What are API keys and how to use them in skin trading?

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When you get more into trading online, you might need to learn a few things about protocols, safety, and the mechanics that facilitate trading. Especially when you’re using several platforms, you must have some way of organizing yourself around it, or, even better, having the components communicate with each other. This is where API keys come in handy – whenever they are available, of course.

And what is an API key? First, by itself, the API (application programming interface) is a computing interface that connects different functional systems by defining what kind of information can they exchange and by what protocol. Consequently, an API key is a set of characters that serves as an authenticator in the process of connecting services by the way of API.

Given that Valve makes it possible to get Steam web API key, it opens up the skin trade to new possibilities. We’ll examine the available API service setup and see what else 

How to use API key in trading?

Certain applications and web services enable you to connect with digital markets with the use of an API key. This allows for several different kinds of operations. This way an external script or application can request trades, accept them and issue searches in the target market, and much more.

Okay, but how does it help the end user exactly? Aren’t those things you can do manually? Of course you can, but this way they can be automatised to a certain extent. First and foremost, this way you don’t have to log in to the trading app itself all the time and use any kind of manager to handle the operations in a simpler fashion. For example, it allows you to browse more specifically filtered offers without the need of entering a new search phrase all the time. Valve can be praised for many things, but the Community Market interface can be a bit bulky at times.

Does Steam have its own API?

Yes, and this is pretty much the basis of our today’s analysis. If your Steam account is protected by the Steam Guard Authentication Token, you can generate a Steam API key that will make it possible for another app or service to tap into the Steamworks via your account’s credentials. It’s pretty easy to set up. Depending on the target service you’re using, it’s enough to provide an API key and it should work off the bat.

Practically any skin-and-item-related services will now require you to provide Steam API key to allow for any operations on the inventory. It’s nothing to be afraid of and opens a door to a more friendly trade routine.

You can read more about general authentication processes at Steam in this documentation article.

Do other services offer API keys?

Several third-party marketplaces dealing with CS:GO skins or Dota 2 items – say, DMarket or Bitskins –  allow you to create an API key for their own service. This means that you can then use a singular tool to manage offers of several marketplaces. Fun stuff, but wait, there’s more!

Skinwallet now actually offers an API key generation that in turn will allow users to facilitate their usage of our services to a great extent, especially when they’re dealing with bulk quantities of skins. Here’s a whole article dedicated to our API system.

API Security

The key factor of your account security while using API with any service is keeping it confidential. If by any chance you provide the key to an unauthorized entity, it’s crucial that you revoke the key immediately. Fortunately, it’s an industry standard to allow the user to generate the API key anew in no time. Each service will have its additional safety measures you can undertake to keep your process clean and scam-free.

One of the features that Valve uses to increase Steam API’s security is a whitelist. It basically means that Valve can keep a set of IP addresses that are confirmed by you to use the protocol. You can easily edit the list in API key settings in Steam configuration. It is not required for your connections to function, but it is an additional safety measure that makes it difficult for a scammer to influence your process in case of compromising your API key.

Summary

To put it briefly, API interfaces are a means of programs to communicate requests with each other and exchange data, and API keys are the authentication codes used to set this exchange in motion. Steam makes its API available to facilitate trade on Steam Community Market to a great extent. Third-party marketplaces are utilizing API to further enhance the trader communication between them. This way, using an API key for a given service will make it much easier to enhance your trade game.

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