*Introductions: I'm joskye. A cryptocurrency investor and holder. *
Hi again. This is the third part in our ongoing series on how to trade better and determine intelligent investments in cryptocurrency for the future.
- In part 1 I talked about the importance of selling enough to make back your principle investment i.e. if you buy something at $300 and it rises to $600 in value, sell $300 to eliminate all future risk of personal loss e.g. if that asset falls to $150 in value after (which can happen easily since suchvolatility is very common in cryptocurrency). In cryptocurrency trading/investments a 100% return of investment should always prompt you to consider selling 1/2 your stack.
- In part 2 I talked about the psychology behind fear of missing out; i.e. the dangers of buying during a sudden rise in an asset's price and how to make the most of such rallies whilst minimising the risks involved in joining them.
- In part 3a I discussed The importance of a value proposition and the absolute need for any cryptocurrency you invest in to already generate or have the potential to generate revenue in a manner completely independent of it's speculative value as dictated by daily market prices.
Part 3b continues where I left off with a discussion about price metrics specifically, what determines the price
and the importance of liquidity
... The day traders:
As I mentioned in my previous article, as of writing almost every cryptocurrency is determined purely by speculative value.
- Thus the absolute price of a given cryptocurrency is determined solely by the day traders and specifically the last price it was agreed that currency would be sold at with confirmation of that price by a buyer who bought it.
- People say lots of things determine the price; marketcap, liquidity, value proposition, revenues generated by the coin, the number of said coin in circulation but ultimately it comes down to the number of buyers and number of sellers competing for that coin.
- Perhaps the other thing is the size of said market relative to the money held by the players in it.
For instance in cryptocurrency Bitcoin is still the biggest player in the game. It carries a per unit price of $900 per coin. There are currently 16,090,137 (16 million) coins in circulation giving it a total marketcap value of [$900 x 16090137 =] $14481123300 or 14.48 billion USD.
- This is 85% of the current cryptocurrency marketcap. (The total marketcap of all cryptocurrencies as of writing is 17.17 billion USD.)
- Compare and contrast Shadowcash (SDC) which has a unit price of $1.27 with 6,616814 coins in circulation giving it a total marketcap value of [$1.27 x 6616814=] $8392766 or 8.39 million USD.
- Thus Shadowcash in comparison to Bitcoin is a tiny cap of the cryptocurrency sphere. Shadowcash has a total value that is only 0.06% of Bitcoin when comparing marketcap's.
Shadowcash looks even more meagre compared to the total cryptocurrency marketcap with only 0.048% of the total cryptocurrency sphere. To any Shadowcash holders despairing at this point, relax. There are over 707 cryptocurrencies trading as of writing and SDC holds the 27th ranking in terms of market cap. In such a competitive field, filled with scams that's pretty good. Moreso when you consider that SDC is a legitimate technology and is currently probably very undervalued.
... Lets look at the rich list for bitcoin:
Why did I just talk about this?
- The top holder has 124,956 Bitcoin valued at $1,12460400 or 1.24 billion USD.
- The top SDC holder has 1027261 SDC valued at $1,304621 or 1.4 million USD.
- Thus the wealth of the top SDC holder is 1.16% that of the wealth of the top Bitcoin holder.
- Well they say that a big fish can easily occupy, make a splash in and empty a small pond just by diving in.
In cryptocurrency I see this happening on the markets all the time
. Indeed market manipulation effects every single cryptocurrency eventually
... Market manipulation!
Large holders of valuable, high marketcap coins will often make multiple small volume purchases of less valuable, low marketcap coins. Often this will follow announcements regarding developments in that low marketcap coin.
- An example of low volume ordering is buying 1 SDC at $1.20, 0.5 SDC at $1.2001, 5 SDC at $1.2010, 3 SDC at $1.21, 10 SDC at $1.22 and 0.11 SDC at $1.24, but then leaving someone else to fill the order for 100 SDC priced at $1.242.
