Crypto Scalping: My Strategies for Scalp Trading in 2024

Gianluca Lombardi, 9 min read
Last Updated: 13 April, 2024

scalping crypto trading strategy trader with laptop

Let’s talk about one of my secret weapons in trading: crypto scalping.

Think of it like this: as other traders are busy guessing big moves, I focus on the small, quick wins that add up.

The strategy is about leveraging tiny price movements in the crypto market to snag a profit here and there.

Now, I don’t do this all the time—only when I’ve really got the time to focus.

But here’s the thing: whenever I manage to focus into scalping, it pays off.

Big time.

Scalping is just one on this list of trading strategies I practiced over the years and share my experience with you.

Quick Summary:

  • Scalping aims to profit from many small price movements rather than large swings.
  • Volatility, 24/7 markets and leverage make cryptocurrencies ideal for scalp trading strategies.
  • Success requires mastering chart analysis, making rational trading decisions, risk management, and mental discipline.
  • Use exchanges with low fees, proper order types and charting capabilities.
  • Employ stops, risk/reward ratios and appropriate position sizes to limit risk.
  • Code your strategies into bots or Expert Advisors to scale automated scalping.

In this article You’ll learn:

Understanding Crypto Scalping

Allow me to explain scalping in a concise way.

Crypto scalping is a highly active trading strategy focused on leveraging slight market fluctuations for profit over short periods, often minutes or hours. This approach relies on quick, small gains from numerous trades throughout the day and makes it fit well in volatile markets like cryptocurrency.

For scalping I utilize technical analysis and real-time data to make quick decisions and aim to accumulate returns from these minor adjustments.

Key to success in crypto scalping are speed, precise timing and an in-depth understanding of market trends.

Scalping suits traders who can dedicate a significant amount of time to watching markets and managing positions. It requires mental stamina, discipline, and quick reaction times.

Here is a visual daily graph form TradingView so you can also visualize how it works:

crypto scalping tradingview
crypto scalping tradingview

Main Downside

It is quite time consuming and requires major part of your focus. Not easy to relax and spend the weekend off if you have open positions to observe.

I do trade even while dining in Italian restaurants. What a shame 🤌🤌

How to Scalp Crypto Trading?

Scalping crypto profitably requires skill, diligence and care. Here are some proven strategies and tips when scalping cryptocurrencies:

Find a volatile crypto

Aim to scalp cryptocurrencies that demonstrate substantial intraday price movement and high daily trading volumes. Ideal scalping cryptos will fluctuate by 3% or more on an intraday basis.

Coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are suitable choices. Avoid stablecoins or coins with low trading volume.

Use an exchange with low fees

To maximize profit margins, scalpers need to use spot trading exchanges with low trading fees, good choice of trading pairs and liquidity. Compare fee structures before selecting an exchange.

Recommended exchanges include BingX, Bitget and Bybit. Some exchanges offer fee discounts if you hold their native token or pay fees in their token.

Top Exchange

bingx logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

9.1/10


Max Leverage Up to 125:1
Headquarters Singapore
Deposit Fees Crypto, SEPA 0%
Trading Fees 0,02% - 0,1%
Cryptocurrencies 530+ BTC kryptowaluta logoETH logo della criptovalutaBCH logo della criptovalutaRipple криптовалута логоADA криптовалута логоLTC криптовалута логоTezos криптовалута лого
Payment Methods Crypto, SEPA
Number of Users 10+ million

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Start now

bitget logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

8.9/10

Max Leverage 100:1
Deposit Fees Debit card 3-4%
Trading Fees 0.1%
Regulations
Cryptocurrencies 500+ BTC logo CriptovaluteETH Criptovalute logoIOTA logoBCH logoRipple logoDASH logoADA logoEOS logoLTC logoTezos logoNEO logoXLM logoZEC logoETC logoOmise-Go logo
Payment Methods Crypto, Visa, MasterCard, Bank Transfer, SEPA
Number of Users 2.000.000+

