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    Cryptocurrency App Development Guide: Top Recommendations & Indicative Costs

    In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto — a person whose real identity is still a secret — created the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Practically, it was the new way of payment that could be used internationally, decentralized, and without being controlled by any financial institution. 

    More than10 years have passed, and as of September 2021, the total global market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies totals $2.16 trillion, making it comparable to the 8th largest economy by GDP. Cryptocurrency has come into common use and creating cryptocurrency apps and products turned out to be a promising and profitable niche within the financial technology industry.

    Surf has implemented several large cryptocurrency projects from scratch and accumulated enough expertise to guide you through the whole process of cryptocurrency app development to make it effortless and smooth. 

    What is a cryptocurrency app?

    First of all, let’s sort out the basic terminology we will use throughout the article: 

    Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be exchanged for goods and services, which is secured by strong cryptography — that’s why it’s nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend it. The main reason behind the recent dramatic rise of cryptocurrencies is that they’re not issued by any authority and are immune to any government control and manipulation. Many companies issue their own currencies (tokens), which can be traded specifically for the goods or services the company provides. 

    Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular cryptocurrency that became a standard for other cryptocurrencies. Currently, there are about 6500 different cryptocurrencies in the world. The most important digital currencies except Bitcoin are Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA), Polkadot (DOT), Stellar (XLM), Chainlink (LINK), Tether (USDT), Monero (XMR). 

    Cryptocurrencies operate using a technology called a blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers managing and recording transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its safety.

    A cryptocurrency app allows its user to track and/or control local or global flows of cryptocurrency funds, exchange tokens for fiat funds, and vice versa.

    Below are several reasons why digital currencies and cryptocurrency apps are on top now: 

    • Decentralization. Blockchain frees cryptocurrency from any control so that no authority can enforce its rules to a cryptocurrency owner. 
    • Fast and unlimited transactions. Users don’t need to wait several days until money will be fully available at the recipient’s account. There are also no limitations in terms of the number of transactions. 
    • Low transaction fees. Financial institutions charge significant transaction fees, while cryptocurrency transaction fees are relatively small.
    • Internationally recognized. Cryptocurrencies allow senders and recipients that are located in different parts of the world to save on conversions and commissions. 
    • Transparency and anonymity. If the crypto address is not publicly confirmed, nobody will know the sender and the recipient.

    Stages of cryptocurrency app development

    1. Determine what problem your app is going to solve. First of all, you need to identify the most common problems users are facing and define the way your app will solve them, or at least one of them. Based on this, you can choose the right type of blockchain solution. After that, you need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine if an application is worth the investment, and assess the potential risks.
    2. Decide on the approach to the crypto app development. Generally, there are two ways: to use public libraries, so that you will not need to code the whole app on your own, or to develop an app from scratch. In the latter case, you will get a chance to develop an app with unique design and functionality, but it’s far more expensive. 
    3. Decide on app model development. Will it be hybrid, internal, or cloud. You also need to choose the right blockchain solution to implement: there are unlimited, allowed, private, public, or hybrid blockchain models. Also, rate the best stack based on your chosen platform. For example, React Native and Flutter cross-platform mobile frameworks are the most used for cryptocurrency wallets development for both iOS and Android.
    4. Think about app configuration. The configuration of the blockchain app is crucially important, as most of the components cannot be changed once configured. After planning the server components, you need to choose the best front-end programming language, external databases, and servers for the app. 
    5. Develop the right UI/UX design. The app should be easy to navigate and intuitive. Don’t forget to pay enough attention to the color palette of the app and content nuances. 
    6. Choose between pre-built and custom APIs (Application Programming Interface). ​​While there are several pre-built APIs, you may want to create custom APIs for your app. APIs can be for data validation, key pairs, and address generation, managing smart contract interactions, and storing and retrieving data. 
    7. Testing and scaling. The best idea here is to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first and then test it to identify crashes, latencies, memory and storage issues, along with performance issues. 

    Types of cryptocurrency apps & primary features 

    As we mentioned above, the first thing to do before starting your own crypto project is to define what type of cryptocurrency app you’re going to develop. Generally, such apps are either crypto wallets, aggregation platforms, or trading apps.

    Crypto wallet

    What is it? 

    A blockchain wallet, or cryptocurrency wallet, is software, using which users can safely store their cryptocurrencies and related transaction records. Generally, crypto wallets support the two most popular digital currencies — Bitcoin and Etherium. Over 70 million people use blockchain wallets worldwide. On the graph below you can see the impressive dynamics of the number of crypto wallet users over the last 10 years:

    Cryptocurrency wallet apps make transactions easier and faster. This way of transferring money is also cheap and decentralized, which means that there is no central authority to control transactions that are fully anonymous and encrypted. 

    Factors determining the quality of a cryptocurrency wallet app

    • Number of supported currencies (BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, and others).
    • Security (two-factor authentication, fingerprint scanner, FaceID, hardware authentication, multi-signature, and so on).
    • User Experience. Managing your wallet shouldn’t be more difficult than using services like PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.
    • Anonymity. Reliable tools to protect users’ confidential data. Meanwhile, large miners and investors sometimes need a token mixer to trade large amounts of cryptocurrency. 