- Thus by spending $23.77, in low volume purchases the buyer can raise the market cap of SDC from ($1.20 * 6,616814 coins) $7.94 million to (1.24 * 6,616814) $8.20 million! (4.2% increase).
Low volume buying in a market with low daily trading volume can gradually drive up the price attracting an influx of buyers into that coin; often they will make larger volume purchases of it which helps drive up the price much further. This will trigger a further chain of buyers experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out, detailed in Part 2) who will drive up the price even further. The price will pump.
Often will smaller cap cryptocurrencies this may result in a sudden 20, 40, 60 or even +100% increase in value often over a very short time space (1-2 days, 1-2 weeks maximum).
The only way to discern if the sudden rise in coin value is due to pre-rigged market manipulation is to look at:
- Often the original purchaser who triggered these events will have accumulated a lot of said cryptocurrency cheaply prior to or during the early stages of the pump and will wind up selling the majority of his/her's purchases when the price reaches a peak; usually when the daily/hourly trading volume on that coin starts to decline but sufficient buyers are still available.
- This results in a sudden or often more gradual dump in the coins value, usually by falling by 75% or more of the rise.
You are looking for organic, gradual growth based on a solid value proposition.
- the value proposition of that coin (discussed extensively in part 3a of this guide)
- the order book
- the depth chart
- the pattern of change on daily trading volume (and liquidity)
- the price charts (15 minute, hourly, 1 day, 3 day, 7 day, 1 month, 6 months)
- the news cycle relevant to that coin
Sudden large spikes in value should make you pause and wonder if it's worth waiting for a gradual correction (organic drop) in price before entering your buy order. Do not fall for a pump and dump.
Stick to the lessons covered in previous parts of this guide (especially part 3a and 2) and you will be much less likely to lose money in the long run trading and investing in cryptocurrencies.
... The pattern of change on daily trading volume, the order book and liquidity:
Lets look at SDC and Bitcoin again. This time we are going to compare the daily trading volume (last 24 hours) in USD.
- In the last 24 hours (dated 8th Jan 2016), SDC traded a total volume of $26,033. This is 0.01% of all USD daily trading volume on exchanges and only 0.39% of the total marketcap of SDC.
- In contrast Bitcoin traded $163,306,776 ($0.16 Billion) over the same 24 hour period. This is 76.15% of USD daily trading volume on exchanges and only 1.12% of it's total marketcap.
I'd just like to use this opportunity to point out and reinforce the idea that day traders not holders dictate the daily price of an asset
. I'd also like to point out daily global trading volume on Forex is $4800 billion which makes Bitcoin a very small fish
in the broader arena of global finance and trade i.e. Bitcoin is still very vulnerable to all the price manipulation tactics and liquidity issues I am going to be describing in this article
by bigger players with richer pockets.
The daily trading volume also gives you an idea of how much fiat currency you can invest into a given cryptocurrency before you suddenly shift the price.
- The numbers means that just because the marketcap of Bitcoin is $14 billion, that does not mean that there is truly $14 billion worth of fiat currencies (USD, Yuan, Euro etc) in Bitcoin; the total fiat volume is merely an estimate based on current price and number of Bitcoin in circulation.
A sudden rise in coin price heavily out of proportion to the rise in daily trading volume should be the first sign to alert you to a pump & dump scam.
- For example based on the 24 hour daily trading volume for SDC I know that if I blindly spent $15,000 (57% of the daily trading volume) buying SDC without any regard to the price, I can be confident that I will likely cause the price of SDC to go up significantly.
- In contrast spending $15,000 to buy Bitcoin (0.0092% of the daily trading volume) without regards to it's price, I can be confident that it will not likely cause a significant rise in the daily spot price of Bitcoin.
Daily trading volume should show a steady increase over time with sustained buy support at new price levels; this is a good marker of organic, sustainable growth.
