The DEX - It's used and it's useful

Counterwallet has a neat Network Stats tool where you can view transaction history. I chose to select only DEX orders and cancellations over the last six months:

As you can see, there is a steady use of the DEX.

It’s a nice surprise, as the DEX was intended more as a proof-of-concept than a replacement of centralized exchanges. The DEX is slow and it costs a BTC tx fee to place an order. The DEX’ philosophical selling point is that trade is risk-free. Funds are escrowed in the protocol. In Bitcoin Land this is maybe more than a theoretical advantage, which anyone who’s been Gox’ed surely will agree on. Maybe this is why people actually use it?

Another reason people may use it is to trade illiquid Spells of Genesis cards. When people agree to trade cards, the DEX is nothing but revolutionary. Without a DEX they would need to trust each other or a neutral third party. The DEX eliminates this hurdle. Mika from Finaland and Josh from Alabama don’t need to know each other, trust each other, or like each other - they can still exchange tokens on the DEX.

Other comments on the DEX?

to me it looks like the DEX adds a lot of complexity to counterparty, from a ‘simple’ asset ledger it goes to a complex trade engine.

this is coming from someone who just dove into the code and thinking about not having to use counterpartylib, which without the order and bet messages would have been pretty easy, but with those 2 looks like a dangerous undertaking.

to me, as a developer, counterparty(lib) looks like it’s DEX and the tokens are just a feature.

I can’t argue about it’s usefulness and I understand that it needs to be part of the protocol to work, but it does come a price for the project in general.

AFAIK counterpartylib runs like clockwork. No issues, bugs or major upgrades for six months.
I don’t run it myself though, so better hear opinions of @jdogresorg, @loon3 and @cointea1121.

in my case it’s not about it’s quality, it’s about being able to implement the counterparty protocol in another language/program without the reliance on counterpartylib

You should check out the API at as allows you to request counterparty information via API.

You also might want to check out the public counterparty servers at as that will allow you to communicate with counterparty without the need to setup/run/maintain your own counterparty server.

Finally, if you need to generate counterparty transactions, you can do so via the counterparty API. Examples of how to interact with the API can be found at

I’m the CTO @ Blocktrail, we’re looking into possibilities of adding support for counterparty to our products, and preferably tied into our current architecture.

So looking at all the possibilities I kinda came to the conclusion that though not as much work as building your own bitcoin full node, counterparty is still a big thing to implement.

From my perspective that’s mostly due to the order/bet stuff, since the other messages are relatively simple and it wouldn’t be hard to make sure any new implementation would be able to match all consensus rules.
However the order and bet messages add a lot of complexity and more importantly a lot of possibilities to make an error in a consensus rule.

Looking at the various protocol changes in the code and the block heights where they kicked in it does (from an outsiders percpective) look like it’s more stable now, and thus safer to have an alternative implementation then say 6 months ago.

also that last link is dead :wink:

Ahh… I got ya now… didn’t realize you were the CTO of blocktrail :slight_smile: Great blockchain explorer BTW.

Also… thanks for the heads up on that browser link being dead… seems to have died in the last few minutes as it was working when I looked up the info and copied the link 5-10 minutes ago. I’ve pinged the devs… page should be back up shortly.

When i release the XCP show this week please have a listen, i have robby on and he is talking about the current state of counterparty and the information he gives may be useful to you :smiley: It posts this sunday

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@rubensayshi check out and

The first link is a Counterparty Spec that Devon from Tokenly put together. It’s not complete but does a great job explaining how counterparty data is encoded and stored in OP_CHECKMULTISIG or OP_RETURN.

The second link is a Javascript library I put together for building Counterparty transactions. I utilize this library exclusively in Tokenly Pockets (

I’m curious who’s using the Dex constantly.

A major use case for the Dex so far is probably SoG card trading but if there is someone who’s using the dex for some other purposes, I would love to hear and know more about how the dex is being used.

Personally, I am trying to get readers of my blog to sell and buy the blog tokens on the Dex and have had a partial success. At least some people placed buy/sell orders and a few got matched.

Two of us at CryptoBets use the DEx constantly. I create tokens, one of my partners sells them at market price. See bottom of this post for more about that.

The hardest part is letting go of what you wish the DEx would be, and accepting what it is. The escrowing feature is what drew us to it.

Does anyone use the betting menu? We looked around quite a bit for anyone who was using this, and it seems like the only people who were acting as oracles last year have disappeared this year. We were never able to match a bet last year, either.

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betting is currently disabled and i would assume that it can only be picked back up if a community member wishes to do so. The main Counterparty devs will pretty much be working on the core from this point forward

You might like our IndieSquare Wallet then, haha

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BTW, we plan to publish the IndieSquare’s usage statistics in the future, including the dex usage on mobile.

Right now, things are still kind of slow but after we polished it a little more and with the release of SoG beta, I expect the number to go up significantly.