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Airtable for Cryptocurrency calculations

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

One of the aspects of working with blockchain-type data for cryptocurrencies is that the values recorded have a large number of decimal places. Bitcoin has 8 decimal places, and so just barely fits within the max number of decimals Airtable allows. However, Ethereum has 18 decimal places, and many of the tokens built on that infrastructure followed suit, and have very high number of fractional decimal places.

Many spreadsheet applications max out at 15 significant digits for numbers, and so are hard to work with Ethereum values that use that full spread. Since Airtable has such a robust API system, I experimented with using it to solve some of these issues and here are the pain points with that:

Because the “Number” field cannot go up to 18 decimal places, a “Single line text” field format is needed instead. Using a base that has a Date column and a “Single line text” field, an outside script (capable of high-precision math calculations) can create “running total” values fairly well.

However, in displaying those values, it then becomes a problem of alignment: if a base has values of:

  • 0.12345
  • 12.5454555
  • 1.7
  • 7235.3
  • 0.000111222333444555

(a mix of number of digits left of the decimal point, and right of the decimal point)
Then when they’re all left-aligned (as Airtable columns are, and how this bulleted list appears here), it’s very hard to see which numbers are bigger at a quick glance.

If Airtable allowed text columns to be displayed right-aligned, then each of those values could be padded to make them align nicely:


Alternatively, if the Number field were able to go up to 18 decimal places, that would be even more beneficial (and able to do math on cryptocurrency values right within the UI as a formula), which would set Airtable apart from other spreadsheet tools which are limited in that regard.

14 - Jupiter
14 - Jupiter

You could use a formula field to pad those values from the text field, and just use that formula field as the display field, while the text field is just a background field for interacting with the API.

The REPT() and LEN() functions would be the keys here.

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I believe Airtable also doesn’t have right-justifying available for Formula fields? So that suggested solution allows for doing the string padding but displaying that change is rather moot if it’s still left-aligned.

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Using a "Single line text" field format is a clever workaround, but you're absolutely right about the alignment issue. It can make it tricky to compare values at a glance. Having the option to display text columns right-aligned would indeed be a neat solution, allowing for better readability and alignment.
If Airtable could extend its "Number" field to handle up to 18 decimal places, that would be a game-changer. Not only would it simplify calculations within the UI, but it would also set Airtable apart from other spreadsheet tools with their limitations.
Thanks for sharing your insights, and I hope Airtable takes note of these suggestions. In the meantime, if you're looking for a different approach or tool, you might want to explore using mpc wallet as a service for your cryptocurrency needs.