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Automated Trading Systems: The Pros and Cons
What Is an Automated Trading System?
Automated trading systems — also referred to as mechanical trading systems, algorithmic trading, automated trading or system trading — allow traders to establish specific rules for both trade entries and exits that, once programmed, can be automatically executed via a computer. In fact, roughly 75% of shares traded on U.S. stock exchanges come from automatic trading systems.
Traders and investors can turn precise entry, exit, and money management rules into automated trading systems that allow computers to execute and monitor the trades. One of the biggest attractions of strategy automation is that it can take some of the emotion out of trading since trades are automatically placed once certain criteria are met.
The trade entry and exit rules can be based on simple conditions such as a moving average crossover or they can be complicated strategies that require a comprehensive understanding of the programming language specific to the user’s trading platform. They can also be based on the expertise of a qualified programmer.
Automated trading systems typically require the use of software linked to a direct access broker, and any specific rules must be written in that platform’s proprietary language. The TradeStation platform, for example, uses the EasyLanguage programming language. On the other hand, the NinjaTrader platform utilizes NinjaScript. The figure below shows an example of an automated strategy that triggered three trades during a trading session.
A five-minute chart of the ES contract with an automated strategy applied.
Establishing Trading “Rules”
Some trading platforms have strategy-building “wizards” that allow users to make selections from a list of commonly available technical indicators to build a set of rules that can then be automatically traded. The user could establish, for example, that a long position trade will be entered once the 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average on a five-minute chart of a particular trading instrument. Users can also input the type of order (market or limit, for instance) and when the trade will be triggered (for example, at the close of the bar or open of the next bar), or use the platform’s default inputs.
Many traders, however, choose to program their own custom indicators and strategies. They will often work closely with the programmer to develop the system. While this typically requires more effort than using the platform’s wizard, it allows a much greater degree of flexibility, and the results can be more rewarding. Just like anything else in the trading world, there is, unfortunately, no perfect investment strategy that will guarantee success.
Once the rules have been established, the computer can monitor the markets to find buy or sell opportunities based on the trading strategy’s specifications. Depending on the specific rules, as soon as a trade is entered, any orders for protective stop losses, trailing stops and profit targets will be automatically generated. In fast-moving markets, this instantaneous order entry can mean the difference between a small loss and a catastrophic loss in the event the trade moves against the trader.
Advantages of Automated Systems
There is a long list of advantages to having a computer monitor the markets for trading opportunities and execute the trades, including:
Automated trading systems minimize emotions throughout the trading process. By keeping emotions in check, traders typically have an easier time sticking to the plan. Since trade orders are executed automatically once the trade rules have been met, traders will not be able to hesitate or question the trade. In addition to helping traders who are afraid to “pull the trigger,” automated trading can curb those who are apt to overtrade — buying and selling at every perceived opportunity.
Backtesting applies trading rules to historical market data to determine the viability of the idea. When designing a system for automated trading, all rules need to be absolute, with no room for interpretation. The computer cannot make guesses and it has to be told exactly what to do. Traders can take these precise sets of rules and test them on historical data before risking money in live trading. Careful backtesting allows traders to evaluate and fine-tune a trading idea, and to determine the system’s expectancy – i.e., the average amount a trader can expect to win (or lose) per unit of risk.
Because trade rules are established and trade execution is performed automatically, discipline is preserved even in volatile markets. Discipline is often lost due to emotional factors such as fear of taking a loss, or the desire to eke out a little more profit from a trade. Automated trading helps ensure discipline is maintained because the trading plan will be followed exactly. In addition, “pilot error” is minimized. For instance, if an order to buy 100 shares will not be incorrectly entered as an order to sell 1,000 shares.
One of the biggest challenges in trading is to plan the trade and trade the plan. Even if a trading plan has the potential to be profitable, traders who ignore the rules are altering any expectancy the system would have had. There is no such thing as a trading plan that wins 100% of the time. After all, losses are a part of the game. But losses can be psychologically traumatizing, so a trader who has two or three losing trades in a row might decide to skip the next trade. If this next trade would have been a winner, the trader has already destroyed any expectancy the system had. Automated trading systems allow traders to achieve consistency by trading the plan.
Improving Order Entry Speed
Since computers respond immediately to changing market conditions, automated systems are able to generate orders as soon as trade criteria are met. Getting in or out of a trade a few seconds earlier can make a big difference in the trade’s outcome. As soon as a position is entered, all other orders are automatically generated, including protective stop losses and profit targets. Markets can move quickly, and it is demoralizing to have a trade reach the profit target or blow past a stop-loss level – before the orders can even be entered. An automated trading system prevents this from happening.
