ConsenSys Ventures had earlier on April 1st released a press release concerning several blockchain start-up projects they intended to back for the year 2019, through their accelerator program Tachyon; which was launched in Berlin at
Let me ask you one question…
What kind of trader are you?
Are you the type of person to look for steady, more conservative profits, protecting yourself from big risks over time? Or are you the type who enjoys the high risk to high reward game?
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You know…the type of person that’s ready to knock it out the park, retire early, and travel the world eating bizarre food while hiking in the rain forest.
There’s no shame in taking the easier more conservative route. Buy a few coins, hold, and collect your earnings several years on down the line. If that’s more your speed, this guide isn’t for you.
Check out my guide: Ultimate 2018 Cryptocurrency Beginners Trading Guide for Bitcoin & Altcoin Investing for all the insight you need to get your feet wet with basic “crypto investing strategies”.
For the rest of you adventure seekers…..keep reading.
If you’d like to jump into any part of this guide later, use the….
Table of Contents
The Finer Details of Crypto Swing Trading
There’s one strategy that holds the potential to deliver the type of massive returns that most people only dream about…
Sure, swing trading can be great when everything goes your way. However it takes real grit and discipline to keep those profits and not go “all in” with one or two bad trades.
It takes A LOT of “discipline” to continue down this rocky path, when you’ve lost 3 straight trades in a row and are starting to question your new career path (or lack thereof).
I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m just letting you know the truth. You’re about to embark on a journey that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster.
Although swing trading can be a long and treacherous road, paved with a lot of “emotional discomfort”, with the right trading system, discipline, and emotional grit, the riches found on the other side of that wall are lined with streets of gold.
I’m going to be going over A LOT of material within this guide. I highly recommend you take copious notes (or bookmark this page) as a lot of this stuff is going to make more sense as you start getting your feet wet in the field.
I’m going to be giving you everything that I learned on my own swing trading journey, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Many of these lessons I’ve learned the hard way. Many of them, you’ll learn the same way too, regardless of how much I emphasize them here.
Like most of us, we never truly learn our lesson until mistakes are made. So get ready and welcome “your mistakes”. You’ll soon become best friends with them.
So let’s get right to it, shall we?
Take siege over the crypto market and storm those golden palace walls in order to claim the riches that are rightfully yours!
Buy low, sell high. Easy enough right?
I thought so too when I first started swing trading, but it’s everything in between that really matters.
There are typically two types of trading , which can normally be split into day or swing trading. Day trading typically describes someone who sits in front of the computer all day and makes several trades during this timeframe. Typically this type of trader accumulates small percentage gains (1-3%) which end up compounding towards the end of the day.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for all that.
It’s great on some days where it’s rainy outside and you have nothing else better to do, however doing it for a living is a whole nother reality that I don’t intend to live in.
Considering the volatility of crypto trading, I’ve personally found much more success swing trading, than day. Swing trading also allows you to live a life that’s not always behind the computer.
Typically, swing traders will make one trade every 1-3 days, but can sometimes last up to a week or more.
The beauty behind swing trading is that you can accumulate much larger profit (20%-50%) within a relatively short amount of time, without sitting and staring at charts all day. It’s also a lot less stressful and time consuming.
There 2 types of methods that traders formulate their strategies around… news events and chart analysis.
News events are when a trader believes that a price will go up or down according to government regulations, cryptocurrency bans, exchange hacks, etc. This also includes more inclusive news like cryptocurrency airdrops, contests, new exchange listings, technology upgrades, and more. These events can trigger a bullish or bearish move in price, however it’s not always the case.
On the other hand, technical analysis is the most commonly used tool for trading. It’s a swing trader’s best friend, and can be used at any time, regardless of news or events.
A typical trader will study the price movement of a currency and formulate a strategy based on chart patterns, indicators, as well as the current momentum. Once these indicators and patterns line up (known as convergence), a predictable price movement of over 75% can occur in some cases (like a head and shoulders pattern).
The probability of a trade going your way will exponentially increase when certain news events meet technical analysis. The BEST TRADES are made when these two methods converge.
Predictable chart patterns are found within all markets (stocks, forex, options, etc), but are extremely prevalent within the cryptocurrency trading market. Some may say it’s even more prevalent due to the fact that there are so many novice traders out there.
