You can get streaming market depth data form Mt Gox as described here: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/MtGox/API/Streaming#Depth.

I understand what market depth is but how do I interpret this data?

An edited example of a JSON market depth response at the above link is:


What does volume, total_volume_int and price relate to? What insight do I get from this?

I understand the market depth charts at http://bitcoincharts.com/markets/mtgoxUSD.html but how does the above JSON data relate to them?

  • I understand now that each piece of JSON depth data is actually an order entering the order book. Therefore in the example someone wants to sell 2.71 bitcoints for 14.43. However can someone tell me what total_volume_int means?
    – Dan
    Dec 20 '13 at 0:17

Mt Gox JSON Depth Data

Market depth is a snapshot of the currently open bid(buy offers) and ask(sell offers). A definition from Investopedia: Depth of Market

Each time a new order enters Mt Gox's order book the real-time depth API broadcasts this to the end user. If you listen long enough to the Mt Gox's depth API you would be able to gain an almost accurate copy of Mt Gox's order book.

Interpreting the Data

volume: this is the amount of item (BTC) that the depth at that price in currency (USD) has changed by. This has been deprecated in favour of volume_int. Basically it is the same thing except the volume_int must be divided by 1E8.

price: the price point in currency to which this depth record relates.

total_volume_int: since volume / volume_int are change records total_volume records how much is available at that price point. A zero value means that no more orders are at this price point. For most purposes total_volume_int is the number you want to use.

How depth data relates to the charts

I'm assuming that the question refers to the live charts. That chart is built by forming points between price and the accumulated depth working outwards from the market price. Then those points get connected. For example:

For bid orders of 10 @ $90, 10 @ $80 and 10 @ $70 the graph would show depth accumulation of: 30 @ $70, 20 @ $80 and 10 @ $90.

Using the data

Depth information is useful to determine just how much "liquidity" there is in the market. This indicates how much a "large" transaction will move the market price.

A steep accumulated depth line indicates potential "support" on the bid side and "resistance" on the ask side. A steep chasm formed by both sides of the accumulated bid/ask depth indicates price stability while a spread out flat bowl indicates price sensitivity.

(bid, ask, liquidity, support, resistance are stock trading terms -> look them up on investopedia, it's a good resource)

  • Thanks for the information. I added an extra section with what I wanted to know. Please edit it as you wish. I'll mark the question as answered shortly.
    – Dan
    Dec 28 '13 at 11:26
  • I moved your section to the top and tried to improve readability throughout.
    – stormrose
    Dec 28 '13 at 17:02

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