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Kc  · 09/01/22

Scalping Crypto (Updated for 2022 Crypto Markets)

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Altcoin Trading Blog
All about crypto scalping - the tools you need, the cryptocurrencies to prefer, the exchanges that will not crash on you.

Key Points

  1. What it is: Bitcoin Scalping
  2. Tools that do it: #tensorcharts #bitfinex 
  3. Scalping is the best technique for times when the market is not moving much
  4. Risk management and discipline are absolutely key
  5. Typical scalping setup is technically straightforward but psychologically difficult
  6. Running a scalping bot can remove the psychological hurdles
Ledgerwallet for bitcoin and altcoins

In this Strategy:

Definition of Scalping Crypto

Scalping is a trading technique of capitalizing on small price changes. Scalping crypto means to scalp spot or derivative crypto markets.

Scalping positions are typically closed as soon as they become profitable, earning a profit in the neighborhood of 2%.

The best market structure for scalping

Flat, sideways market that does not trend is the best market type for scalping.

Regarding bitcoin, the year 2017 was the year to buy your crypto in January and hold. Then, maybe, if you felt like it, to trade the reaccumulation ranges and sell the right bounce to rebuy lower and carry on the Mr Bones’ wild ride.

That was swing trading. In a trending market, swing trading is the method with which you extract most of the available profits from the market.

With the end of the post-halving bull, the profitability of this trading style it came to an end too.

All through 2018 and in 2019, the first most obvious thing crypto investors noticed is that everyone’s long-term stacks keep losing their dollar value.

The best crypto for scalping

To run a scalping strategy, you need a cryptocurrency that is capable of forming ranges. A coin with markets mature enough to go properly sideways is the best crypto for scalping.

If you are an alt coin trader who likes to speculate on smaller, new cryptocurrencies, you will miss most of your profits if you try to scalp those markets.

Small-cap altcoins are trending as long as they are quite new. After the inevitable hype period, they will most often go bust.

The bottom period there is where you could, in theory, scalp them as the market is flat.

Practically though that will not go well because nobody is trading failed alts. The market will be too thin to take your orders and it will be hard to get your orders filled.

For these reasons it is best to stick to large-cap cryptos like BTC or ETH for your scalping.

Crypto Scalping Tools

We have a 101 guide on how to start automated trading crypto, including crypto scalping automation. There are platforms that do not require any coding knowledge. Read here.

Btw: You can scalp crypto with VPVR-like volume indicators on Cryptowatch Free plan. Read here

Crypto scalping charting

Scalping requires a 5M or shorter timeframe chart. Footprint type of charts like Tensorcharts work extremely well.

On the chart, you will need indicators that work well on such short timeframes.

Bitcoin scalping indicators that work well

  • oscillators like StochRSI
  • inverse Fisher of RSI (also an oscillator)
  • Bollinger Bands^TM
  • basic support and resistance

Technical indicators that do not work well on short timeframes are Ichimoku cloud and divergences. These are indicators that work with trends and do not provide good information for the timespan of minutes.

Trading platforms for crypto scalping

Your requirements for trading platform good for scalping is stable web interface or API and reliable stop loss.

Any scalping strategy relies on collecting a large number of small profits. For this reason, a single losing trade can wipe out months of your work if your stop loss fails. In scalping, losers need to be cut quickly with a discipline.

If you are comfortable trading crypto options on Deribit, there are ways to use options instead of a stop loss.

Exchanges that generally do not crash during heavy load

  • Bitfinex (spot, leveraged spot, derivatives)
  • Deribit (options, futures)
  • Phemex (new spot and derivative exchange - not properly put through the FOMO fire yet)

Crypto scalping bots

There is a couple of dedicated bots for scalping crypto in 2021, as well as platforms that let you build your own strategy with no coding knowledge required.

And there’s a reason for it. Scalping is not for everybody. Most traders are most comfortable with swing trading, the quick switching of sides that scalping requires is heavy on your mind.