Automated trading systems permit the user to trade multiple accounts or various strategies at one time. This has the potential to spread risk over various instruments while creating a hedge against losing positions. What would be incredibly challenging for a human to accomplish is efficiently executed by a computer in milliseconds. The computer is able to scan for trading opportunities across a range of markets, generate orders and monitor trades.
Minimize emotional trading
Allows for backtesting
Preserves the trader’s discipline
Allows multiple accounts
Mechanical failures can happen
Requires the monitoring of functionality
Can perform poorly
Drawbacks of Automated Systems
Automated trading systems boast many advantages, but there are some downfalls and realities traders should be aware of.
The theory behind automated trading makes it seem simple: Set up the software, program the rules and watch it trade. In reality, automated trading is a sophisticated method of trading, yet not infallible. Depending on the trading platform, a trade order could reside on a computer, not a server. What that means is that if an internet connection is lost, an order might not be sent to the market. There could also be a discrepancy between the “theoretical trades” generated by the strategy and the order entry platform component that turns them into real trades. Most traders should expect a learning curve when using automated trading systems, and it is generally a good idea to start with small trade sizes while the process is refined.
Although it would be great to turn on the computer and leave for the day, automated trading systems do require monitoring. This is because of the potential for technology failures, such as connectivity issues, power losses or computer crashes, and to system quirks. It is possible for an automated trading system to experience anomalies that could result in errant orders, missing orders or duplicate orders. If the system is monitored, these events can be identified and resolved quickly.
Though not specific to automated trading systems, traders who employ backtesting techniques can create systems that look great on paper and perform terribly in a live market. Over-optimization refers to excessive curve-fitting that produces a trading plan unreliable in live trading. It is possible, for example, to tweak a strategy to achieve exceptional results on the historical data on which it was tested. Traders sometimes incorrectly assume a trading plan should have close to 100% profitable trades or should never experience a drawdown to be a viable plan. As such, parameters can be adjusted to create a “near perfect” plan — that completely fails as soon as it is applied to a live market.
Avoid the Scams
While you search for your preferred system, remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of scams going around. Some systems promise high profits all for a low price. So how do you tell whether a system is legitimate or fake? Here are a few basic tips:
- Scrutinize anything you’d have to pay for before you pay or lay down any money for a trading account and always ask questions. If you don’t, you may lose money in the end.
- Do your research and make sure you know everything about the system in question. And be sure to read the terms and conditions before you commit.
- Are there any testimonials you can read? Check third-party sites or even financial regulatory sites for reviews.
- Does the system come with a trial period? A lot of scam sites won’t offer you a trial.
Traders do have the option to run their automated trading systems through a server-based trading platform. These platforms frequently offer commercial strategies for sale so traders can design their own systems or the ability to host existing systems on the server-based platform. For a fee, the automated trading system can scan for, execute and monitor trades, with all orders residing on the server. This often results in potentially faster, more reliable order entries.
Before you Automate
The word “automation” may seem like it makes the task simpler, but there are definitely a few things you will need to keep in mind before you start using these systems.
Ask yourself if you should use an automated trading system. There are definitely promises of making money, but it can take longer than you may think. Will you be better off to trade manually? After all, these trading systems can be complex and if you don’t have the experience, you may lose out.
Know what you’re getting into and make sure you understand the ins and outs of the system. That means keeping your goals and your strategies simple before you turn to more complicated trading strategies.
And remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You will need to figure out your preferred strategy, where you want to apply it and just how much you want to customize to your own personal situation. All of that, of course, goes along with your end goals
The Bottom Line
Although appealing for a variety of reasons, automated trading systems should not be considered a substitute for carefully executed trading. Technology failures can happen, and as such, these systems do require monitoring. Server-based platforms may provide a solution for traders wishing to minimize the risks of mechanical failures. Remember, you should have some trading experience and knowledge before you decide to use automated trading systems.
Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin & Crypto Trading Bots
Unlike the stock markets, the cryptocurrency market never closes and never sleeps, which can be a highly stressful scenario for traders and even casual investors in the industry.
Users familiar with crypto investment will also be familiar with the (joyful or sinking) feeling of waking up in the morning to be greeted by a pleasant or unpleasant surprise when they check their portfolio and see large gains or losses.
As a result of the volatility of the market, trading bots have become increasingly popular among traders by allowing them to remain in control of their trading at all times, with the bot not sleeping even while the trader is. In addition, a correctly specified bot allows trades to be executed faster and more efficiently than the trader would be able to do manually.
