Paying attention to the spread

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Steve Sokolowski
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:27 pm
Location: State College, PA

Paying attention to the spread

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Mon May 13, 2019 11:52 am

I wanted to bring attention to an issue that some customers have been reporting in support tickets.

For some coins, there is a wide spread between the buy price of the coin and the sell price of the coin. In one case, the buy price is 0.00000006 BTC, and the sell price is 0.00000002 BTC. Nobody is willing to buy or sell coins between those prices, so we have to consider how much we credit customers at the buy price, as that is the rate that we have to pay to obtain the coins. In some cases, such as when the buy price is two satoshis and the sell price is one satoshi, and there are no other major coin markets, the precision of bitcoins is too limited and causes this spread. We try to use litecoin-denominated markets where possible to mitigate this problem, but they aren't available for all coins.

The "value" of a coin is its sell price, or what someone is willing to give to you right now if you want to get rid of your coins. We use the "sell price" to determine your portfolio value. Some market capitalization sites incorrectly use the "last trade price" as the value of a coin. The last trade price will almost always be higher than the actual value, because the last trader took out the order that had a higher price than the one you would be selling into.

Customers earning a coin like the case above, when the sell price is 1/3 of the buy price, often submit tickets asking us why their miners are so unprofitable. The answer is that these coins are very low value and they cannot be bought at the value you can sell them at right now. There are two ways to get around this issue. The first is to earn a coin that has a small spread, like litecoins, where the buy price and sell price are almost identical. The second is that you can place a sell order at the buy price, and wait behind all the other people who want to sell at that price for your order to be filled, if the coin's price doesn't decline before then.

Constance will be adding a new feature to display the spread of coins to avoid this confusion.
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