What is PancakeSwap?
PancakeSwap is a decentralized exchange (DEX) that launched in the "DeFi Year" of 2020. It is based on the Binance SmartChain.
PancakeSwap Video Review
Tired of reading? No problem, check out our video review of PancakeSwap here:
PancakeSwap Compatible Wallets
In order to use PancakeSwap you need to have one of the following wallets. The platform is only possible to use if you connect your wallet to the platform.
General Information on DEXs
DEXs are becoming increasingly more popular, mostly due to the following factors:
- They do not require a third party to store your funds, instead, you are always directly in control of your coins and you transact directly with whoever wants to buy or sell your coins.
- They normally do not require you to give out personal info. This makes it possible to create an account and right away be able to start trading.
- Their servers spread out across the globe leading to a lower risk of server downtime.
- They are essentially immune to hacker attacks.
However, DEXs normally have an order book with lower liquidity than their centralized counterparts.
PancakeSwap Liquidity and Statistics
As for PancakeSwap, on the date of first writing this review (25 February 2021), the 24 hour trading volume was USD 881 million (according to information from coinmarketcap.com). On the date of last updating this review (2 December 2021), the trading volume was roughly USD 6.9 billion.
The following picture on 15 September 2021 shows the number of users signed up in the last 30 days, the volume of trades executed in the 30-days and the total value locked on the exchange.
Why do so many exchanges not allow US citizens to open accounts with them? The answer has only three letters. S, E and C (the Securities Exchange Commission). The reason the SEC is so scary is because the US does not allow foreign companies to solicit US investors, unless those foreign companies are also registered in the US (with the SEC). If foreign companies solicit US investors anyway, the SEC can sue them. There are many examples of when the SEC has sued crypto exchanges, one of which being when they sued EtherDelta for operating an unregistered exchange. Another example was when they sued Bitfinex and claimed that the stablecoin Tether (USDT) was misleading investors. It is very likely that more cases will follow.
Decentralized exchanges are different beings than the abovementioned examples. They never have custody of any user assets. They normally don't accept any fiat currency. As such, they are less scary for regulating authorities and the same reasons to prohibit citizens from certain countries to use them can't be applied. Accordingly, we have marked PancakeSwap as "allowing US-investors" in our database.
PancakeSwap Trading View
Every trading platform has a trading view. The trading view is the part of the exchange’s website where you can see the price chart of a certain cryptocurrency and what its current price is. There are normally also buy and sell boxes, where you can place orders with respect to the relevant crypto, and, at most platforms, you will also be able to see the order history (i.e., previous transactions involving the relevant crypto). Everything in the same view on your desktop. There are of course also variations to what we have now described. This is the swap interface at PancakeSwap:
PancakeSwap Trading fees
When it comes to centralized exchanges, many of them charge what we call taker fees, from the takers, and what we call maker fees, from the makers. Takers are the people removing liquidity from the order book by accepting already placed orders, and makers are the ones placing those orders. The main alternative to this is to simply charge “flat” fees. Flat fees mean that the exchange charges the taker and the maker the same fee.
When it comes to decentralized exchanges, many of them don't charge any trading fees at all. This is in fact one of the big arguments that DEX-supporters use to explain why centralized exchanges are on their way out.
PancakeSwap is not one of the "no fee" exchanges, but charge 0.20% per transaction regardless of whether you are a maker or a taker. Compared to DEXs in general, these fees are above industry average.
PancakeSwap Withdrawal fees
To our understanding, PancakeSwap does - like most decentralized exchanges - not charge any transfer fees or withdrawal fees other than the network fees. The network fees are fees paid to the miners of the relevant crypto/blockchain, and not fees paid to the exchange itself. Network fees vary from day to day depending on the network pressure.
Generally speaking, to only have to pay the network fees should be considered as below global industry average when it comes to fee levels for crypto withdrawals (if you include all exchanges, both DEXs and CEXs in the data set).
Collectibles - NFTs
One section of the PancakeSwap platform is dedicated to collectibles. Collectibles are digital items that are non-fungible, meaning that there is only one version of the specific type of product/artwork/picture etc. Here's a sample of the collectible groups available on PancakeSwap on the date of first writing this review (25 February 2021):
PancakeSwap does not – like all (or at least close to all) other DEXs – accept any deposits of fiat currency. This means that crypto investors without any previous crypto holdings can’t trade at this trading platform. In order to purchase your first cryptos, you need a so called entry-level exchange, which is an exchange accepting deposits of fiat currency. Find one by using our Exchange Filters!
The servers of DEXs normally spread out across the globe. This is different from centralized exchanges that normally have their servers more concentrated. This spread-out of servers leads to a lower risk of server downtime and also means that DEXs are virtually immune to attacks. This is because if you take out one of the servers, it has little to no impact on the full network. However, if you manage to get into a server at a centralized exchange, you can do a lot more harm.
Also, if you make a trade at a DEX, the exchange itself never touches your assets. Accordingly, even if a hacker would somehow be able to hack the exchange (in spite of the above), the hacker can not access your assets. If you make a trade at a centralized exchange, however, you normally hold assets at that exchange. That is, until you withdraw them to your private wallet. A centralized exchange can therefore be hacked and your funds held at such exchange can be stolen. This is not the case with respect to decentralized exchanges, like PancakeSwap.