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Introduction to Cryptocurrency Algorithmic Trading + Tips & Examples

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Want to know how to automate your crypto trading decisions with cutting-edge technology? Algorithmic trading may be the solution you're looking for! In this article, we'll explain what is algorithmic trading, explore how it works, explain its pros and cons, talk about the profitability of algo trading, the differences between algorithm and automated trading, and delve deeper into everything else you need to know before jumping in!

What Is Algorithmic Trading?

Cryptocurrency Algorithmic Trading is a way of automating crypto trading strategies. This term has many synonyms: API trading, Algo Trading, High-Frequency Trading (HFT) or Crypto Bot Trading. However, all these terms mean basically the same — using a computer program to trade crypto instead of doing it manually. Automated crypto trading allows you to remove the emotional factor from the equation. This is achieved simply by instructing a computer how to trade and what algorithm trading strategies to follow. This type of trading allows you to trade multiple assets at the same time while using different strategies, helping you with portfolio diversification. Just think about how many assets can you realistically efficiently follow up without losing efficacy.

How Algorithm Trading Works

Algorithmic trading is the use of computer programs and mathematical algorithms to automate the process of buying and selling assets, whether it be stocks or crypto. Algo trading relies on a set of rules or instructions, often based on statistical models and historical data, that determine when to buy or sell assets, how much to buy or sell, and at what price.

A simple algo could be programmed to buy a certain cryptocurrency when its price falls below a certain threshold and then sell it when the price rises above a certain level. Once an algorithm has identified a trade opportunity, it sends an order to the trading platform, which automatically executes the trade based on the instructions in the algorithm. This process can happen in milliseconds, allowing algorithmic traders to take advantage even of the smallest price movements in the market.

Here's an example... An algorithmic trading strategy for Bitcoin might involve buying when the price crosses a certain moving average, and selling when the price drops below another moving average. Of course, the algorithm may use additional technical indicators such as relative strength index (RSI), and Bollinger Bands, to identify entry and exit points for trades.

The algorithm might buy Bitcoin when the price crosses above its 50-day moving average and sell it when the price drops below its 20-day moving average. Let's say the current price of Bitcoin is $50,000, and the 20-day moving average is $48,000 while the 50-day moving average is $45,000.

If the price of Bitcoin rises above $50,000 and crosses its 50-day moving average, the algorithm would automatically execute a buy order. If the price then continues to rise, the algorithm would hold the position until the price drops below $48,000 and the 20-day moving average. At this point, the algorithm would automatically execute a sell order to close the position and take a profit.

Okay, But Does Algorithm Trading Work? Is Algorithm Trading Profitable?

Numerous studies have shown that algorithmic trading can outperform human traders in terms of speed, accuracy, and consistency. However, the effectiveness of algorithmic trading ultimately depends on the quality of the algorithms and the ability of traders to properly design, test, and implement them.

So, yes, algorithmic trading has the potential to be profitable, but nothing is guaranteed. The profitability of algo trading depends on a multitude of factors, such as the quality of the algorithms used, the amount of money invested, market conditions, and the ability of traders to manage risk effectively. When executed correctly, algorithmic trading can be a powerful tool for generating consistent profits over time.

Do You Need Math For Algorithmic Trading?

Now that we've mentioned math and numbers, it's important to address the question of whether you need math for algorithmic trading. The answer is yes, you need math to algo trade, since it relies heavily on mathematical and statistical models to analyze market data and identify trading opportunities.

You, as a trader, need to have a solid understanding of math concepts such as probability, statistics, calculus, and linear algebra, and then apply these concepts to financial data to create models that can accurately predict market movements.

Now, you may say something like: algorithms are difficult, it is not for me...

The word crypto trading algo may look like a strong word, but it is, in fact, harmless. It simply refers to a trading bot, or robot, which trades for you automatically. Like with everything in life, there is variety, and you can use anything from broad pre-defined strategies or you can build your own. Complexity is a choice in this regard. An algorithm can be as simply defined as setting some basic rules to follow such as buying X when Y reaches this point and selling X when Y reaches that point.

And, if you're wondering: how do I learn algorithm trading? To learn algo trading, you can start by building a solid foundation in mathematics, statistics, and computer programming. You can then explore some of the best algorithm trading strategies and develop your own algorithms using popular programming languages such as Python, MATLAB, or R. Additionally, there are many online courses, books, and forums dedicated to API trading that can help you expand your knowledge and skills in this field.

And, how much does it cost to learn algorithmic trading? The cost can vary widely depending on a myriad of factors, such as the technology and data services required to run your algorithms. While it is possible to start with a relatively small amount, traders should be prepared to invest in high-quality data, software, and hardware to ensure that their algorithms can perform well.

Is Algorithmic Trading Legal?

Algorithmic trading is generally legal. It is legal in the United States, the European Union, and many other worldwide countries. However, there may be certain regulations and restrictions that apply to algo trading in some countries and regions.

For example, in the United States, SEC and CFTC regulate algorithmic trading and make sure that the rules are followed and promote market stability and prevent market manipulation. In the European Union, ESMA regulates algo trading and ensures that trading is fair and in order.

