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Blockchain 101 #10: Crypto Exchanges: Navigating the Realm of Crypto Markets

A roadmap for those looking to harness the potential of this dynamic crypto market

In the ever-evolving landscape of the financial world, cryptocurrencies have emerged as a revolutionary force, challenging traditional notions of currency and investment. As interest in digital assets continues to surge, navigating the complex realm of crypto exchanges becomes crucial for both newcomers and seasoned investors alike. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the process of buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies on various exchanges, providing a roadmap for those looking to harness the potential of this dynamic market.

Crypto exchanges serve as digital marketplaces where users can buy, sell, and trade a diverse range of cryptocurrencies. These platforms facilitate transactions by connecting buyers with sellers, creating a seamless and efficient environment for crypto enthusiasts. In the vast and dynamic landscape of cryptocurrencies, the existence of two distinct types of exchanges, centralised (CEX) and decentralised (DEX), reflects the diverse needs and philosophies of the crypto community. Each type comes with its own set of pros and cons, catering to different preferences, priorities, and risk appetites.

Centralised exchanges operate as intermediaries, managing user funds and executing transactions on their platforms. Examples include Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken. These exchanges are user-friendly, offering a familiar trading experience similar to traditional stock markets.


  1. User-Friendly Interface: Centralised exchanges boast interfaces that are often reminiscent of traditional stock markets, making them accessible and familiar to users with a background in conventional finance.

  2. Liquidity: CEXs offer higher liquidity due to the centralised nature of transactions. This means that assets can be bought or sold with minimal slippage, providing a smoother trading experience.

  3. Fiat Onramps: CEXs facilitate the direct conversion of fiat currencies into cryptocurrencies, making it easier for newcomers to enter the crypto space.


  1. Custodial Risk: Users must trust the exchange with the custody of their funds, exposing them to the risk of hacks or mismanagement by the platform. Example: FTX ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿผ

  2. Centralised Control: The exchange operates as a central authority, controlling key functions such as fund management and order execution, which contradicts the decentralised ethos of cryptocurrencies.

  3. Regulatory Scrutiny: Centralised exchanges are subject to regulatory scrutiny and compliance requirements, adding a layer of complexity and potential limitations.

Decentralised exchanges operate without a central authority, allowing users to trade directly with one another through smart contracts. Uniswap and Sushiswap are notable examples. DEXs prioritise user control over funds but may have a steeper learning curve compared to CEXs.


  1. User Control: DEXs prioritise user control over funds. Users retain possession of their private keys, enhancing security and reducing the risk of hacks or mismanagement.

  2. Trustlessness: Transactions on DEXs occur directly between users through smart contracts, eliminating the need for an intermediary and fostering trustlessness, a core principle of blockchain technology.

  3. Privacy: DEXs provide a higher degree of privacy, as users do not need to undergo extensive identity verification processes.


  1. Learning Curve: The user interface of DEXs can be more complex, and the overall user experience may require a steeper learning curve, especially for those new to decentralised finance.

  2. Liquidity Challenges: DEXs may face liquidity challenges, particularly for less popular tokens, leading to higher slippage and potential difficulties in executing large trades.

  3. Limited Fiat Onramps: Unlike CEXs, DEXs may not provide direct fiat-to-crypto onramps, necessitating users to acquire cryptocurrencies before participating in trades.

Crypto exchanges offer various trading pairs, representing the relationships between different cryptocurrencies. Understanding the trading interface is paramount, as it displays real-time price charts, order books, and trade history. Key elements include market orders (buy/sell at current market prices), limit orders (set a specific price for buying/selling), and stop orders (trigger a market order when a specific price is reached).

Successful trading is not just about individual moves, it's about orchestrating a symphony of orders that align with a grand strategy. Traders combine market orders for swift execution, limit orders for precise entry and exit points, and stop orders for risk management. The mastery lies in the seamless integration of these orders, adapting to the ever-shifting rhythms of the crypto market.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency trading, the mastery of risk management stands as a pivotal factor for preserving capital and achieving sustained success. One crucial strategy in this dynamic environment involves the strategic use of Stop-Loss and Take-Profit Orders.

Implementing Stop-Loss Orders involves setting predetermined price levels at which your assets will be automatically sold to mitigate potential losses. This proactive approach is designed to counteract emotional decision-making during market fluctuations, offering a disciplined safeguard for your investments.

Take-Profit Orders, on the other hand, allow you to establish target prices at which a predefined portion or the entirety of your assets will be automatically sold. This strategic move enables you to capitalise on favourable market movements, locking in profits and ensuring that your gains are secured.

For a comprehensive exploration of navigating the nuances of the crypto markets, delve into the insights shared in a separate article that I wrote, "Navigating Market Bottoms". Gain a deeper understanding of strategic approaches that can enhance your trading acumen and fortify your position in the dynamic world of cryptocurrency.

As cryptocurrencies continue to redefine the financial landscape, navigating the world of crypto exchanges becomes a fundamental skill for investors. Whether using centralised or decentralised platforms, understanding the trading processes and risk mitigation strategies is crucial. By incorporating effective risk management strategies, users can harness the full potential of crypto exchanges on their path to buying, selling, and trading digital assets. Remember, in the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies, knowledge is power, and a well-informed approach is the key to success.

We, from Blockchain at NTU, thank you for being part of this enlightening journey and extend a warm welcome to the enthralling universe of blockchain!

NOTE: Articles written by Blockchain at NTU ARE NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE!

Written By:
Dann Wee
Research Director of Blockchain at NTU Club AY23/24

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