Now, most “non-traders” will simply call this luck or gambling, until their blue in the face. However, gambling primarily relies on chance. Seasoned traders primarily rely on decade’s worth of market evidence on group psychology.
Let me explain…
Technical analysis is nothing more than a visual representation of trader psychology on a massive scale.
I wish there was something magical about it, however it’s about as plain and straightforward as math. It’s essentially what happens when you mate human psychology with math over an extended time.
Sorry if I might have taken away some of the mysticism behind it for you, but its predictive nature has worked for decades and will continue to work for decades to come.
It all comes down to herd mentality…
Regardless of how much you want to believe that you’re an individual…. you’re not!
Individuals can make unexpected decisions once isolated, however when placed in a group setting, predictability becomes imminent. A group of individuals will inherently make predictable decisions (and even act the same way others do) within a “community”.
This is the nature of being human.
We are designed to be predictable creatures when placed within these group settings. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what has allowed us to survive for so long.
Just realize, that this predictability allows “smart traders” to capitalize on the primal nature of communities.
Now the only question I have for you is…will you be the predator or the prey?
Enough about that, let’s move forward with what you came here to learn, starting with the fundamentals.
Now that you have a good idea of why technical analysis works, let’s start to go over the how.
Within this section I’ll be going over the fundamental pillars of swing trading. This will be the foundation that you build your crypto trading career on. Make sure you don’t just gloss over this section as its one of the most important.
1. Only invest in what you can afford to lose. This is the GOLDEN RULE to trading. I realize you probably heard this 100X by now, but the only reason why you’ve heard it so much is because it’s remarkably true. Not only for the fact it can leave you broke and depressed (that’s a good enough reason than any), but for the simple fact that it will make you emotionally unstable for trading.
Trading with fear is one of the worst emotions you can carry with you. This will cause you to make careless mistakes. Fear will cause you to lose your patience. Fear will inevitably ruin your trades… so don’t do it!
If you’re just starting out, trade with only a fraction of what you make per month. That way, if you lose it all, it’s no big deal. If you end up making all the right moves and come out ahead, carry that mindset over to accumulate more crypto with your winnings.
Remember, if you’re investing money that you can’t afford to lose, then you’re simply trading out of desperation. Just assume that what you invest in trading cryptocurrency is lost forever. Only with this mindset will you trade with a clear head.
PSA: never use money from your home equity, credit cards, or from some bookie you just met at your local bar.
2. Don’t get greedy. This is probably one of the toughest pillars to master. Once you stop trying to hit home runs all the time, and settle for a first or second base score, you’ll find yourself winning most of your trades.
Greed was the primary issue I had when I first started trading and will most likely be a difficult one for you to overcome too. Once I stopped swinging for the fences and focused on taking profit while it was on the table, is when my trading success started to take flight.
There is one strategy that I typically use on all my trades, which really helped me out with this greedy mentality called “scaling”. Basically it’s where you take partial profits from your trade till you reach your target goal. I’ll cover more on the scaling strategy under the technical analysis portion of this guide below.
Just remember, no one ever lost money taking profit.
3. Don’t FOMO. This is another principle that has frequently lost many novice and intermediate traders a lot of money. Trading into FOMO is a combination of being too greedy and investing blindly.
The reality of the situation is, if a coin pumps quickly, it will more often times than not, dump just as quick. It’s only a matter of time before a pump and dump claims you as its next victim. Don’t be that guy.
Like jumping onto a train going full speed ahead doesn’t sound like something that most people would be eager to try, treat FOMO in the same manner. I’m sure most of us can agree that we can wait for the next stop.
4. Learn from your mistakes. This may seem like common sense however you’ll inevitably make the same trading mistakes multiple times, before you learn from them.
Don’t beat yourself up too much when this happens. It will happen a lot when you first start swing trading. Just learn from them and do your best to ensure that they never happen again.
Writing down your mistakes on a notepad and posting them somewhere close to you will definitely help you not make them again.
At the same time, remember not to let the losses discourage you. The reality is, they’re making you a much better trader…that is if you choose to learn from them.
