What Are the Different Crypto Order Types?

Zac McClure
ByZac McClure, MBAReviewed byAlex MilesUpdated on January 26, 2024 · minute read
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  • A nuanced understanding of crypto order types can make a huge difference in a trader’s success. Whether executing instant market orders or employing strategic limit and stop orders, traders who understand crypto order types gain the ability to navigate the dynamic market and make informed decisions that align with their risk tolerance and goals.

  • Market orders provide swift execution at the current market price, ideal for those prioritizing speed. Limit and stop orders offer allow traders to set specific buying or selling prices, providing greater control over their trades. These are just a few of the crypto order types available to savvy traders.

What does order type mean in crypto?

In crypto, an order type refers to the specific instructions traders provide to crypto exchanges to buy or sell digital assets. These instructions are pivotal in executing trades efficiently in the dynamic and volatile crypto market, and to help traders efficiently take profit and manage risk.

Essentially, the chosen order type determines how a trade is fulfilled, influencing factors such as execution speed, price precision, and the level of automation involved. Traders must navigate through various order types to align with their specific trading strategies and risk preferences. Understanding the nuances of order types is fundamental for crypto enthusiasts venturing into the exciting world of digital asset trading.

The significance of order types in crypto extends beyond mere transactions. They shape the entire trading experience by offering a spectrum of choices to traders. The decision to use a market order, limit order, stop order, or other variants is rooted in the trader's objectives and market analysis.

What are the common crypto order types?

It’s crucial traders understand the diverse ways to navigate the crypto market, and the risks involved. Each crypto order type serves a different purpose, catering to various trading strategies and risk appetites. From executing rapid market orders to strategically placing limit orders, traders employ various tactics to navigate the crypto landscape effectively.

Market orders

A market order is a rapid instruction to sell or buy a cryptocurrency at the current best market price, ensuring immediate execution. For instance, a trader wanting to buy 5 LTC at the current market rate of $60 per LTC would pay $300, and the trade would execute immediately. Despite the advantage of instant execution, market orders are susceptible to slippage, where the actual execution price may deviate from the expected price, and they come with higher fees than other order types. 

Example: Buying five LTC at the current market price of $60 each.

Limit orders

In contrast to market orders, limit orders empower traders with more control over price and execution. These orders are executed only at a specified price or better, providing flexibility to set specific buying or selling prices. However, the trade-off is that limit orders are not guaranteed to execute if the specified price is not reached, and they may not fill immediately, as orders are processed in price order. 

Example: Placing a limit order to buy one Bitcoin at $50,000 or lower.

Stop orders

Stop orders introduce an element of automation to trading strategies by triggering a buy or sell action at the market price once a specified stop price is hit. Traders use stop orders to protect profits and limit losses, but these orders are not guaranteed to execute if the market fails to reach the stop price. Similar to market orders, stop orders are vulnerable to slippage. 

Example: Selling one Bitcoin if the price drops to $45,000.

Stop limit orders

Combining features of stop and limit orders, a stop-limit order allows traders to specify a stop price and a limit price for buying or selling. While providing precision control over execution price, stop-limit orders require both stop and limit prices to be met, and they may not fill entirely if the market doesn't reach the limit price.

Example: Buying one Bitcoin when the price hits $60,000 but not above $60,100.

Take profit limit order

Take profit limit orders are predefined orders that automatically sell a cryptocurrency position when its price reaches a specified level or better. This order type helps secure profits when the market moves favorably, offering control over the selling price. However, like other limit-based orders, there's no execution guarantee if the market doesn't reach the specified price. 

Example: Setting a take profit limit order for one Bitcoin at $60,000.

Stop market orders

Like stop orders, a stop-market order becomes a market order when triggered, executing at the best available market price. This order type automates trading strategies, helping protect profits and limit losses. However, the execution is not guaranteed at a specific price, making it susceptible to slippage. 

Example: Selling one Bitcoin if the price falls to $45,000, executed at the current market price.

Take profit market order

A take profit market order shares similarities with a take profit limit order but is executed at the best available market price once the specified level is reached. This order type prioritizes execution speed over price precision, guaranteeing execution once the specified price is reached. However, it exposes traders to potential slippage. 

Example: Selling one Bitcoin immediately at the current market price when it reaches or surpasses $60,000.

Trailing stop order

Designed to protect profits and limit losses, a trailing stop order dynamically adjusts the stop price as the market price moves in the trader's favor. This order type helps maximize profits during price uptrends, providing flexibility in managing trades without constant monitoring. However, it is vulnerable to market fluctuations and potential false signals during volatile periods. 

Example: Buying one Bitcoin at $50,000 and setting a trailing stop order with a 5% trailing percentage.

What's time in force for crypto orders?

Time in force for crypto orders refers to the duration or conditions under which a cryptocurrency order remains active. Traders can choose from various options, each catering to specific trading preferences and objectives. The common time in force options include:

  • GTC (Good 'Til Canceled):

    Remains active until executed or canceled.

  • IOC (Immediate or Cancel):

    Executes immediately or cancels partially filled orders.

  • FOK (Fill or Kill):

    Must execute in full immediately or be canceled.

  • Day Order:

    Valid only for the trading day it's placed.

  • IOA (Immediate or Auction):

    Seeks immediate best price and sends unfilled portion to auction.

Understanding time in force options is essential for traders to align their orders with the desired duration and market conditions effectively.

Crypto taxes and crypto orders

The world of crypto trading is not only dynamic but also subject to taxation. As traders engage in various order types, they must be aware of the crypto tax implications associated with their transactions. 

Different order types may have distinct tax treatments, impacting factors such as capital gains and losses. Traders must navigate the complexities of crypto tax regulations to ensure compliance and make informed decisions when executing different order types.

Schedule a FREE crypto tax consultation

Crypto orders FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about crypto order types.

What are the advanced order types in crypto?

Advanced order types in crypto go beyond the basic market, limit, and stop orders. These may include iceberg orders, fill or kill orders, and others tailored for specific trading strategies. Understanding advanced order types allows traders to explore sophisticated strategies and optimize their trading experience.

How do orders work in crypto?

Orders in crypto work by providing specific instructions to crypto exchanges on buying or selling digital assets. The execution of these orders depends on market conditions, price movements, and the type of order selected. Crypto exchanges facilitate the matching of buyers and sellers based on their order instructions.

What is a limit order in crypto?

A limit order in crypto is an instruction to buy or sell a cryptocurrency at a specified price or better. Unlike market orders that prioritize immediate execution, limit orders provide more control over price but may not execute if the specified price is not reached.

Can you cancel a crypto order?

Yes, traders can typically cancel a crypto order before it is executed. However, the ability to cancel an order may vary based on the exchange and the specific time in force option chosen. It's crucial for traders to understand the cancellation policies of the chosen exchange and the implications of canceling orders.

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Zac McClure
Zac McClureCo-Founder & CEO at TokenTax
Zac co-founded TokenTax after his career in international finance and accounting at JPMorgan, Imprint Capital and Bain. He has worked in more than half-dozen countries and received his MBA from the UPenn Wharton School.
Alex Miles
Reviewed byAlex MilesCo-Founder at TokenTax
Prior to TokenTax, Alex worked as a Product Designer at Dropbox and before that Readmill (acquired by Dropbox). He holds a BS in Digital Information Design - Interactive Media from Winthrop University.

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