Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard about the drama surrounding the fake volumes of crypto trading – and boy, oh boy did it have an effect on the crypto community. Before the issue of fake volumes was uncovered and presented to the whole word by the guys at Bitwise, most people in the cryptocurrency community depended on pretty much one major site when it came to crypto indices, price changes and all data and info concerning cryptos: CoinMarketCap.
Even if you used other sites in addition to CMC to maybe personalize the type of information you needed for your projects, you still probably looked at CoinMarketCap just to have a general overview of what was happening in the crypto world.
But can we still trust CoinMarketCap after all these issues with fake information? Are there any other sites that are just as good as that – or maybe even better? Why do we even need these price indices and where exactly do these sites get all their information from? How do I know if they are reliable and up-to-date?
Let’s take a look at all this one by one.
What are price indices?
Crypto price indices (or indexes, both are grammatically correct but we’re sticking with indices for the sake of consistency) are basically your instant price information. They usually display an average current price of a given cryptocurrency as well as its market capitalization and 24-hour volume. (Of course, this differs from place to place, some sites work with more data, and some showcase only the most essential ones). This price information is usually used for monitoring and comparing changes on a given market: how a certain cryptocurrency’s price has changed over a set period of time.
These price indices are quite similar to the traditional stock market indices but while those show the selling and buying prices of stocks, the crypto indices deal with crypto and digital assets. Stock market indices are usually limited to a certain sector while a lot of crypto indices cover almost the whole crypto market – or at least the most important parts of it. For example, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index uses the data of the 500 largest US companies as it would be quite difficult and rather pointless to look at all the US companies. On the other hand, the crypto market is not as huge so we don’t have to limit it to certain conditions or sectors.
But the biggest difference between the traditional stock market indices and the crypto ones is that while the stock index usually takes the data of one major exchange like the NYSE, the cryptocurrencies are traded on a lot of exchanges. This results in a lot of different prices. So these indices have to use data from more crypto exchanges to present an accurate average price.
Where can we find reliable data?
At this point you might say: ‘Okay, I get it. Price indices show us all the important data we need for trading. But where do these sites get their data from? Why should I believe them?’
And with all the fake volume scandals still fresh in our minds, it is a valid question. Should we still trust CoinMarketCap that has been the go-to site for crypto info after all that’s been uncovered about their false data? Or should we simply all leave it behind and move to another site?
Like a lot things in life, the middle ground is also probably the best route to take here. CoinMarketCap is still a relevant crypto source. But we should all learn to take everything CMC says with a grain of salt. Plus, it would be quite ironic if the crypto community that strives on everything decentralized would only stick with one major site. That would be a bit too close to centralization, don’t you think?
So now here’s our chance to look at a couple alternative sites that use reliable price indices while also offering a couple extra features.
APIs and price indices
But before we jump into all that, we should dial back a bit to another question. Where do these sites get their information from in the first place?
If you’re an experienced crypto veteran, you are surely familiar with API. But if you’re just starting out now, let us tell you a little bit about the Application Programming Interface. This one little mechanism that basically runs this whole price index thing. API lets the different softwares exchange information with each other in a standard format. Then it presents this data for the indices. And while all exchanges have their own APIs, there are also aggregator APIs that, for example, CoinMarketCap uses. This is the one that presents you with an overall picture of how the market looks like, getting data from several exchanges.
APIs are indeed quite fascinating but you also don’t actually need to know the exact mechanism they use. If you know how to interpret the info they present you, that’s the most important part.
So now, after all the explanation, let’s look at our actual list of alternatives that you can use if you’re a little bored of CoinMarketCap.
Most of the sites and indices we’re listing here are generally quite similar to CMC – after all, there aren’t many things you can do differently when you decide to display the basic data of cryptos: price, market cap, 24h volume. CryptoCompare is not an exception. It is fairly similar to CMC too, especially in regards of the abundance of coins listed and the advanced filtering system they use.
But what CryptoCompare does really well is the integration of news and current events into the site. Providing articles, posts and guides, CryptoCompare can keep you up-to-date with what’s happening in the crypto world. It can also show you how exactly the community is reacting to all the changes and developments.
One other positive is that CryptoCompare’s API is free unless you’re using it for commercial reasons. After that you, of course, have to pay for the services.
Another solid choice can be Messari. Their API provides you with real-time prices and historical figures as well. They also have a bunch of different metrics on the site, one of which is the so-called Real 10 24-hr Trade Volume that compiles the data from the 10 biggest well-functioning exchanges. (This means they’re those exchanges that don’t use fake volumes). This can provide you with a pretty up-to-date snapshot of the trends that are affecting the whole market.
Some other sites that can be also interesting are CoinCheckup, CoinLib or CoinCodes. All of these provide you with reliable information and some extra bonuses to really customize the data you need for trading.
So who should we believe?
Naturally, as all these sites use different APIs and compile different data, the numbers are going to vary from index to index. They are based on various fiat currencies, markets, volumes and liquidity. They even differ in terms of how often the API requests and sends the information. You’re never going to get one perfect set of data. That simply doesn’t exist.
What we do get is a good, and most importantly, reliable representation of how the overall market looks like at the moment. All else is up to us.
But don’t settle on only one site. If you diversify you portfolio, you might want to diversify your data sources as well. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: