Despite its prominence as the most well-established smart contract platform and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, Ethereum is gradually seeing an exodus of users to other platforms — largely due to its often gut-wrenchingly high transaction fees and congestion. 

This is particularly the case among cryptocurrency traders, who are moving away from Ethereum en-masse to platforms like Avalanche and Binance Smart Chain. This is owed to their dramatically lower fees and improved speed over Ethereum, as well as the rapid development of their token ecosystems — and the opportunities this brings. 

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) have emerged as the simplest way to gain exposure to these new ecosystems, allowing traders to access the most promising tokens at an early stage without waiting for centralized exchange listings. 

Here, we take a look at three of the most promising cross-chain ecosystems, and the DEXs that act as their primary entry points. 

Avalanche: Pangolin

In development since mid-2020, Avalanche is one of the most well-known Ethereum competitors and has grown into a thriving ecosystem of powerful DApps and projects. 

Today, the Avalanche landscape is filled with a wide variety of popular platforms, ranging from DeFi tools to play-to-earn games, NFT marketplaces, and more. 

Pangolin currently sits at the very center of this rapidly blossoming ecosystem. As a decentralized exchange platform Pangolin provides a permissionless, trustless way to exchange Avalanche (AVAX) coins and a massive variety of Avalanche-based tokens while keeping fees down to a minimum. 

With Pangolin, trades are completed in just seconds, making it perfectly suited to professional and high-frequency traders. It’s also simple to use, ensuring even inexperienced traders can use it without any hurdles.

Since Pangolin is an automated market maker, users are free to allocate their tokens as liquidity to the protocol and earn a passive yield as a liquidity provider. 

But more than this, it also includes a variety of additional tools that make it the ideal entry route into the Avalanche landscape. This includes a wide range of yield farms, which users can use to earn boost the yield they earn on their liquidity provider (LP) tokens, as well as Wyre integration — allowing users to purchase AVAX using their debit or credit card. 

As Avalanche’s most popular DeFi app and arguably its most powerful DEX, Pangolin is an essential component of any Avalanche user’s toolkit. 

Velas: WagyuSwap

Billed as the first AI-powered blockchain, Velas leverages a unique solution known as “artificial intuition” to rapidly and automatically adjust its operating parameters based on network conditions to maximize performance. 

As a fork of Solana, Velas inherits all of its capabilities, including massive scalability, extreme security, and industry-leading throughput (with support for up to 75,000 transactions per second). But more than this, it also supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine, providing a simple development environment. 

WagyuSwap is the first DEX on Velas Chain and the primary source of liquidity for Velas-based tokens. As an AMM, it features permissionless liquidity provision, limitless liquidity, and algorithmic asset pricing.

It’s designed to act as a hub for users and developers operating on Velas. It’s building the tools and services necessary to bootstrap the Velas ecosystem and bring it up to par with competing blockchains. 

In line with this, WagyuSwap will also include its own staking solution, a variety of yield farms, and a decentralized lottery feature. In time, WagyuSwap hopes to become the cornerstone of DeFi on Velas and plans to expand its services in line with market demand. 

If you’re looking to dive into a new ecosystem right at its very inception, then Velas is certainly worth exploring. 

Binance Smart Chain: PancakeSwap 

Right now, Binance Smart Chain is undeniably Ethereum’s biggest competitor. In terms of sheer size and development, Binance Smart Chain is second only to Ethereum — having a complete ecosystem of DApps and DeFi tools. 

The platform is essentially a faster, cheaper version of Ethereum. It achieves this by leveraging a highly efficient consensus system known as Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) in addition to a faster block time to dramatically increase throughput and keep fees down to a minimum. 

As with most DeFi-capable blockchains, a DEX lies at the heart of DeFi on Binance Smart Chain. In this case, PancakeSwap is not only by far the most popular DEX on BSC, but also its most popular DApp in general.

Like the other options in this list, PancakeSwap falls under the AMM class of DEXs and has its own permissionless liquidity pools for a huge range of BEP-20 assets. More than this, it also features a huge number of yield farms, prediction markets, a lottery tool, an NFT marketplace, and its own NFT collections.

The platform is governed by holders of its native utility and governance token, known as $CAKE. 

PancakeSwap is an entire ecosystem unto itself and is one of the most frequently updated DApps on BSC — with new features and improvements being added regularly. If you’re looking to get started with BSC, PancakeSwap is almost certain to be your first port of call.