Cryptocurrency Trading: Buy Walls, Sell Walls & Order Books

Part Two – Cryptocurrency Trading: Buy Walls, Sell Walls & Order Books

To follow up with my last guide on how to get started with trading cryptocurrency, it’s important to understand current market conditions to make smart investments. This article will cover buy walls, sell walls and order books.


This guide is for anybody that plans to trade cryptocurrencies on exchanges like Bittrex, Poloniex, Bitfinex, GDAX, Kraken and more. For this article, we will be using Bittrex. This article is geared more towards short-term holders and day traders, but can be applicable to any type of trading you wish to do. It covers some general rule of thumb investment strategies and practices pertaining to crypto. These are market conditions I look for that have allowed me to experience growth of up to 50% on investments in a single day.

DISCLAIMER: These strategies are not 100% fool proof. Cryptocurrency markets can be very unpredictable and change very rapidly. This article will help you make safe investments, but cannot guarantee a ticket to lamboland.

What is an order book?

An order book is a list of all the active buy and sell orders placed for a currency on an exchange.

cryptocurrency order book

Order books are a great place to gauge trader sentiment for a specific cryptocurrency. It allows traders to see a list of buy and sell orders and allows them to get a sense of market depth. Simply put, it’s just a way to see what some of the highest and lowest bids are for buy and sell orders. You can make purchases directly from the order book on most exchanges.

What is a buy wall?

To put it simply, a buy wall is what occurs when the amount and size of buy orders on a specific cryptocurrency far exceed the amount of sell orders. The wider and taller the buy wall, the better. A buy wall is a good sign for traders because it shows good sentiment regarding the currency. It means that traders are wanting to buy more than they are wanting to sell. If traders are buying more than they are selling, it becomes a sort of race to buy up all of the cheap orders. As the cheap orders get bought up, the buy orders quickly fill in behind the rising price point.

Let’s take a look at a trade I made last month when a buy wall was building and the return I made.

buy wall success

I personally will not short term trade or day trade a cryptocurrency that does not have positive sentiment in place. Above is when I purchased ($CFI) when the price was down, but the buy wall was building. I put roughly $1,200 worth of BTC into the coin and held it for a day. I sold just after the all time high and profited roughly $600. Not bad for a day’s work. My trade history on the coin is listed below and provides the proof of the trade.

What is a sell wall?

cryptocurrency sell wall

Sell walls are the same as buy walls; just with sentiment in the opposite direction. Sell walls are indicative of a long road ahead for a cryptocurrency. When sell walls build, traders generally sell. When big sell offs happen, traders tend to fill the highest buy order they see on the market. Once the highest buy order is filled, the next lowest order in the book gets filled; and so on and so forth until the market stabilizes. When you see a sell wall, it’s probably not a good time for day traders to enter into that currency.

Identifying Fake Walls

When you’re a cryptocurrency investor that either day trades or holds short term positions, you have to play smart. You have to understand that there are whales that have the ability to manipulate markets. Whales are traders with large amounts of capital that can put a buy or sell order at a certain position that is large enough that it is unlikely to be filled. They can set the floor and ceiling for price movement.

fake cryptocurrency sell wall

Fake walls can be identified by their tall, vertical appearance. They typically don’t have any sort of price runway and are usually placed as either the lowest sell order or highest buy order on the exchange. The reason we call these fake walls is because the trader that placed the order has the ability to remove it at any time and cause drastic price movement. In other words, the sentiment is fake and there is no real market support.

For fake buy walls, the whales place large, un-fillable orders that mimic high positive sentiment for the currency. Whether intentional or not, the walls give novice traders a sense of confidence that their position will hold and lead them to believe that the current price point is the new floor. As a result, buy orders start appearing above the wall. Nowhere to go but up, right? Wrong. The whale can pull the wall at any time and if the whale’s order made up the bulk of buy orders, the price can shift drastically in the opposite direction. Traders that bought above the whale’s position can get burned and lose their investment.

