What is Slippage & How to Reduce Slippage in Crypto?
Slippage is the difference between the expected price of a trade and the price at which the trade is actually executed. Continue reading this article to know more about slippage in crypto and how to reduce slippage.
16 JUN 2023, 3 min read
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Stepping into the world of cryptos, a term you'll frequently encounter is "slippage." Even experienced traders can suffer from slippage, leading to unexpected losses.

Thus it's vital to understand what exactly slippage is and how to minimize it. This article will outline this vital concept, making navigating the volatile crypto market easier.

What is Slippage?

Slippage refers to the difference between the market price of a trade and the price at which the trade is executed. It's an inevitable phenomenon in any market, including crypto.

This difference typically arises when markets are highly volatile or when liquidity is low. Slippage can either work for or against you, leading to profits or losses.

Positive slippage is when a trade executes at a more favorable price than expected, while negative slippage occurs when the execution price is less favorable than anticipated.

How Does Slippage Work in Crypto With Examples

Slippage in the crypto market is primarily driven by market volatility and liquidity.

While these two factors may seem straightforward, their complex interplay in the fast-paced world of crypto can significantly impact trade outcomes.

Let’s consider a simple instance of volatility-induced slippage: If you place a market order to buy Bitcoin at $26,000, but due to rapid price fluctuations, your order gets executed at $26,020, you have encountered negative slippage of $20.

Liquidity-induced Slippage

Low liquidity can also contribute to slippage. In a highly liquid market, there are enough buyers and sellers to absorb large orders without substantially impacting the price. However, a large order can lead to considerable price shifts in a less liquid market.

Suppose you intend to buy a large volume of an altcoin on an exchange with low liquidity. In that case, the absence of sufficient sell orders at your desired price might cause the trade to execute at a higher price, resulting in negative slippage.

Let's consider a case where you decide to place a huge market buy order of 100 Ethereum (ETH) for $1,700 per ETH on an exchange having low liquidity.

Due to limited liquidity, your order cannot be filled at your exact/preferred price. Consequently, portions of your order will likely be matched with sell orders above $1,700 to ensure full execution.

For the sake of illustration:

  • 50 ETH from your order gets matched with a sell order at $1,700;
  • 25 ETH is fulfilled with a sell order set at $1,701;
  • The remaining 25 ETH is coupled with a sell order at $1,702.

In this instance, your average acquisition price increases to $1,700.75, slightly above your initial price point ($1,700), resulting in negative slippage of $0.75.

Another contributing factor is the type of orders placed. Market orders, executed at the best available price, are more susceptible to slippage than limit orders, which specify a particular execution price.

Also Read: What is APY in Crypto

How to Reduce Slippage in Crypto

Understanding slippage and the factors influencing it is the first step in reducing its impact on your crypto trades. Here are some strategies to mitigate slippage:

Use Limit Orders

Unlike market orders, limit orders are executed at a specific price point, ensuring you don't pay more (or receive less) than your specified price. This protects you from unexpected price changes.

Trade During High Liquidity Periods

As slippage primarily occurs due to low liquidity and high volatility, you can avoid these conditions by trading during periods of high liquidity and low volatility.

Implement Stop-Loss Orders

This strategy can cap your losses by setting a predetermined level where your assets will be automatically sold, thus preventing further losses due to negative slippage.

Use a Reliable Exchange

Opt for exchanges known for high liquidity and lower slippage rates. More participants on an exchange mean better liquidity, leading to efficient order execution.

Adjust Your Slippage Tolerance

Some trading platforms allow users to set their slippage tolerance levels. Determining a maximum acceptable price difference for your trade limits the potential negative impact of slippage.

Remember, while slippage is common in volatile markets like crypto, it's not always a negative occurrence. The right strategies and tools can help you control slippage and even turn it to your advantage.

Read More: What is Staking in Crypto

Frequently Asked Questions

What is positive slippage in crypto?

Positive slippage occurs when the execution price of a trade is higher than the expected market price. For instance, if you place a buy order for Bitcoin at $26,000, but it gets filled at $25,980, you've experienced positive slippage of $20. This could happen due to rapid market movements favoring your transaction.

Is slippage always negative?

No, slippage can be either positive or negative. Negative slippage is when a trade executes at a worse price than expected, whereas positive slippage is when a trade executes at a better price than expected. Positive or negative slippage occurs depending on market conditions and liquidity levels during order execution.

Is higher or lower slippage better?

Lower slippage is generally better for traders because trades are executed close to the expected prices.

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