Yes, I know the subject line has three exclamation points, but we're that excited!
Paper Trading: You can now run an algorithm in "paper trading" mode. Paper trading is a big step for anyone who is getting ready to live trade. There's no way to "overfit" an algorithm that is in paper trading mode - this is an out-of-sample test that simply can't be beaten. You can fool yourself by just backtesting over and over again. But you can't fool yourself while doing paper trading.
Paper trading runs off of a live data feed (actually 15-minute delay, but effectively live). Quantopian bundles the live feed into minute bars, and pushes those bars into your algorithm. Your algorithm issues any orders it thinks it should, and the Quantopian backtester sends back any order fills. You get minute-to-minute updates on your returns, risk metrics, etc. You get to watch the results live.
The data feed for this is new to Quantopian. We're using NxCore from Nanex. This feed is interesting because it hasn't been completely cleaned. As a realtime feed, it includes bad prints and other anomalies. We may need to write defensive code in our algorithms to help identify and discard bad prints.
Paper trading is free. To start, you first have to have an algorithm that you ran a full backtest. Then click the "live trading" button and you're off!
Live Trading: We're ready to start live trading with a pilot group of traders. If you're interested in live trading, make sure you're logged into your Quantopian account and then sign up for the pilot program. We'll select new additions to our pilot group from the pool of applicants.
Live trading isn't robust enough yet for general use. When you have a bug in paper trading, it's frustrating, but the stakes are low. When you have a bug in live trading, the stakes are much higher. To mitigate that we're doing a lot of hand-holding with the pilot group and working with them to launch their algos. I tell you - it's very exciting to see orders sent to Interactive Broker and come back as trades in Quantopian!