Crypto bots and alerts useful for scalping strategies

  • Shrimpy (needs some coding knowledge, but has plenty tutorials and a dev community on Telegram)
  • Coinrule (zero coding knowledge required)
  • Tensorcharts (has programmable interface for custom alerts - helpful for manual scalping)

Crypto Scalping Strategy - Scalping Setup Examples

As mentioned in the scalping bots section, the typical crypto scalping strategy is straightforward on paper but hard to pull off psychologically.

Traders who are not used to taking losses are the best candidates for headaches from scalping.

Losses are something that on the crypto markets can be pretty much avoided, as long as you stick to trading the big swings.

Your scalping profit comes from large number of quick trades. Taking small losses is inevitable, but you must make sure the losses are really cut when they are still small. Otherwise months of your work can be wiped out at once.

Example 1: Basic Support/Resistance Scalping Setup


  • Chart with 30M and 5M support and resistance

Long Set Up:

  • Find 30M support level.
  • Post a long position at a the support level.
  • Find nearest resistance level to the upside.
  • Post a take-profit and stop-loss in the 1:1 ratio (or better), aiming for a 1-2% profit
  • Follow the market at 5M chart to confirm the price action is slowing down around your order.
  • If order triggers, follow the market on 5M and move your stop loss up as you gain unrealized profit.
  • Let your take-profit or stop-loss trigger.

Short set up for this scalping strategy is equivalent.


Automate this scalping strategy

Example 2: Scalping a bull flag


  • Chart of 5M market that is making new (intermittent) highs.
  • Best starting position is high-volume break through (short-term) resistance level.

Bull flag scalping set up:

  • Find a break through a resistance or a similar high-probability short term bullish point.
  • Work out the nearest resistance to the north. If this is an all-time high, use a fib extension.
  • Open a long. You may need to use an instant market order if the market is running away.
  • Set up your stop loss at the ratio of 1:1 or better compared to your expected resistance.
  • Move your stop loss up as the price moves up.
  • As the price approaches resistance, move your stop loss closer to the price: The middle of the previous candle. Keep moving the stop loss as new candles are generated.
  • Let your stop loss trigger.
  • Open a short.
  • Work out a support level for the retracement. Fibs are a good tool for that.
  • Set up your stop loss at the ratio of 1:1 or better.
  • Move your stop loss down as the price moves down.
  • As the price approaches support, move your stop loss closer to the price: The middle of the previous candle. Keep moving the stop loss as new candles are generated.
  • Let your stop loss trigger.

Typically, a bull flag will have two bottoms. You can trade the first bounce the same way.

Experiment with the stop-loss levels, on different markets different levels will be appropriate. It might seem like a way to minimise your risk by setting stop loss to the previous candle right from the start. The reason it’s kept loose like this is the notorious stop hunts on most crypto markets.

Automate this scalping strategy

Using Tensorcharts as your cryptocurrency scalping tool

So far the best charting app for short-term crypto trades is TensorCharts.

The information you get when watching TensorCharts is far more complete than the averaged-out information you get from the standard candlesticks charts, and in scalping that matters a lot.

TensorCharts Tools for Scalping

  • Order flow, or “Colored candles” - See at which price level of the candle happened the largest buying or selling activity.
  • Orderbook heatmap - See where traders put their orders, and if they mean to spoof them or let them execute.
  • Book counter and trades counter - At which side of the orderbook is currently the most pressure.

The disadvantage of TensorCharts is the learning curve. You will need to take some time and learn to use TensorCharts. Once you’ve done that, you will have a powerful tool at your hands and quite an edge - because not too many other traders will bother.

We have a brief intro to the TensorCharts project here and a list of Tensorcharts tutorials from YouTube and elsewhere.

Start with TensorCharts FREE


Why scalping crypto matters?

Most traders will stop trading during sideways and negative price actions.

Your typical crypto trader will get frustrated as the price keeps going down and he “cannot do anything” (?), he’ll lose sleep, obsess over looking for the bounce and eventually sells the bottom.

As a result, even the biggest crypto markets get thinner and easier to shake.

This also invites the trolls and shills to shout around that cryptocurrencies are dying for real this time which can easily spiral into more panic.

Good thing that all this is also a trading opportunity for everyone who wants to take it.

There is still money on the table, why not collect it then?


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