- It implies a low volume trading at low prices to trick the unseasoned trader to perpetuate higher volume, high price buys.
- If daily trading volume cannot organically increase to sustain the price, it will eventually fall when the original pumper (or group of pumpers) sell to take their profits.
- This does not always have to be the case! Sufficiently large price movements (several 1000%) can significantly raise the next absolute low in price for the mid-term (months) even if that is several 100% lower than the peak!
- Conversely declining trading volumes indicate loss of interest in the coin and a price that is potentially more prone to and at risk of price manipulation with smaller amounts of fiat/bitcoin (than if higher daily trading volumes existed).
- Finally the fact that daily fiat trading volume for Bitcoin and Shadowcash is such a small percentage of it's total marketcap reinforces the idea that price is set by day traders not by holders!
... For more detail you can now look at the depth chart: The depth chart is very useful to know how much fiat currency is required to cause the spot price of a given cryptocurrency to rise or fall by a given amount.
NB the price of most cryptocurrencies is expressed in Bitcoin
- The depth chart groups different bids (buy orders) and asks (sell orders) by price and volume e.g. 17.739 bitcoin worth of SDC are currently on sale at poloniex for 0.00117500 bitcoin each ($1.07 per coin) and 0.149 Bitcoin are on sale at the current spot price of 0.00135750 Bitcoin ($1.24)
- So as of writing, I can see (from the charts) to raise the price of SDC from 0.00135750 Bitcoin ($1.24) to 0.00181381 Bitcoin ($1.66) I would need to spend 26 Bitcoin ($23783).
because it has the largest market cap and daily trading volume of all cryptocurrencies by a very large margin
and because with a few exceptions (Ethereum, Monero) most cryptocurrencies do not have routes to directly purchase via fiat currency without first purchasing Bitcoin.
- The depth chart shows me how many coins I can buy without significantly increasing the price and how many coins I can sell within a given price range. It gives me an idea of the liquidity and volatility of the market i.e. if I buy SDC right now and need to sell it later today or tomorrow for fiat, what is the realistic probability I can get my entire amount in fiat returned to me in the amount originally spent.
Liquidity is super important. People often complain about a market lacking liquidity but that is often because they are trading in fiat volumes which far exceed the daily trading fiat volumes of the cryptocurrency they are referring to. If you are investing or trading in a cryptocurrency, always factor in the your personal liquidity and need for liquidity relative to that of the cryptocurrency you are investing in.
In other words don't expect to make a profit next day selling 'cryptocurrency x' if the size your single buy order composes >90% of the buy orders on the market for 'cryptocurrency x' that day (indeed in such a scenario be very prepared to sell at a loss next day if you absolutely have to)!
- The depth chart also gives me an idea of where significant supports exists (price zones with large buy orders relative to the depth chart) to determine the true base price (in conjunction with daily trading volume) and where significant resistances exist (price zones with large sell orders relative to the rest of the depth chart) to determine what the majority of sellers think the coin is truly worth. Be wary though as buy walls (large supports) and sell walls (large resistances) can be moved at any time.
There are certain patterns on a depth chart that make me believe a significant, sustained price rise is imminent: One example occurs when there is a very large volume of buy orders (>25% of total buy volume within 5% of current price) very
close to the current (spot) price, and a very
large number of sell orders close to but significantly above the spot price (approx 25% total sell volume within 10% of current price) and especially if the total buy order volume is a significantly higher percentage than it has previously been.
This simply indicates high demand at current price which may soon outstrip supply. Again I stress that these patterns can be manipulated easily by wealthy traders.
- It is up to you to study the depth charts and discern the patterns. You will learn more about day trading this way.
... The order book is another way of looking at the depth chart and allows you to see the specific transactions occurring that compose daily trading volume by the second!
I find it useful because it allows me to identify:
- If there is a string of low volume orders that can be filled to pump the price (or conversely a string of low volume sell orders to dump it). This can play on the psychology of the entire market as many people aren't simply aware of how the manipulations occur; most people simply look at the price!
