Uniswap is a place where people buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies. It is the biggest “decentralized exchange” on the Ethereum blockchain, which means it operates through algorithms, with no central authority like a bank. It uses a trading model called an automated market maker, which means users can contribute funds to “liquidity pools” of any two coins on the system in exchange for a portion of trading fees. The liquidity provided by the pools gives other users freedom to trade existing coins or list new ones.
Uniswap’s native token is called UNI. It is used to incentivize users to contribute funds to the liquidity pools. It also is used as a governance token to vote on changes to the protocol.
Uniswap’s size makes it one of the biggest forces accelerating growth in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. Decentralized exchanges are global, permissionless, and anonymous. Liquidity pools make them viable places to buy and sell obscure and new tokens, or to launch tokens as part of new ventures. Beware, some of these unvetted tokens and coins can be highly volatile and/or subject to various schemes.