The explosion of popularity in cryptocurrency has also resulted in a big increase in the number of crypto trading bots available, either for free from open-source platforms or licensed to users in exchange for flat fees.
However, it is difficult to ascertain which of them work as intended and which of them are an absolute waste of time. This post will consider the background to what exactly trading bots are and whether they work for Bitcoin trading (and more importantly, for your Bitcoin trading). It will then consider some of the best trading bots in the market today.
Top Trading Bots
If you are in a hurry, here’s our pick of the top 2 bot platforms on the market right now.
What are Trading Bots?
In essence, a trading bot is a software program that interacts directly with financial exchanges (often using API’s to obtain and interpret relevant information) and places buy or sell orders on your behalf depending on the interpretation of the market data.
The bots make these decisions by monitoring the market’s price movement and reacting according to a set of predefined and pre-programmed rules. Typically, a trading bot will analyze market actions, such as volume, orders, price, and time, although they can generally be programmed to suit your own tastes and preferences.
Trading bots have been popular for many years in various conventional financial markets. However, trading bots have not been traditionally available to the average investor as they cost a significant amount of money.
For example, a Bloomberg terminal can often cost in excess of $10k. However, due to the transparent nature of blockchain, cryptocurrency exchanges tend to grant their customers direct market access that provides users with the opportunity to analyze the exchange’s electronic order book, which was a type of access that was traditionally exclusively available to brokers and investment houses in conventional financial markets.
With many people trading Bitcoin passively and therefore unable to dedicate large amounts of time to analyze the market, the intention is that Bitcoin bots will allow users to establish more efficient trading without having to keep on top of the market at all times.
Types of Trading Bot Strategies
Although the cryptocurrency market is much less mature than other financial markets, the digital nature of the market has meant that despite the fact that it has had significantly less time to integrate algorithmic trading, the technology has not been slow in catching up on its rivals in terms of providing a trading bot service, allowing for investors to obtain access to a wide range of trading strategies, some of the most popular of which are considered below:
In the early days of cryptocurrency trading one of the primary strategies that traders used to make profits was arbitrage – i.e. buying assets in one market and then selling them in another for a higher price, thus earning profit on the difference. As cryptocurrency exchanges were decentralized, there were often large differentials between prices offered on various exchanges, meaning that profits could be made through arbitrage.
Although the spread between exchanges are much smaller now, they do still appear from time to time and trading bots can assist users in making the most of these differentials. In addition, arbitrage can also be utilized in traders looking to involve futures contracts in their trading strategies by benefiting from any difference that exists between a futures contract and its underlying asset, by considering futures contracts that are traded on various different exchanges.
Trading bots can also allow investors to use the market making strategy. This strategy provides for “continuous buy and sell prices on a variety of spot digital currencies and digital currency derivatives contracts” in an effort to “capture the spread between the buy and sell price”.
In order to carry out the market making strategies, in involves making both buy and sell limit orders near the existing market place. As prices fluctuate, the trading bot will automatically and continuously place limit orders in order to profit from the spread.
Although this may be profitable at certain periods, the intense competition around this strategy can result in it being unprofitable, especially in low liquidity environments.
Do Trading Bots Work?
Trading bots work by reacting to the market. It gathers the data it needs in order to execute a trade based on analysis of the trading platform. However, with cryptocurrency, the trading platform only tells half of the story, with many rises and falls being based on other sources (such as John McAfee’s Twitter or other online rumors!) that cannot be programmed into the bot for analysis.
In addition, as noted above, the spread between the exchanges has flattened somewhat, meaning that the opportunities for inter-exchange arbitrage are much lower than in previous years.
Many trading bots use what is known as an exponential moving average (EMA) as a starting point for analyzing the market. EMA’s track market prices over a set time period, and bots can be programmed to react to what that price does – such as moving beyond certain thresholds.
By programming the bots, traders can set their thresholds to correspond with their risk appetites. However, one of the downsides of EMA is that it is based on past history, which, as all traders will know, is not indicative of future performance, especially in the cryptocurrency industry where volatility is rife. Therefore the question of whether trading bots work is a multi-faceted one in which the problem answer is that they work, but not necessarily for everybody.
Trading bots offer a variety of advantages, including having constant interaction with the market, as well as the not-insubstantial factor of removing the emotion from trading. However, on the other hand, by using the wrong trading strategy or relying on the trading strategy of others, a trading bot could simply end up automating a set of poor market trading decisions.
