How Amberdata builds on AWS to unify digital assets for institutions
Informed decision-making is a valuable process to which many startup founders relate. Whether during product development, assessing market fit, or meeting customer needs, timely and accurate information can be the difference between success or failure.
Digital asset data includes:
- Cryptocurrency (crypto) market data, such as live and full historical prices for specific crypto assets.
- Blockchain data, which includes records of network data, contracts, events, and logs for every digital asset.
- Decentralized finance (DeFi) data, which provides insights ranging from digital wallet earnings and losses, transactions, and balances to DeFi asset level data including trading pairs by volume, price, and time.
With 16% of US adults using cryptocurrency—whose market value sat just above $2 trillion earlier this year—and the US government unveiling a plan to regulate digital assets, it is understandable that institutions see digital asset data as “mission critical” to their success.
Amberdata provides institutions with a unified data integration point from which to glean up-to-date insights about crypto markets, blockchain networks, and decentralized finance.
Becoming the leading provider of digital asset data to financial institutions
The inspiration to found Amberdata in 2017 was the initial coin offering (ICO) hype, when co-founders chief executive officer (CEO) Shawn Douglass, chief operations officer (COO) Tongtong Gong, and chief technology officer (CTO) Joanes Espanol—who are all former colleagues—became intrigued by the crypto world.
COO Tongtong Gong recalls, “We started reading a lot about Ethereum, smart contracts, and tokenization,” which led to, “going down the rabbit hole of wanting to learn more about the crypto industry.”
She and her co-founders, “realized there was not enough data and tooling to enable access to clean, normalized, easy-to-ingest and understand data to help people in the digital asset space.”
They began building a platform to provide institutions with the tools and data necessary to adopt crypto offerings and meet clients’ demands for an alternative asset class.
“When you start a company, all you have are your co-founders, six slides, and a dream, right?” says Tongtong with a laugh.
Fast-forward five years and Amberdata is now the leading provider of digital asset data to financial institutions, who use the platform to make informed decisions while accelerating their time to market.
The Amberdata platform (Figure 1) allows clients to leverage a broad, granular dataset to offer digital asset product and services to their customers, while sidestepping the significant hurdle of creating and managing an in-house data pipeline:
Building their success with AWS
Choosing Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host Amberdata’s cloud-native platform, “was the easiest decision for us to make when starting the company,” says Tongtong. Along with the three co-founders’ prior experience building on the AWS tech stack, they also chose AWS because, “It’s easy to hire developers when AWS is your platform because so many of them already have the knowledge to use it.”
Amberdata joined AWS Activate, a free program designed for startups and early stage entrepreneurs that offers the resources needed to get started on AWS.
“AWS gave us generous credits to kickstart our proof of concept. As a bootstrapped startup, the credit really helped us to reach our first MVP.”
With clients in the highly-regulated financial industry, Amberdata sought a cloud solution that was secure and reliable, while also providing efficiency and optimizing their costs. As part of the Activate program, “We had help from an AWS solutions architect and went through an AWS Well-Architected review to make sure what we built was secure, reliable, and performance- and cost-efficient.”
Today Amberdata is, “completely built on AWS. From ingesting the data, to processing it, extract-transfer-load (ETL), and to serving the data—whether that be with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), or different Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) containers. I think the commitment is still true: The AWS team really helps us to use every single lever to make sure we are building an efficient, secure, and scalable product.”
Advice to startup founders
To aspiring founders, Tongtong shares that, “Starting a new company as an entrepreneur, I feel like I get to define my own role. I’m interested in so many things, and felt like I had hit the ceiling after becoming a vice president of engineering. Being a founder allows me to get my hands dirty, to be a free agent, and choose my own path.”
“Being a founder is like marrying the best of two worlds. Utilizing our past experience—15 years of enterprise software experience and data experience—in this new crypto space,” says Tongtong.
The number one lesson she’s learned as a founder is that, “You’ve got to have a customer-centric view. Whether it’s how you operate, how you treat your customers, or how you solve problems—focus on the customer’s need. If you solve that problem, the revenue will come. Everything else will follow because you’ve provided value.”
She also advises, “Never underestimate yourself. You are capable of doing so much more than you think you can do. Whatever it is, just go for it. Ask for help—more often then not, people are willing to help you if you just ask the question.”
Looking to the future for Web3 and Amberdata
Amberdata’s next steps include building more analytics insights into digital asset data.
Additionally, they are expanding their blockchain offerings with a goal to become, “the de facto best—the most comprehensive, deepest, broadest data analytics company that gives everyone access to the data.”
Providing institutions with a path to modern asset offerings is part of Amberdata’s bigger picture that includes, “democratizing financial access to historically unbanked populations,” and, “pushing web3 adoption forward.”
“I’m passionate about crypto because you don’t often see a new asset class that represents so much opportunity,” says Tongtong.