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Go to Bitget

bybit logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

9.0/10


Max Leverage 100:1
Headquarters Dubai
Deposit Fees Card 2%
Trading Fees 0,075%
Cryptocurrencies 370 BTC kryptowaluta logoETH logo della criptovalutaBCH logo della criptovalutaRipple криптовалута логоADA криптовалута логоLTC криптовалута логоTezos криптовалута лого
Payment Methods Crypto, Visa, MasterCard
Number of Users 3.000.000+

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Start here

Learn chart reading

Successful scalping relies heavily on technical analysis. Trading charts, patterns, indicators and candlestick formations are important part of your skill arsenal.

Key analysis skills for scalpers include identifying support/resistance levels, detecting trend reversals, using moving averages, and spotting bull/bear flags, triangles and wedges.

Use limit orders

Place limit buy/sell orders at optimal entry/exit points rather than using market orders. This ensures you get the desired fill price rather than paying taker fees.

Set orders just above or below key technical levels so they have the highest chance of filling before the market moves away.

Manage risk carefully

Strong risk management is crucial when scalping. Use stop-loss orders on every trade to contain losses. Risk no more than 1% of your trading capital per trade.

Also avoid overleveraging. Use a leverage level that allows adequate margin so liquidations won’t occur from normal volatility.

Develop a trading plan

Create a detailed trading plan that outlines your risk/reward targets, preferred setups, strategies, trading times, position sizing and more. Trading without a plan leads to emotional errors.

Stick to your plan strictly. Don’t stray from your risk limits or chase trades that don’t match your criteria.

Be disciplined

Scalping requires tremendous mental discipline. Avoid impulsive trading and overtrading at all costs. If your rules say an opportunity isn’t optimal, do not take the trade even if it “feels” right.

Stay calm and stick to high-probability setups. Don’t chase breakouts or panic sell pullbacks prematurely.

Why Scalp Trade Crypto?

There are a few key advantages that make crypto assets well-suited for scalping:

  • Volatility: Crypto prices fluctuate rapidly, allowing scalpers to capitalize on frequent price swings.
  • 24/7 markets: The crypto market trades 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing constant opportunities.
  • Low barriers: Getting started day trading crypto is less complicated compared to trading traditional assets.
  • Leverage: Exchanges allow traders to use leverage to maximize profits from small moves.
  • Advanced trading platforms: Platforms like MetaTrader 4/5 offer features tailored for short-term traders.
  • Low fees: Exchanges charge low fees compared to traditional brokers, making high volume trading more viable.

The combination of volatility, constant price action, easy access and low fees make crypto markets extremely scalper-friendly.

Crypto Scalping Strategies I Find Usefull

Here are some effective scalping crypto traders implement:

Range trading

  • Identify crypto prices moving in a range between clear support and resistance levels
  • Buy near support, sell near resistance
  • Close positions quickly for small gains as price oscillates in the range
  • Use tight stops below support on buys, above resistance on sells

Momentum ignition

  • Wait for breakouts from channels, triangles, wedges, etc. on increasing volume
  • Enter after the initial breakout surge, targeting 1:2 or 1:3 risk/reward
  • Trail stops below structure on longs or above on shorts
  • Close partial position to lock profits as trade moves favorably

Reversal trading

  • Look for overbought/oversold signals like RSI divergences
  • Enter pullbacks after initial reversal candle
  • Close partial position on subsequent move in reversal direction
  • Trail stops just outside swing high/low

News fade scalping

  • Watch for coins spiking 20%+ on big news
  • Enter with tight stop 5-10% below spike high
  • Close partial position on 10-20% retrace
  • Trail stop below minor swing highs

Scalping with moving averages

  • Use 5/10/20-period MAs to define trend and entries
  • Go long on bullish crossovers, exit on bearish crossovers
  • Use other indicators (RSI, MACD) for additional confirmation
  • Keep targets modest at 2-3x risk

Here how you can develop your scalping strategy

Follow these steps to build your own profitable crypto scalping strategy:

1. Select product(s) to scalp

Focus on volatile coins with adequate liquidity and trading volume. BTC, ETH, and LTC are solid choices.