Best Crypto Trading Bots
In this section we will take a look at some of the popular and publicly-available bots you can use. In most cases these bots will offer more than automated trading. Some of the platforms give clients advanced trading tools, as well as access to numerous crypto exchanges.
Cryptohopper is one of the most established players in the auto trading scene for several reasons. Firstly, they run entirely on the cloud, so no installation is required making 24/h trading possible. They also have an incredibly intuitive dashboard, and only require a 5 minute set up to start trading.
Next to this they are the only bot to embed external signalers, allowing new traders to subscribe to a growing list of professional analysts from around the world. Many use machine learning, intelligent algorithms and employ teams of mathematicians to target rising coins. Signals are sent directly to the users bots which buy and sell when they receive them.
Signaler dashboard where you can subscribe
The bot allows you to take advantage of bull markets with a trailing stop-loss, and has full technical analysis features from Stoch and RSI to Bollinger Bands and MACD.
Cryptohopper has a very nice modern dashboard area where you can configure and monitor everything and comes with a config wizard or pre-created templates for the popular exchanges – Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex, GDAX and Kraken.
Traders with more experience can incorporate their favorite technical indicators, triggers and use tools that are handy in bear markets, such as DCA & shorting features.
Unlike many other bots, Cryptohopper does not charge any trading fees, and is one of the few bots to offer a free trial for a month with the ability to upgrade to Bunny ($19 p/m), Hare ($49 p/m) and Kangaroo ($99 p/m).
We have completed an Indepth Review of Cryptohopper here.
3Commas is a popular trading bot which works with a number of exchanges including Bittrex, BitFinex, Binance, Bitstamp, KuCoin, Poloniex, GDAX, Cryptopia, Huobi and YOBIT. The bot works 24 / 7 with any device as it is a web-based service so you can monitor your trading dashboard on mobile as well as desktop and laptop computers.
It allows you to set stop-loss and take-profit targets and also has a social trading aspect which allows you to copy the actions of it’s most successful traders.
Another interesting feature is it’s ETF-Like crypto portfolio feature which allows you to Create, analyze and back-test a crypto portfolio and Choose from the best performing portfolios created by others.
We have completed an Indepth Review of 3commas here.
The CryptoTrader bot is a cloud based trading bot that provides users with fully automated trading solutions while not requiring them to install the bot on their own system. CryptoTrader features a strategies ‘marketplace’ that allows users to buy their favorite trading strategy, or alternatively to sell strategies developed by themselves.
Cryptotrader supports most of the major exchanges for both backtesting and live trading, with the backtesting tool allowing users to review how their strategies would work under different market conditions.
CryptoTrader offers five different subscription plans, with fees ranging from 0.006 BTC to 0.087 BTC per month (Bitcoin is the only payment method accepted). The separate packages include a number of differences, including the number of bots operating on the user’s behalf as well as the maximum equity limit.
Although though some knowledge of coding is beneficial when setting up strategies in the CryptoTrader bot, there are a number of free and paid strategies available for users that are not experienced / interested in coding.
The CryptoTrader bot also has a wide level of interoperability, with the service offering email and text notifications to alert users on important market events or changes in trends.
Created in 2020 by Haasonline, Haasbot trades Bitcoin and many other altcoins,
Although Haasbot is probably the most complete of the trading bots that are currently available, doing much of the labour with relatively minimal input required from the user, in order to provide this service it is pretty expensive, with costs ranging from between 0.04 BTC and 0.07 BTC for a three-month period.
At those prices, it is clear that anybody willing to take a chance on it should be knowledgeable about what they expect to get out of the platform and be committed to doing so.
Haasbot is an outgrowth of HaasOnline Software, which was started by Stephan de Haas in the 1990’s. The same company is also behind HaasOnline Trade Server (HTS), which is a automated system that is designed to trade cryptocurrencies.
The Haasbot platform operates on Windows, MacOS, and Linux, and allows traders to choose from more than 10 different ‘bots’. The more you decide to spend, the more bots you will have access to on the platform.
Given the prices involved in using the bots, it is a good idea to do some research on the returns they have generated in the past.
Read our Indepth Review of HaasBot here.
Zignaly is a trading terminal with cryptocurrency trading bots that lets you trade automatically with help from external crypto signal providers. For the moment the platform costs just $12 per month.
The platform is incredibly easy to use and can be utilized as a passive income machine. Zignaly lets you easily connect with a TradingView account, so you can use it with your favorite indicators. Alternatively, you can use the Zignaly trading terminal to create your full strategy at once.