- Where resistances to price change occur and how much money it will take to break them (i.e. if I am day trading to make a profit via pumping, is it worth me spending X to clear a sell wall to encourage others to buy and push up the price further or do I need to spend so much of my capital that should I fail to stimulate buy orders, I become vulnerable to a dump in coin price with effective subsequent loss of fiat money).
- The presence of automated trading bots rapidly cycling a buy or sell order of fixed volume between a series of prices that dynamically adjust with the overall trend in price movements. Bots can be your best friend (to pumping or dumping price) if you know how to manipulate them!
... The price charts:
Discussions about price charts could be endless. I'm not going to go into too much detail, mostly because I'm an investor who believes the value proposition, good consistent development, decent marketing and communications will ultimately trump spot prices and adverse (or positive) short term price trends in the future.
- I'm also going to skim this because I'm not as versed in this subject as I'd like to be.
- I personally use the candle bar charts on Poloniex to look at 15 minute and daily candles on the hourly, daily, weekly and monthly charts.
- I combine this with charts on Bittrex which can calculate the RSI (to estimate if a coin is overbought or oversold) and Bollinger Bands (again to help estimate if a coin is overbought or oversold).
- I usually look at the overall direction of trading over a period of several days, compare it to the direction and trends over the last month. I then try to interpret it in the context of the daily trading volume and depth charts.
- I often get my predictions on short term price movement wrong if I only look at candle charts without factoring in depth charts, order book and daily trading volume patterns! I have a lot more learning to do on technical analysis.
- The charts do often reveal mid/long term supports and resistances in price!
- Investopedia is a good place to start learning about different mathematical techniques to analyse charts (including any terms used in these articles).
- I'm a big fan of u/kustonoy who inhabits the Ethtrader sub. I personally feel his analysis of the short term markets are generally pretty good. You should never be too lazy to not do your own regular market analysis especially if trading short term, but if you want a good reference point, I suggest following him.
... The news cycle:
- I've mentioned this lower down the list because for intra-day and day traders and even to some extent investors, the news cycle matters very little unless it directly affects the value proposition in some way.
- If a news event does result in real maturation of the proposed value proposition (such that the technology has confirmed a new sustained user base or revenue stream) then it might justify a sustained rise in price regardless of the volatility achieved reaching and following the peak.
- Some assets may have nothing but an endless stream of good news which meets the above criteria yet it's valuation fails to increase. This is likely a sign that a larger player is deliberately manipulating the market to accumulate more of that asset to sell very high later (I believe Ethereum has fallen victim to this recently) or that it is occuring during long period of consolidation is where diversification of asset ownership is happening which means a new price floor is being set for much larger increases later on. The lowest most frequently occurring point which the price repeatedly bounces off of (stops falling below) is the new floor.
... Other interesting points: The 'coin x' scenario and the ridiculousness of marketcap:
'Coin X' is an imaginary hypothetical coin. There are only 10 in circulation. It has no value proposition beyond it's speculative value i.e. it will never generate a revenue independent of it's speculative value.
- If 'coin x' had only 10 in circulation, was indivisible and each coin had a value of $3 billion, the market cap of 'coin x' would surpass Bitcoin!
- If all 10 coins were not on sale then 'coin x' would have a value of zero.
- If 9 people had bought 'coin x' at $1 and the 10th person bought it at $3 billion, it's marketcap would still be $30 billion. This does not mean there is $30 billion of fiat stored in coin X.
- If an 11th buyer came along and bought 'coin x' at $1.20 the price of coin X would fall to $1.20 and the marketcap of 'coin x' would be $12.0.
- This still does not mean there is $12 of fiat stored in coin x.
- This does not mean everyone can sell 'coin x' at $1.20.
- A new buyer blind to the purely speculative nature of 'coin x' looking at the trend charts could try to argue it is now extremely undervalued and a great buy or possibly was a grand scam and untouchable.
