Note: graphs in this section show only a) transactions and b) wallets involved.


Centralized Exchanges are the most important "black box" of the crypto ecosystem, and dwarf their decentralized counterparts in trading volume by several magnitudes due to superior scalability, and in spite of a lack of transparency or a common framework of rules.
The many entities that fall within the definition of a CEX vary greatly among one another, for example Binance uses a single massive hot wallet to process all deposits & withdrawals, while some may use different arrangements.
Centralized Exchange Architecture ( Binance )
Thanks to IntoTheBlock for the data visualization used as reference above


  • Bigger volumes / liquidity
  • Cheaper fees
  • Maintainable / upgradeable
  • Scalability


  • Corporate monsters squeezing you for every cent you're worth
  • Hacks and other security risks
  • Operating from tax havens
  • Wash trading, and abundant varieties of other *dubious* (read: borderline criminal) practices


ETH Based standard DEX Architecture
Many in DeFi look somewhat like this, although there are many variations sprouting. They trade cost efficiency (slippage, large arbitrage gaps) for censorship resistance.


  • Censorship resistant
  • Trust-less


  • Slippage fees
  • High arbitrage opportunities in small pools
  • Bad and/or malicious listings (e.g. deploying fake tokens with same name as legitimate project to trick people into buying yours on the wave of their demand)
  • Scalability is limited to liquidity directly available
  • Only ERC20 (usually) utility tokens

CryptoArena S-DEX

Transactions & Wallets. Click to enlarge.


  • Bigger volumes / liquidity networks
  • Non-Profit - distributes revenue generated as activity incentives & performance rewards
  • Trust-less
  • Maintainable / upgradeable
  • Multichain interoperability
  • Trade ALL assets of value, however you want
  • Limitless Scalability
  • Positive Global Economic effects + creates opportunities


  • Long time to market - Requires auditing / bureaucracy / intensive testing
  • Expensive and difficult to launch