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What is Uniswap?

Learn more about how Uniswap works, why the UNI token is useful and where to buy it.

Learn about Uniswap Learn more
Where to buy UNI Find UNI exchanges

UNI is the native token of Uniswap.

Uniswap V2 is a decentralized exchange built on Ethereum that allows users to swap any two Ethereum tokens with each other thanks to the use of user-funded liquidity pools.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

Quick facts

CryptocurrencyUNI
Circulating supply (approx. as of November 2020)214 million
Maximum supply1 billion
BlockchainEthereum (ERC-20)
PurposeGovernance

How does the Uniswap exchange work?

Uniswap allows users to swap any Ethereum ERC-20 token for any other token directly from their wallets. It does so through the use of the Ethereum blockchain, which makes it a decentralized exchange (DEX) – but it’s a DEX with a difference.

Uniswap is unique to other decentralized exchanges in that instead of matching orders through an order book with markets predefined by the developers, users are able to trade any two coins they choose – which is called a swap.

Typically, an exchange will offer a limited range of currency pairs, such as ETH/LINK or DAI/USDT, which means that only a restricted range of coins can be traded with one another.

Uniswap shakes up this model in two ways – the first is by allowing users to list any token they wish, and the second is through the use of liquidity pools to help fund these swap markets. This allows new tokens to enter the market without needing to list on a centralized exchange first, which can be a slow and costly process. The only requirement is that there are enough Uniswap users providing liquidity to a given token pool so that it can be swapped.

What does UNI do?

UNI is the governance token for the Uniswap exchange.

It bestows holders with a say in how the platform is managed, giving them the power to put forward proposals, vote on changes and manage fees.

The token is inflationary and was originally distributed by an airdrop that retrospectively rewarded anyone who had used the exchange before 1 September, 2020, with UNI tokens.

Following the original airdrop, additional tokens were distributed through a liquidity mining program that expired on 17 November, 2020. After this point, all remaining tokens are managed by the Uniswap treasury, which is governed by token holders.

Anyone that missed out on the initial airdrop and UNI distribution can purchase the token on a cryptocurrency exchange, just like any other token.

What to watch out for

Uniswap platform is open-source, which means that anyone can copy the code and create their own version of the platform.

This is a potential threat to the value of the Uniswap token, as Uniswap governance can be side-stepped by creating a fork (copy) of the project. If enough people abandoned the original in favour of a new exchange, then it stands to reason that the original project (Uniswap V2) and it’s underlying token may lose value.

Following Uniswap V2’s massive success in 2020, several projects launched new platforms based on the Uniswap code, gaining a significant user base in the process. Of note were SushiSwap, DeFi Swap and a slew of other culinary-themed DeFi exchanges.

What is DeFi? Read the beginner’s guide

How to buy UNI

Here’s a step-by-step guide to one way of buying UNI. Note that there might be other options available, so you may want to compare cryptocurrency exchanges to find the one that’s right for you.

  1. Find an exchange that supports UNI, like the ones we’ve listed in the table below.
  2. Create an account and make a deposit
  3. Search for a UNI market, and trade a suitable cryptocurrency for UNI. For example, to buy UNI on the UNI/BTC market, you will need to have some Bitcoin to trade for UNI.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD, AUD, CHF, MXN

309
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in random tokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

153
cryptocurrencies

Buy 100+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
Wealthsimple Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (EFT)
CAD

26
cryptocurrencies

Get a $50 cash bonus and commission-free trades when you open a Wealthsimple Trade or Crypto account and deposit and trade at least $150. Sign-up today to take advantage of this offer!
Buy and sell a range of cryptocurrencies instantly with no deposit or withdrawal fees.
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

314
cryptocurrencies

Promo: New users earn up to USD 100 in bonus rewards on qualified deposits and trades. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
CA residents: Binance is not available for Ontario-based users.
FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Wire transfer, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), Signature SIGNET
USD,EUR,GBP,AUD,HKD,SGD,TRY,ZAR,CAD,CHF,BRL

69
cryptocurrencies

FTX is an exchange built by traders for traders, with a range of derivatives markets such as options and futures with deep leverage, in addition to standard spot markets. Note: Not available for US customers.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

48
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

437
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

73
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, iDEAL, PayPal, POLi, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP & 20+ more

274
cryptocurrencies

Promo: Earn US$10 in BTC when you refer a friend and they purchase $100 of cryptocurrency. T&Cs apply.
Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Paybis Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Neteller, Skrill, Apple Pay
EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, PHP, SGD, CHF, HKD, JPY & 30+ more

32
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies with credit card or debit card on this digital cryptocurrency exchange.

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.
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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Disclosure: The author holds a variety of cryptocurrencies at the time of writing.

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