Cryptocurrencies are traded on several dozen exchanges. The whole industry is evaluated at over $1 trillion. With so many different trades happening, a smart trader will always find a good opportunity to make money. Arbitrage trading bitcoin is one such opportunity.
How to earn the arbitrage profit
The main idea behind arbitrage is to search for discrepancies between different assets on a single platform (triangular) or two exchanges. The latter is commonly used in financial markets. Arbitrage is the idea of purchasing an asset cheaper than it is in another marketplace and moving it quickly to capitalize on the difference.
One of the biggest downsides of this strategy is the inevitable price convergence that occurs when there are too many trades involving a specific asset. Prices slowly equalize as more participants get involved in the trading process. With today’s instant execution of orders, price convergence occurs very quickly leaving many traders without any opportunity to continue arbitrage trading if they do not employ automation.
An arbitrage trading bot for crypto has several unique advantages over humans:
- A bot does not require any rest. It is a highly valuable quality in a market operating around the clock. Endless opportunities appear from time to time and allow traders to make money. However, you may miss out on them when sleeping.
- A bot will execute orders instantly. When an opportune moment presents itself, a bot will act quickly without any delays to analyze the situation. Since most bots use API to interact with exchanges, they can make decisions and place orders instantly.
- A bot costs a couple of cents per day to run. Paying just over $10 per month for a bot is a great deal. It means that a single bot will cost you pennies. Just two decades ago, we could not imagine that automation in trading would be so affordable.
Does crypto arbitrage work?
Yes. There are even more opportunities for a cryptocurrency arbitrage trading bot to make a profit compared to traditional financial markets. For example, Binance has over a thousand different coins and NFTs and offers a wide range of financial instruments like derivatives. It means that you can find many pairs that have discrepancies in price. There are two main ways to conduct arbitrage.
- The triangular method involves tracking three different pairs of assets to find differences in relative value. While two assets will always have the same relative value, when you add a third asset to the mix, it can create deviations. Imagine, you see that Cordana is priced at 0.0015 BTC while Solana is valued at 0.0010 BTC when exchanged for Cordana. You can buy SOL for BTC; buy ADA for SOL; or sell ADA for BTC. This sequence will leave you with 0.0005 BTC in profit.
- The regular method of arbitrage involves tracking the prices of assets on different platforms. When a discrepancy is found, a bot will place a long order on the exchange with a lower price and short order on another. Again, you will be left with a net positive in a currency that use to buy assets.
What is arbitrage trading in crypto and how does it differ from other types of this strategy? In the world of crypto, we often use arbitrage as a way to accumulate assets instead of making a profit in USD. It is nearly useless to try this method with commodities or some financial assets in other markets. However, with cryptocurrencies, you may be interested in accumulating BTC instead of USDT or vice versa.
Are arbitrage bots profitable?
The question of profitability concerns the vast majority of investors. It cannot be said firmly that arbitrage bots are profitable 100% of the time. Their efficiency depends on a variety of factors. Some of them cannot be influenced by investors at all. For example, the risk of price convergence is not something you can control. If prices equalize across all exchanges, finding arbitrage opportunities will be impossible.
Another issue is liquidity. Some exchanges may have more liquidity than others making it impossible to create the same orders on both platforms simultaneously. The third big problem is price variation which can happen faster than the placement of an order. Such situations occur rarely, but they do occur.
Investors also have to choose assets to track, exchanges to work with, and determine other important factors such as sizes of orders. All these factors affect the profitability of arbitrage bots.
How to set up an arbitrage trading bot?
First, you need to find a platform that offers such services. Good automation services are WunderTrading and CryptoHopper. Other platforms offer similar services, but we will focus on these two.
- WunderTrading has a free plan and multiple bots to choose from: GRID, DCA, Arbitrage, and many others. You can easily access them from your dashboard. The platform is connected to multiple exchanges including Binance, Coinbase, FTX, and more.
- CryptoHopper has a special button in its menu called “Create Arbitrage Hopper”. Here, you can choose the exchange section where it will seek prices, change coins and amounts, markets for trading, and other settings defining profit ranges and the number of simultaneous positions.
Setting up a bot takes minutes on both platforms. You don’t need a large portfolio to get started. However, you will need to have sufficient funds for arbitrage on both exchanges that you plan to use. You should also account for fees and monthly payments when calculating potential profit ranges.
What can you change in settings to improve yields?
There are several important instructions that any bot must receive to operate successfully. Let’s talk about them in detail.
- Exchanges that will be connected via API. You need to select the right section. For example, Binance-spot. Choosing the right API is the first step.
- Determine coins that bots will track. You should also define how much of said coin a bot can purchase at once.
- Profit ranges are very important. Minimum profit is a very important value. Bots will attempt to make trades that allow them to achieve this number. With higher values, you may have to wait longer for any trades to take place.
- The maximum time for an order to live. Bots may wait for the moment an order is executed for a long time even when there are no corresponding counteroffers. Make sure that you don’t keep positions for too long.
- Choose how many orders can be opened simultaneously. This setting limits potential losses and allows you to control the intensity of trading.
- Determine ask/bid ranges to ensure that your bot does not try to purchase assets that are out of your reach.
After finishing the setup, you will have an operating bot that works on exchanges that you chose. You can use the dashboard to track its performance or compare trading histories. Note that you should not risk more than you can afford to lose when using bots. It is a good idea to have a very specific amount of funds on your exchanges to prevent overspending.
Should you use an arbitrage bot for crypto?
The short answer is “yes if you have disposable income”. Traders usually prefer to focus on a single strategy to be as efficient as possible. Conservative investors may think about diversifying into botting, but potential returns may not meet your expectations. However, if you have a portion of a portfolio that you plan to stake, using arbitrage could be a better idea. On average, bots perform better than staking, especially when APYs are low.
Using bots is a good way for beginners to get accustomed to the crypto market. Arbitrage bots allow users to quickly gauge the current market situation while staying active on multiple platforms at once. If you are interested in various strategies that can work in crypto exclusively, using DCA, GRID, and arbitrage bots as well as scripts can be very useful.
At the same time, bots lower the entry barrier in terms of required knowledge. You don’t need to know much about assets. The process of learning some technical analysis is not overly complicated considering how many useful tools have been developed over more than five decades. Using bots is a reliable strategy that pays off quickly.
Some final thoughts
The concept of arbitrage trading was translated seamlessly to the realm of cryptocurrencies. We have various ways of applying the strategy and dozens of exchanges where prices vary depending on trader activity. It is a cardinal sin to not use affordable bots that can trade with lower risks and higher levels of performance than humans.