Ever wonder what those squiggly lines and colorful bars on a crypto chart mean? Understanding how to analyze crypto charts is valuable for anyone interested in navigating the exciting world of cryptocurrency. You can make more informed trading and investment decisions by interpreting the information these charts provide.

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by such charts, fret not. This guide will give you a brief overview of how to analyze crypto charts. Let’s get started.

Understanding the Basics

Types of Charts

There are primarily three types of charts that show how the price of an asset has moved over time:

  • Line Charts: Show the closing prices over a set period. Simple and straightforward, they are good for spotting overall trends.
  • Bar Charts: Provide opening, closing, high, and low prices. More detailed than line charts, they offer insights into price movements within a specific timeframe.
  • Candlestick Charts are similar to bar charts but include color coding to indicate price direction. They’re widely used to highlight trends and reversals.

The Basics of Candlestick Charts

Candles, the foundation of most crypto charts, tell the story of a coin’s price movement over a specific period, usually called the timeframe.

Each candlestick has a body and wicks (also called shadows) on either side. The body shows the asset’s opening and closing prices within that period. If the closing price is higher than the opening price, then the candle is colored green, indicating a price increase (bullish). Conversely, if the asset’s price closed lower than it opened at, then the candle is colored red, signifying a price decrease (bearish). The wicks represent the highest and lowest prices reached during that timeframe.

©TradingwithRayner.comHow to Analyze Crypto Charts: A Beginner's Guide

A note on timeframes:

Analysis can vary dramatically with different timeframes. Higher timeframes (like one day, one week, one month, etc.) can give us a broad overview of the asset’s price movement and are better for long-term investment strategies. Shorter timeframes (a few minutes to an hour, for example) offer a more granular view of price action and are typically used for day trading. Each timeframe can tell a different story.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is a method for predicting the future prices of stocks, currencies, and other financial assets by studying their past market data, such as price movements and volume. Think of it as trying to forecast the weather by looking at past weather patterns but for financial markets.

When we’re studying crypto charts, we’re essentially doing technical analysis. Of the three main types of charts, candlestick charts are the most popular because they convey the most information. Line and bar charts don’t really give us anything useful when we’re trading.

Support and Resistance

In trading, there is a constant tug-of-war between buyers and sellers. Buyers help drive up the price by increasing demand, while sellers lower the price by reducing demand. Support levels represent price areas where there’s a strong buying force, meaning many buyers place buy orders there and thereby halt the price from dropping further.

On the other hand, resistance levels indicate areas where selling interest is high, meaning many sellers are there to prevent the price from rising further. Identifying these levels on a chart can help you anticipate potential price movements.
How to Analyze Crypto Charts: A Beginner's Guide

Here are some tips on finding support and resistance (S/R) levels:

  • Consider S/R levels as price areas rather than individual lines.
  • S/R levels on higher timeframes like 4 hours, 6 hours, 1 day, etc. tend to be more reliable than those in shorter timeframes. This is because higher timeframes reflect the sentiment of a larger group of traders.

Try to find key support and resistance levels in every chart you look at. They lay the foundation for technical analysis. But they’re not the only tools you have in your arsenal. Technical indicators are mathematical formulas that take past prices and other bits of information to provide insights into potential future price movements.

While there are many indicators available for us to use, we’ll take a look at some of the more popular ones below.


Volume indicates the quantity of an asset that was traded during a specific period. A high volume indicates strong interest in the asset, while a low volume may suggest the opposite.

When high volume accompanies a trend reversal, chart pattern, or support and resistance breakout, it confirms that the event is genuine. This is because traders are showing they believe in and support the new price direction.

Moving Averages

The moving average (MA) indicator shows the rolling average price of an asset over time. Its calculation is dependent on the timeframe and duration. 

For example, if you’re working with the 1-day chart, the 20-day moving average for today is calculated by taking the prices over the last 20 days and then averaging them (dividing by 20). This average is then represented as a data point on the chart.

When you move on to the next day, the price for the day furthest to today is removed and replaced by yesterday’s price for the calculation.

Moving averages smooth out price data to filter out noise, helping to identify and confirm trends. For example, if the price is trending below a long-term MA (say, a 200-period MA), it means the downtrend is strong. Similarly, if the price is above its long-term MA, it indicates a strong uptrend.

Moving averages can also act as support and resistance levels, allowing for trading opportunities when the price bounces from either level.

RSI (Relative Strength Index)

RSI measures the speed and change of price movements. It ranges from 0 to 100 and indicates whether an asset is overvalued or undervalued. If the RSI is greater than 70, the asset might be overbought, meaning a sell-off is on the way. If RSI<30, the asset might be oversold, meaning you can expect a lot of buyers to come and drive the price up.

MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence)

MACD is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages of a cryptocurrency’s price.

