Our decentralized exchange, BarterDEX, is capable of supporting trades between coins that are based on the Bitcoin protocol and also tokens based on the Ethereum protocol. (Trading with the Ethereum-protocol coins is just out of the early testing stage and is not yet publicly available.)
For example, coins based on the Bitcoin protocol and therefore currently featured on our exchange include names such as Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash, Zcash, and more. Anything that runs on the Ethereum platform is likely to be an ERC-20 token, and all of these tokens can be featured on BarterDEX as well.
Swaps that occur with the Bitcoin protocol we call “atomic swaps.” Those that occur with the Ethereum protocol we call “etomic swaps.”
The difference between the two methods ultimately may not matter to an average user, but on a technical level, the difference is important to understand. It ties in with security, and security is the foundation of any cryptocurrency exchange.
BarterDEX’s atomic-swap technology (with an “a”) relies on the security features provided in the original Bitcoin protocol, as put forth by Satoshi Nakamoto. These security features we believe to be very important in establishing a secure decentralized exchange. The original security features of the Bitcoin protocol are battle-tested methods of securely transferring financial value.
Ethereum and its ERC20 tokens are currently not directly compatible with these core security features found in the original Bitcoin protocol. The Ethereum development team did not include these features in the Ethereum core during the development process. Some of the missing elements include CLTV, Multisig, and OP_RETURN. The developers instead included these features in their smart-contract technology.
Some elements of their smart-contract technology function not within the Ethereum core, but rather on a higher floor of their backend code. While Ethereum therefore can perform these CLTV, Multisig, and OP_RETURN features within the Ethereum ecosystem itself, they are currently unable to perform the atomic swaps that the Bitcoin protocol enables.
Furthermore, ERC20 tokens are not actual blockchain coins. They only represent smart-contract agreements, locked to the main Ethereum blockchain’s coins. This creates various complexities in the underlying technology for which we have a working solution, though it is not yet publicly available.
We are in the process now of constructing the technology that bridges the two different protocols. In the future, users should be able to trade between Bitcoin-protocol coins and Ethereum-based coins as a part of the normal trading process.