Here’s 5 ways investors can use the MACD indicator to make better trades

Traders use the MACD indicator to identify turning points, facilitate entries on pullbacks and capture the larger part of a move until the trend starts to reverse course.

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence, also called the MACD, is a trend-following momentum indicator used widely by traders. Although the MACD is a lagging indicator, it can be very useful in identifying possible trend changes.

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The MACD oscillates above and below a zero line, also known as the centerline. The shorter moving average is subtracted from a longer moving average to arrive at the value of the MACD. A signal line, which is the exponential moving average of the MACD completes the indicator.

The blue line is the MACD and the red line is the signal line. When the blue line crosses above the red line, it is a signal to buy and when the blue line falls below the red line, it is a trigger to sell. A cross above the centerline is also a buy signal.

Let’s have a look at how to use the indicator for better entries and exits from a variety of positions. Afterward, we’ll investigate how the MACD is analyzed during pullbacks and in an uptrend. Lastly, we’ll take a brief look at the importance of divergences on the MACD.

Adapting the indicator to crypto market volatility

Compared to legacy markets, cryptocurrencies witness large movements in a short time. Therefore, the entries and exits should be quick to capture a large part of the move but without too many whipsaw trades.

When a new uptrend starts, it generally remains in force for a few weeks or months. However, every bull phase has its share of corrections. Traders should aim to stay with the trend and not get stopped out by every minor pullback along the way.

The goal should be to enter the position early as the new uptrend starts and remain with the position until a trend reversal is signaled. However, that is easier said than done. If the indicator gives too many signals, there will be several unwanted trades which will incur large commissions and be emotionally draining.

On the other hand, if the time frames are chosen to give fewer signals, a large part of the trend could be missed as the indicator will be slow in identifying reversals.

This problem was addressed by MACD creator Gerald Appel in his book, Technical Analysis: Power Tools for active investors.

Appel highlights how two MACD indicators can be used during strong trends, with the more sensitive one being used for entries and the less sensitive one being used for exits.

Related: Unsure about buying the dip? This key trading indicator makes it easier

Are two MACDs better than one?

The default value used for the MACD indicator by most charting software is the 12- to 26-day combination. However, for the subsequent examples, let’s use one MACD with the 19- to 39-day combination which is less sensitive and will be used for generating sell signals. The second one will be more sensitive, using the 6- to 19-day MACD combination which will be used for buy signals.

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Bitcoin (BTC) was trading in a small range in September 2020 and during that period, both MACD indicators were largely flat. In October, as the BTC/USDT pair started an uptrend, the MACD gave a buy signal when the indicator crossed above the centerline in mid-October of 2020.

After entering the trade, watch how the MACD came close to the signal line on four occasions (marked as ellipses on the chart) on the sensitive 6- to 19-day MACD combination. This could have resulted in an early exit, leaving a large part of the gains on the table as the uptrend was only getting started.

On the other hand, notice how the less sensitive 19- to 39-day combination remained steady during the uptrend. This could have made it easier for the trader to stay in the trade till the MACD dropped below the signal line on Nov. 26, 2020, triggering a sell signal.

BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

In another example, Binance Coin (BNB) crossed over the centerline on July 7, 2020, triggering a buy signal. However, the sensitive MACD quickly turned down and dipped below the signal line on July 6, as the BNB/USDT pair entered a minor correction.

Comparatively, the less sensitive MACD remained above the signal line until Aug. 12, 2020, capturing a larger portion of the trend.

LTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Traders who find it difficult to keep track of two MACD indicators can also use the default 12- to 26-day combination. Litecoin’s (LTC) journey from about $75 to $413.49 generated five buy and sell signals. All the trades generated good entry (marked as ellipses) and exit (marked with arrows) signals.

Related: 3 ways traders use moving averages to read market momentum

How the MACD can signal corrections

Traders can also use the MACD to buy pullbacks. During corrections in an uptrend, the MACD drops to the signal line but as the price resumes its uptrend the MACD rebounds off the signal line. This formation, which looks similar to a hook, can give a good entry opportunity.

ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

In the example above, Cardano (ADA) crossed over the centerline on Jan. 8, 2020, signaling a buy. However, as the up-move stalled, the MACD dropped close to the signal line on Jan. 26, 2020 but did not break below it. As the price recovered, the MACD broke away from the signal line and resumed its move higher.

This gave an opportunity to traders who may have missed buying the cross above the centerline. The sell signal was generated on Feb. 16 just as the ADA/USDT pair was starting a deep correction.

MACD divergences can also signal a trend change

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price continued to make higher highs between Feb. 21, 2021, and April 14 but the MACD indicator made lower highs during the period, forming a bearish divergence. This was a sign that the momentum was weakening.

