EtherDelta is the foremost decentralized, peer-to-peer crypto exchange for ERC20 coins and tokens. It’s where most new Ethereum-based assets are listed first and acts as a go-between for anyone who wishes to trade directly and anonymously. On the downside, the site is difficult to navigate, complicated to use, and suffers from lag that can make trading difficult.
This guide covers all the important site functions, from setting up your account to depositing Ethereum, buying and selling assets, and withdrawing your profits to external wallets.
Opening an Account
EtherDelta does not have user accounts in the normal sense: you simply create an Ethereum wallet on the site.
Click New Account on the Select Account menu at the top-right of the screen, or in the hamburger menu on the mobile site.
The site instantly creates an Ethereum wallet and shows you the public and private keys. Keep your private key private! Write it down or paste it into a document and either move it to a thumb drive or encrypt it.
Depositing funds is as simple as moving ETH from your current wallet to your EtherDelta wallet.
1. Open your Ethereum wallet and choose Send.
2. Enter the amount to send and your EtherDelta public key as the destination address. This example is from the Exodus client:
3. Wait for your deposit to confirm, like any other crypto transaction.
Buying Coins and Tokens
The site uses Ethereum smart contracts to handle trades, so you must transfer ETH from your EtherDelta wallet into a smart contract for the asset you want to buy.
1. Pick the token or coin from the drop-down list at the top of the screen.
2. Click the Deposit tab in the Balance window.
3. Check you’re working with the right token, enter the amount of ETH to put into the contract and click Deposit. Don’t put all your funds in: you’ll need some for gas!
4. Check that your funds are in the EtherDelta column. You’re ready to buy!
5. The easiest way to buy is from the Order Book window. The red listings are current offers for sale (green are buy orders), with the most expensive at the top.
6. You’re buying, so click the cheapest sale nearest the bottom of the red list that fits your needs.
7. You’ll see a pop-up with all the details. Click Buy and the deal is done!
8. Alternatively, you can create your own buy order from the New Order window. You’ll need a calculator to work out the market rate, though the Price Chart window offers some help.
9. Fill out the buy order with your offer. The site tells you if there’s a sell order that might suit you
10.Click Buy. As EtherDelta is a peer-to-peer exchange, you’ll have to wait until a seller decides to accept your purchase offer.
Selling Coins and Tokens
Selling works the same as buying.
Use the Deposit window to move assets from your EtherDelta wallet into a smart contract, then click a buy order (in green, with the best offers at the top) in the Order Book or create a personalized sale in the New Order window.
You should be comfortable with the smart contracts system EtherDelta uses by now, so the process of withdrawing your funds from a contract (and back into your EtherDelta wallet) is simple:
1. Pick the token or coin you want to move from the drop-down list at the top of the screen.
2. Click the Withdraw tab in the Balance window.
3. Check you’re working with the right balance, then enter the amount of the asset and/or ETH you wish to withdraw from the contract.
4. Click Withdraw for each.
If you want to leave your coins and tokens in your EtherDelta wallet, you can – you control the wallet keys, so there’s no risk of hacking! However, if you wish to move your assets off-site, you need to Transfer them out:
1. Click the Transfer tab in the Balance window.
2. Enter the amount of the asset and/or ETH you wish to withdraw EtherDelta to your off-site wallet(s).
3. Click Transfer for each.
Note that you’ll have to pay gas on transfers, so leave a little to cover fees.
Orders and History
Like any good exchange, EtherDelta tracks your open orders (buying and selling) and your on-site history. However, the site only stores your history for a short time, so you should keep track of your activity in a spreadsheet or third-party app.
Check the My Transactions window’s Trades, Orders, and Funds tabs for full details, but bear in mind that each coin and token has its own history!
No guide to EtherData would be complete without addressing the benefits and (sometimes painfully obvious) difficulties the site presents.
On the plus side, the site is completely anonymous. You never enter your email address or any identifying information, so there’s no way to track your activity – at least not without a court order to access ISP records.
Lists ERC20 tokens First
EtherDelta is also the place where most ERC20 tokens and coins launch, so trading there gets you in on deals before they hit the centralized exchanges and everyone buys in. It’s a great place to pick up deals with massive ROI.
However, the site does have problems.
Layout and Load Time
The most glaring issue is the busy screen layout, making the site slow to load and laggy to use.
Some traders complain of orders remaining in the active list after they’re taken. Others complain of confusion with multiple tabs in the same screen section (such as Buy and Sell in the New Order window).
Response Time During ICOs
During popular ICOs and when the Ethereum blockchain is busy, deposit times and site response can lag behind the required level for effective trading.
Manual Activity Tracking
EtherDelta use of smart contracts requires a great deal of micromanagement. There’s no “all-in-one assets view” to show what you’re holding, what’s tied up in contracts and what’s ready to transfer out. Be prepared to track your activity by hand.
This is a very brief overview of the functionality and complex interface at EtherDelta. As the first place most new tokens are listed, it’s a great way to buy into promising ICOs before they list on the centralized exchanges and everyone gets in.
However, the site has a steeper learning curve than centralized exchanges and the ongoing problems with lag and micromanagement make it a bumpier ride than usual. Whether you’re a newbie looking to get in early or an experienced trader who values anonymity, EtherDelta is an essential port of call in the Ethereum world.