Bitshares Trading Software Options
In a previous post, I rattled off the good and bad points I see when using Bitshares as a trading platform. It boiled down to the following questions:
A) Should a "connector" be built that wires in Bitshares to existing retail platforms?
B) Should the existing Bitshares desktop software be improved to make trading easier?
C) Should there be software specifically for the Bitshares trader?
D) Are the software and websites okay, and it is simply a matter of documentation, or usability, or marketing?
Now I would like to go a bit further.
The Bitshares Connector
It seems a good idea to tie existing trading platforms into the Bitshares DEX. But there are some technical hurdles to do so. You can view one discussion of MetaTrader here.
The short version is, to tie in MetaTrader, some sort of middle piece (called a "Gateway" in MetaTrader parlance) is needed to make the DEX appear more like a traditional exchange. Someone must build and run that middle piece. And both building and running such middleware comes with liabilities and cost. Can the cost be recouped? Further digging should be done.
That's just MetaTrader. Adding another front-end gives you the same problem. There will probably be the need for something sitting in the middle. Hence, another development project, another moving part, another liability and cost.
The Existing Software
Here, I'm talking about the desktop application. It is functional. It has a chart, and shows some information regarding the current book, assets available, and so forth. In my opinion it is great for getting people started. But for any kind of automation, or advanced orders, the abilities fall far short.
I'm not saying the software is garbage and is useless. Far from it. It is a great app for people getting started. It seems to work without glitches, and gives the basic information that people need. Going beyond that would probably confuse the amateur user who was just looking for an app to watch and exchange his Bitshares.
What I am saying is that it lacks the basic functionality that a trader needs to participate in the DEX beyond the basics.
Trading Specific Software
Should a front-end be built that is specifically for the Bitshares DEX? Yes! And it should be free! But that is easier said than done. If it were built, it would make some people happy. But such a large undertaking would be expensive. And full-featured purpose-built software like this would not be free (at least I can't imagine someone undertaking the project pro-bono). So, minimal features or pay up. Neither option would fly in my opinion. I would put my money on some sort of "bitshares connector" like mentioned above.
Documentation / Usability / Marketing
That brings us to the last item on my (non-exhaustive) list. And this is a subject that I know the least about. I'm a techie, not a marketer. But I do know that parts of the Bitshares documentation is inaccurate and full of errors (grammatical and technical).
As far as usability, when I look at websites like OpenLedger, I see a great website. It is clear that a lot of thought and effort went into it. If a newbie non-techie asked me how to buy and trade Bitshares, I would point them there. But going beyond the basics, they still fall short. I can't imagine how they would support some sort of strategy builder within a website. I'm sure it could be done, but it would be quite a feat.
And finally, marketing. Yes, this is a weak spot with Bitshares. And to be honest, I haven't the slightest idea how to tackle it. I'm sure if I put my mind to it I could come up with something, but I would strongly suggest paying someone with more experience than I (namely anyone).
I would say that the best place to invest in growing the Bitshares ecosystem is in marketing and usability. And I can't help much in those departments.
But the best place to invest in creating a place for traders would be in examining further the connecting of existing platforms to the Bitshares DEX.
These are my opinions. As always, you can share yours below.