I've been so busy working on metaexchange that I've not had a chance to write a little bit about the technology behind it until now. You guys might find it interesting because it's got more in common with the design of ripple than shapeshift.io.
Metaexchange operation is divided up into two distinct parts:
*) API server
*) Market daemons
The API server provides the route between the customers and each market. The daemons are responsible for processing orders.
In itself this isn't that interesting, but what separates us from the norm is that metaexchange is designed to run multiple market daemons, and these daemons can be (and are) located anywhere in the world.
Each daemon directly holds funds necessary to serve the number of individual markets hosted within it. So, there is no one central point of failure, because we have multiple daemons in different locations.
This is great for our liquidity providers, who are essentially market makers, because it frees them from the counter-party risk associated with running their operations on a centralised exchange. By running a metaexchange daemon, they keep complete control over how their funds are stored, which gives them extra peace of mind. We supply them with orders via our API, they make a profit on the spread they offer and we charge a 0.3% fee per transaction to cover our own costs.
So, we're not decentralised, but we are distributed. Each daemon is essentially like a ripple gateway, except that instead of handing out IOU's they hand out bitAssets which have no counter-party risk associated with them.
If you like the idea of becoming a metaexchange node, please shoot me a PM - we are always looking to open up new markets