My Two OOEs about OpenOcean (DeFi aggregator)
If you are anything like me, aggregators can be a great way to shop around for a decent price without needing to jump onto a million different websites to try and compare products. When I hunting around for travel tickets, electronics, books, energy/internet provider or health insurance provide, I will often hop onto a relevant aggregator or comparison site to get an overview for what there is out there in the endless ocean of the internet.
So, with DeFi swaps, OpenOcean is one of a few projects that have sprung up to fill the demand. Not all of us can keep up with the fast shifting prices and the multitude of different swap platforms that have sprung into existence. So, if you are anything like me... you stick to a few trusted DeFi exchanges and rarely venture out into the more exotic areas which might give you a better deal.
So, every type of user will get a different value out of a DeFi aggregator. I have mostly done swaps on Ethereum and its associated L2s and sidechains, but on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) I tend to gravitate towards Pancakeswap. I am not a user that makes a large amount of swaps, I'm not a trader at all... so, I tend to just make a single swap to hold for a long period of time. On Ethereum, it is with the purpose to access tokens that haven't had a listing on centralised exchanges (CEXs), on BSC I use swaps to keep a rolling flow of BNB to keep my hot wallet funded for gas fees.
So, in the end, my use case for an aggregator like OpenOcean isn't going to be the same as those who like to flip tokens regularly for profit. There are things about OpenOcean that I really enjoy when using it, but there are a couple of little things that I wish were different.... and a little pretty please personal request?!
... so, with that in mind, let's take a little guided tour of OpenOcean!
Open Ocean tour!
So, let's just take a quick look at the chains that are supported. Pretty much all the major DeFi smart chains are represented. For Ethereum, I tend to stick to Uniswap and Balancer for most of my swaps anyway...so, I'm not really getting much use out of that. Partly, it is the spending approval for a number of different DeFi contracts starts to get a touch too pricy for me... even when the gas fees are low.
However, BSC is a different matter. The spending approval isn't pricy at all... and it is more useful, as I'm not so much attached to a particular DeFi platform unlike the Ethereum ecosystem. I tend to stick to Pancakeswap mostly, but if I need to then I will explore others. Not knowing much of the BSC ecosystem, I'm also much happier if I use OpenOcean as a sort of pre-vetting! I'm not completely out in the wildlands, but a slightly sheltered and partly vetted version of the wild!
Polygon is represented as the other chain that I use, but again, I use a different addresses for Ethereum (and associated chains) compared to BSC... and I tend to keep the Ethereum ones further away from danger. The BSC wallets are on my phone (Trust and SafePal) which means I have more opportunity to play around with aggregators and other things like that... on the computers, I tend to just sit down with a purpose and get up and go away to do other things immediately after I'm done.
I do see that xDAI and Fantom are on the list of coming chains (I also wouldn't mind Optimistic Ethereum...), so that is promising. Probably a nice thing to start on OpenOcean when they launch before I get too attached to a particular platform!
One thing that you will notice about OpenOcean which I personally find a little less good, is that there are no chains of swaps. You only have the single swap, and will have to manually do the chaining through the pools yourself (please, someone correct me if I'm wrong... I may have missed the option in the interface!). On BSC, this has been a big factor in me not using more often... I often have tokens that I pick up through the Pancakeswap pools, and they will either not be represented on OpenOcean or have limited trading pairs. Often I will sell a bit of the tokens to cover some gas costs in BNB and also to store up a little bit more CAKE.
It is possible to add liquidity to the pools as well, but I tend to shy away from adding to pools all over the place. Like I said, I tend to hold crypto tokens for the long haul and by adding them to pools, you are in essence saying that you are putting them up for sale (aka impermanent loss). Seeing as I don't really want to be selling, I mostly don't do it.
The full web interface for OpenOcean is really quite easy and responsive to use. It isn't cluttered and full of shiny mascots and made-up "fun" names for everything. I find that sort of fluff annoying and confusing... and to be honest, if there are things that I'm going to use that are going to be handling my crypto, I want them to be more "serious" than "playful". However, that appears to be more of a personal preference, but I do notice that projects built on Ethereum tend to have a more serious and trustworthy sheen to them.
Another thing that I have to say that I am a huge fan of, is the consistent use of dark theme. I'm a dark theme fan... I love it everywhere, and there is nothing more annoying than having a dark theme platform that suddenly blasts an inverted white screen at you! That doesn't happen here... (that I've noticed...).
Another interesting addition that I feel like more DeFi platforms could offer is the choice between the specified amount or infinite unlock. On Ethereum, this would be a bit more painful as the extra transaction start to get more expensive if you go for the non-infinite version. It is nice to have the choice, and on BSC it is much less of a problem to approve a new spend each time. After a while, you start to realise that you have spending approval transactions all over the bloody internet.... at which point, it might be easier to port everything over to a new wallet rather than trying to revoke them all.
Which brings me to another point... it would be nice AFTER the swap is completed to queue or have the option to REVOKE the spending approval? PLEASE?
One last thing does deserve a mention. Something that I've noticed recently on other BSC DeFi platforms is how sluggish they are getting on a mobile browser, especially the build-in wallet browsers. They are getting really quite clunky to load... but not OpenOcean, it is still snappy on the mobile and wallet browsers. It is such a small thing, but it makes the platform a pleasure to use... there is nothing more annoying than waiting for a website to load, and then move click targets just as your press, because there was just one more thing to load...
So, thanks for that!
OpenOcean, there are a number of things that I really like about this DeFi aggregator... so, why am I not going there every single time? Well, on Ethereum mainnet, it is no fault of OpenOcean, it is the force of habit that I head straight to Uniswap and Balancer for my swaps. However, on BSC, the case is quite compelling... however, I am often missing the lesser known tokens... that means that I have to bounce back to Pancakeswap.
I love the choice of the limited and infinite spending approvals and would love it if they could include a revoke option as well. I think that that is something that should be adopted more... it would be annoying and costly on some chains, but having that door open is a little worrisome.
I will definitely be using OpenOcean more often, especially now that the other BSC swap sites are getting so slow on the in-app browsers. For the more established tokens that seems to be the best option, and in some ways, I think that they should avoid the stranger tokens anyway. There is something reassuring about being the serious looking platform in an ecosystem of cartoons and clowns!
So, highly recommended for your swaps of the more common pairings... and it can't hurt to see what the prices are on other platforms as well (after all, that is what being an aggregator is all about!). This is especially true if you are a crypto user like me, low amount of swaps and holding for long times but seeking something that looks like handling your crypto seriously.
NOTE: This article is part of a rewarded contest!
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