Imperial College London and FluidAI Announce Groundbreaking AI Partnership! Read here 🤝

Automated market makers (AMMs): How Algorithms Facilitate Liquidity Provision in DEXs

Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) have revolutionized the world of cryptocurrency trading by eliminating the need for intermediaries and central authorities. One of the key innovations that power DEXs is Automated Market Makers (AMMs). These algorithms have transformed the way liquidity is provided, making it accessible to anyone with an internet connection and cryptocurrency assets. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of AMMs and explore how algorithms facilitate liquidity provision in DEXs.


The Need for Liquidity

Liquidity is the lifeblood of any financial market. It refers to the ease with which an asset can be bought or sold without significantly impacting its price. In traditional centralized exchanges, liquidity is typically provided by market makers and institutional investors. However, DEXs operate in a decentralized and peer-to-peer manner, making it challenging to attract traditional market makers.


This is where Automated Market Makers step in.


What Are Automated Market Makers (AMMs)?

At their core, AMMs are a type of decentralized algorithm that enables users to trade cryptocurrencies without the need for a centralized intermediary or an order book. Instead of relying on traditional buy and sell orders, AMMs utilize liquidity pools to facilitate trades. These liquidity pools are formed by users who lock up pairs of assets in smart contracts. The most common type of AMM is based on the constant product formula, often represented as x * y = k, where x and y represent the quantities of two assets in the liquidity pool, and k is a constant value.


How Do AMMs Work?

AMMs work by automatically adjusting asset prices based on supply and demand within the liquidity pool. When a user wants to trade one cryptocurrency for another, they interact directly with the AMM’s smart contract. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how an AMM trade occurs:

  • User Interaction: A trader sends a transaction to the AMM’s smart contract, specifying the assets they want to swap and the amount they wish to trade.
  • Price Calculation: The AMM uses its algorithm (usually the constant product formula) to calculate the current price of the assets in the liquidity pool. This calculation ensures that the product of the assets in the pool remains constant.
  • Asset Swap: The smart contract calculates how many of the target assets the trader will receive based on the current price and executes the swap.
  • Liquidity Providers: Liquidity providers who have deposited assets in the liquidity pool receive fees from the trade, distributed proportionally to their share of the pool.


Benefits of AMMs in DEXs

  • Accessibility: AMMs democratize liquidity provision by allowing anyone to become a liquidity provider. This inclusivity is a stark contrast to traditional markets where large institutions dominate.
  • 24/7 Trading: DEXs powered by AMMs operate 24/7, providing traders with continuous access to cryptocurrency markets, unlike traditional exchanges with set trading hours.
  • No Centralization: AMMs eliminate the need for centralized intermediaries, reducing counterparty risk and promoting trustlessness in trading.
  • Lower Entry Barriers: Liquidity providers can participate with relatively small amounts of assets, making it more accessible to retail traders.
  • Algorithmic Pricing: The dynamic pricing mechanism of AMMs allows for more efficient price discovery and adapts rapidly to market conditions.


Risks and Challenges

While AMMs have revolutionized liquidity provision in DEXs, they are not without risks and challenges. Here are a few key considerations:

  • Impermanent Loss: Liquidity providers may experience impermanent loss when the value of their assets in the pool diverges from holding the same assets in their wallets. This risk arises from price fluctuations.
  • Limited Asset Coverage: Some AMMs may have limited asset offerings, which can restrict the range of assets available for trading.
  • Front-Running: In some cases, malicious actors can take advantage of the predictable behavior of AMMs to execute trades before others, potentially causing unfair advantages.
  • Algorithm Complexity: Understanding the inner workings of AMMs and the constant product formula can be challenging for newcomers to the space.


Automated Market Makers have played a pivotal role in transforming the world of decentralized finance. They have made liquidity provision accessible to a broader audience, reduced reliance on centralized intermediaries, and facilitated 24/7 trading in DEXs. Despite the risks and complexities associated with AMMs, their potential to reshape the financial landscape is undeniable.

As the cryptocurrency and DeFi space continues to evolve, it’s crucial for participants to educate themselves about AMMs and their algorithms to make informed decisions when providing liquidity or trading on decentralized exchanges. With AMMs at the forefront of innovation, the future of decentralized finance looks promising and more inclusive than ever before.