Because Zignaly is still pre-launch, the number of exchanges that it operates with is limited. The development team says that once the full version is live, KuCoin, Coinbase Pro, Poloniex and Bittrex will be added to the platform. The company also plans to offer its clients unlimited currency pairs without any additional cost.
One of the nicest things about Zignaly, besides the price, is the developers’ commitment to transparency. The full development teams’ info is available online, and anyone who wants to learn more about the founders can find their personal information on their social media profiles.
Read our Indepth Review of Zignaly here.
Cap.Club is a simple way to gain access to advanced trading features. The platform was designed in Russia, and currently works on Binance and Bittrex. The platform offers traders automated buying and selling algos, as well as advanced order types.
One of the first things that you will probably notice about Cap.Club is the simplicity of both its website and interface. If you are just getting into automated trading, or have little coding knowledge, this simplicity could be a big plus for you.
The platform comes in two versions.
The free version will give you all of the trading strategies that the full platform features, but you will be limited in how many can run at once. The free account is also limited in communication. The full version will send you alerts via both Email and Telegram, but the free one is only going to contact you with Email.
If you want to use the platform for free, it is ready to go. For those that want to upgrade, it currently costs $30 USD per month, or can also be bought on a yearly basis for a discounted price of $300 USD.
Simple to Use, Lots of High-End Features
Don’t let the simplicity of Cap.Club’s interface fool you, it delivers some high-end trading tools. In addition to limit and trailing orders, Cap.Club offers it users three trading programs:
- Smart Sell (long)
- Smart Buy-Sell (long)
- Smart Sell-Buy (short)
These algos seek to make money automatically for Cap.Club’s clients. There aren’t a ton of reviews out there for how effective the algos are, but they are all 100% free to use with the basic package.
The platform that Cap.Club put together offers a lot of value, and also is a nice compromise between an algo-driven trading platform, and a trading platform that gives you some of the normal trading tools that are lacking on most crypto exchanges.
Cap.Club also includes a visual strategy editor with both the free, and premium package. If you understand how trading strategies work, but can’t put them into code, a visual strategy editor could be a good fit for you.
Instead of having to write your own algo in code, you can use a visual strategy editor to lay it out with symbols. Once you have the strategy together, it is simple to run. You may find that your strategy ideas are profitable, and they could help you outperform the market.
Cap.Club Gives You a Lot
The fact that Cap.Club allows you to use its platform for free is great. While you will be limited in how many strategies and APIs you can run at once, it will help you to figure out if the platform makes sense for you.
For frequent traders having some sort way to use limit and trading orders is almost necessary. Buying and selling at market rates isn’t ideal. Trailing stops and take profit orders can help you to ride a winning position, which makes it possible for a single position to make the entire subscription worthwhile.
The big downside to Cap.Club is the fact that it only supports two exchanges.
If you don’t want to trade with Binance or Bittrex, then Cap.Club isn’t going to be of much use to you. That said, it is really easy to set up Cap.Club with Binance and Bittrex, which makes opening a new account at one or both of the exchanges worth thinking about.
Easy Set-Up and Support
Once you open up your Cap.Club account, all you have to do is go to the exchange of your choice, and generate an API. You will get a new API, and a secret code. Just go back to Cap.Club, and enter the info into the fields it provides you with. The process is super simple, and should only take you a few minutes.
Cap.Club also has a deep support section online. If you need help connecting your exchange account to their platform, or figuring out how to use any of the tools, you should be able to find any information you need. The support is included with both account types, which is a great feature.
Overall Cap.Club looks like a capable automated trading platform that also gives traders some useful tools, as long as you use one of its two supported exchanges.
Unlike many of the other trading bots on this list, Exchange Valet is more of a trading toolset and crypto portfolio management platform. Most crypto exchanges don’t give traders a ton of tools to use. Exchange Valet is filling in the gaps with commonly used trading tools like simultaneous stop loss and take profit orders.
If you are used to using a trading platform like MT4 or MT5, the ability to set simultaneous stop loss and take profit orders is taken for granted. Many exchanges don’t support either order type, or allow traders to use both at the same time.
Exchange Valet lets you set both stop loss and take profit orders at the time time, which is extremely useful for active traders.
Let’s say you want to open a position in BTC, but your expectation is that it will rally for another 10%. If you are wrong about the direction of the BTC market, there is no need to stick around and watch your trading capital get eaten up by a nasty downward price movement.
