Raspberry Pi Converts Cryptocurrency Trading Data Into Music

The cryptosynth at work
(Image credit: Look Mum No Computer)

In what must be one of the stranger build projects we’ve covered, this collaboration between Texas-based explain-o-genius Estefannie and British synth-pop anarchist Look Mum No Computer plays music, or at least generates sounds, based on the fluctuations of the cryptocurrency market. Originally featured on the Raspberry Pi Blog, it deserves to go global.

Look Mum No Computer, AKA Sam, approached Estefannie to do the encoding for his project. Her solution was to use a Raspberry Pi, set to track cryptocurrency markets, and output the data to a breadboard full of LEDs. Sam then built a series of analog circuits that slow down this trading data to a more musically inclined tempo, before routing the monotone output through oscillators to produce chords. 

The end result, as heard in the hour-long video above, is particularly avant garde, a piece of art that challenges our very concepts of music, enjoyment, time and, indeed, ears. Long periods where very little happens are interspersed with sparseness and emptiness, while a constant background drone haunts the slowly rising and falling tones. Far from the expected snap and pop of currency trading, it sounds more like whale song heard from the other side of a black hole. YouTube’s ability to play things at double speed becomes essential.

You’d have to be particularly attuned to the currency markets to tell anything about crypto trading from the noise it makes, but this is a fascinating look at what can be achieved with some coding smarts, imagination, and a supply of data. We’d suggest extending the project to track GPU prices, but fear the end result might be rather too much like grindcore doom metal than chirpy chiptunes

Happily, explanation videos exist from both Estefannie and Look Mum No Computer, allowing us to wallow in all the technical and creative detail we could possibly need. 

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • JWNoctis
    Years ago there was a certain exhibit at a local tech museum, which played what's presumably bitmap image data back as audio.

    Supposedly, more beautiful pics sounded better too.

    Never figured out how.
  • Angela2101
    Seems like this is an interesting thing. Trading currency through music, what about klingeltöne?