2. Define entry rules

Determine precise entry signals using indicators or price action. Examples include RSI crossovers, Moving Average crosses, breakouts, candlestick patterns and more.

3. Define exit targets

Set clear profit targets based on technical levels or risk/reward ratios. Many scalpers target 2:1 or 3:1 risk/reward.

4. Determine stop losses

Set stop loss levels to limit downside. Risking ~1% of capital per trade is recommended. Adjust stops to lock in profits as increase the number of profitable trades.

5. Specify position sizing

Given stop loss size, determine proper position size to limit risk to 1% of capital. For example, 1% of $10,000 is $100, so with a $20 stop, position size should be ~$2,000.

6. Establish risk management rules

Define maximum loss per day, loss streaks, drawdowns, leverage usage, etc. Stick to these rules strictly for longevity.

7. Code strategy (optional)

For fully automated scalping 24/7, translate strategy rules into code or Expert Advisors using MQL, Pine Script, etc. Backtest extensively before live trading.

8. Forward test and refine

Forward test strategy in a demo account in real market conditions. Identify weaknesses and refine entry/exit rules until strategy is profitable.

With rigorous testing and risk management, a structured crypto scalping strategy can produce steady profits over time.

Pros and Cons of Cryptocurrency Scalping

Pros

  • Earn profits from sizable crypto volatility
  • Compound small gains to substantial returns
  • Low time commitment per trade
  • Contain risk on individual trades
  • Take advantage of margin trading

Cons

  • Requires constant monitoring of charts
  • Large number of trades increases workload
  • Low profit margin per trade
  • Overleveraging risks large losses
  • Mental fatigue and errors from overtrading
  • Tax reporting with high trade volume

How does it compare to Day Trading and Swing Trading

The trading landscape offers various styles suited to different trader personalities, skill sets, and financial goals. Whether you are new to trading or looking to diversify your strategies, understanding the key differences between trading styles can be invaluable.

Our comparative table below provides a snapshot of three popular trading styles in the crypto market:  Day Trading, Scalping and Swing Trading.

Parameter Crypto Scalping Day Trading Swing Trading
Icon Fast-forward symbol or stopwatch Sun icon representing a single day Pendulum or a simple wave graph
Description Short-term, quick trades within minutes Trades are opened and closed within the same trading day Trades held for several days to weeks
Time Frame Minutes to an hour Single trading day Several days to weeks
Risk Level High Medium to High Low to Medium
Profit Margins Low per trade but can accumulate Variable, can be high per trade Higher per trade but fewer opportunities
Required Capital Lower Medium Higher
Skill Level Advanced Intermediate to Advanced Intermediate
Pros Quick profit, less market exposure, more opportunities No overnight risk, complete control, more strategy variety More time for analysis, lower transaction costs, less stress
Cons High transaction costs, constant attention, stressful Time-consuming, higher stress, potential for overtrading Overnight risk, requires more capital, fewer opportunities
  • Scalping is all about speed and agility. Traders aim to make quick, small profits within minutes and exit the market, minimizing prolonged risk.
  • Day Trading offers a middle ground, where trades are opened and closed within the same trading day. This style offers more strategic variety and control but also demands a significant time commitment.
  • Swing Trading is for those looking for a slower pace. Trades are held for several days to weeks, allowing for more thorough analysis and larger profit margins, albeit with fewer trading opportunities.

By comparing these styles across parameters like time frame, risk level, profit margins, and required capital, you can make an informed decision about which trading style best suits your needs.

