Synthetix and Uniswap: Building a next-gen DEX with CEX appeal

“Let’s stop focusing so much on the infrastructure. It’s time to build better front ends.”


JU.STOCKER/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Decentralized exchanges are improving and look more like the smooth user-friendly experiences of their centralized competitors — but with the added benefit of keeping crypto in the hands of their users. 

Last week, Synthetix founder Kain Warwick announced plans for the new DEX, Infinex, with the goal to “compete directly with CEXs.” In the meantime, Uniswap introduced the UniswapX protocol, which would add a range of improvements from gas-free swaps and MEV protection to cross-chain swapping.

Both apps aim to give users an intuitive interface that mimics the ease of use of centralized exchanges — minus the centralization.

On a crossover episode of the Empire and Bell Curve podcasts (Spotify/Apple), host Jason Yanowitz talks about the protocols, starting with Infinex. 

The new DEX aims to take on centralized exchanges with user experience optimization on the front end, he says. Users sign up with an email and password and then encounter a streamlined interface, he explains, keeping the complexities of DEX operations in the background.

Framework Ventures co-founder Michael Anderson explains that the new features are part of a broader Synthetix upgrade to V3, “which is more about creating new markets, new forms of liquidity and new ecosystems to trade in.”

“It’s going to start off as semi-permissioned [and] eventually move to permissionless,” he says. 

“If you have a new idea for a financial product,” he says, “that’s really what the new protocol upgrades within V3.” Some upgrades, he adds, are “already on mainnet,” with more arriving by the end of the year.

Infinex will be a “consumer-friendly way of accessing those markets that doesn’t require you to really be a DeFi native,” he says, alleviating the problems of “going through the rigmarole that we’ve all become accustomed to over the last few years.”

“It is really an effort to bring in new users to DeFi.”

Time to build better front ends

According to Anderson, Synthetix founder Warwick recognizes that crypto’s infrastructure is now ready for a smoother, more scalable experience. “We have a lot of the tools in place to be able to accomplish the growth and scalability that we think we all should be having in DeFi.”

Anderson mentions cross-chain trading as another significant improvement with the new protocol. “That’s a huge element as well,” he says, “where you don’t have to just be relying on the liquidity that exists in a certain ecosystem.”

“You could be trading on Avalanche or Arbitrum or Optimism, eventually.”

Yanowitz notes his admiration for Warwick’s contrarian approach to the industry. “Everyone right now is so focused on infrastructure,” he says, “and Kain just comes out and is like, look, the infrastructure’s here. Let’s stop focusing so much on the infrastructure. It’s time to build better front ends.”

The newly introduced UniswapX protocol will give access “to tokens from a bunch of different chains,” Yanowitz says, with added benefits like the removal of gas fees from users, better price aggregation, a simpler user interface, and an easier onboarding process.

According to the Uniswap Labs blog, the protocol will be a “permissionless, open source (GPL), Dutch auction-based protocol for trading across AMMs and other liquidity sources,” beginning as an opt-in beta on the Ethereum mainnet.

With Infinex and UniswapX, Yanowitz says, “You’ve got two pretty damn good decentralized exchanges that are going to go head-to-head with centralized exchanges in the next market.”

“We’ve seen everything that has happened in the last 12 months from a centralized entity perspective in crypto,” Anderson replies. “We now have the tools to be able to have DeFi take up the reins and run with it.”

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Top Icon.png


Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.



Uniswap aims to become a “complete platform for swapping” following its latest product releases


Continued demand for bitcoin ETFs coupled with greater demand for bitcoin from exchanges is contributing to price moves, analysts say


Morpho Blue is designed in a way where risk management is externalized, Morpho Labs’ CEO said


Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehouse solution, has partnered with Dune to make curated blockchain data available to its clients


Crypto is fast and it’s only getting faster as bitcoin threatens to retest its own highs set more than two years ago


The settlement ends the legal battle over, a domain once owned by imprisoned developer Virgil Griffith