What Is an Automated Market Maker (AMM) and How Does it Work?

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Have you ever heard of an Automated Market Maker (AMM)? If you’re interested in cryptocurrencies and DeFi, then you might have come across this term before. But for those who are not familiar, an AMM is a revolutionary technology that has changed the way we trade cryptocurrencies.

So, what is an AMM?

An AMM is a decentralized exchange (DEX) mechanism that uses mathematical algorithms to determine the prices of digital assets in a market. In a traditional exchange, buyers and sellers place orders, and the exchange matches them to execute trades. However, in a DEX using an AMM, there are no order books or centralized intermediaries. Instead, an AMM uses a liquidity pool to enable trading.

How does it work?

In an AMM, liquidity providers (LPs) deposit two types of tokens (usually a stablecoin and a cryptocurrency) into a smart contract. These tokens are used to create a pool of funds that can be used for trading. The ratio of the two tokens determines the price of the digital asset in the pool.

For example, let’s say you want to trade Ethereum (ETH) for DAI, a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. You can do this on a DEX that uses an AMM. The AMM will check the current ratio of ETH to DAI in the pool and determine the price of ETH based on that ratio. If there is more ETH than DAI in the pool, then the price of ETH will be higher, and if there is more DAI than ETH, then the price of ETH will be lower.

When you place a trade on an AMM, you are effectively swapping one token for another. The AMM will use the tokens in the pool to execute the trade, and the price will be based on the current ratio of the tokens in the pool. The trade will then be recorded on the blockchain, and the tokens will be transferred to your wallet.

How AMM is Different from Order Book Model?

To start with, let’s talk about the Order Book Model. This is the traditional way of trading that most people are familiar with. In this model, buyers and sellers place orders to buy or sell a particular asset at a specified price. These orders are then listed in an order book, which is essentially a ledger that displays all the buy and sell orders for a particular asset.

In the Order Book Model, buyers and sellers interact directly with each other. They can see the prices and quantities that other participants are offering, and they can choose to accept or reject those offers. This model is often used in centralized exchanges, where the exchange acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers and matches them based on their orders.

On the other hand, AMM is a relatively new model of trading that is becoming increasingly popular in decentralized exchanges. In AMM, there is no order book. Instead, a mathematical formula is used to determine the price of an asset based on its supply and demand.

Pros of AMM in DeFi

AMMs make it easy for anyone to provide liquidity to a DEX. This is because there is no need for specialized trading knowledge or market-making skills. All you need is some cryptocurrency to contribute to the liquidity pool and you can start earning trading fees. This democratizes access to trading and makes it possible for more people to participate in DeFi.

Another advantage of AMMs is that they are resistant to market manipulation. Because the price of assets in the liquidity pool is determined by a mathematical formula, it is much harder for traders to manipulate the market by placing large orders or using other tactics. This makes the market more transparent and fair for all participants.

AMMs are also highly customizable, which means that they can be adapted to suit the specific needs of different DEXs. For example, the formula used to calculate prices can be adjusted to reflect different trading strategies or market conditions. This flexibility makes AMMs a versatile and adaptable solution for creating liquidity in DeFi.

These features make AMMs a powerful and innovative solution for creating liquidity in the decentralized finance space.

Cons of AMM in DeFi

AMMs can be vulnerable to impermanent loss. This occurs when the price of the assets being traded changes significantly, causing the liquidity provider to lose value compared to simply holding the assets. In other words, if the price of one asset in the pool increases while the other decreases, a liquidity provider could lose out on potential profits compared to if they had simply held the assets themselves.

Another potential issue with AMMs is that they can have higher gas fees than traditional centralized exchanges. This is because every trade on an AMM must be recorded on the blockchain, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

AMMs may not be suitable for larger trades due to their limited liquidity. This can result in slippage, which is when the actual price received for an asset is different from the expected price. This can be especially problematic for traders who need to execute large orders quickly and accurately.


AMMs have gained widespread adoption in the cryptocurrency world, and many platforms now use them as the primary mechanism for trading. They have also paved the way for new financial innovations such as yield farming, liquidity pools, and more.

As the world of decentralized finance continues to grow, AMMs will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping the future of trading and finance. And with further advances in technology, we can expect to see even more exciting developments in this space in the years to come.


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