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Published September 14, 2022

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If you’re just getting started in cryptocurrency trading, reading price charts can seem overwhelming at first glance. With so many different indicators and candlestick formations, it can be difficult to know where to start. But even the world’s top traders had to start somewhere, and understanding how to read crypto chart patterns is a crucial first step. 

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of how to read crypto chart patterns, including the different components of a price chart and what common chart patterns you should look for. By the end, you should have a better understanding of how to interpret price movements and make informed trading decisions. 

Why the Charts Matter

Trading digital assets can seem like a luck-based game at times, but the truth is that cryptocurrency prices are driven by a number of underlying factors. By understanding how to read crypto chart patterns, you can get a better sense of how these factors are affecting the market and make more informed trading decisions. 

There are a few key reasons why charts are so important in cryptocurrency trading: 

  • They help you understand market trends. By looking at past price movements, you can get a better sense of how the market is trending and where it might be headed in the future. 
  • They can help you identify buying and selling opportunities. By spotting certain chart patterns, you can better time your trades and maximize your profits. 
  • They help you manage risk. By understanding how to read crypto chart patterns, you can better manage your risk and protect your capital. 

Cryptocurrency trading is all about making informed decisions, and charts are important because they provide a visual representation of price data over time. They can also provide information about market sentiment and trader behavior, which can be useful in determining how to enter or exit a trade. By gathering as much data as you can and understanding how to read crypto chart patterns, you can give yourself a better chance of success in the market. 

Components of a Crypto Chart 

Components of a crypto chart

Before diving into how to read crypto chart patterns, let’s first take a look at the different components of a price chart.  

At the most basic level, a price chart is simply a graphical representation of how the price of an asset has changed over time, but there’s a lot more information that can be gleaned from even the simplest chart. 

A price chart typically has three main elements:  

The X-Axis

The x-axis represents time, and how it is divided will depend on the time frame that you’re looking at. For instance, a one-day chart will have each day represented as a point on the x-axis, while a one-minute chart will have each minute represented. The longer the time frame, the more granular the data will be. 

The Y-Axis 

The y-axis represents price, and how it is divided will depend on the price of the asset you’re looking at. For example, if an asset is worth $10,000, each tick on the y-axis might represent $100. If an asset is worth $1, each tick might represent $0.10. 

The Candlesticks

The candlesticks are the “meat” of the price chart, and each one represents a specific period of time. The wicks represent the high and low prices trading during the period, and the color of the body will depend on whether the price closed higher or lower than it opened. Green candlesticks indicate that the price closed higher than it opened (a “bullish” signal), while red candlesticks indicate that the price closed lower than it opened (a “bearish” signal). 

Aside from these main components, here some other important indicators to look for when reading a crypto price chart: 

  • Volume: This is the number of units of an asset that have been traded in a given period of time, and is usually represented by a bar beneath the price chart. 
  • 24 hour highs and lows: These are the highest and lowest prices that an asset has traded at in the past 24 hours, and can be a good indicator of where the current price is relative to recent market activity. 
  • Moving averages: These are simply the average price of an asset over a given period of time, and can be used to smooth out short-term fluctuations and spot longer-term trends. 
  • Support and resistance levels: These are horizontal lines that indicate where the price of an asset has found consistent support or resistance in the past, and can be used to predict future price movements. 

What are Chart Patterns?

As you become more familiar with reading cryptocurrency charts, you’ll start to recognize certain patterns that tend to repeat themselves. These patterns can be used to predict future price movements, and knowing how to identify them is a valuable skill for any trader or investor. 

Chart patterns generally fall into three primary categories: 

Reversal Patterns

Reversal patterns are used to predict that the current trend will reverse course and head in the opposite direction. The most common reversal pattern is the head and shoulders pattern, which is considered a bearish reversal signal. 

Continuation Patterns

Continuation patterns are used to predict that the current trend will continue in the same direction. The cup and handle is a continuation pattern, which is also considered a bullish continuation signal. 

Pennant Patterns

Pennant patterns are used to predict a period of consolidation before the current trend resumes. The most common pennant pattern is the symmetrical triangle, which can be either bullish or bearish depending on the direction of the breakout. 

Crypto chart patterns

Types of Crypto Chart Patterns

There are dozens of different chart patterns that you may come across, but the three most common ones are head and shoulders, cup and handles, and symmetrical triangles. 

Head and Shoulders

The head and shoulders pattern is a bearish reversal signal that typically forms after an extended uptrend. It is composed of three parts: the left shoulder, the head, and the right shoulder. The pattern is considered complete when the price breaks below the neckline. 

Conversely, an inverse head and shoulders pattern is a bullish reversal signal that forms after an extended downtrend. The pattern is considered complete when the price breaks above the neckline. 

 Cup and Handle

The cup and handle pattern is a bullish continuation signal that typically forms after a prolonged downtrend. It is composed of two parts: the cup and the handle. The pattern is considered complete when the price breaks above the resistance level. 

Symmetrical Triangle

The symmetrical triangle is a pennant pattern that can be either bullish or bearish depending on the direction of the breakout. It is composed of two converging trendlines that form a triangle. The pattern is considered complete when the price breaks out above or below the trendlines. 

Interpreting Charts 

No matter what type of chart pattern you’re looking at, always remember that chart patterns are indicators, not fortune tellers. Looking at them in the context of the wider market can give you a better indication of their accuracy. Here are a couple of things to look out for when interpreting charts. 

The first thing to look at is the volume. A breakout from a head and shoulders pattern, for example, is more likely to be successful if it occurs during periods of high trading volume. This indicates that there is strong interest in the stock and that the move is likely to be sustained. 

Secondly, always have a good idea of an asset’s market capitalization. A breakout from a cup and handle pattern is more likely to be successful if it occurs in a highly capitalized market. This indicates that the asset is widely held and that there is strong interest in the move. 

The third thing to consider is the market trend. A breakout from a symmetrical triangle is more likely to be successful if it occurs in the same direction as the overall trend. This indicates that the move is likely to be part of a larger trend and that it has momentum behind it. 

When interpreting chart patterns, it’s also important to remember that no signal is 100% accurate. There is always a chance that the pattern will fail and the price will move in the opposite direction. However, if you use the volume, market capitalization, and trend to confirm the patterns you see, you can increase your chances of success. 

Reading Charts 

Reading crypto charts can help traders make better choices about when and when and how to trade assets. By understanding the different components of a chart and how to interpret the various patterns, you can gain a better understanding of the market and make more informed trading decisions.  

If you’re looking to increase your chart reading and technical analysis skills, FTX is a great cryptocurrency exchange that offers a wide array of charting tools and resources for beginning and professional traders alike. 

Additionally, with every trade made on FTX, you are helping to support the exchange’s mission of enacting effective altruism. A percentage of each trading fee is contributed to investments in humanitarian-focused projects. 

To support FTX’s initiative, consider joining the FTT DAO, a like-minded community of FTX fans aiming to promote effective altruism around the globe.

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