What Is Algo Trading and How Does It Work?
Trading Analysis

What Is Algo Trading and How Does It Work?

Created 8mo ago, last updated 8mo ago

Learn about crypto algo trading, a method that uses computer programs and mathematical algorithms to automate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies.

What Is Algo Trading and How Does It Work?

Table of Contents

As the crypto markets and DeFi space mature and become increasingly difficult to navigate for the layman, the use of algorithmic trading tools is rising in popularity.

Previously only used by professional traders or trading firms, now there are countless tools at your disposal — from crypto exchanges such as Binance to Telegram and Discord-based crypto trading bots.

What Is Crypto Algo Trading?

Crypto algo trading, short for cryptocurrency algorithmic trading, refers to the use of computer programs and mathematical algorithms to automate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies.

This trading method has become wildly popular in the volatile and always-open crypto market because it helps traders execute trades at near instantaneous speeds with almost pin-point precision — something which human traders struggle to compete with in shorter time frames.

It's also known by many other names such as automated trading, high-frequency trading (HFT), black-box trading, algo trading, API trading, or crypto bot trading, the latter of which is a red-hot new trend in crypto.

Why Is Algo Trading Important?

Any human trader can tell you their biggest strengths and weaknesses all reside within their heads, where there’s a constant battle to act on logic and not emotion. When markets pump or tank, it is very difficult to apply your skill and experience quickly and objectively enough.

This is where algo trading comes in. It takes the FOMO and FUD emotions out of the equation and helps you stick to whatever strategy game plan you devised for your trading.

This can help you trade more systematically and effectively, potentially improving your chances of being profitable. A good trader can buy and sell multiple crypto assets using a diverse array of trading strategies, whilst diversifying their portfolio and managing their risk as optimally as possible.

How Does Crypto Algo Trading Work?

In short, crypto algo trading involves creating sets of predefined trading rules and conditions that blend mathematics, historical data, statistical models and existing trading strategies to create an optimal strategy of how much of a cryptocurrency to buy or sell, at which time, and at what price point.

These trading algorithms can be as simple as executing transactions when a price drops or climbs by 5%. Algorithmic trading relies on historical data and mathematical models to make decisions, but it cannot actively predict every change or foresee black swan events. When a black swan event occurs, it can disrupt the normal patterns and relationships that algorithmic trading strategies rely on, leading to unexpected losses.

Is Crypto Algo Trading Profitable?

When done right, algo trading can be very profitable, as it’s well documented that a computer can trade faster, more consistently and more accurately than a human. However, it requires you to have a solid understanding of mathematics such as algebra and calculus and statistical analysis and probability, which is needed to study past and current market data and anticipate future price movements.

This helps you pick the right high-quality trading algorithms while being cognisant of overall macroeconomic and market conditions, to ensure you have a strong risk management strategy in place for volatile market behavior. Decade-long studies show that the biggest gains and losses are determined by only a few volatile days each year, and you need to find the right balance of aggression and protection to come out profitably.

How To Start Crypto Algo Trading

If you’re ready to try out algo trading, there are a plethora of books and online courses, and forums at your disposal. Start with the basics of both fundamental and technical analysis that will teach you about market behavior and psychology and quantitative analysis. Over time, you will pick up some programming knowledge that will help you grasp increasingly complex strategies and add them to your trading arsenal.

Be prepared to invest initially in high-quality courses, data sets, trading software and, of course, a computer that can handle algorithmic trading.

If you just want to jump straight into algo trading, you can also buy or subscribe to an existing algo trading platform that does all the heavy lifting for you. However, your lack of understanding of what you’re dealing with might cost you over time, or at the very least, stop you from maximizing profits.

Yes, algorithmic trading is legal in many countries, including major financial markets like the United States and the European Union. However, due to its potential to impact market stability, financial regulators keep a close eye on it to ensure market fairness and deter manipulation of any kind.

What’s the Difference Between Algorithmic and Automatic Trading?

In algo trading, the computer only executes the transaction and does not determine the rules of when to buy or sell, which is done by the human user based on their knowledge and tools.

Automated trading, however, requires no input from the human trader, and all buying and selling decisions are made by the computer.

Algo Trading vs Crypto Trading Bots

Crypto trading bots are a type of algo trading tool. While algorithmic trading, in general, can be applied to any financial market, crypto trading bots are specifically built for cryptocurrency markets to utilize crypto platforms, like decentralized exchanges, and other crypto-native features, like MEV protection.

Crypto bots can be customized or pre-programmed to perform various powerful actions such as liquidity and multi-wallet creation, sniping, copy trading, airdrop hunting and more.

Check out the list of telegram bot projects and discord bots in the CMC category page.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Algo Trading


Algo trading is lightning-fast and efficient and can be done 24 hours a day 365 days a year, which can be hard for humans to compete with.

It takes the emotion out of trading by removing human mistakes and biases, helping you to diversify your portfolio by trading more than one cryptocurrency at the same time. You can also backtest your strategies with past data.


If you’re serious about mastering algo trading, there’s a complex learning curve involved that revolves around math and programming.

You’re going to have to fork out some high initial investments in software, data and hardware tools. While humans have their flaws, so do software and hardware, so you can expect some technical glitches and unpredictable behavior from time to time, especially when markets are particularly bloody or frothy.

Final Thoughts

If you’re serious about trading crypto and have the time, motivation and initial funds to acquire the right knowledge and skills, algo trading can be a core tool to help you build your crypto portfolio. However, you’ll need to know what you’re doing and also understand the risk involved and how to manage it in a responsible manner.

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