BitcoinAverage: The Evolution of an Index
Meet BitcoinAverage, the world’s first and premier price index for Bitcoin.
This article was provided by the Vanbex Group.
“There was no funding involved, it was created initially … as a hobby. I wanted to provide it to the community to do my part for bitcoin,” said Shaun Gilchrist, founder and CEO at BitcoinAverage, whose Global Bitcoin Price Index (GBX) was the first of its kind in the industry and is still the most widely used price source for the cryptocurrency.
“There was truly no goal to monetise the project, it was open source and even access to the application program interface (API) was completely free, three years later, it still is.” Gilchrist added.
But under expressed demand the industry-leading system is set to kick off with pioneering changes including major upgrades to its system, soon.
Hardened investors to hobbyist users of Bitcoin will find these newest developments as exciting prospects for the data-driven side of the ecosystem.
They may also seem like predictable innovations for the world’s most valuable, yet volatile, cryptocurrency. Yet, as simple as the goal may appear, creating an index for a decentralized, globally used and traded cryptocurrency, involves substantial forethought and ingenuity, especially to travel from selfless dedication to an unparalleled index architecture.
It also looks as if BitcoinAverage is poised to sustain itself as the industry frontrunner and secure the status as the de facto index choice for Bitcoin users, traders, investors and more.
BitcoinAverage: An Evolving System
BitcoinAverage is the first aggregated bitcoin price index, launched in August 2013.
Gilchrist explained, he initially wanted to know the difference in markets to better gauge potential profits for off-exchange trading and the brokering of trades, which was taking off in the U.K. around that time.
After successfully creating a simple script in 2012 to compare the premium of the British Pound market to the US dollar, Gilchrist recognized the data may be well received by others. The price index was soon released as an open source and the journey of BitcoinAverage began, with thousands of monthly users soon taking to the earliest iteration of the system.
The company’s data extends as far back as 2010, encompassing a volume that surpasses key competitors. But it’s not just breadth and back-end programming. The index is also highly approachable, as it is comprehensive, from a front-end user perspective.
The layout has grown into a less clunky interface than other indices. The display contains easily legible data with a more than adequate colour contrast important for those that spend hours researching and analyzing data in single sittings.
Further, the currency and commodity options abound. Including USD, EUR, CNY, GBP and CAD options, the global index consists of over 165 currencies to Gilchrist’s estimation. The wide accessibility to fiat currencies and commodities provides an additional layer of relevance on a global scale, especially important for a cryptocurrency that extends beyond any one set of borders.
There were some initial pains, however, and to some extent those same inflictions remain today.
“In the early days [we] were coping with the frequent issues with exchanges, their API’s uptimes, and the fact that one could just disappear overnight!” Gilchrist exclaimed.
BitcoinAverage also seeks to address in its latest evolution 0% fee exchanges, which its current system ignores entirely. The reason being, users can trade on the exchange for free with an unlimited base on a very tiny spread. The increased volume, sometimes exponentially, can skew the average on a weighted average price which is what BitcoinAverage currently supplies.
“We have rewritten our whole backend from scratch,” said Gilchrist. “A major decision for any software provider.”
The upcoming launch of its latest API, which has recently been released in a closed beta to allow testing and feedback before product finalization, means BitcoinAverage is closing in on its next evolutionary step: Scalability for the needs of enterprise, even at the largest of scales.
The new interface will be bundled with an updated front-end, offering customization and tailored programming to provide real-time, by-the-second updates, data points from exchanges all over the world, and the capability to adapt and adjust those indices to even the most idiosyncratic needs.
The changes underway will usher in the most advanced, comprehensive Bitcoin price index to date with pioneering features that push the system well beyond capabilities of competitor indices.
The only true obstacle is Bitcoin’s ability to sustain and outlast the various fronts it’s itself up against.
Hooked on Potential
“I have been a ‘bitcoiner’ myself since 2010,” said Gilchrist. “It was mentioned to me by a developer, and from the first few weeks of research, toying with mining, et cetera, I was hooked on its potential.”
Potential is the key word. It speaks to the core necessity of a pricing index, for Bitcoin or any other commodity.
The cryptocurrency, while commanding over $6 billion USD in market capitalization today, is a young asset class.
And granted stability in price has existed in recent months, since January, the cryptocurrency remains subject to volatility for a myriad of factors, in particular the gradual rate of adoption and its perceived store of value, which is tantamount to the consideration offered gold rather than a definitive fiat currency.
Further complicating the asset class is the range of exchanges worldwide, which involves a unique array of fees, rates and policies — perhaps shaped by the country the exchange is based in — that, in the end, can affect the bottom-line for users, traders or investors.
This is where the core value of a system like BitcoinAverage’s shines through.
Supplying a weighted average that incorporates over four dozen of the world’s exchanges, with 0% fee exchanges soon to be included, access to the widest variety of currency markets available among indices, there’s no better method of gauging the potential swings of the prone-to-volatility cryptocurrency.
And with billions of dollars at stake such a system is invaluable.
Develop or Disappear
“I believe being the first to produce something is a great advantage in many areas,” Gilchrist said in relation to Bitcoin’s ability to subsist.
“Will that be enough on its own? I’m not sure. I put my faith in the developers. I think at this stage, regardless of things like regulations, it’s in their hands.”
In similar stride is BitcoinAverage.
Gilchrist’s company is inching closer to morphing the basement-based hobby turned three-year open source project into a viable business. With that, the three-year-old system steps closer to becoming the generally accepted, go-to price index for Bitcoin.
Such triumph, however, rests on BitcoinAverage’s development team. Gilchrist assures there will be more on that front, along with progress already made, in the weeks to come.
Let’s just hope the cryptocurrency itself can too push onward in positive fashion and reach heights it once grasped in 2013, back when BitcoinAverage was just a nascent endeavor.
Images courtesy of BitcoinAverage.