
And believe me, I do not want to extend the article with this … (I should make a collaborative list too… ).
What could happen if the DEXs successfully and simply eliminate all or some of these frictions?
I think the answer we all imagine and there is the interest aroused in traders, developers, investors and simple mortals in making this work.
For this to happen there are different features that decentralized exchanges should have, and taking into account that decentralization, like freedom is not absolute but relative, the more you have, better:
- Decentralized Capital Deposits (non-custodial): You should be able to trade directly out of your own wallet.
- Decentralized Order Books: Orderbooks should be synced among various parties to prevent any malicious behavior in a similar way that blockchain validation consensus is decentralized.
- Decentralized Order Matching: The matching of orders should be decentralized among different parties.
- Decentralized Swap: The usage of atomic swaps. The trader’s funds should go directly from one to the other without any other parties handling the funds.
- Decentralized Governance: The direction of the project should be governed by the project’s service providers.
- Decentralized Development: The project should be open source.
- Decentralized DNS: The project should be accessible through a decentralized domain name service.
- Decentralized Client: The trades should be possibles through a downloadable client or build it from source.
It is not easy to carry out a project that meets all this, but some of the best minds in the world are working day and night to make it happen and we can all enjoy its benefits. Therefore, it will only be a matter of time.
inDEX, we trust.
PS: If you are one of those brilliant minds and you arrived here, please verify that your project is included in the list. Otherwise, do not hesitate to let me know: https://github.com/distribuyed/index