Altcoin Trading Tips
Recent events in the cryptocurrency market demand that traders get acquainted with new altcoin trading tips if they want to see changes in their trading outcomes.
The last few weeks have provided plenty of drama in the cryptocurrency market. This has added further stress to traders who have seen positions dwindle since the market crash that started in November 2021. We have not seen many upsides lately, so traders have been limited to clutching at straws, especially after the collapse of the second-largest crypto exchange.
What is altcoin trading?
There is a distinction between altcoin trading and altcoin investing. Those who invest in altcoins typically hold them for an extended period to ride out any storms and end up with gains at the end of the day. For instance, some altcoin investors bought into the initial coin offerings (ICOs) of 2017 and rode out the market downturn of 2017-2020, ending up with gains. This article is not tailored toward such market participants.
Altcoin trading involves buying and selling various altcoins to profit from short-term and medium-term price movements. Such traders would usually spot trade on various exchanges or prefer the riskier crypto perpetual market, where it is possible to trade on a bi-directional basis (i.e. going long and short). Altcoin traders are very actively setting up positions all the time, so they need to have their crypto coins on the exchanges all the time. As the FTX saga has proven, this introduces a new level of risk to the trader. The altcoin trading tips covered here are for this category of market participants.
Altcoin trading tips in a bearish market
How do you trade altcoins when the market is bearish as it is right now? Anyone can buy and profit when the market is bullish. But being able to profit in a bearish market is what separates kids from adults in the market. It is possible, whether you believe it or not, to work around a bearish market and trade profitably.
Since the crypto market is currently bearish, how do you go about trading altcoins in a market where prices are more likely to fall than rise? Successful trading of altcoins in any market condition requires understanding some basic principles of price action. There are other things the trader must also be familiar with. These are all mentioned in the altcoin trading tips listed below.
Altcoin Trading Tip 1: Understand what a trend is
The concept of the trend was introduced to the trading world in a series of writings by Charles Dow, co-founder of the Wall Street Journal and creator of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This concept forms part of what is now universally known as the Dow Theory. Charles Dow indicated that price action did not move in a straight line but, like an ocean wave, moved around in zig-zags within the context of the general tide of the ocean.
He likened the price action in the financial markets to the movements that constitute an ocean tide. Mr. Dow indicated that a tide consists of waves, and waves are a collection of ripples. In other words, price action has smaller components. He also opined that the tides were the major trends, the waves were the secondary trend, and the ripples were the minor trends. The major trend was seen on long-term charts, while the secondary trend was the medium-term price action. Price moves on smaller time frames were said to be a minor trend.
Charles Dow also said there were three possible price directions: upward, sideways, and downward. These correspond to the uptrend, range-bound (consolidation) phase, and downtrend. The postulates of Charles Dow have formed the basis for price action analysis, and these still hold in all financial markets, including the crypto market.
Understanding the roles of the ripples and waves in the formation of the tides will help you navigate the price moves in any market condition, including the present bearish market. So even in a bearish market, there will be periods of brief recovery, consolidation, and an extension of the downtrend. The same occurs when the trend reverses.
Altcoin Trading Tip 2: Understand how to manage risk
Bitcoin and several altcoins have been known to produce wild price movements. When altcoins move, they move hard. The ability of your account to survive any contrary moves of the market when you have active positions is a function of risk management. Your account must live to be able to fight another day.
The market rule is that the trader should commit at most 3% of his account size in market exposure. Some traders commit 20% or more to altcoin trades and are surprised at how fast their positions are taken out by reverse movements when trading perpetual contracts. It is better to aim for incremental profits than to target home runs.
Altcoin Trading Tip 3: Trade what you are familiar with
From this writer's observations, there are altcoins with a reputation for heavy price movements. These are:
Recently listed altcoins (Luna2, Aptos, etc).
Altcoins linked to BTC when the latter is moving quickly (Fantom, Loopring, Yield Finance, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash).
Recently, tokens directly linked to FTX, such as Solana.
The price movements of these altcoins are very rapid when there is extreme volatility. If you are not familiar with the extreme volatility that can come with trading these altcoins, you are better off avoiding them - trade only familiar tokens. Try to research some altcoins and understand how their price moves play out. Then trade them on a practice account until you are familiar with them.
Altcoin Trading Tip 4: Have a strategy and stick to it
No piece on altcoin trading tips will be complete without mentioning the role of having a strategy in successful altcoin trading. You must have a strategy and stick to it. A strategy is usually conditions that must be fulfilled on the charts for a trade entry and exit to be validated. Having one introduces the element of discipline and allows you to filter trade conditions properly.
A strategy must include additional elements such as risk management and risk-reward ratios. You must also develop the appropriate psychology when trading. Know when to keep trading even after a loss and when to walk away. Do not force your entries or exits.
You can get a programmer to create a bot that embodies your strategy elements so that trades only become active when you meet the strategy parameters.
Altcoin Trading Tip 5: Don't make your stops too tight
Setting tight stop losses is a sure way to lose your account. If you set your stop too tight, the market move could trigger that stop before the trade moves in your direction.
Why do traders set their stop losses too tight? It is usually due to the fear of losing. This fear of loss comes from taking on too much risk. If the trader decides to reduce risk exposure to a minimum, it will allow for a more generous stop placement that enables the trade to breathe. If the trade ends up being a loser, the lower risk will also reduce the scale of losses. The price action only sometimes takes off in the trader's preferred direction. It may enter negative territory (the drawdown) before it becomes positive.
Altcoin Trading Tip 6: Know how to identify support and resistance
Support is a price at which selling pressure starts to dry up. Resistance is a price at which buying pressure starts to fade. From this definition, it is clear that a support level/zone is a potential buy area. In contrast, a resistance zone/level is a potential point to sell or exit existing long trades.
Knowing how to identify support and resistance areas will help you not stay in altcoin trades for too long. It will also help you get better entries and exits for your trades. Recall that altcoins make rapid moves in wide ranges when the crypto market is volatile. You want to avoid seeing a profitable position start to reverse against you because you did not exit at the right point. You also want to enter early enough to catch a decent move.
The identification of support and resistance will eliminate such mistakes. Standard support and resistance tools include trendlines, pivot points, channels, and Fibonacci price levels.
Altcoin Trading Tip 7: Avoid long trading breaks
Do not allow yourself to get "trade rusty". In soccer, there is a phenomenon known as match rustiness. In boxing, it is known as ring rust. It is a well-known fact that taking extended breaks from an activity that requires repetition to attain perfection results in a loss of cutting edge because of the inactivity.
If you take long breaks from trading, you start to lose a dimension of your edge. If you have had a string of bad results, you should stop trading a live account and switch to a demo to retain an element of your mental affinity for trading.
The altcoin trading tips discussed above only represent part of the gamut of what you need to do to remain a consistent altcoin trader. However, if you can incorporate several of these altcoin trading tips into your day-to-day trading activity, you will see positive changes in your trading career.
Author: Eno Eteng
Eno is a certified financial technician and member of the UK Society of Technical Analysts. He loves to trade and write about cryptos, FX and CFDs. Since 2009, he has been a consultant for several companies in the financial market space. His work can be seen on several forex and crypto-related blogs and trading educational websites.