How to Read Crypto Charts & Analyze Order Books

Awhile back I wrote an article on how to read charts and indicators when trading cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Since then we’ve added a number of helpful tools to the Coygo application to assist traders in their day-to-do operations and make it easier to quickly analyze market data, so I thought it was about time for a new guide. This time I’ll go over charts and indicators like RSI and Bollinger Bands, but I’ll also focus on other real-time insights and tools that Coygo provides, including order book superiority analysis, trade activity analysis, arbitrage analysis ,and more.

Note: Some of the charting basics will be familiar if you’ve read our previous guide, so feel free to jump ahead to the more interesting stuff if you’re not a beginner!

Price candlestick and volume indicatorPrice candlestick and volume indicator

Chart basics: Price candlesticks and volume

Two things that are easy to understand and will always be important are price and volume. Price is how much an asset is trading for, and volume is the total number of assets that has been traded on the specified market.

Price candlesticks

In Coygo we always default to showing prices with a candlestick chart. Each candlestick has two pieces, a vertical line and a vertical bar called a body. The top of the vertical line is the highest price during that interval (5 minutes in the example below), and the bottom of the vertical line is the lowest price during that interval. The ends of the vertical bar represent the open and close prices, meaning the price at the beginning and end of the interval respectively. The body is red in color if the close was below the open, meaning the price went down during that interval. The body is green in color if the close is above the open, meaning the price went up during that interval.


Volume is visualized with vertical bars, each representing the total amount of assets/coins traded on that market during the specified interval. The color of the bar is simply the same as the color of the price candlestick: green if the close was higher than the open (the price went up), and red if the close is lower than the open (the price went down). An increase in volume can mean that there is more interest in an asset as more people are trading it, and can help identify when price movements are beginning to happen.

Actionable insights

RSI indcatorRSI indcator

Chart indicators: Relative Strength Index (RSI)

RSI is a momentum indicator that looks at recent price movements to help determine if an asset is overbought or oversold. If an asset is overbought, a reversal downwards is possible (but not guaranteed). If an asset is oversold, a reversal upwards is possible. It’s displayed as a single line with values between 0 and 100, and the range between 30 and 70 is highlighted a different color with a dashed line at both 30 and 70. This is because an RSI ≥ 70 is considered overbought, and an RSI ≤ 30 is considered oversold, so this highlighted region makes it easy to quickly see if either is true.

Actionable insights

MACD indicatorMACD indicator

Chart indicators: Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)

MACD is a trend-following momentum indicator that can help identify and predict upwards or downwards trends in price. It compares the 26-period EMA (Exponential Moving Average) to a 12-period EMA. EMA is a moving average of the price that places a higher significance on more recent price changes than older price changes, helping to determine recent trends.

The MACD is visualized in three parts:

Actionable insights

Bollinger BandsBollinger Bands

Chart indicators: Bollinger Bands

Bollinger Bands are an indicator that uses a set of lines plotted two standard deviations (positively and negatively) away from a simple moving average (SMA) of the asset’s price. There are three lines: a basic moving average (the middle dark red line), and an upper and lower band (the green lines above and below). The are between the upper and lower band is highlighted with a light green background, creating the “band”.

Actionable insights

Depth chartDepth chart

Depth chart

Depth charts are a very common tool for visualizing open bids and asks in an order book. On the left we see a green area chart representing all open bids(buy) orders. On the right we see a red area chart representing all open ask (sell) orders. On the bottom Y axis we can see the price, and where the two charts converge is the last traded price. So looking at the depth chart above, we see the last traded price (the current price) is around $8,165. Each area chart increases its height according to the overall sum of open orders up to that price. So if you see a large vertical increase in either chart, that means one or a few large orders are set at that price.

