Cryptocurrency News & Updates

Cardano: DEX Pangs and Growing Pains |


Cardano just got its first DEX, but despite the hype, the user experience has proven to be less than stellar.

Since its launch on January 20, SundaeSwap has clocked in impressive usage statistics, as thousands of users flocked to the platform to be among the first to trade their ADA and Cardano-based tokens on-chain.

However, the vast majority of users encountered one of a variety of issues when using the platforms — one of the most common of which is the ​​”Mempool full, retry later” error. This is down to the limited size of the Cardano mempool, which currently sits at 128 KB.

Later network parameter changes are set to alleviate some of this congestion by increasing the network throughput — such as by increasing the memory of the Plutus Platform (Cardano’s smart contract platform) in an upcoming January 25 upgrade. But it remains unclear whether this will be sufficient to help it process the abnormally high load.

Despite there now being more than 2.5 million Cardano wallets, and with close to 200,000 on-chain transactions per day (and growing fast), these users still don’t have a reliable way to trade their native ADA without relying on centralized platforms.

Image courtesy: Messari

Now, with more than 2,000 applications waiting to deploy on the Cardano mainnet, the problem could be set from bad to worse.

A number of platforms have emerged in recent months to help pick up the slack, many of which focus on delivering an intuitive cross-chain trading experience. But despite the rapid growth of cross-chain exchanges, few have opted to support the Cardano ecosystem due to a general lack of bridge options.

But hope looks to be on the horizon as AstroSwap is set to become one of the very few cryptocurrency exchanges that specifically cater to Cardano users. Although the platform is being built on Velas — a high-speed Solana fork — it’ll make use of a novel solution to allow traders to swap synthetic Cardano on the platform.



Unlike SundaeSwap, which requires users to use a Cardano-specific wallet, such as Nami, AstroSwap supports the popular MetaMask client, ensuring there is essentially no learning curve. In line with the clear cross-chain trajectory, the blockchain market appears headed in, the platform aims to provide a seamless experience for asset swaps.

Other platforms are also gearing up to share the load, including the upcoming Ravendex platform. Though the DEX is also built on the Cardano blockchain, it will likely be the first to include a cross-chain bridge, helping projects migrate their assets from Ethereum to Cardano.

But it may suffer the same challenges as SundaeSwap if Cardano cannot increase its throughput relatively quickly.

Though it is clear that there is a huge amount of demand for on-chain trading on Cardano, the technology seemingly isn’t yet up to par. As a result, cross-chain DEXes will likely continue to muscle in on the Cardano trader base and may end up succeeding where native DEXes failed.

Nonetheless, we must remember that the blockchain and DeFi landscape is a largely iterative medium. Roadblocks, hurdles, and setbacks are all part of the process toward building back stronger. It wouldn’t be as fun if it were always smooth sailing.

We either win, or we learn. And that’s why we always move forward.


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