Kaiko Instrument Explorer: Mapping Standardized Pairs Across Exchanges

May 23, 2019

Kaiko Instrument Explorer: Mapping Standardized Pairs Across Exchanges

Summary: What can you do with our Instrument Explorer?

  • Search our complete data coverage by Exchange, Class, Code, Base Asset, or Quote Asset.
  • Find out the date we first started collection for over 7,500 currency pairs.
  • Find out the “Last Trade Date” of pairs no longer trading on exchanges covered.
  • View the “Trade Count” and “Trade Size” of every dataset in our collection.
  • Determine the standardized code we give to every asset and currency pair.
  • Download all standardized reference data into a .CSV.

In this article, we will show you how to use our intuitive Instrument Explorertool to browse all of our pairs’ reference data.

Introduction: Why is an Instrument Explorer necessary?

Since our founding in 2014, we have put significant effort into mapping currency pairs across exchanges. This process is essential for those hoping to work with diverse datasets, but no simple task. Instrument mapping requires the manual verification of thousands of pairs across dozens of exchanges to develop a standardized taxonomy.

While the same currency pair may trade across dozens of exchanges, these exchanges do not necessarily assign the same identifying code to each pair. For example, on Bitfinex, Tether is denoted as UST instead of the more generally accepted USDT. Occasionally, different coins may have the same ticker across exchanges, which can only be manually verified. This results in mass data confusion: different asset codes for the same currency pair (and vice versa) can skew data analyses, applications, price comparisons, etc.

Kaiko’s job is to ensure that all currency pairs are standardized in our internal system so that our clients don’t have to worry about taxonomic errors. While this takes countless man-hours to scour through thousands of pairs, the end result is worth it. After all, as a data provider, clients rely on us to clean up data so that they don’t have to.

We recently released our internal instrument mapping tool to the public so that everyone can take advantage of the vital work we are doing to develop a standardized taxonomy.

Validation: How we map our pairs

To collect data, we poll each exchange’s API and it returns all actively trading pairs. From the moment an API returns a new pair, this pair gets added to our collection automatically. However, before we make a new pair accessible through our data channels (and our Instrument Explorer/ Reference Data API), it undergoes a manual verification by a member of our data team.

If a pair contains a new unknown asset, we manually perform a web search (focusing on exchange announcements) to find out the full name of the asset and its attributes. Then we add the asset to our database with its full name and newly generated code (or if it is already standardized across exchanges, we fall back onto the consensus).

And of course, we include all exchange-assigned reference data in our Reference Data API, as the original state of polled data. New pairs only appear in our data channels once validated by a member of our data team.

Instrument Explorer: How it works

Our Instrument Explorer is powered by our comprehensive Reference Data API, but presented in an intuitive user interface. Our user interface enables the less-technically inclined to access the same data available through our API, with an easy-to-use search function and option to download.

Primarily, our Instrument Explorer is used to search our extensive data coverage. We offer 5 search options:

  • Exchange: The full name of the exchange, ex. Coinbase.
  • Class: spot, future, perpetual contract, or option.
  • Code: the standardized code we assign each currency pair, ex. btc-usd.
  • Base Asset: the full name of the asset, ex. Bitcoin.
  • Quote Asset: the full name of the asset, ex. Ethereum.

You can search using just 1, or all 5 options. Below, find some examples of the versatility of our search options:

If you want to search all pairs trading on Coinbase, just type the name “Coinbase” or select from the drop down menu. You can select as many exchanges as you are interested in.
For example, you can search all pairs trading on Binance where Bitcoin is the base asset.
Or, you can search Ethereum-USD pairs trading on all exchanges.


As evidenced, our versatile search function can be used to search virtually any combination of instruments.

Reference Data: Trade count, Trade size, First Trade Date, Last Trade Date

We include extensive reference data for every instrument in our collection that can help clients make important decisions when determining whether or not we have what they are looking for. As a note, we only include pairs that have already been validated in our Instrument Explorer — we may have already begun collection on a pair and it is simply in the process of being validated. Reach out to us if you do not see a pair at hello@kaiko.com and we will let you know if we have already begun collection.

Below, find descriptions for the four reference columns:

  • Trade Count: the total number of trades included in that instrument’s dataset. For example, btc-pax on Binance contains 3857279 trades.
  • Trade Size: the file size of the data set.
  • First Trade Date: when Kaiko first began collecting data (this doesn’t necessarily reflect the day the asset first started trading on an exchange, but we almost always begin collection within a few hours/days of trading).
  • Last Trade Date: if a pair no longer trades on an exchange, we record the date collection stopped. If a pair is still trading, we mark it as “ongoing.”

Download to CSV: How it works

Once you find the data you are looking for using our Instrument Explorer, you can download all reference data into a .CSV file. Simply click the top right “download” symbol, and all data will be automatically downloaded.

Your custom .CSV reference data set will look like this (in excel):

All options trading on Deribit.



We hope that you found this explanation helpful for how to use our Instrument Explorer. We are proud to currently be the only data provider in the industry to have such a user-friendly method for searching through thousands of currency pairs. If you have any questions, please reach out at hello@kaiko.com.

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