Andrew Barisser is a software and cryptocurrency engineer at Assembly. Previously he was a grad student in biophysics at UCSB, where he says a “gnawing fascination” with bitcoin led him to software. In this article, he shares lessons learned from creating his own bitcoin trading bot in the “shark infested waters” of Coinbase’s new exchange.
I’ve recently started trading bitcoins algorithmically on the new Coinbase exchange. After reading about high-frequency trading in the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, I decided I’d give it a shot myself, albeit in a clumsier, more amateurish way.
The experience has been fascinating, both on a technical level, and in a strategic sense. Writing logic that controls money itself is a strange thing. Setting it loose for the first time, knowing that any bug could literally throw away cash, was terrifying.
Bitcoin is an incredibly open system that is particularly friendly to no-name developers. The exchanges have open API’s that allow anyone, literally anyone, to trade. There’s no premium access, no expensive trading floor credentials. It’s totally open – I love that.
Shark infested waters
As I’ve designed my trading bot, I’ve come to realize how much strategic