Exchange Valet’s platform would allow you to open up your BTC trade with both a stop loss and take profit order at whatever price level you like. If you are correct, and BTC rallies by 10%, Exchange Valet will lock in that profit by selling the position. If you got it wrong, your stop loss will keep a volatile market from blowing up your trading account.
Handy Portfolio Management Tools Too!
Exchange Valet also allows you to keep an eye on all your positions, and rebalance them almost automatically. The platform will display all of your crypto holdings on a pie chart, and allow you to buy a specific percentage of your portfolio’s total value in a single crypto.
Let’s say you want to hold 40% of your total portfolio’s value in ETH. Exchange Valet will give you a simple input field that will let you buy whatever percentage of any crypto that you like. This is an easy way to make sure you maintain the balance of cryptos that you like, without doing a ton of work.
Exchange Valet also has solid communication tools. All of your orders can be delivered via Telegram (they call it Speedtrade), and other information will be emailed to you if you like. Portfolio info can also be delivered with Telegram, or by using the platform’s proprietary chatbot.
Exchange Valet Lacks Some Features
If you are looking for an automated trading platform, Exchange Valet isn’t going to be a good choice for you. While it does offer super useful trading features, it really isn’t a trading bot. It is also limited to Binance and Bittrex. This may or may not be an issue, but it is something to consider.
Exchange Valet is also costs cryptos to use. The platform offers new users a 14 day free trial, but after that it will cost you $29 USD per month, $75 USD for three months, or $250 USD if you buy a year’s worth of service.
If you are an active trader with a big portfolio these prices could make sense, although there are other platforms that give you more features for a similar price.
Two areas where Exchange Valet shines are security and connectivity. The platform meets ISO 27001, ISO 27017, and ISO 27018 standards for data security. It also offers a lot of information via Telegram, which is great if you want to keep an eye on your portfolio when you aren’t in front of a computer.
Worth Learning More About
If you prefer to trade your own account, Exchange Valet could be a great tool for you. While it does lack algo-based trading features, it does offer traders all the tools they would find on a conventional trading platform.
Exchange Valet takes your security seriously, which is great to see. The communication tools that Exchange Valet built are also useful. If you are looking for a platform that fills in the gaps that exchanges left open, Exchange Valet is worth a deeper look!
Signal is a platform that is made specifically for Binance. Signal does give traders on Binance some badly needed tools, and a high level of connectivity. If you want automated trading, or to use another exchange, this platform isn’t for you.
Much like Exchange Valet, Signal gives traders the tools they would find on a trading platform like MT4. In addition to simultaneous stop loss and take profit orders, it also allows traders to program laddered buying, as well as trailing stops.
Most of the features that Signal offers are extremely useful for traders. While a platform like Signal isn’t really going to be useful for a crypto investor who is looking to HODL for the long-term, the tools that Signal delivers will help traders who are used to fully-featured trading platforms.
Signal is Built for Binance
If you trade on Binance and are looking for advanced trading tools, Signal could be the right platform for the job. As mentioned above, being able to use stop loss and take-profit orders simultaneously is a must for traders.
In addition to adding simultaneous stop loss and take-profit orders, Signal gives you the ability to buy into a position over a period of time. This is called a laddered buy, and it cab be handy if you think there is a big move coming in a token’s price.
Instead of buying your entire position at one, you can automatically set Signal up to do the buying for you. This can also be good for larger traders who want to spread their orders out, and reduce the chance they will influence the market price of a token noticeably.
Signal also offers two interesting tools that some traders might find useful.
The platform allows users to sell existing coins, and also has a ‘targets’ tool. The sell existing coins tool allows Signal users to sell specific coins, and the targets tools lets traders set levels where positions can be sold. Both tools may be handy for advanced traders.
Signal offers a simple set of tools, but it can be accessed from almost any device. Many of the other platforms on this list have to be run on a computer, and won’t work on iOS or Android.
Connectivity is one area where Signal shines. You can use the platform from just about any device, including the two most popular mobile operating systems. If you are looking for a fully-featured trading platform for Binance that you can use almost anywhere, Signal is a good fit.
The platform will also notify you via SMS when your orders are executed, which can be handy if you need to stay on top of the market. It also gives you the ability to track your trading performance over time, which can be very handy if you are trading frequently.
Not Built for Everyone
Signal isn’t going to be a good fit for every crypto trader out there. While it does fill in some gaps on Binance, it only works with one exchange, and doesn’t offer any sort of algorithmic trading options. If you are looking for a bot, this isn’t the platform for you.
There isn’t much information on the costs involved with using Signal, and it could be free. There is also the promise of more features in the future, as the website states that “this is just the beginning.”
