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FinTech Magazine spoke to Tongtong Gong, COO and Co-founder of Amberdata, the startup delivering digital assets data into blockchain, crypto, and DeFi, empowering financial institutions!

Tongtong Gong is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Amberdata, the company delivering digital assets data and insights into blockchain networks, crypto markets, and decentralised finance (DeFi) – empowering financial institutions with data for trading, risk, analytics, compliance, reporting and research.

As a startup founder, Tongtong’s responsibilities frequently shift from one thing to another. “You have to be agile enough to gravitate to whatever needs your help the most, jump in, and solve the problems you need to solve,” she says.

An engineer by trade with a degree in computer science, Tongtong started her career as a software developer focused on building data products.

“I spent over 15 years building data integration, data analytics, and data products and learned a tremendous amount about understanding related data. Often, one plus one is greater than two – so I learned the importance of deriving insightful information from data.”

Fast-forward to 2016 and 2017, and Tongtong’s interest in crypto assets, blockchain technology, and smart contracts spiked. “I was finding myself looking for resources to soak up as much information as possible about this new technology and emerging industry,” she adds.

“When researching, what I found was a lack of interesting data analytics to help me understand beyond the white papers I was reading. You can read a white paper, but what’s really happening? There wasn’t much in the way of data insights available.”

This was the genesis for Tongtong to establish Amberdata, alongside fellow Co-founder Shawn Douglass. “We felt there was a significant gap in the market to provide the much-needed tools and resources for people to understand what is happening with smart contracts and token economics,” says Tongtong. “We wanted to provide the insight for what is driving these transactions – that’s how Amberdata was started.” 

Amberdata COO: The perfect role 

Although Tongtong’s responsibilities shift with the immediate needs of the day, she admits she loves what she does. “I subscribe to the phrase ‘Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’, because my role at Amberdata really feels that way.

“I’m still learning to this day,” she adds, “whether it’s about various protocols or new data insights. I love providing insightful data to our customers and that’s where my comfort zone is. That’s what I love to do.”

Becoming COO of Amberdata also provided Tongtong with the next step professionally, having hit a ceiling in her previous role as a VP engineer. “I didn’t know where to go from my last position,” she says. “How do you come across the chasm from running an engineering team focused on data and backend processing, to understanding more about the product side of business, sales, and operations?

Co-founding Amberdata proved the perfect next step for Tongtong, though. “Being a startup co-founder, there are so many jobs for you to do, and that gives you a great opportunity to expand your skill set and learn new things. For me, that’s the best part of the role.”

Exploring Amberdata: Delivering digital assets data

Founded in 2017, Amberdata has since grown to become the most comprehensive digital assets data and analytics provider in the industry today.

Today, the company is connected to all top centralised exchanges, whether it’s in spot, futures, or options. “We provide very deep and broad data sets from these trading venues, to help a customer understand liquidity, understand price, especially on the options analytics for implied volatility,” notes Tongtong.

Tongtong Gong (COO and Co-Founder):

With 15+ years of experience, Tongtong has extensive knowledge in building and managing distributed computing, distributed storage, and big data analytics systems at scale for enterprises. Prior to co-founding Amberdata, she served as VP of Engineering at Unified where she led the build-out of the company’s core business intelligence SaaS offering in cross-platform data attribution, analytics, and reporting for social advertising with more than $1B under management. Tongtong also held a variety of engineering and leadership roles at Acxiom, led an innovation and advanced development team for the CTO office at EMC/Dell, and was part of the Foundry Accelerator in New York.

“On the other hand, a large portion of our services are focused around on-chain data and blockchain data analytics. We give data insights into the transactions and wallets happening on-chain, who held the token, and for how long. We provide time series historical data as well.”

Amberdata also offers deep DeFi and analytics insights, providing a deeper understanding of DeFi lending protocols and decentralised exchanges. “Amberdata serves the whole spectrum of financial services,” says Tongtong, “from front-office to mid-office and back-office. “On the front-office side, we deliver data on research, quantum portfolio management trading, delivering high-quality data for partners to monetize.

“Mid-office is really about risk and treasury, to help professionals understand the environment they find themselves in, whether that be related to counterparty risk, liquidity risk, or stablecoin de-pegging risk. “For back-office clients, our data can really deepen an understanding of compliance, accounting, and auditing use cases. We serve many accounting and tax providers, and have recently extended that to regulators as well.”