5. Accept your losses and move on. Similar to the pillar above, however it deserves its own topic. Crypto swing trading will not always go according to “your” plan. It’s how you deal with those losses that matters. Try to realize early in your trading career that an integral part of swing trading is taking your licks and moving forward.
You have to be willing to accept your losses when they happen. Accepting your losses is as much a part of trading as winning is. Even the most elite traders in the world deal with losses. It’s impossible to make accurate predictions 100% of the time.
Never chase your losses either. Chasing losses is where a trader experiences more loss by trying to make it up and taking on high risk trades. This is another reason why the majority of traders fail.
Accept your losses, take it as a learning experience, reflect on your mistakes, and start a new trade (preferably the next day or after a break) with a fresh pair of eyes.
6. Volatility is your friend. It doesn’t matter if the price of an asset moves up or down. What really matters is that it’s moving. In order to capitalize on those 30-60% swings, you need to pick coins that showcase a lot of volatility.
The beautiful thing about crypto trading is its inherent volatility. What some may deem a negative trait of cryptocurrency should be more so considered a strength. Massive swings are a great benefit to swing traders who know what they’re doing.
One of the initial steps to swing trading is to look for coins with high volatility for the day and analyze the charts for promising entry and exit positions.
Here are two amazing resources I use to view what crypto coins have the most volatility on any given day.
7. Always pay attention to Bitcoin. Almost all altcoins are paired closely to Bitcoin. If the price of Bitcoin pumps drastically, altcoins price will almost always drop.
This is the results of people trying to exit altcoins in order to ride the Bitcoin profits. On the other hand, if Bitcoin prices dump, altcoin prices will also follow suit and dump.
The sweet spot for trading altcoins is during the consolidation phases of Bitcoin or when it steadily increases in price over time. As long as Bitcoin is still “the king of crypto”, drastic movements will always equal drastic altcoin results.
8. Keep a trading journal. This provides any serious trader a way to help them evaluate themselves objectively. The primary objective to a journal is to monitor both the performance of your trading system as well as the ability to execute it on a consistent basis.
More often times than not, traders who consistently lose trades are typically not based on their poor trading systems but the inability for the trader to follow the rules properly.
Trading journals are only as good as what’s written in them. If you fail to accurately track your trades, it becomes very hard to judge your trading performance over time.
Be thorough and honest. Don’t shortchange yourself and fail to list entries because it’ll make you feel better. Reflect on your entries every month and I guarantee you’ll learn a lot about yourself and your trading psychology.
9. Practice makes perfect. Before depositing funds into your trading account, practice on a chart or a demo account first. TradingView offers paper trading where you can trade with fake money in order to harness your technical analysis skills.
Once you’ve got a good grasp on how the markets works and a fundamental understanding of technical analysis, indicators, and chart patterns, you’re ready to take the next step with real money.
Start off with low trading amounts in order to get used to the psychological factors that come with trading with money. Take your accumulated profit and keep reinvesting into your trading capital.
If you end up losing all your money, chock that up as a paid education. At this stage, it’s all about improving your skills and knowledge before investing large amounts of capital.
These are my trusted 9 fundamental pillars of swing trading. I highly recommend you do your best at following these tactics to the very best of your ability. If you need to, print them out and keep them close by.
Next, we’ll move onto the finer technical details of swing trading like layering, stop losses, take profits, and everything else in between.
Crypto traders have many tools and strategies at their disposal. Within this section I’ll be going over the most noteworthy. Utilizing these tools, will teach you things like….
I will not be covering…
Technical analysis, charting patterns, candlestick formations, or indicators within this section. I’ve constructed thorough guides for each of these aspects of trading on our trading page located here.
Here is a quick reference to some of the guides located on CryptoCoinJunky. I highly recommend you read up on all the aspects of trading you’re not familiar with before going at it with your own money.
and many more located here
There’s nothing more gratifying than the feeling you get buying at the very rock bottom of a dip as the price rallies upward, later cashing out at the very top of a peak.
Sure you may get lucky on a trade or two, but this is more of an anomaly than the norm. That’s not to say however, that you can’t get close.
There’s only one method I’ve found where you can come close an overwhelming majority of the time. The strategy is called “scaling”.
Scaling is the process where you divide the capital you intend to trade with into segments. Each segment is divided into 2-4 price levels.