Traders should become cautious when a bearish divergence forms and avoid taking long trades during such a period. The long bearish divergence in this case culminated with a massive fall.

LTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Litecoin shows how the MACD formed a bullish divergence during a strong downtrend from July to December 2019. Traders who bought the crossover above the centerline may have been whipsawed in September and again in November.

This shows that traders should wait for the price action to show signs of changing its trend before acting on the MACD divergences.

A few important takeaways

The MACD indicator captures the trend and also can be used to gauge an asset’s momentum. Depending on the market conditions and the asset being analyzed,  traders may vary the period setting of the MACD. If a coin is a fast mover, a more sensitive MACD could be used. With slow movers, the default setting or a less sensitive MACD may be used. Traders can also use a combination of a less sensitive and more sensitive MACD indicator for better results.

However, there is no perfect indicator that works all the time. Even with the above permutations and combinations, trades will move opposite to expectations.

Traders should deploy money management principles to cut losses quickly and protect the paper gains when the trade moves as per the assumption.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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DEX volumes continue to surge even as Bitcoin and altcoins correct

Decentralized exchange volumes are on the rise as the pullback in the price of Bitcoin motivates some traders to book profits and rotate into altcoins.

Decentralized finance (DeFi) started 2021 by taking the cryptocurrency sector by storm and helping to kick the bull market cycle into high gear as traders capitalized on ways to easily trade cryptocurrencies and earn high yields on their hodl stacks. 

Eventually, high fees on the Ethereum (ETH) network and a few sharp market sell-offs helped contribute to a pullback in token prices and DeFi transactions beginning in late February, but that trend appears to have reversed over the past week as activity on decentralized exchanges is once again on the rise.

DEX user and volume comparison. Source: DappRadar

As seen in the chart above, decentralized exchange (DEX) volume spiked in late February, followed by a downtrend through the first week of April which saw the total volume traded on all DEXs fall as low as $603 million on April 4.

The uptick in users in mid-March was in part due to the explosion in popularity of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and the end of that frenzy is marked by a precipitous drop-off in users seen between March 26 and March 27.

Bitcoin dips ignite DEX activity

One possible explanation for the spike in activity on DEXs in recent weeks can be found comparing the volume charts with the price chart for Bitcoin (BTC), which indicates a possible correlation between a dip in the price of BTC and increased trading activity.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

As the price of Bitcoin saw declined from April 6 through April 8, DEX volume began to increase and reached a peak on April 7, just as BTC price was bottoming out and preparing to climb higher.

After Bitcoin price reached a peak at $64,840 on April 14, it fell into a downtrend that continued through April 24 as the asset remains pinned below $50,000.

DEX volume saw a substantial increase beginning April 18, the same day that Bitcoin experienced a 16% pullback in price from $60,900 to $50,500, and it has remained elevated since, indicating that traders may be rotating out of Bitcoin and into altcoins as the top cryptocurrency works its way through what traders hope will be a brief corrective phase.

Daily DEX volume. Source: Dune Analytics

As seen on the chart above, the daily DEX volume reached its highest level in weeks on April 22 as Bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market underwent a significant downturn that saw the total market capitalization fall by more than $324 million.

With Bitcoin now fighting to regain the $50,000 support level and a majority of the altcoin market now at fire-sale prices following the downturn from recent highs, decentralized exchange activity may hint at an approaching altcoin season that has historically as Bitcoin searches for direction following a pullback from a new all-time high.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Congress is blaming Robinhood, not Reddit

We didn’t learn much new in today’s hearing, but the spotlight was definitely on the gamified trading app, rather than the traders on r/WallStreetBets.

Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s CEO, very much occupied the hot seat in today’s hearing before the House Financial Services Committee over January’s market volatility. 

None of the representatives seemed particularly interested in putting the screws to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, and many seemed to give Keith Gill the same props the rest of us did.

These aren’t the market manipulators you are looking for

Gill, in all fairness, was the most likeable character involved, introducing his remarks by saying “A few things I am not: I am not a cat and I am not an accredited investor.” Gill, who really started this chain of events by posting about his investment into GameStop in June 2019, even doubled down on his opinion that GME remains a good buy today, at current prices. This is despite the fact that wild GME trading has attracted criminal investigation.

That lack of scrutiny towards Gill and Huffman does much to quell widespread fear that the events surrounding explosive trading in GameStop (GME) shares at the end of January would kick off probes into social media platforms’ role in potential market manipulation.

This is even as the House Antitrust Subcommittee announced today more hearings to scrutinize the biggest players in social media. Reddit, for now, seems to have flown under the radar.

