Peatio Exchange

Building the World’s First Open Source Multi-Sig Bitcoin Exchange

How you can have your own crypto-currency exchange with multi-sig security

Bitcoin’s history is rife with drama about the closure of one exchange after another. Problems have ranged from outsider hacking attacks to insiders holding servers hostage. I’ve long been curious to understand these stories better — How do exchanges work behind the scenes? How much would it cost to set one up? And if that were cheap, how would one run an exchange and stay in business (without losing customer funds)?

Like many others, I had long toyed with the idea of building my own exchange. A few months ago, I registered the domain, because there would only ever be 21 million bitcoins, and buying one would make you part of the club. I never got around to building the exchange due to time constraints. Also, for practical and security reasons, I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel.

Just recently, I was pleasantly surprised when friends over at BitSpark (a multi-currency exchange in Hong Kong) told me about Peatio, an open-source crypto-currency exchange that was free for anyone to downloadand run. It boasts several enterprise exchange features, including a high-performance matching engine, scalable distributed worker threads, and SMS 2-factor authentication out of the box. It also has several features relevant to crypto-currencies, such as integrated withdrawals and deposits to Bitcoind and a built-in proof-of-solvency audit. However, one security feature missing was support for a multi-sig cosigner. By default, Peatio connects to a BitcoinD instance with an unlocked wallet — this meant that any hacker with access to that machine would be able to get away with all the coins.

Peatio is great as an exchange, but I feared for those who ran it in production — would security on their machines be strong enough to prevent hackers from repeating history in the long run? Since I work at BitGo, I decided to embark on a side project to enable multi-sig support in Peatio. I wanted to do this as a challenge to see how difficult it was to get enterprise-grade security on open-source exchange software. If it were possible, I’d be a step closer to running my own exchange☺.


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git clone
cd bitgod
npm install


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This repository contains the source code that runs the exchange on … 1 = Subcurrencies 2 = Crypto-currencies 3 = Real-world assets 4 = Fiat currencies.