Let’s say you’re trading with a total of $400 on Bitcoin. Instead of placing a lump sum of $400 all at one time, you’re going to divide it up into sections in order to obtain the best possible buy-in price.
Example: Bitcoin is dipping and close to a bottom of a major support along with it showing oversold on the RSI and Stochastic indicators. You place a buy order like so…
– $100 at price level $8,110
– $100 at price level $7972
– $100 at price level $7875
– $100 at price level $7819
This scaling strategy would average you out out to around $7944 after spending your full $400 buy order. As you can see, this is much more efficient at getting you a better price than placing it all on one bid at $8,110 as Bitcoin continues to decrease.
Now it’s entirely up to you on how far you want to spread these scaling intervals out. You can choose to spread them out at every 0.50%, 1%, or even 2%, etc. This is simply a matter of personal preference and also depends heavily on the type of coin you’re trading. Low market cap coins increase/decrease percentages in price more easily over the higher market cap coins.
Now were not out in the clear just yet…
Your next step would be to set a stop loss to avoid having a large majority of your trading capital wiped out. This will also avoid you scaling into a losing trade.
It’s up to you to determine where to place your stop loss, however I’ll cover stop loss placement strategies below.
Another alternative to the scaling strategy would be…
– $100 at price level $8094.50
– $125 at price level $7972.43
– $175 at price level $7875.04
As you can see from this example, we’re increasing the buy order amount the lower price action goes. This allows you to accumulate more on each level of the dip so that you take away more profit when bulls are back in favor. Make sure you set a stop loss after your last buy order, under a major support and/or a previously large candle wick dip.
A stop loss is basically a price level you automatically exit your trade at. It’s really not that difficult to understand, however there are many strategies revolved around the placement of your stop loss.
For a more detailed analysis of hard and mental stop losses check out our guide: Cryptocurrency Trading: Stop Losses VS Mental Stop Losses
Now there are two types of strategies behind stop loss placement. There really is no right or wrong regarding these placements. It all depends on how conservative or risky of a trader you are.
Let’s first take a look at the conservative approach.
Stop loss placement with this strategy consists of a tight stop loss, generally around 1-5% below your buy order. It’s also important to place these at an adequate distance below a major support.
Let’s examine both the pros and cons of this placement strategy.
Pros – Keeps your losses to a minimum ensuring you don’t lose much on any particular trade.
Cons – You can be “stopped out” by whales (large scale investors) before a major rally. This is why it’s very important to place your stop loss at a good distance below a major support.
It’s also a best practice to place them below a previously long candle wick that has already broke through the support.
The second stop loss placement strategy is for more risky traders. These placements are typically 10%+ below your buy order. Much like the strategy mentioned above, it also comes with its own pro and con.
Pro – keeps you from being “stopped out” by whales before a major rally. This gives you a lot of wiggle room in order to avoid those evil “quick wicks”.
Con – if a dip turns out to be more than just a quick dip, then you’ll end up taking on a major loss, which can sometimes be mentally hard to come back from.
As you can see, there is no right or wrong stop loss placement strategy. The smarter strategy is to choose a stop loss according to the history of the coin you’re currently trading. Some coins are a lot more volatile than others.
Some coins have a long history of dumping before they pump. Some coins are fairly stagnant before a rally. Take note of these types of patterns and realize that there is no “one size fits all” stop loss strategy.
I do not recommend placing a trade without a stop loss, unless you’re willing to wait a few days, weeks or even months in order to break even on the trade.
I’ve tried this strategy on more occasions then I’m willing to admit and have got stuck holding bags for a very long time (some of which have never recovered). So please take that into consideration.
Next, let’s cover a the most important part of your trade, take profit targets…
Many novice traders place too much emphasis on their entry points and not enough on their exits. It’s not your entries that’ll make you profit, but your exits that determine your success.
Setting a proper “take profit target” is one of the most important aspects of trading, so don’t take this section lightly.
As you might’ve guessed by now, take profit targets are where you claim your riches. There are many ways to determine where to set your profit targets according to technical indicators, chart patterns, or candlestick formations.
I’m going to show you the two easiest ways to set your profit targets for maximum profit potential.
#1 Using Resistance
Setting a take profit target under a prior resistance is a great strategy for beginners. Make sure to not get too greedy and place your target 1-2% below a major resistance.