Actionable insights

Order book superiorityOrder book superiority

Order book superiority

Now that we’ve covered the basics of reading charts and indicators, let’s move one to something unique to Coygo: order book superiority. This takes all open bids (buy orders) and asks (sell orders) within 5% of the last traded price, and calculates both the sum of orders as well as the total number of orders. Sum gives us how much overall value is waiting to be bought or sold, and count lets us know how many buy and sell orders there are. Green is used for all bid (buy) numbers, and red is used for all ask (sell) numbers. The bar graph below let’s us quickly visualize the difference between total sum of bids vs asks, with the percentage difference below it. In the screenshot above, we see “Order book superiority: Bids Diff: 21.64%”. This tells us that there is more money in open buy orders than open sell orders within 5% of the last price.

Actionable insights

Trade AnalysisTrade Analysis

Trade Analysis

If order book superiority is looking at the future with open orders, Trade Analysis looks at the past with recent public trade activity. View trades as they occur in real-time and analyze recent trade activity on any exchange or market that Coygo supports. Compare recent buy vs. sell order count, and buy vs. sell cumulative sums on any market. On the left we see an area chart of the cumulative buy vs sell *sum *over time, with the high and low price for each interval overlaid with green and red lines. Above we see a bar chart comparing the total buy and sell sum. On the right we have a similar display, but this is for the cumulative buy vs sell count.

Actionable insights

Fill CalcsFill Calcs

Determining true order cost with Fill Calcs

When you place an order, it’s hard to know the true price you will be paying. If the last BTC price is $8,120 and the current ask is $8,121, that means that you can buy BTC for $8,121. But that’s only for however much that open order at $8,121 is for. If you want to place a large order and buy 5 BTC, you will likely work your way through a few orders. For example, maybe you’ll fill an order for 1.2 BTC at $8,121, then another 3.5 BTC at $8,125, and another 0.3BTC at $8,130. So you will actually end up paying more than the ask price of $8,121.

Coygo’s Fill Calcs lets you enter how much you want to buy, and it will calculate the total cost as well as show each individual order that you would be filling.

Actionable insights

Arbitrage ScannerArbitrage Scanner

Finding crypto arbitrage spreads with Arbitrage Scanner

Alright, let’s move onto something a bit more advanced. One technique for day traders is to capitalize on arbitrage spreads between exchanges. If one BTC is being sold for $8,150 on Coinbase Pro, and $8,270 on Kraken, that is a difference of about 1.5%. A smart and quick trader can buy BTC at the lower rate on Coinbase Pro and sell it at the higher rate on Kraken, and profit on the difference. Using Coygo’s Arbitrage Scanner shown above, you can view spreads in real-time for any trade pair across every supported exchange. The largest spread is highlighted in the darkest shade of either red or green.

Actionable insights

Master day trading with crypto trading bots

If you've made it this far you may be wondering what's next in your journey to master trading? Many traders who have developed a trading strategy that they like will turn to crypto trading bots to automate their trading. Trading bots let you define a set of rules for when and how to submit buy or sell orders and let automated software do the trading for you, allowing you to remove human emotions and never miss an opportunity.

Here at Coygo we've developed a fully automated crypto trading bot platform for day trading called Coygo Bots which includes a number of highly configurable pre-built strategies like crypto triangular arbitrage, crypto grid trading, and inter-exchange arbitrage. Coygo Bots can operate on intervals in seconds or even milliseconds so that you never miss a signal!

For more advanced traders you can even code your own custom JavaScript crypto trading bots with Coygo Forge. Using simple JavaScript and a powerful editor interface you can access full order book data, submit or cancel orders, read wallet balances, and anything else you may need to automate your trading strategy. If you're interested please see our guide to code your first trading bot today! How to Code a Crypto Trading Bot with JavaScript & Coygo .

That’s a wrap!

I hope this guide helped you learn a bit about how to read charts as well as the various tools that Coygo provides to make informed decisions and trade with confidence, leading to a profitable trading strategy. We offer other tools that we didn’t mention in this guide, and there are plenty of other chart indicators out there that cater to a number of different trading styles and strategies.

If you want to try using Coygo while trading digital assets, it’s currently free to use during our beta. We would love to hear what you think so we can continue improving Coygo and ensure that we’re building the best possible solution.