Differences Between Crypto Algorithm and Automatic Trading

Cryptocurrency algo trading refers to the use of computer programs to execute trades automatically according to a predefined set of rules. Auto trading typically involves the use of software to execute trades based on a specific trigger or event, such as a technical indicator or news release. Although both methods involve automation, the difference between algorithmic and automatic trading is that algorithm trading tends to be more complex and sophisticated, allowing traders to execute trades based on a wider range of criteria and to manage multiple positions simultaneously.

How Much Money Do Algorithmic Traders Make?

The income of algorithmic traders can vary greatly depending on the performance of their algorithms and market conditions and can range from modest profits to tens of thousands of dollars in earnings. However, it's important to remember that algorithmic trading, like any form of trading, involves risks and there is no guarantee of profits.

Cryptocurrency Algo Trading - Advantages and Disadvantages

Now, let's examine the potential advantages and pitfalls of algo trading.


Speed and Efficiency

Algo trading can execute trades quickly and efficiently, without human emotions or biases getting in the way. This can help to take advantage of opportunities as they arise and can also reduce transaction costs.

Have you ever found yourself in the critical moment of a trade where your gut feeling tells you to exit your position and then moments later you regret having listened to your gut? Well, those moments are common in inexperienced or emotional traders. This overthinking of trade leads to overtrading which may translate to trading losses. The gut feeling is a double-edged sword, meaning you could have been right, or you could have been wrong.  Moreover, do you think you can freely react when the market volatility suddenly increases? Bots can, they don't have feelings (We hope they don't!).


Cryptocurrency algorithm trading can help to ensure that trades are executed consistently and aligned with a predefined strategy. This can help to avoid costly mistakes and can also help to eliminate the impact of human error.


Algo trading can be backtested using historical data to evaluate the performance of an algorithm trading strategy. This can help with identifying areas of strength and weakness in the strategy and can help traders to make adjustments as necessary.



Algo trading can be complex and require advanced mathematical and programming skills. This can make it difficult for not-so-experienced traders to develop effective algorithms.

Technical Glitches

Algorithm trading systems can be subject to technical glitches, such as connectivity issues, server failures, and software bugs. These issues can lead to losses and can also be difficult to troubleshoot.

Market Instability

Algo trading can be vulnerable to sudden changes in market conditions, and not react to, for instance, price swings, news events, and regulatory changes. These events can trigger unexpected behavior in trading algo and lead to significant losses if not properly managed.

Introducing Margin Cryptocurrency Trading Bots

Margin is a German platform that offers pre-fabricated trading bots to those people who don't feel like digging into Python tutorials, watching a thousand YouTube videos about how to configure a crypto bot or reading serious articles. The platform offers several trading bots easily configurable in a visual manner through its intuitive interface. The users can choose between three plans, if you only choose the starter plan with Lykke as the only exchange, we will give you a discount for it. The good news is that the Margin platform is integrated with the crypto exchange Lykke, and so cryptocurrency algo trading becomes accessible literally for anyone.

Why Would You Try API Trading at Lykke?

At Lykke, we always say that our mission is to democratize finance. But what does it mean? Democratizing finance means creating the same equal conditions for everyone independently of how many resources they have. In cryptocurrency trading, it translates into creating equal conditions for crypto trading on our platform. At most crypto exchanges, there's a trading fee that depends on how much trading volume you produce: the more you algo trade, the better the conditions. This favors whales who generate millions in volume. A small trader, in turn, gets penalized by substantial fees. This perpetuates the inequality of traditional finance in the new crypto world.

At Lykke, we charge zero taker and zero maker fees to everybody. This essentially means that not only retail or corporate clients can trade cryptocurrency without fees, but also API traders who use bots. When you automate your cryptocurrency trading, the frequency of trades grows enormously. Bots don't need to sleep, they are unstoppable. Therefore, the fee factor becomes more important. At mainstream crypto exchanges, you pay a fee each time your bot performs a trade, and at the end of the day, this seriously impacts the cost-effectiveness of trading. At Lykke, we removed this hurdle which, together with solid liquidity and low buy-sell spreads, makes our platform a perfect choice for an API trader.

In summary:

In a world where knowledge is widely spread thanks to the internet, we believe that everyone can learn and benefit from API trading. Human nature dictates that people are generally afraid of the unknown. As a result, crypto bot trading is a subject that is mostly rejected by people who believe it is too complex or that they lack the knowledge or time to learn. We believe that everyone has the potential to learn, you just need to start somewhere, so why not at Lykke?

About Lykke

Lykke is a Swiss-based investment and financial product provider leveraging the power of the blockchain. Lykke runs a proprietary exchange — Lykke Wallet — where clients can buy, sell and store a large variety of tokenized assets, amongst them cryptocurrencies, national currencies, native tokens but also investment products.

And, just in case you perhaps don't want to learn algo trading but would use some help with recognizing the right moment when to make a move on the market, ATTMO, an AI-based cryptocurrency tool we're building, might help. Check it out!

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