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If you want to jump into the wonderful world of crypto then you will need access to great, developer-friendly APIs to power your product, research or hobby project. In this article, I break down what I think are the top 5 APIs for crypto data.
It’s worth pointing out, there are a bunch of APIs that didn’t make the list and new ones that are popping up each day - I wanted to save you hours of research by providing you with a list that includes the best crypto data APIs.
If you are in a hurry I'll save you time by letting you know the top picks:
Best Pick: CryptoCompare is the best all-round API with room to grow if you need large limits and the most granular market data.
Special mention: TheGraph is an exciting new GraphQL API ecosystem that offers more niche DeFi data sets like lending and yield farming rates.
Without further ado let's jump into reviewing the APIs, starting with CryptoCompare.
CryptoCompare was founded in 2014 making it one of the most well established data providers in the list. What jumped out to me was their API documentation and playground which is unlike any other I have used before. I found the documentation extremely helpful when exploring which endpoints to use and how to pass the right parameters to get the data I was looking for.
You’ll notice that there is a tab called ‘Cryptosheets’ which takes you to a nifty excel crypto data plugin that pulls all the CryptoCompare data into excel or Google Sheets. Not something I use but very handy for researchers that don’t have experience working with APIs.
In terms of data coverage, CryptoCompare covers all the basics and more. On the free plan you can get real-time and historical pricing data for over 6000 assets across 300+ exchanges. For those who want to go deeper with their analysis, it's worth checking out the blockchain data which covers daily metrics such as hashrate and transaction value across 800 coins. On the Websocket API you can also stream trades and L2 order book data.
On the downside, you can’t use their free API for commercial purposes and you are capped at 100,000 calls a month. For some of you 100,000 calls might be plenty, however, if you’re one of the power users out there who needs millions of calls each month on a budget, then you’ll like the next API provider.
The CoinGecko API is a winner for developers who are on a budget but still require lots of calls. This API is completely free and has no total call limits besides the rate limiting of 50 calls per minute, which is plenty for most use cases.
In terms of data it has a really broad coverage of assets and exchanges with over 450 exchanges integrated, which is more than any other provider. The API also has all the most important real-time and historical data sets such as; pricing, OHLC and volume.
One area that CoinGecko falls down on is their depth of data, as currently their API doesn’t offer trade or L2 order book data. Also, after a bit of testing, it was clear that the prices are not quite real-time and seem to be typically updated every 30 seconds or so.
The most well-known and longest running data provider is definitely CoinMarketCap which was founded in 2013 and amassed over 150 million visits in June 2021 according to SimilarWeb. Like CoinGecko, CoinMarketCaps primary focus is helping their retail users track coin prices and manage their portfolio.
CoinMarketCap’s API is rather expensive and has much stricter limits than the other providers. The free tier gets you 10,000 calls but includes no historical data, which you will need for lots of use cases such as charting or backtesting crypto trading strategies. If you are looking for over 1 million calls a month and 1 year of historical data you will need to take out the professional plan that will set you back $699 a month.
Despite the cost it is a good API and covers over 300 exchanges and the vast majority of crypto assets, if not all of the important ones.
Polygon is a solid contender thanks to its superb value and granularity of data. For $49 per month you get unlimited calls and access all of their data; 10 years of history, trades and L2 order book data.
Polygon is the only API provider in this comparison that provides non-crypto data. In fact Polygon is first and foremost a traditional market data provider, covering equities from exchanges like NYSE and Nasdaq. So for those that dabble in crypto and traditional markets this is a great choice as you can get all your data from one API, which saves quite a bit of development time.
The downside of this is that their crypto coverage is less than that of the crypto specialist APIs. Polygon only integrates with around 15 crypto exchanges which means a lot of the most exciting coins are not available.
For the Ethereum and DeFi nerds TheGraph is a must-try! This GraphQL API covers all things Ethereum, including; lending, borrowing and yield farming rates, as well as basically any data on the most important DeFi protocols. Unfortunately, you can’t get market data from this provider.
Their playground was a little confusing at first but is good fun to use once you get the hang of it. What makes this API particularly exciting is its business model is unlike any API you have probably seen before… It’s powered by a token called Graph Protocol (GRT) that is used to incentivize their community to make the data more reliable by indexing the complex and dynamic data on Ethereum. To learn more about how TheGraph works we recommend that you check out this fantastic explainer video.