To ensure your target is reached, make sure that the price is at an odd number and not exactly at a major price level as well as even number.
Example: set it to $8,191 and not at $8,200
#2 Scaling Out of Your Trade
Much like the scaling strategy I mentioned above, it’s also good to take some profit all the way to up to your final take profit target.
This will ensure that you always walk away from a winning trade with some form of profit. Your final take profit target may not always be reached, so it’s good to take a little profit while the bulls are in session.
Here’s a good example:
Your buy order for BTC is at $7318 and your take profit target is set at $7,464., just under a major resistance. Alternatively, you could set your targets to take 50% at $7464 and 50% at $7542 where a few previous wicks have touched. This would give you a chance to take profit while holding out for previously recorded peaks.
This is another way to relieve some of the stress that comes with trading. The feeling you get with taking profits along the way will ensure a better mindset for future trades.
#3 No Stop Loss Strategy
Warning: Not to be used by novice traders.
I couldn’t end this stop loss section without at least mentioning the “no stop loss strategy”. Take note that I DO NOT recommend this strategy for beginners, however there are times where having no stop loss can benefit you in a trade.
If you end up trading on an extremely volatile and erratic chart, utilizing no stop loss can end up benefiting you in the long run as you can more easily recover losses on an upswing. Again, this should only be considered during a steady bull market. This will make it much easier to recover from losses if the coin temporarily dips on you.
Also worth noting…
Never trade without a stop loss during a major uptrend or near an all-time high for any particular coin.
Pro – you’ll never get stopped out by a whale right before a rally and can end up taking advantage of those massive rallies after a quick, but major dip. Nothing is more irritating than taking a loss due to a triggered stop loss as you watch a massive rally leave without you.
Con – a sudden dip can leave you with a huge loss if the coin never recovers. Either that or you end up waiting it out for several weeks or months until it reaches your buy order price, which eats up a lot of time.
Tip: If things go south quickly and a dramatic dip has occurred near a strong support, always exit out of the trade during the next upswing, close to your initial buy order. This is not the time to be greedy. Take what you can get on the following rally. Recovering your loss is your upmost priority at this point.
You’ll typically have only one (two at the most) chances to recover from a dramatic dip past your initial buy order. Take the first rebound you get off the dip in order to recover your loss.
This could mean the difference between taking on a 30% loss or 5. Remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Divergence is one of the most powerful signals you can use in order to spot the reversal of a trend. This is something that you’ll want to look for early in on your crypto trading journey.
Although the name may sound a bit intimidating, the signal is far from it. Divergence is merely the comparison of the trending price action to the trend found within the RSI indicator. When you see price action moving up and the RSI indicator is trending down, chances are high you have an impending trend reversal.
The more time frames you can locate divergence, the stronger the signal. For example, if you find divergence on the 30, 60, and 240 minute time frames, you know that a reversal is on its way.
Confluence is another very powerful signal you want to look out for. It’s the exact opposite of divergence. This signal occurs when there are several technical indicators that line up and give you the same trading signals towards one direction of a trend. The more confluence you have, the greater probability that this trend will prevail.
Confluence can include a combination of indicators and chart patterns.
For example, if price levels reach the very top of the bollinger bands, while forming a double top charting pattern, while also being overbought within multiple time frames on the RSI and Stochastic indicators. This would be a sign of confluence in which price will most likely drop. The confluence would signal a good time for a trader to either exit their long position or enter with a short position (making profit on the way down).
Great job on making it through to this long and intensive guide!
The rules and strategies I covered above are by no means the end-all be-all lessons you’ll learn for swing trading crypto, however they are a great starting point. When it comes to trading, things are easier said than done. Do yourself a favor and follow this guide to the best of your ability. Just remember that nothing will ever truly replace personal experience.
You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by now. That’s completely normal as I’ve threw a lot at you. Let me give you a good starting point from here.
Practice, practice, practice. Learn from your mistakes. Move forward and don’t ever give up.
If you’re truly passionate about living an independent lifestyle, free of the 9-5 hustle, then don’t stop till you get there!
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today”
Good luck my friend and enjoy the journey!
Leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll be sure to get back at you shortly!
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