Amberdata: Supporting clients with high-quality data

Indeed, it’s the quality of Amberdata’s data that makes it an attractive business partner for financial institutions.

Today, more and more financial institutions are valuing high-quality data because – as put by Tongtong – “if you’re making decisions with low-quality data, you’re either lucky or you’re wrong”.

She continues: “This is especially true for digital assets. That’s because when things are happening on-chain it’s radically transparent – more so than any other financial instruments out there. “If you’re trading, blockchain technology enables you to P&Ls transactions in real-time, that’s the power of blockchain. Understanding digital assets can be quite intimidating for some, that’s why we exist, to bring together disjointed data in a normalized way.”

Educating financial institutions on digital assets

Indeed, it’s the ability Amberdata has to educate the industry on the value of digital assets by presenting data in a simple, digestible way that makes its services so attractive for FIs.

The company’s role as an industry educator is something Tongtong and her team take seriously too. “Digital assets can be very intimidating for some people,” she says. “It’s a new technology with many different binary codes, and it can be a lot for industry players to get their head around. That’s why we recently launched our market intelligence platform, AmberLens, containing many useful tools and insights.” 

Amberdata has been able to take advantage of its seven years in operation, and the data it has gathered in that time to create such a platform. The timing of AmberLens’ launch couldn’t have been better, either. Digital assets trading has seen a spike in interest following the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of spot Bitcoin-ETFs in early 2024 – and as more traders and investors look to crypto as a viable option, more financial institutions are looking to adopt digital assets as part of their offering. This widens the pool of potential clients for Amberdata, and with the launch of AmberLens, platform users can access a dashboard of the inflow and outflow of all spot Bitcoin ETFs.

“The platform’s institutional grade metrics and insights not only cover Bitcoin ETFs but also stablecoin analytics for different Bitcoin market indicators, as well as insights for real- world assets on-chain,” says Tongtong.

A complimentary platform, AmberLens showcases what is happening on-chain and in the ETF and stablecoin world. “It enables us to create a communication in the same language of data, helping to spread the adoption of digital assets,” Tongtong adds.

How Amberdata stands out from the crowd

Of course, Amberdata is not the only provider of digital assets data on the market. To stand out, it focuses on making sure its data is as comprehensive as possible. Tongtong expands: “We’re not just focused on our centralised trading menu, we’re not just focused on price. We have DeFi and we have on-chain data, so for us, it’s about painting the whole picture of all the services we provide.

“The whole market is very interconnected. And so we are here to provide the full picture. I think that one of our huge differentiators is that we allow our customers to get familiar with that journey, and gather all the data they need to make decisions. “We’re also very institutional, with quality, depth and high-fidelity data. With our enterprise support and white glove service, we have dedicated account managers and one-on-one support. We’re SOC-2 compliant, and a well buttoned down fintech all-in-all.” 

The value of partnerships

Indeed, Amberdata wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of its partners. Since its founding, it has received considerable backing from investors – which Tongtong likens to partners thanks to the support they have provided.

These include Citibank, Franklin Templeton, Nasdaq, Chicago Trading, Susquehanna, National Australia Bank, and Galaxy Digital, among others. 

“Our investors have helped us stay informed and aware of the market, so we can scale to where the puck is going. I keep saying that blockchain technology and digital assets are still finding their product market fit for the world. It’s still very early. 

“And how institutions are going to embrace this asset class and what they’re going to do about this asset class is very, it’s very important. Our investors are making sure we’re in the right position,” notes Tongtong. 

On the other hand, Amberdata wouldn’t be Amberdata without its data partners, which give it the tools to be able to function. These include Snowflake, Databricks, AWS and Google Analytics Hub. “These partners allow us to deliver data insights to where our customers need it the most,” continues Tongtong.

“We’re delivering the data how our customers want to consume it – it’s our selling point – and it wouldn’t be possible without our incredible partners.”

The future of Amberdata

Making its mark in the digital assets data space today, Amberdata has no plans to slow down in the future. “Over the next year or so, our plans include broadening our data partnerships. One of these includes Microsoft Fabrics, and we look forward to getting up and running with them soon,” concludes Tongtong.

“On the product breadth and depth side, we just launched new reference rates to support the rising popularity of ETFs. We continue adding more insights into AmberLens too, as we keep looking for new ways to support our customers.”

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