Time intervals

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Time intervals

altFINS calculates candles and key technical indicators over 5 time intervals: 15m, 1h, 4h, 12h, 1d.  You should always mind which time interval you’re working in, and that will depend on your trading profile and strategies.

Broadly speaking, the lower the time frame you work with, the shorter the trade holding period and the smaller the profit / loss potential per trade.  So working with shorter time intervals will result in more trades each lasting minutes or hours, with smaller potential profit / loss per trade.

Crypto markets are volatile and fast moving, everything happens faster here than in the traditional financial asset classes like equities, commodities and forex.  While a Swing Trader in equities would normally hold a position for days, in crypto, his holding time will be more like hours to few days.

You can also trade on multiple time intervals, even trend trading strategies, which simply means more trading opportunities.

It is also recommended that you

1st – start with a longer term time horizon

2nd – pick which time horizon you’re comfortable working with – minutes, hours, days – and use that with a longer timeframe

3rd – then zoom into the short-term period for tactical opportunities

And even your short-term trades (15m, 1h) should be in sync with the longer time intervals.  So if you’re looking to Buy BTC/USD because it has a bullish moving average crossover on a 15m interval, you should make sure that it’s also trending bullish on a longer time interval.

Short Time Intervals (15m) Intermediate Time Intervals (1h, 4h, 12h, 1d) Longer Time Intervals (1d, 1wk, 1mo)
Trader profile Day trader Swing trader Position trader
Trade frequency Dozens of trades per day Fewer trades (1-10 a day) Few trades
Trading strategies Too many to list

Heavily reliant on technical analysis, and reading of candle patterns

Tends to look for multi-day chart patterns including moving average crossovers, cup-and-handle patterns, head and shoulders patterns, flags, and triangles. Key reversal candlesticks may be used as well Trend following (SMA or EMA crossovers)

Often supplemented with fundamental outlook


Lots of trades allow for quicker learning process if risk is managed (proper position sizing, use of stop loss orders, etc.)


Requires less time than Day Trading

Maximizes short-term profit potential by capturing most of market swings

Traders can rely entirely on technical analysis, simplifying the trading process

Lowest time commitment needed.

Works well in markets with sustained trends.

Cons Very time consuming, stressful.  Prone to more false signals

Compete with automated algos, high frequency trading (HFT) systems, hedge funds.

Abrupt market reversals can result in substantial losses

Swing traders often miss longer-term trends in favor of short-term market moves

Requires patience to ride out volatile markets like cryptocurrencies, where fundamental valuations are not well established
Commission expenses High Medium Low