Using Gryphon for Trading

Basic Concepts

Gryphon Executive

Gryphon installs four command line tools in your PATH. The most important by far is the gryphon executive: gryphon-exec. This application contains the Strategy Engine, which loads and executes your strategies, as well as several utility functions that are commonly used in the day-to-day operation of Gryphon.

To start out, the strategy engine is launched with this command:

gryphon-exec strategy [strategy_file] [--builtin] [--execute]

If you run a strategy without the --execute flag, the strategy file executes in full, but no order-placement calls will be made to exchanges. This is very useful for testing and debugging strategies.

Handling credentials with .env files

Gryphon interacts with exchanges and a few other third party services through their APIs, which requires gryphon to read your credentials for those services. To prevent these credentials from accidentally being e.g. committed to your source control or otherwise trasmitted, gryphon reads these credentials from a simple file on your machine named .env, pronounced ‘dotenv’ or sometimes just ‘env’.

These files are a simple list of key=value pairs. For example, the entries in your .env file for coinbase’s api look like this:


gryphon-exec and the other tools always read from the dotenv file in the current working directory. This means we recommend that you have only a single such file on your machine in a directory designated for running gryphon.

Exchange Ledgers

Gryphon tracks every order, trade, deposit, and withdrawal your strategies make in it’s trading database. The set of these records that are associated with a given exchange are called it’s ‘Exchange Ledger’. Before we can use an exchange with gryphon it’s necessary to initialize a ledger for it, which can be done easily with a utility function in gryphon-exec.

First, add the API credentials for that exchange to our dotenv. You can find out what credentials your chosen exchange needs in the Exchange API Credentials reference.

Then run the initialize_exchange_ledgers script.

gryphon-exec initialize-ledger [comma-separated list of exchanges]\

This script is one of the utility functions that is also available through gryphon-exec. It queries your balance information from the exchange API and creates an entry in the trading database to represent this exchange account.

Whenever you want to add a new exchange to trade on, run this script first to start a ledger for it.

Running Strategies

Run a built-in strategy

Gryphon ships with a few simple built-in strategies. These aren’t designed for serious trading but can be useful for testing and learning the framework.

One such strategy is called ‘Simple Market Making’, which runs a very simple strategy on bitstamp’s btc-usd pair. It can be run as follows:

gryphon-exec strategy simple_market_making --builtin

If you don’t use bitstamp, you can point the same strategy at any other btc-usd pair supported by gryphon by adding the command line argument --exchange [exchange_pair_name], such as

gryphon-exec strategy simple_market_making --builtin --exchange coinbase_btc_usd

This will run the strategy in no-execute mode. If you want it to place real orders, add the --execute flag to the same command. If you are running from a completely clean installation, this might throw an error like this:


That is because you need to have the API credentials set up in your .env file for gryphon to communicate with the exchange. For bitstamp, these look like this:


You can find entries that you need for other exchanges in Exchange API Credentials.

Now, try running the strategy again. You should start to see some simple logging that shows the platform is ticking.

Write and run a custom strategy

Gryphon has a lot of building-block libraries that make common tasks quite simple. For example, we can use the gryphon arbitrage library to write a simple arbitrage strategy in only three major function calls.

Starting from your gryphon root again, create a file: strategies/, and copy this text into it.

from gryphon.execution.strategies.base import Strategy
from gryphon.lib import arbitrage as arb
from import Consts

class Arb(Strategy):
    def tick(self, open_orders):
        cross = arb.detect_directional_cross(

        executable_volume = arb.get_executable_volume(

        if cross and executable_volume:
            self.harness.gemini_btc_usd.market_order(executable_volume, Consts.BID)
            self.harness.coinbase_btc_usd.market_order(executable_volume, Consts.ASK)

If you don’t use Gemini or Coinbase, it’s fine to switch either of those out with another btc-usd pair you use that is supported by gryphon, just so long as you remember to add their credentials to the dotenv and start a ledger.

Now, run your custom strategy in no-execute mode with:

gryphon-exec strategy strategies/

Again, you should see some boilerplate logging that shows the platform is ticking, but not as much as when we ran the built-in strategy. That’s because we haven’t added any log messages to the strategy that tell the viewer what is going on, but we’ll get to that.

Congratulations, you are trading with Gryphon!

Optional Setup

Exchange Rates

Gryphon can run on USD-denominated pairs with no extra setup, but to trade in markets where the price currency is not USD, access to exchange rate information is necessary. This functionality is implemented in and the current implementation sources it’s data from Open Exchange Rates (OXR).

Here are the steps to add support for non-USD pairs:

  1. Sign up for an account with Open Exchange Rates (their basic plans are free).
  2. Find your OXR ‘app_id’.
  3. Add the app_id it to your .env file under the key EXCHANGE_RATE_APP_ID. will attempt to cache exchange rate information in Redis in order to reduce the number of http calls it needs to make in the strategy execution thread. This is optional but may substantially improve your tick times. Simply turn on Redis with the command:


and add this line to your .env.


This is the default REDIS_URL on most systems, but may be different on your machine.