0x (ZRX) is the native coin of the 0x open protocol that aims to become a platform for building decentralized exchanges. Its main goal is providing a framework for secure and efficient token exchange on the blockchain by combining the benefits of both centralized and decentralized exchanges
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0x platform was launched in October 2016 with the goal of making the blockchain a trading hub for all types of assets represented by tokens. To make this vision possible, its designers Amir Bandeali and Will Warren created an open protocol for the creation of decentralized exchanges on the Ethereum blockchain. While this type of exchanges offers better security, there is still the issue of how to bring down their operational costs for the end users.
With the help of off-chain ordering relay, the 0x protocol offers to help with lowering the gas prices and minimizing the bloating on the network. Off-chain order handling makes it possible to manage transactions at low costs, just as with centralized exchanges, without making compromises in the field of security and personal asset management. At the same time, the functionality of on-chain settlement of transactions allows the users to enjoy the benefits of decentralized trading, thus creating a system which offers the best of both worlds with centralized and decentralized exchanges.
By running the 0x protocol, the users can establish their exchange nodes and create an ordering book on them. These off-chain ordering books are paired with on-chain transactions which take place on the Ethereum network, making it possible to trade ERC20 tokens on it via a permissionless protocol. The users get to retain the full control over their funds instead of leaving them in the hands of centralized exchanges. For added security, orders and trading are handled with the help of smart contracts based on the Ethereum blockchain. Those who engage in trading will have to manage blockchain-based transactions whenever they manage their assets. This includes filling or placing of orders, deposition of funds intended for smart contracts etc.
The use of 0x protocol comes free of charge. Yet, a person who decides to use it to build a decentralized exchange (a “relayer”) is free to impose trading fees. They can be paid with the help of the ZRX coins which function as the governance tokens on the network. Owners of coins have their say in improving and upgrading the protocol in proportion to the number of tokens they hold.
With its focus on decentralization of exchanges, 0x found its competitors in the likes of Kyber Network and EtherDelta. The ZRX coin went live in August 2017, with its supply capped at one billion units. As of October 2018, there are 541,155,769 ZRX coins in circulation, with the currency’s market cap standing at USD 396 million. Back in early 2018, this value had its historic high at more than USD 1.1 billion.