If Signal is free to use, and the team behind it is planning to add exchanges and features in the future, it is very promising for the platform. As it stands today Signal is a good looking product that has a clean interface, as well as a solid development team behind it.
The platform seems to be geared towards frequent traders, and could be a good fit if you are on Binance, and trade a lot. Even with the more basic trading tools that Signal offers regular traders will probably have a much raiser life.
If you are looking for a one stop trading bot platform, Live Trader could be the thing for you. Depending on which plan you decide to sign up for, Live Trader will give you access to 25, 250 or 1000 unique trading bots.
Live Trader also works with some of the largest crypto exchanges out there. You can use Live Trader with Polonix, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Binance, KuCoin and Kraken. The platform is 100% cloud-hosted, which makes it easy to run on just about any hardware there is.
Connecting Live Trader to your exchange, or exchanges of choice is simple, and Live Trader has lots of support tools online to help its clients get their account set up quickly.
The real advantage that Live Trader offers clients is the sheer number of trading bots, as well as a novel back-testing system. Unlike some platforms that need direct access to an exchange to do backtesting, Live Trader can run advanced backtesting simulations on paper.
Live Trader Offers a Lot
The first thing to notice about Live Trader is the number of exchanges that it will function with. Instead of being limited by your trading bot, Live Trader gives you numerous choices for an exchange. It also allows you to run multiple trading strategies at the same time, depending on which plan you decide to purchase.
While Live Trader is a pay-only service, it does offer a limited free trial so you can learn more about what you would be buying if you sign-up. The basic plan allows you to run one strategy, the mid-level plan gives you five simulations strategies, and the top-level plan that gives you 1000 bots to choose from will let you run 10 of them at once!
If you are wondering about pricing, the base plan costs $15 USD per month, the mid-level plan costs $39 USD per month, and the top-level plan will run you $79 USD per month. Given that Live Trader takes care of all the hosting, the rates it charges aren’t unreasonable.
Geared for Algos
Live Trader is definitely set up for traders that want to use algos. If you are looking for a platform that will give you some advanced order types, and a few basic algos, Live Trader might be overkill. On the other hand, if you are looking for a deep selection of automated trading algos, Live Trader could be a perfect fit.
There are a truly amazing number of automated trading algos on Live Trader. In addition to the algos that Live Trader has available, there is also an algo marketplace you can browse through.
If you would like to develop your own trading tools, Live Trader has a strategy builder that will allow you to construct your own strategies, and back test them on any exchange the platform supports. All of this adds up to a huge selection of algos for automated crypto trading on some of the most popular crypto exchanges out there.
Not a Freebie
Live Trader does deliver a lot of algorithmic trading, but it isn’t cheap. If you are on the fence about how algos might fit into your crypto trading, Live Trader could be a lot to take on at first. The entry-level plan Live Trader isn’t too expensive, and could be a good place to get started with automated crypto trading.
With all the features that Live Trader includes, it is reasonable to expect that the more advanced plans would cost substantially more.
Live Trader lets you trade on numerous exchanges with a multitude of algos at the same time, which isn’t the easiest thing to do on the back-end. All those cloud servers cost money, and doing the same thing on your own machine would get expensive.
Live Trader is a Great Platform for Algo-Driven Trading
There isn’t any getting around the amount of algos that Live Trader lets you access with either the mid or high level subscription. Having 250+ algos to choose from is an amazing tool set for any crypto trader to use.
If you are looking for a platform that delivers loads of algos, works with many of the most popular crypto exchanges, and lets you do extensive off-exchange backtesting, Live Trader is worth learning more about.
All of the plans also have a solid support system backing them up, which you can learn more about on the platform’s website. The homepage also offers a chat window, which is nice to see!
GunBot is a well known cryptocurrency trading bot which uses individual strategies that are completely customisable to fit your trading style. It can operate on the following exchanges: Bittrex, Binance, Poloniex, Bitfinex, Cex.io, GDAX, Kraken and Cryptopia. You can run the bot on your own computer or use a VPS and can manually add different coin pairs, pick a strategy and set it to work.
GunBot a versatile trading platform, and it also offers a lot of value for the money. The platform has a few different plans, that range from 0.04 BTC for the Starter Edition to 0.3 BTC for the Ultimate Edition. At current prices, the starter edition would only cost $160 USD, and offers users the option to buy a lifetime license for an additional fee.
