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Griping about market data

March 28, 2015

There is an opportunity for someone to provide good market data on bitcoin.  So far, no one has done this, but someone will, and it will be worth someone money:

* bitcoincharts is a free service.  Unfortunately, it has no service level guarantee.  This means that the feeds for some exchanges can go down for a few days or weeks, and the maintainer will get around to fixing it when he has time.  The ideal service would have some number that you can complain to, and they would get things fixed very quickly in exchange for cash.

* bravenewcoin has a lot of bitcoin data.  But the way that they are presenting it makes this useless for traders.  BNC takes a lot of exchanges and aggregates them into a single price, and this is in fact a very useful thing for markets, since it answers the questions “what is the price of bitcoin?”  However, traders need raw unaggregated data.  A lot of trading strategies depend on the relationship between exchanges, and once you’ve aggregated the data, it turns out to be useless.  Also, you may need to calculating a custom price.  For example, if you do business with China in CNY, the price of bitcoin should probably be calculated only with the Chinese CNY exchanges.

* No one I know stores historical data or provide live data feeds for futures

* No one I know is in the high service/high margin model.  It turns out that the data is cheap.  What is expensive are the sales and support staff, so the companies I’ve seen tend to want to automate that part.  The trouble is that for professional traders, having someone (and preferably the same person) that you can complain to is extremely critical.  It also turns out to be expensive since good sales and support people make a ton of money, since they know that they can basically start their own company if they wanted to, since the data is basically free.

* No one I know has a mechanism for doing bespoke programming.  Right now, I’m losing money because I can’t get my bitcoin futures engine to work, and it won’t work because I need to do a lot of annoying plumbing programming, which I don’t like to do, and don’t want to do.  I’ll do it eventually, but if someone can offer to do this for me, I’d be willing to pay cash for a good data service.  The cool thing is that they can just do the programming once, and the collect the cash from people like me, and I know that the demand exists.

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