We want to hear from you about a change we are considering making to the Q platform. In short, we are considering removing paper trading, because it doesn't align with other features on the platform like it used to. More specifically, we want to provide data and features to help the whole community research and develop more contest and fund algorithms. Paper trading doesn't allow you to use datasets with a holdout (rendering it less useful), it doesn't align with our investment team's new approach to running the Q fund, and it is a costly feature to maintain (focus, money, and engineering time). We would especially like to reallocate that effort to helping you find and develop better algorithms.
History of Paper Trading
A couple of years ago, we removed live trading from Quantopian. It was an extremely difficult decision that impacted many of our community members. Our reason for removing live trading was that we wanted to focus on our investment business, and we noticed that algos for live trading split that focus both in our community and internally. Taking that one step further, we launched a new contest (the current one!) to align better with our investing focus. With two years of out-of-sample data on that decision, we feel like we made the right choice. As painful as it was at the time, the Q community has stepped up to the challenge of the new contest, used new datasets as they get added to the platform, and collaborated on ideas and best practices for developing a contest or fund algo (example 1, example 2, etc.).
At the time of removing live trading, we decided to keep paper trading. There were a couple of reasons to keep it, including easing the transition for folks who were using Q to do live trading as well as the fact that we depended on paper trading to test algorithms before running them in the Q fund. Today, we don't have the same live trading community that we used to and we no longer depend on paper trading to test fund algos]. Additionally, the FactSet datasets that we've been adding to the platform have the most recent year or two of data held out, which means they can't be used in paper trading. At this point, we feel that paper trading is not a feature that supports the research and development of contest & fund algorithms, so we are looking into removing it by the end of the year**.
** Note that we haven't committed to a specific date yet.
That said, before making a decision one way or the other, we'd like to learn more from you about how you use paper trading. We're curious about how you use it generally and also specifically if you think losing the feature would have an impact on your research and development process for contest & fund algorithms.
Let us know!