DeFi vs CeFi

    Tanya Sharma
    Tanya Sharma
    Published on December 14, 2022 4:43 PM

    Updated on January 16, 2023 12:02 PM

    A crucial distinction between centralized finance (CeFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi) was brought to light by the cryptocurrency market crisis of the spring of 2022. The features of CeFi and DeFi will be discussed in this article.
    DeFi vs CeFi
    Source: Cryptocurrency Begins

    The fundamental principle of cryptocurrency is decentralized financing, yet DeFi systems can be difficult to use at first. A simpler and more recognizable point of entry may be offered by centralized financial platforms.

    Many individuals believe that the cryptocurrency sector is purely cryptocurrency-focused. However, if you dig beneath the surface of the industry, you will discover many divisions that frequently conflict with one another.

    Payments, lending, and borrowing were the only traditional financial services that could be obtained through established financial institutions and banks. But when blockchain technology was introduced, it changed.

    Decentralized finance (DeFi) and centralized finance are two new topics that have come up since the idea of cryptocurrencies began to gain traction (CeFi).

    We must first gain a deeper grasp of these two ideas in order to weigh the relative advantages and disadvantages of CeFi and DeFi.

    What is CeFi?

    Centralized Finance was the industry standard for cryptocurrency trading before DeFi was created. It controls a sizable portion of the cryptocurrency market. All cryptocurrency trade orders are processed through a central exchange in centralized finance (CeFi). The central exchange is administered by certain people who manage the funds. It denotes that you lack access to a private key that opens your wallet.

    Additionally, the exchange specifies which coins are available for trading or how much it costs to use its exchange.

    In summary, while purchasing or selling cryptocurrencies through a centralized exchange, you do not own them. You are also bound by the restrictions a centralized exchange places on you.

    What is DeFi?

    The decentralized exchange does not involve any exchanges. Automated applications built on top of blockchain platforms are used to run the entire process.

    A fair and open financial system with open participation is another benefit of decentralized finance. The use of blockchain technology, enables unbanked people to access financial and banking services.

    DeFi seeks to create an ecosystem for financial services that is open-source, permissionless, and transparent. The decentralized financial system provides services like as asset storage, yield farming, borrowing, and more.

    The advantage of using DeFi versus CeFi is that you possess the key pair for your wallet and have complete control over your assets. Decentralized applications (dApps) created on blockchain platforms are also required for consumers who want to access DeFi services.

    DeFi vs CeFi

    Public verifiability

    While the underlying DeFi application code might not always be open-source, non-custodial DeFi must have publicly verifiable execution and bytecode on a blockchain. Therefore, unlike CeFi, any DeFi user may see and confirm that DeFi state changes are carried out properly. The new DeFi technology has an unmatched ability to transfer trust because of this transparency.


    Sequential actions, including several financial transactions, may be carried out as part of a blockchain transaction. This combination can be made atomic, which means that the entire transaction will either succeed or fail simultaneously. CeFi does not have this programmable atomicity property, although it may be possible to enforce atomicity in CeFi through expensive and time-consuming legal agreements.

    Deployment and Development (Anonymous)

    Less privacy is offered to users by centralized finance than by DeFi transactions. Even Bitcoin's creator has remained a mystery up to this point, and many DeFi initiatives are developed and run by anonymous teams. Once they are implemented, the DeFi smart contracts are run implicitly by the miners. Without a front-end, anonymous DeFi applications can operate, forcing users to interact with the smart contract directly.


    DeFi, as opposed to CeFi, enables users to instantly control their assets (there is no need to wait for the bank to open). But with immense power also comes great responsibility. Users bear the majority of technology risks unless such insurance is insured. As a result, holding bitcoin assets is particularly common with centralized exchanges, which are essentially the same as conventional custodians.

    Trading of crypto assets

    The CEXs are constructed using the same principles as their conventional equivalents. Limit order books are off-chain archives of pending trades that CEXs maintain. AMM protocols are used by decentralized exchanges (DEXs) to match the counterparties in a transaction, which is how they operate substantially differently from centralized exchanges. Depending on the volume of transactions, AMMs use mathematical algorithms to set prices.

    Malleable Execution Orders

    When using permissionless blockchains, users frequently use a peer-to-peer network to publicly share the transactions they want to carry out. Because there is no persistent centralized body directing the order of transaction execution, peers could, for instance, engage in competitions for transaction fee bids.

    This order malleability has led to the demonstration of numerous market manipulation strategies that are currently used often on blockchains. Contrarily, CeFi regulatory bodies impose strict standards on financial institutions and services, including the manner in which transaction orders must be carried out. The centralized nature of CeFi's financial intermediaries makes this possible, nevertheless.