Chart Patterns

Specific candlestick arrangements, called patterns, can hint at future price movements. The technical indicators discussed above can confirm the strength of these patterns and help you make better trades.

Let’s look at some of the most common chart patterns below.

1. Double Top

The double top chart pattern appears when the price of an asset rises to a peak (a high point), drops slightly, and then rises to that peak again before falling more substantially. You can visualize it as a mountain range with two distinct peaks of nearly the same height, with a valley between them. Other ways of visualizing it include the letter “M” and the Bactrian camel.

The double top occurs during an uptrend and signals that the buying momentum is weakening. The asset’s price tried to break through the peak twice but failed, meaning there’s a lot of selling pressure at that resistance level. It suggests a potential reversal from an uptrend to a downtrend.

©TradingwithRayner.comHow to Analyze Crypto Charts: A Beginner's Guide

2. Double Bottom

The double bottom is the mirror image of the double top if the mirror was placed at the neckline. It’s a bullish chart pattern that occurs during a downtrend, suggesting a price reversal.

How to Analyze Crypto Charts: A Beginner's Guide


3. Head and Shoulders

The head and shoulders chart pattern consists of three close peaks with two smaller peaks on either side (the shoulders) and a higher peak in the middle (the head). It resembles a person’s silhouette from the front, hence the name. Running beneath the two shoulders and the head is a line drawn across the lows, called the neckline.

The head and shoulders pattern occurs in an uptrend and signals a shift from a bullish to a bearish market sentiment. The principle behind it is that buyers are losing momentum. They drive the price up thrice (represented by the peaks in the pattern) but are met with sellers who drive it back down again.

The price breaking below the neckline confirms the pattern. This means that the sellers are now in control and that it might be time to consider selling or shorting the asset as prices could be headed lower.

Beyond the Chart: A Well-Rounded Approach

While technical analysis is a valuable skill, it’s not the only factor to consider. News events, new government regulations, and the overall health of a cryptocurrency project can all significantly impact its price. A well-rounded investment approach considers technical, sentimental, and fundamental analysis.

You also need to study the macroeconomics of the market. Let’s take a very rudimentary example. Let’s say the Federal Reserve is going to have a meeting soon to decide whether to cut interest rates or not. On the day of the meeting, you find out that the Fed has cut interest rates. This will encourage spending, stimulate the economy, and drive asset prices up. You look at the charts and confirm that there is a lot of buying activity. You can now go long at much less risk than before the meeting.

The market is a prediction mechanism that you can use to predict where the price is going to be in the future. One massive thing in trading is to second-guess the market, and technical analysis can’t do that. It’s just one part of the equation.

Analysis Strategy

1. Choose a chart and set a time frame.

2. Identify the trend using trend lines and moving averages.

3. Look for patterns that signal future movements.

4. Confirm your analysis with volume and technical indicators.

5. Make informed decisions based on your analysis.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid when using technical analysis for trading:

  • Overreliance on indicators without considering market news.
  • Ignoring volume can validate or question the reliability of a trend.
  • Failing to adjust strategies in response to market changes.


Analyzing crypto charts is both an art and a science. It’s a skill that takes time and practice to master. Don’t get discouraged if the charts seem complex at first. By starting with the basics outlined here and diligently honing your skills, you’ll be well on your way to navigating the ever-changing world of cryptocurrency with greater confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the basic types of crypto charts, and how do they differ?

The three main types of charts are line charts, bar charts, and candlestick charts. Line charts are simple, showing closing prices over a period and are good for identifying trends. Bar charts provide more detail, showing opening, closing, high, and low prices for better insights into price movements. Candlestick charts offer the most information, including price direction, making them popular for spotting trends and reversals.

How do candlestick charts work, and what do they tell us?

Candlestick charts are composed of candles that represent price movement over a specific period. Each candle has a body showing the open and close prices and wicks showing the high and low prices. Green candles indicate a price increase, while red candles signal a decrease. They help traders understand market sentiment and potential future movements.

What is technical analysis, and why is it important?

Technical analysis involves predicting future price movements based on past market data, such as price movements and volume. It’s akin to forecasting weather by analyzing past patterns. This method is crucial for traders because it helps them make informed decisions by identifying trends, support, and resistance levels and using technical indicators.

Can you explain the importance of volume in crypto chart analysis?

Volume measures the quantity of an asset traded over a period and is a key indicator of market interest. High volume suggests strong interest and can confirm trends or chart patterns, making it an essential factor in validating potential price movements.

What common mistakes should beginners avoid when analyzing crypto charts?

Beginners should avoid over-relying on indicators without considering market news, ignoring volume, and not adjusting strategies to market changes. Overlooking these aspects can lead to misinterpretation of the charts and poor trading decisions.

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