Common Scalping Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes crypto scalpers should avoid:

  • No stop losses – Not using protective stops is a surefire way to get wiped out from large losses. Always use stops.
  • No trading plan – Flying blind without a strategy leads to irrational trading and chasing losses. Define and follow a trading plan.
  • Overtrading – Scalping profits requires quality over quantity. Limit trades to only the best setups.
  • Revenge trading – Don’t double down after losses to try to make it back immediately. Stick to your tested strategy.
  • No profit taking – Take partial profits along the way to lock in gains from winning trades. Don’t get greedy.
  • Adding to losers – Avoid averaging down losing positions. Close losing trades if they hit stops to contain risk.
  • Ignoring fees/slippage – Consider how fees and slippage affect profit targets. Account for them in position sizing and targets.

With proper precautions, these common errors can be avoided to create a scalping methodology that generates lasting profits.

Crypto scalping can be rewarding but requires agility and stringent trading protocols. With the right foundation, crypto scalpers can consistently profit from the digital asset markets.

Tools for Crypto Scalp Trading

To scalp successfully, you need a robust trading platform with charting tools, order types, and automation capabilities. Some popular tools include:

MetaTrader 4/5

MetaTrader is a powerful trading platform built for short-term scalp traders. It features advanced charting, backtesting, Expert Advisors (auto trading bots), virtual private servers (VPS) and more. The platform supports automated scalping.

Avatrade provides both MT4 and MT5 trading platforms.

Read Daniel’s Avatrade review

TradingView

TradingView is an integral part of my trading stack.

It provides a charting package for analyzing markets. You basically use indicators and drawing tools to spot potential trades. It integrates with some exchanges and supports automated trading through Pine Script bots.

3Commas

3Commas offers trading bots, multi-exchange trading, and portfolio management tools. Bots can implement customized short term strategies.

Daniel reviews 3commas here.

Bybit’s TradingView

Bybit offers an advanced TradingView charting package directly on its exchange interface. This allows seamless technical analysis combined with quick order execution.

Before You Go…

Mastering the art of crypto scalping is just one face of your trading journey. To further refine your cryptocurrency trading skills and up your game, consider exploring the following resources:

FAQ about Scalp Trading in Crypto

What is a good scalping return?

For most scalpers, a daily return between 0.5% to 3% is considered good. Gains will vary depending on market volatility and trading frequency. Compounding small gains of 0.5% over many trades daily can grow accounts substantially over time.

How often should you scalp crypto?

There is no set number of scalps to make daily, but active scalpers will average dozens of trades per day. Trade frequency depends on market conditions and availability to monitor the charts. Scalping every few minutes maximizes exposure to short-term inefficiencies.

What is the best scalping indicator?

The best scalping indicators are chart tools that identify short-term momentum, overbought/oversold levels, support and resistance zones, and volatility. Popular indicators include RSI, Stochastics, MACD, Bollinger Bands, and volume. Price action context is still most important.

Can you make a living from crypto scalping?

Scalping can be profitable enough to make a living from with good strategies, risk management and consistency. Gains of just 0.5% compounded daily equate to 12%+ monthly returns. But scalping is challenging and requires immense skill and diligence to trade at a professional level.

Does scalping work with Bitcoin?

Bitcoin’s substantial liquidity and frequent intraday volatility does make it suitable for scalping by experienced traders. Strategies like momentum and range trading work well with Bitcoin price action. Scalping altcoins can produce larger percentage gains due to wider bid-ask spreads.

What is the best scalping cryptocurrency?

The best cryptocurrencies for scalping are those with good liquidity and volatility. Top choices include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, Cardano, Ripple, Polkadot, and Dogecoin. Avoid illiquid small cap coins with huge spreads. Stick to scalping the top 20 coins by market capitalization.

Gianluca Lombardi

Gianluca is the editor-in-chief of this site. A finance graduate, he is an active trader who has tested all trading platforms and knows all their secrets. Technology is his passion; he spends much of his free time in the metaverse. Gianluca loves learning new things, researching, discussing and writing about technology, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.