DEFINITION of 'Decentralized Market'

A decentralized market is a market structure that consists of a network of various technical devices that enable investors to create a marketplace without a centralized location. In a decentralized market, technology provides investors with access to various bids/ask prices and makes it possible for them to deal directly with other investors/dealers rather than with a given exchange.

BREAKING DOWN 'Decentralized Market'

The foreign exchange market is an example of a decentralized market because there is no one physical location where investors go to buy or sell currencies. Forex traders can use the internet to check the quotes of various currency pairs from different dealers from around the world.

In a basic sense, a decentralized market is where a variety of assets are bought, sold, or traded. Real estate, for example, is traditionally sold through a decentralized market where buyers and sellers complete their transactions without first funneling the process through some sort of clearing house. Bonds and securitized products can also be procured through decentralized markets.

The advent and rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency have created more opportunities to for decentralized markets to operate. Through such technology and mediums, buyers and sellers are afforded a sense of security and trust in transactions without the need for a central clearing house to monitor and affirm the transactions.

Why Decentralized Markets are Used

Among the perceived benefits of decentralized markets is the fact that it can greatly reduce the possibility of hackers compromising accounts or transactions because there is no single data resource they can attempt to infiltrate.

Decentralized markets can allow for transparency between parties, especially if they use technology that ensures all parties share mutually agreed upon data and information in the transaction.

The concept of decentralized markets, in a basic sense, might not be new, however as more financial transactions are conducted through them they can pose challenges for regulators and legal enforcement. By comparison, centralized markets give regulators a clear path for taking action if necessary regarding suspect transactions that may occur.

With the examples of blockchain and cryptocurrency, the absence of regulatory oversight of decentralized markets is often cited as a benefit by advocates for those technologies.

The continued growth of decentralized markets for financial transactions that use cryptocurrency has led to discussions on ways to potentially introduce regulation and enforcement. For some advocates of decentralized markets, this may diminish some of the benefits they sought for anonymity and direct control over the transactions they engage in.

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