    Transaction fees

    Blockchains in general and DeFi's transaction fees are essential for preventing spam. However, financial institutions in CeFi have the option to provide transaction services for free due to the ability to rely on client anti-money laundering (AML) verifications (or are compelled by governments to offer some services for free).

    24/7 market hours

    Markets on CeFi are renowned for having outages. For instance, the two main trading exchanges in the United States are the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Their business hours are 9:30 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    Most, if not all, DeFi markets remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week due to the constant nature of blockchains. DeFi, in contrast to CeFi, where liquidity on a range of items is typically low during these periods, lacks pre- and post-market trading as a result.


    Only blockchains with non-privacy-preserving smart contracts can contain DeFi. As a result, rather than offering actual anonymity, these blockchains offer pseudo-anonymity. These exchanges have the authority to disclose address ownership to law enforcement given that centralized exchanges with AML standards are typically the only feasible alternative for converting money to cryptocurrency assets.

    Arbitrage risks

    In order to reduce the danger of price fluctuations, an arbitrage should ideally work atomically. Arbitrage on centralized and hybrid exchanges is inherently vulnerable to fluctuations in market pricing unless the arbitrageurs are working with the exchanges to ensure execution atomicity.

    Arbitrage between two decentralized exchanges on the same blockchain can be considered risk-free when transaction fees are disregarded. This is due to the atomicity feature of the blockchain, which enables traders to create a smart contract that performs the arbitrage and reverts if the arbitrage is unsuccessful. Arbitrage risk between two DEXs on different blockchains is comparable to that of a CEX and hybrid exchange.


    The depreciation of an existing currency supply brought on by the addition of a new supply is known as inflation. Even though the loss of a currency's purchasing power is what is meant by inflation, the connection between supply and inflation isn't always obvious; occasionally, the money supply might rise without contributing to inflation.

    In CeFi, central banks continue to have the authority to issue fiat currency, and the value of a representative basket of consumer goods also referred to as a consumer price index, is frequently used to measure inflation.

    The asset supply of multiple cryptocurrencies is a moving target in the DeFi universe. Bitcoin (BTC) will likely eventually face a problem where the supply has a hard cap but the economic activity it must support does not, resulting in a shortage of currency. Without a block reward and hence no inflation, blockchains in general, including Bitcoin, may also be susceptible to security instability.

    It will be interesting to watch if the inflation of the currency system causes BTC and other cryptocurrencies to experience substantial income disparities. There is no conclusive proof that cryptocurrencies solve this issue.

    Cross-chain services

    CeFi services are used regularly for trading BTC and other significant coins created on distinct blockchains. DeFi services often do not handle these tokens since atomic cross-chain trades are difficult and time-consuming to complete.

    CeFi services address this issue by keeping cash from many chains (whereas decentralized services require that tokens follow Ethereum token standards to achieve interoperability).

    This is a huge advantage for CeFi because many of the highest market capitalization and most traded coins live on different blockchains and do not follow interoperability regulations.

    Fiat conversion flexibility

    Centralized services are typically more adaptable than decentralized ones when it comes to transferring money to Bitcoin and vice versa. The majority of DeFi providers do not provide fiat on-ramps since fiat-to-cryptocurrency conversion requires a centralized institution. Additionally, CeFi allows for much quicker customer onboarding, improving the overall customer experience.


    The same objective is sought by both centralized and decentralized financial systems. They want to increase trading volume and popularise cryptocurrency trading. These two ecosystems accomplish their goals in different ways, though.

    CeFi guarantees the safety of your money and honest dealing with it. Trading in cryptocurrencies is also open to investors using traditional currencies. They also receive customer support services from CeFi exchanges that DeFi services do not. DeFi, on the other hand, wishes to keep the area free of intrusion. It gives investors a place to put their plans into practice without having to work through a middleman.

    Both of these models have advantages and disadvantages. According to the investor's requirements. DeFi is the best model to select if privacy and openness are important to you. On the other hand, you should use CeFi if your top priorities are trust, sharing of risks, flexibility, and more investment possibilities.

    DeFi Vs CeFi FAQs

    What distinguishes DeFi from CeFi?

    Customers in CeFi invest their reliance on middlemen, whereas in DeFi these middlemen are eliminated and smart contract protocols are used in their place. DeFi, short for decentralized finance, ensures that digital assets can be traded on decentralized platforms, further increasing decentralization in the financial sector.

    Is crypto CeFi or DeFi?

    Choose a DeFi model if you wish to maintain control over the blockchain system without handing it over to any regulatory bodies. However, employ CeFi if you want to create a system that gives your consumers the comfort that a centralized authority is monitoring their coins and data.

    Is CeFi less risky than DeFi?

    DeFi and CeFi differ significantly in that when a user interacts with DeFi, they need just have faith that the smart contract was created in a secure manner. Peer-to-peer lending, or DeFi, doesn't require as much confidence as dealing with a CeFi corporation does.