The features that GunBot includes in its Starter Edition are worthwhile for the price. Included in the Starter Edition is a copy of GunBot Lite, as well as three algos to choose from. The next two levels add loads of functionality, with the Pro Edition adding backtesting capabilities, and cryptosight as standard features.
GunBot can be used on any of the major platforms, including Linix or VPS. It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 traders that use GunBot on a daily basis, and it has gotten numerous positive
Gekko is an open-source trading bot and backtesting platform that supports 18 different Bitcoin exchanges. Gekko is entirely free and can be found on the GitHub platform. Gekko is a relatively straightforward trading app to use that includes an interface and basic strategies from the outset, which allows you to be more comfortable with the use of the bot.
Gekko also has a number of plugins available that will allow you to be updated regardless of what level of connectivity you have. Although Gekko is not a high-frequency trading bot (making only a couple of trades per week, depending on configuration), nor a bot which allows you to exploit arbitrage opportunities, its list of supported exchanges and basic strategies means that it is probably a good place to start for anybody interested in utilizing Bitcoin trading bots.
Similar to Gekko, Zenbot is also an open-source trading bot for Bitcoin traders. As an open-source project, Zenbot is available for users to download and modify the code as necessary.
However, there have been question marks in the community over the development of Zenbot, with no updates having been made to the platform for a significant number of months. This means that no additional exchanges have been added to the platform for almost one year, meaning that it may have access to less information than some of its competitors. However, on the positive side, Zenbot, unlike Gekko, does offer high-frequency trading as well as supporting multiple cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin.
Reasons to Consider Using a Bot
Cryptos are a great new asset class, but it is hard to create a return from them in the same way that cash or a stock creates value. Most people associate stocks with gains from price appreciation, but many of the best stocks pay out dividends. There isn’t really an analogue for this in the crypto market, unless crypto owners lease out their cryptos to derive an income from their holdings.
From an investment standpoint, passive income is extremely important. As the last year has shown us, we can’t assume that asset prices will show gains year-over-year. One argument for holding stocks through a bear market is that they will continue to pay dividends, which can then be reinvested in the company when the stock prices is depressed.
Cryptos are more like a commodity than a company from an investment standpoint, which leaves investors with something of a problem. There is absolutely no reason to hold on to a commodity in a bear market, as it doesn’t deliver any kind of return aside from price appreciation.
Trading Bots Give Crypto Investors Income Options
If you want to put your crypto portfolio to work for you, trading bots could make sense to use. There are many different kinds of bots out there, and some can take advantage of market movements to create gains automatically.
Instead of relying on dividends, trading bots allow you to leverage your crypto holdings to make an income via trades. This system of income generation may not be quite as secure as compounding dividends, but it is one of the only options available to crypto investors.
The ‘bot’ is important because unlike a human, it is awake and looking for income opportunities 24/7. Of course, there is no such thing as free money.
Any risk that can generate a return has the potential to lose money. It is a good idea to make sure that any automated investment platform you choose to trust with your cryptos can prove that it works with a verifiable transaction history.
Be Realistic About Returns
It is easy to get carried away with dreams of quick money made in the financial markets.
The years that led up to the massive crypto rally of 2020 were amazing, but now the reality of the crypto market is setting in. If you are looking to make the kind of returns that many saw in 2020 with a trading bot, you will probably be disappointed, or go broke.
The simple fact is that in order to create returns, you have to take on risk. The bigger the risk, the greater the possible return. On the other hand, when you take big risks, the possibility that you will face catastrophic losses is very real. There isn’t any algo that can ‘de-risk’ trading, no matter how advanced it is.
If you are looking to make 3-6% per year on your crypto holdings with a trading bot, you will probably find something that works for you. There are many low risk trading strategies that do produce returns, and an algo will make sure that you don’t lose your discipline lunging for the brass ring.
Keep in mind that a portfolio manager than can consistently produce annual returns around 10% will beat 99% of professional money managers. Expecting an algo to do more than that probably isn’t wise.
Trading bots can assist traders in ensuring that they are always interacting with the market, even when they are physically unable to do so. They can assist in removing some of the stress and emotions that are often found in any financial trading markets, not least the cryptocurrency market.
However, trading bots are not for everybody, nor does everybody need one. Casual investors are not the prime target of trading bots, and if your intention is to buy and hold Bitcoin then a trading bot is probably not the correct investment for you.
In addition, if you are not a competent programmer or familiar with the creation of financial strategies, trading bots may also not be for you. However, if you have the requisite knowledge and ability to overcome these obstacles then a trading bot can be a worthwhile tool in monitoring and making gains from the Bitcoin market.
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