Congressman Warren Davidson, who sits on the committee, noted this rare area of consensus, telling Cointelegraph: “I was hopeful right out of the gate because early on in the news cycle AOC was sticking up for the Reddit users, saying these people should have a right to trade. And then Ted Cruz, on the other end of the political spectrum said, ‘well, we agree.’”

Tenev’s business model

Though broadly, Republicans were more lenient than Democrats in addressing Robinhood’s activity, and especially the firm’s controversial shut-off of buying but not selling of GME and other high-volatility stocks, everybody wanted answers from Tenev.

The nature of Robinhood’s revenue model, which is based on the sale of order flow, while advertising itself as commission-free, fell under mass scrutiny, as did it’s dependence on a $3 billion injection of capital to meet collateral requirements.

“I believe a vulnerability was clearly exposed in your business model,” said Congressman Anthony Gonzales while questioning Tenev. “We just can’t live in a world where my constituents can have their shares liquidated if you can’t make a capital call.”

Many called out Robinhood’s claims to be busy democratizing finance. Tenev consistently pushed the figure of $35 billion as Robinhood users’ total gains, which Rep. Jim Himes said “you and anybody else schooled in finance know is meaningless without a rate-of-return.”

But while today’s hearing revealed a lot of hostility towards Tenev, it wasn’t all that educational.

Despite Chairwoman Maxine Waters’ admonition that “This is not political theater at all,” there didn’t seem to be any concerted sense of solutions to the epic trading that fueled GameStop’s (GME) meteoric rise at the end of January.

Real-time solution?

Some proposals, including from Tenev himself, as well as Davidson, were that the situation would not have developed at all if the U.S. had trading that settled the day of, rather than two days later — termed T-0 rather than T-2. Tenev noted “The existing 2-day period to settle trades exposes investors and the system to risk.”

Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Citadel, which he described as “the largest market maker in the world,” disputed the likelihood of a real-time system for securities trading in the next several years, saying: “The issue is everything has to work perfectly.” Real-time trading, he said, “requires that every bit of the workflow is perfectly synchronized across the parties.” Davidson disagreed, saying “Clearly in your business the technology exists for trading firms that are engaged in high-frequency trading.”

Davidson noted the potential role of blockchain. The potential of security tokens to solve issues with intermediaries and brokers has been one of the long-promised benefits of blockchain, though that is changing.

Today’s hearing was just the beginning, Chairwoman Waters affirmed. She said the committee aimed to hold two more with different witnesses.

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Robinhood announces plans to offer crypto deposits and withdrawals

Robinhood’s reputation has taken a battering lately, but it hopes to regain credibility among the crypto community by introducing cryptocurrency transfers.

The controversy-laden trading platform Robinhood announced on Wednesday that it intends to implement cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. While customers have been able to buy and sell cryptocurrency via the platform for some time, they are unable to access the coins themselves to transfer them to other wallets.

According to a series of tweets published from the company’s Twitter account, work on integration of cryptocurrency transfers has already begun, though no dates or specifics were provided on when it will go live.

Robinhood also clarified that crypto deposits would be custodied by their own wallets and added that the company does not invest in cryptocurrency and will not use customer funds for its own benefit.

Robinhood currently has seven cryptocurrencies listed for trade on their platform, including Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV). It is unclear if they intend to roll out support for transfers of all seven coins.

On Jan. 29, Robinhood suspended instant fiat deposits in response to social-media-fueled speculation, chalking up the decision as a reaction to “extraordinary market conditions.” The company was already under fire from both customers and regulators after restricting purchases of a select handful of securities offered for trade on its platform. By Feb. 4, Robinhood had reinstated instant deposits for crypto purchases.

The decision to expand cryptocurrency-related services comes at a time of increasing distrust of centralized service providers. Not everyone believes the move to offer crypto deposits and withdrawals will help Robinhood regain credibility lost through its recent actions. Others have questions about how the deposit and withdrawal process will work, specifically as it relates to customer access of private keys.

On Feb. 7, a 30-second NFL Super Bowl commercial aired for Robinhood in which a new slogan for the company was unveiled: “We are all investors.”

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Bit.com’s Daily Volume for Bitcoin Cash Options Doubled Every Day Since Launch

Bit.com's Daily Volume for Bitcoin Cash Options Doubled Every Day Since LaunchAt the end of January, the Matrixport subsidiary and leading derivatives exchange Bit.com announced the introduction of bitcoin cash perpetual swaps and options. Following the launch, the daily 24-hour volume has exceeded expectations doubling every day ever since. During the last few years, there’s been a number of derivatives exchanges leveraging bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum […]
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