    Top cryptocurrency wallet app features to develop 

    • User authorization (two-factor authentication)
    • Multi-cryptocurrency support
    • Conversion rates
    • QR-code scanner
    • Push notifications
    • Transferring and receiving operations
    • Transaction history
    • Security features 

    Some examples of the best cryptocurrency wallet apps are  Bitcoin Wallet, BitGo, Coinbase, GreenAddress, Electrum, GreenAddress, Infinito, Edge. 

    Crypto data aggregators

    What is it? 

    Crypto data aggregators are aimed at providing users with the relevant information regarding the cryptocurrencies in the market (prices, market capitalization, trading volumes, trading pairs, available markets, and exchanges ranking). Such aggregators are often used by investors to delve more deeply into the crypto market.

    Note that when developing such a cryptocurrency app, it’s crucially important to pay attention to the UI/UX design, as in this case it largely determines user experience, including the perception of the visualized data, which affects the success of such services the most.

    Factors determining the quality of a crypto data aggregator

    • Quality of displayed data. Rates should be pulled from exchanges in real-time. Users should have an opportunity to seamlessly specify from which exchange to get information about the rate, and for each coin (trading pair).
    • Analytical tools. A good crypto aggregator should provide users with tools for technical analysis and building different trading strategies.
    • Additional functions. Push notifications, integration with cryptocurrency exchanges, news feed. 

    Top crypto aggregator features to develop

    • Live prices and charts
    • Price alerts (notifications)
    • Newsfeed
    • Watchlist
    • Synchronization with user’s portfolio

    Best crypto data aggregating apps currently on the market are CoinMarketCap, CoinGecko, Kaiko.

    Cryptocurrency exchange platforms (cryptocurrency trading apps)

    What is it? 

    Cryptocurrency trading app is an online platform similar to a marketplace that serves as an intermediary between the sellers and the buyers in trade transactions, which are mostly limited to buying, selling, or exchanging between fiat and virtual money. Developing a cryptocurrency exchange platform is a much more complex project than building a crypto wallet, as it’s associated with certain risks and requires more resources. 

    Factors determining the quality of a cryptocurrency trading app

    • High liquidity. As you are unlikely to have enough trading volume to provide instant sale/exchange of tokens at first, it’s logical to connect to an external liquidity pool to satisfy users’ needs.
    • A large number of trading pairs. “The more the better” principle works here, but remember that new coins might turn out to be a scam. 
    • Reliability and safety. The level of security of a cryptocurrency exchange platform should be high enough to process hundreds of thousands of transactions.

    Top cryptocurrency exchange app features to develop

    • User authorization and verification
    • Trade engine
    • Transaction history and order book
    • Analytical tools (Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), Relative Strength Index (RSI), Bollinger Bands (BB), etc)
    • Push notifications
    • Cryptocurrency wallet
    • Security features
    • Admin console

    Best cryptocurrency trading apps: Kraken, Gemini, Bitstamp, Uniswap. 

    Approaches to crypto app building & indicative costs

    It’s almost impossible to accurately specify cryptocurrency app development costs without looking through a concrete project. However, the price for making such an app widely depends on the development approach you choose. 
    The first way is to use a specialized software development kit (SDK). It’s a pool of tools, utilities, and documentation for developers to create software for a specific technology or platform. This is a good option for crypto apps for buying, selling and exchanging coins. The most popular SDKs are Coinbase, Bitcoinj and Blockchain. Below is the estimated cost of developing a crypto app using SDK:

    Another option is to build a cryptocurrency app from scratch. This way is much more expensive and difficult but allows you to build an app with unique features and design. Most applications in the cryptocurrency market are developed from scratch, since SDKs are mainly focused on the development of exchanges, and ready-to-go APIs are too limited in capabilities. 

    The estimated cost of developing a crypto app from scratch is about USD$28.000-$56.000, but still significantly varies depending on concrete features and an hourly rate of a developer. 

    Our expertise

    Surf team has wide expertise in working with ​​cryptocurrency app development projects. The most notable among the recent ones is Twim, a cryptocurrency trading app. 

    Twim needed an app to be user-friendly for both enthusiasts and experienced traders. The first-timers only need basic options and usually trade from their smartphones. Power traders, on the other hand, prefer to use tablets. They need a full-out trading terminal with stock analysis tooling to match. Therefore, the app had to work on both smartphones and tablets. Another crucial point was to make the service fast.

    Surf has successfully developed a cryptocurrency trading app in accordance with client’s requests: 

    • The app features a dark theme, which is more suitable for late-night work and is easier on the eyes. Other elements like buttons and texts are of contrasting colors to make them stand out on the dark screen.
    • It’s stable and displays quote updates instantaneously. Users can see all the topmost trading information: the chart, depth of market, orders, and quotes for currency pairs. 
    • The app suits both professional traders and enthusiasts. The mobile version supports cryptocurrency trading, shows portfolio statistics and changes in open interest. 
    • In the tablet version, a trader can access a full-out trading terminal and other advanced analytic tooling.

    If you are looking for a reliable developing partner in building a cryptocurrency app – fill in the form and we will return shortly with the feedback regarding your project.