The same applies to fake sell walls. Whales can place large, un-fillable sell orders in an attempt to hold the price down and purchase the currency for cheap. Once they get their fill of coins, they can easily pull the order and cause the price to launch up if the sentiment was generally positive aside from their order. This is how the whale wins; by tricking traders into selling cheap coins.

“Okay, Brett, so you’re saying I should purchase when a fake sell wall goes up? Because the price could launch up as soon as the wall is pulled?”

No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. In fact, I’m saying the opposite. Traders should assume a reasonable amount of risk, but investing in currencies with artificial price movements is a dangerous game. You might get lucky and earn some coin, but you can also be very unlucky and lose out. You should be aiming for coins with real trader sentiment if you are looking for safe growth.

That being said, I’ll still invest in a cryptocurrency with a sell wall so long as the order doesn’t make up more than 5-10% of the coin’s daily volume. That’s the amount of risk I’m personally willing to assume.

Understanding Buyer Support

When investing, I tend to look for cryptocurrencies that have large buy walls. Not only a large buy walls, but staggered support points in the wall. The proper buyer support for me is when the buy wall looks almost like a staircase.

dash buy wall

Now I probably wouldn’t invest in DASH personally, but the sentiment looks good. Staggered buy walls show real points of support and are safer. When you have several walls running up the slope, you have more price points in which a falling price could slow down. We can’t always be super attentive to our portfolios, so these kinds of wall offer us added support in the event of the price falling.

Now of course, this isn’t fool-proof because as walls come down, they also shift. So these walls could be pulled and reappear in different places as the price declines. In any case, these walls show positive trader sentiment and are generally low risk.

Order Books Aren’t The Be All, End All

You can’t use order book trading to perfectly gauge sentiment. It can only give you pretty reliable representation of where the price might move. In a lot of cases, people won’t place orders at all and the price will move wildly from people buying existing orders on the market. You really have to use your intuition.

Do Your Research

Investing in cryptocurrency isn’t all about reading the order books. You will need to research the coins and the companies behind the coins you’re investing in to really come out ahead. You’ll need to look at how the companies behind the coin are innovating with blockchain technology, what announcements and partnerships are coming, and what the general outlook is for that company/coin.

Most people get in once the price has already taken off. Imagine getting in before the surge begins? Do your research.


I can’t make you rich or grow your portfolio. Only you can do that. It’s important to be aware of market conditions and use common sense with investing. It’s a learning process and if you’re new to investing, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Especially when your portfolio shrinks. ?

When I first started trading on exchanges, I would trade based on price movements and it ended up costing me thousands of dollars. Since I started reading order books and researching the cryptocurrencies I put my money into, my portfolio is looking a lot healthier.

Everything in this article is based on my personal experiences and how I go about my cryptocurrency investing. It’s worked out pretty well so far.

I plan to keep posting guides on how to make smart investments in cryptocurrency markets. If you’re interested in knowing when I post, you can follow me on Twitter at @brettcwestbrook or email me at You can also join our Slack channel called Crypto Central where we meme about crypto all day long (it’s also very resourceful, hit me up for an invitation).

ETH: 0xd451a2fcc9ccb3143d50743bdee102ba6e294389


  • Robert says:
    Jul 13 at 05:56

    Thanks for providing a coherent and clear overview of buy- and sell-walls and how they influence the market. Nice piece!

    1. Brett Westbrook says:
      Jul 13 at 06:08

      Thanks for stopping by and giving it a read! Be sure to share if you think it can help anybody out.

  • Josh says:
    Jul 13 at 05:32

    Elegant, Fluent, Resourceful. Brett for Pres

    You should start a brokerage for CC’s….

    1. Brett Westbrook says:
      Jul 14 at 12:06

      I really should. Thanks for reading, Josh!

  • Dennis Antiohos says:
    Jan 1 at 11:46

    Really well explained article, just what I was looking for.
    Thanks & keep it up

  • buda says:
    Jan 20 at 09:11

    Thank you Brett, this is a great summary.

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