CRYPTOCURRENCYOct 10, 2019Rob Loggia
Cybersecurity legend, 2016 and 2020 United States presidential candidate and cryptocurrency powerhouse John McAfee recently unveiled a beta version of his McAfee-branded distributed exchange for cryptocurrency trading. The beta supports all ERC-20 Ethereum tokens and is open for public use here. At first glance this may look like just another distributed exchange (DEX). After all, there is an abundance of platforms touting varying degrees of decentralization that are already available for people to use. McAfeeDEX, however, seeks to address some of the serious problems most of these existing platforms have.
The first and most crucial feature of McAfeeDEX, that immediately sets it apart from many exchanges using the DEX label, is that the platform is actually distributed and decentralized, with no central authority or infrastructure. Because decentralization is a popular concept in the cryptocurrency community, many exchanges have taken to either calling themselves a DEX, or have released a DEX-like product in parallel with their centralized product. But when we look at how some of these so-called DEX exchanges actually function, we quickly find aspects of the design that are centralized. Whether it is custodial wallets that must be used, centralized servers to match buyers with sellers, KYC/AML procedures, or a company collecting the fees, there is some element of the exchange that makes it vulnerable to internal corruption or to external interference from entities like governments or agencies.
Upon launch, McAfeeDEX is one of the small handful of DEX platforms that actually earn the title. The user-facing DEX interface is actually a frontend (with API) that interacts with the public Ethereum blockchain via Smart Contract. The fees charged by the exchange are distributed in full to holders of two tokens, ESH and SDEX, which are available for purchase by the public. Anybody can list a token for trading, anybody can initiate a transaction, and there is literally no way for anybody to "take down" the platform without taking down the entire Ethereum blockchain. Nobody can freeze your funds, confiscate your funds, or give any authorities information about you.
So if there are already a few choices for actual DEX trading, what is the problem? Why do we need another one? Aside from the general wisdom that a flourishing ecosystem can always benefit from more choices, there is one hurdle none of the existing platforms have solved: adoption. Despite some existing for quite some time, they see very little actual use in the real world, especially when compared to centralized platforms. This leads to bad liquidity and a poor selection of tradeable assets. Potential users show up, see this, and leave. Wash-rinse-repeat.
In order for the DEX model of exchange to have a viable future and benefit for than just fringe crypto enthusiasts, more people have to start using them. While the McAfee name will be a draw for some people, the platform has a larger plan for expanding it's footprint. Because the platform is truly decentralized, third parties can establish their own "portal" to the infrastructure and provide trading services under their brand to their audience.
The portal concept is a powerful one because the liquidity of every portal is combined, meaning that all of the portals benefit from the combined user base. This means that the ecosystem grows beyond the potential of the McAfee-branded product alone. In fact, the McAfeeDEX frontend could be boarded up and the portals would still continue to function.
The world needs this because the world needs the fully permissionless, anonymous model of cryptocurrency exchange - the genuine DEX model - to survive and to flourish. We are in a war against authoritarianism, one that requires that we recognize the powerful weapon that economic control over individuals represents. Governments and authoritarians would like it so that everything we do financially is transparent to them. They have been busy building an infrastructure so that they can bring down the banhammer on our ability to transact if they don't like the things we say, do, sell or buy. And there can be no denying that the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem is on their radar.
Do yourself and everyone else a favor, and check out McAfeeDEX. If you are a developer or entrepreneur, consider developing apps for the platform or opening a portal. McAfeeDEX offers support services for portal bootstrapping for a low fee, or a portal can be opened for free using the open source software by anyone. By getting involved as a user, developer or portal operator, you'll be doing more than discovering a great platform. You'll be helping to lay the bricks for an infrastructure we all need.