- Either way the next price at which 'coin x' is bought/sold is purely arbitrary and determined by the patience of the seller and the impatience of the buyer.
- [Edit]: I could also issue 10 more of 'coin x' and if it's unit price remained $1.20 the market cap would instantly double from $12 to $24!
I'd like to point out the similarities between ZCash and 'coin x' (especially during it's launch).
- Marketcap is derived from the price, not the other way around. Until a cryptocurrency generates significant revenue independent of it's speculative valuation this will remain the case.
- Price is determined by the day traders, not by the holders.
- The spot price of any given cryptocurrency is determined by the patience of the seller and the impatience of the buyer.
- Price of most cryptocurrencies is derived from bitcoin unless they have a direct fiat gateway. Unless a significant amount of trading volume occurs via the fiat gateway, the price of that cryptocurrency is still heavily dependent on the price of bitcoin.
- Bitcoin is (for now) is the gold standard of cryptocurrencies. Because it has the largest marketcap (by a very massive margin).
- Market manipulation means that large holders in more valuable currencies (large marketcaps) can tamper with and set the value of much smaller currencies (i.e. smaller marketcaps).
- Bitcoin's price itself can be manipulated by investment banks, governments or firms who trade in multi billions of USD daily. This is because the daily trading volume is almost 5 trillion trillion USD (which is several thousand times larger
- There is nothing wrong with investing or trading in cryptocurrencies with low daily trading volumes and marketcaps, just be concious not to put more money into them than their long term buy support can handle and only invest what you can afford to lose.
- The concept of liquidity in a market is important relative to the amount of fiat you are planning to invest or trade in it.
- Whether day trading or investing, pick cryptocurrencies with good fundamentals i.e. excellent development teams, good marketing and strong value propositions that will provide the cryptocurrency in question use and value independent of speculative valuations. You are less likely to get manipulated or scammed in the long run that way especially if you are a holder.
- Be very weary of trading or investing small amounts of money in larger markets that allow leveraged trading. Those markets will behave irrationally and not follow the fundamentals in the short term.
- It is up to you to study the depth charts, order books, candle bar charts, daily trading volumes and news cycle to discern the patterns. The price is a composite of this and the psychology of people who don't understand this. You will learn more about day trading this way and more importantly learn to trade/invest independent of the price.
- Coin market capitalisations and data including rich lists derived from:
1. Coinmarketcap rankings: https://coinmarketcap.com/all/views/all/ 2. Coinmarketcap daily trading volumes https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/volume/24-hou 3. Bitinfocharts - Top 100 Richest Bitcoin addresses: https://bitinfocharts.com/top-100-richest-bitcoin-addresses.html 4. Crypto ID - Shadowcash Rich list: https://chainz.cryptoid.info/sdc/#!rich
... Further articles in this series: "The intelligent investors guide to cryptocurrency"
Part 0 -
Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3a -
Part 3b -
Part 4 -
Part 5 -
Part 6 -
Part 7a - "The intelligent investors guide to Particl -" Full disclosure/Disclaimer:
At time of original writing I had long positions in Ethereum (ETH), Shadowcash (SDC), Iconomi (ICN), Augur (REP) and Digix (DGD). All the opinions expressed are my own.
I cannot guarantee gains; losses are sustainable; do your own financial research and make your decisions responsibly. All prices and values given are as of time of first writing (Midday 8th-Jan-2017). Second disclaimer: Please do not buy Shadowcash (SDC), the project has been abandoned by it's developers who have moved on to the Particl Project (PART). The PARTICL crowd fund and SDC 1:1 token swap completed April 15th. You can still exchange SDC for PART but only if it was acquired prior to 15th April 2017 see: https://particl.news/a-community-driven-initiative-e26724100c3a for more information. Addendum:
Article updated 23-11-2017 to edit references to SDC (changed to Particl where relevant to reflect updated status) and clean up formatting.
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