Skip to content


What is Hummingbot?

Hummingbot is open-source software that helps you build and run market-making bots. For more detailed information, please read the Hummingbot whitepaper.

Why are you making Hummingbot available to the general public rather than just running it in-house?

We make money by administering Liquidity Mining programs, which allow token projects to source liquidity from a decentralized network rather than from a single firm. Hummingbot is a free tool that anyone can use to participate in liquidity mining.

Why are you making Hummingbot open source?

Trust and Transparency. To use crypto trading bots, users must provide their private keys and exchange API keys. An open-source codebase enables anyone to inspect and audit the code.

How much cryptocurrency do I need to get started?

There is no minimum amount of assets to use Hummingbot, but users should pay heed to exchange-specific minimum order sizes. We include links to the exchange's minimum order size page. This can be found in our spot connectors documentation.

Are my private keys and API keys secure?

Since Hummingbot is a local client, your private keys and API keys are as secure as the computer you are running them on. This is because the keys are used to create authorized instructions locally on the local machine, and only the instructions which have already been signed or authorized are sent out from the client.

Always use caution and make sure the computer you are running Hummingbot on is safe, secure, and free from unauthorized access.

What does it cost for me to run Hummingbot?

Hummingbot is a free software, so you can download, install, and run it for free.

Transactions from Hummingbot are normal transactions conducted on exchanges; therefore when operating Hummingbot, you would be subject to each exchange’s fees (e.g. maker, taker, and withdrawal fees), as you would if you were trading on that exchange normally (i.e. without Hummingbot).

What exchanges does Hummingbot support?

Hummingbot has a vast majority of Centralized and Decentralized exchanges to choose from, and You can do different strategies with different connectors. To learn more about the exchanges that Hummingbot supports, refer to the following links,

What is market-making?

Market making is the act of simultaneously creating buy and sell orders for an asset in a market. By doing so, a market maker acts as a liquidity provider, facilitating other market participants to trade by giving them the ability to fill the market maker's orders. Traditionally, market-making industry has been dominated by highly technical quantitative hedge funds and trading firms that have the infrastructure and intelligence to deploy sophisticated algorithms at scale.

Market makers play an important role in providing liquidity to financial markets, especially in the highly fragmented cryptocurrency industry. While large professional market makers fight over the most actively traded pairs on the highest volume exchanges, there exists a massive long tail of smaller markets who also need liquidity: tokens outside the top 10, smaller exchanges, decentralized exchanges, and new blockchains.

In addition, the prohibitively high payment demanded by pro-market makers, coupled with a lack of transparency and industry standards, creates perverse incentives for certain bad players to act maliciously via wash trading and market manipulation. For more discussion on the liquidity problem, please check out this blog post.

How does market making work?

Warning: Not financial or investment advice. Below are descriptions of some risks associated with the pure market-making strategy. There may be additional risks not described below.

Ideal case

Market making strategies work best when you have a relatively calm market, but with sufficient trading activity. What that means for pure market makers is that he would be able to get both of his bid and ask offers traded regularly; the price of his inventory doesn't change by a lot, so there's no risk of him ending up on the wrong side a trend. Thus he would be able to repeatedly capture small profits via the bid/ask spread over time.

A calm market with regular trading activity

In the figure above, the period between 25 Feb and 12 Mar would be an example of the ideal case. The asset price stayed within a relatively small range, and there was sufficient trading activity for a market maker's offers to be taken regularly.

In this scenario, the market maker needs to be sure that the trading spread he sets is larger than the trading fees given to the exchange.

Low trading activity

Markets with low trading activity higher risk for pure market-making strategies. Here's an example:

A market with low trading activity

There's a risk in any market with low trading activity. The market maker may need to hold onto inventory for a long time without a chance to trade it back. During that time, the prices of the traded assets may rise or drop dramatically despite seeing no or little trading activity on the exchange. This exposes the market maker to inventory risk, even after mitigating some of this risk using wider bid spreads.

Other strategies may be more suitable from a risk perspective in this type of market, e.g. cross-exchange market making.

Another common risk that market makers need to be aware of is trending markets. Here's one example:

A trending market

Suppose a pure market maker sets his spreads naively in such a market, e.g. equidistant bid/ask spread. In that case, there's a risk of the market maker's bid consistently being filled as prices trend down, while at the same time the market continues to move away from the market maker's ask, decreasing the probability of sells. This would result in an accumulation of inventory at precisely the time where this would reduce inventory value, which is a "wrong-way" risk.

However, it is still possible to improve the probability of generating profits in this kind of market by skewing bid asks, i.e., setting a wider bid spread (e.g., -4%) than ask spread (e.g., +0.5%). In this way, the market maker is trying to catch price spikes in the direction of the trend and buy additional inventory only in the event of larger moves, but sell more quickly when there is an opportunity to minimize the duration of the inventory is held. This approach also has a mean reversion bias, i.e. buy only when there is a larger move downwards, in the hopes of stabilization or recovery after such a large move.

Market making in volatile or trending markets is more advanced and risky for new traders. It's recommended that a trader looking to market make in this kind of environment to get mentally familiar with it (e.g. via paper trading) before committing meaningful capital to the strategy.

Besides market risk, what other risks does a market maker face?

There are many moving parts when operating a market making a bot that all have to work together to properly function:

  • Hummingbot code
  • Exchange APIs
  • Ethereum blockchain and node
  • Network connectivity
  • Hummingbot host computer

A fault in any component may result in bot errors, ranging from minor and inconsequential to major.

It is essential for any market-making bot to regularly refresh its bid and ask offers on the market to adjust to changing market conditions. Suppose a market-making bot is disconnected from the exchange for an extended period of time. In that case, the bid/ask offers it previously made would be left on the market and subject to price fluctuations of the market. Those orders may be filled at a loss as market prices move, while the market maker is offline. Therefore, any market maker needs to make sure technical infrastructure is secure and reliable.

What would I need to do to market make on an "exchange" like uniswap with assets on my ledger ethereum wallet?

"Market making" on AMM is accomplished by the contract (automated "market maker"), but users can act as a "liquidity provider" by depositing assets into the AMM smart contract, allowing the contract to facilitate trades.

The AMM strategy in Hummingbot arbs the AMM contract by trading with contract vs some other exchange.

If you want to act as "liquidity provider" for the AMM, you can deposit assets into it using your ledger. (Note, you get in exchange a share of the AMM pool, but the assets you deposit leave your wallet and are deposited into the AMM; which you can later withdraw, but the amounts may have changed).

If you want to trade using Hummingbot using the amm-arb strategy, you can not use your ledger, since the bot needs a "hot wallet" to trade. Instead, you have to set up a separate Ethereum wallet with its address/private key and use that for trading. You also have to transfer the assets from your ledger to that new wallet to allow for trading.

Last update: 2021-12-15
Back to top