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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 decentralised 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. Read on for our guide on how Uniswap works, how to buy UNI and what to watch out for.

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 May 2021)565 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 decentralised exchange (DEX) – but it’s a DEX with a difference.

Uniswap is unique to other decentralised 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 centralised 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 UNI tokens to anyone who had used the exchange before 1 September 2020.

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

What to watch out for

If you want to buy UNI, bear in mind that the Uniswap platform is open-source. This 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 to buy 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’ll need to have some Bitcoin to trade for UNI.
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Online banking, Skrill
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

27
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform. $50 minimum deposit.
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

306
cryptocurrencies

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.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

63
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
Exmo Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash, Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Payeer
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, PLN, TRY, UAH, KZT

59
cryptocurrencies

A UK-based cryptocurrency platform that provides buyers with a wide variety of payment options.
Revolut Cryptocurrency App
Revolut Cryptocurrency App
Bank transfer, Credit or Debit Card
GBP, USD, EUR, CAD, NZD, JPY, HKD, NOK, DKK & 9 more

21
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell several popular cryptocurrencies through your Revolut account, set up recurring purchases and transfer it to other users. You can’t transfer cryptocurrency to anyone who does not have an active Revolut account.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

41
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
BC Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Broker
BC Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Broker
Credit card, Debit card, Faster Payments (FPS), BACS, Instant SEPA
GBP, EUR

122
cryptocurrencies

BC Bitcoin is a UK-based cryptocurrency brokerage that buys and sells more than 100 different cryptocurrencies.
Kriptomat Cryptocurrency Exchange
Kriptomat Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Neteller, SOFORT, Skrill, SEPA
EUR

45
cryptocurrencies

Buy a large selection of cryptocurrencies instantly via credit card or bank account after registering. Store your crypto conveniently in Kriptomat's multi-currency wallet.
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, EUR, GBP

25
cryptocurrencies

A global cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates crypto to fiat transactions, where you can use EUR or USD to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, Wire transfer
GBP, USD, AUD, EUR, INR, BRL, KHR, CAD,CNY, NZD & 15+ more

219
cryptocurrencies

Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
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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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