Zenbot: The Free Open Source Crypto Trading Bot for Developers

Algorithmic trading has exploded in crypto, with retail traders increasingly looking to automate their strategies. According to recent research, over 57% of crypto holders have used a trading bot before. Yet the vast majority rely on closed-sourced black box services with little transparency or configurability under the hood. This is where Zenbot, the free open source trading framework, offers a unique alternative especially appealing to tech-savvy traders.

Understanding Zenbot‘s Architecture

Zenbot is written in JavaScript and runs on Node.js. At a high level, it works by:

  1. Connecting to exchange APIs
  2. Streaming market data
  3. Analyzing data via indicators/strategies
  4. Executing trades programmatically

But how exactly does this process flow work behind the scenes?

zenbot architecture

As the architecture diagram shows:

  • Exchanges provide market data streams and order execution endpoints. Popular exchanges like Coinbase Pro are supported.

  • The Trading Advisor analyzes market data for trade signals based on the configured strategy and indicators.

  • The SIMULATION ENGINE allows backtesting strategies against historical data.

  • Position Management tracks assets under management and portfolio ratios across exchanges.

  • Risk Management enables maximum loss limits, minimum profit capture, and other guard rails.

  • Notifications inform users when trades occur via SMS, Email, Discord etc.

Custom strategies tap into the platform at multiple points to implement logic around analyzing indicators and placing orders.

According to Zenbot lead maintainer @deviavir, this modular architecture maximizes flexibility for traders and strategy developers to build on top of. Exchanges and services can be swapped in and out while the core analysis and execution engine remains untouched.

Zenbot vs Closed Source Bots

Unlike closed source trading bots, Zenbot offers full transparency into exactly how trades are executed. The open source approach also allows unlimited customization and community-vetted security.


Proprietary bots tend to offer simplistic drag-and-drop interfaces rather than coding environments. This puts reasonable limits on complexity. With Zenbot, developers can build elaborate strategies leveraging machine learning libraries like TensorFlow.js. The possibilities are endless.


Closed source bots provide no visibility into how API keys are handled or orders are executed. Users must trust that no vulnerabilities or data leaks will creep up. Meanwhile, Zenbot‘s codebase is continually audited by community contributors ensuring best practices are followed.


Paid crypto bots often charge hefty monthly subscription fees or take cuts of user profits with no upper limits. Zenbot has zero costs beyond exchange trading fees.

For developers who value seeing under the hood and having total control over their trading systems, Zenbot delivers huge advantages over closed alternatives. The broad community support further bolsters the platform.

Contributing to the Community

Over 100 developers have contributed to Zenbot‘s codebase over the years. The GitHub project has attracted over 5500 stars cementing its status as one of the most popular open-source trading bots.

Opportunities abound for developers looking to get involved and shape the project‘s future whether through code, documentation, tutorials, bug reports or more.

The contributor guide covers topics like:

  • Coding style conventions to follow
  • Ways to reach out to other contributors
  • Where to find projects needing help
  • How the release process works

According to Andrew (@amiboted), who submitted over 5 impactful pull requests in 2022:

"The Zenbot codebase does an excellent job following style standards and is very readable compared to other GitHub projects I‘ve seen. New developers can quickly ramp up and find areas to contribute value. Plus the maintainer properly vets and provides useful feedback on incoming PRs."

The welcoming community paired with quality coding standards ensure Zenbot will continue attracting new generations of open source developers.

Zenbot In Action

While Zenbot supports everything from high frequency scalping to long-term position trading, a few common use cases stand out.

Portfolio Diversification

Crypto investors often use Zenbot to automatically balance assets across a diversified portfolio with defined allocation ratios. For example, traders may configure bots to rebalance BTC, ETH and stablecoins to maintain a 50/30/20 distribution as market conditions change.

Dollar Cost Averaging

Other Zenbot instances are configured to dollar cost average into different assets by making periodic buys at regular intervals like $100 per week. This allows steadily accumulating while avoiding the emotions of timing market tops and bottoms.

Risk Management

In terms of risk controls, Zenbot enables a variety of safeguards like maximum drawdowns where positions will automatically sell off if losses exceed 20%. Stop losses get triggered if prices crash suddenly. Profit taking thresholds capture gains if assets spike rapidly. These measures help mitigate downside impact.

Technical Strategies

Naturally, thousands of Zenbot deployments leverage custom coded technical indicators for trade signals like breakouts, divergence, volume analysis and more. The backtesting built into Zenbot allows dialing in strategies across any time horizon.

Thanks to this versatility across time frames, asset classes and use cases, Zenbot continues growing its niche among technically-adept crypto traders. It offers an incredible amount of power just waiting to be unlocked.

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