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Does Cryptocurrency Have Trading Hours?

By Samuel Becker · January 07, 2023 · 8 minute read

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Does Cryptocurrency Have Trading Hours?

Crypto trading hours are 24/7, 365 days per year — the market never closes. That’s good news for those who simply can’t peel themselves away from studying cryptocurrency charts or watching the crypto markets.

Though cryptocurrency trading hours are much more expansive than those of the traditional stock market, there are some caveats depending on your individual cryptocurrency exchange of choice. Read on to learn more about crypto trading, when it happens, and how to get in on it.

How Crypto Trading Works

If you’ve had any experience with other market types, or even the stock exchange, you likely already have a good grasp of how crypto trading works. Most people access the market through a crypto exchange, where buyers and sellers transact assets.

For those buyers and sellers, the exchanges simplify the trading process by showing real-time values for various cryptocurrencies (the actual cryptos on a given exchange will vary), and pairing traders and investors so that they can buy, sell, and trade. Of course, investors can still spend hours reading crypto charts, but an exchange streamlines the trading process. As such, for most end users, it’s pretty much the same process as buying or selling stocks.

What Time Will Crypto Coin Start Trading?

Since the crypto markets are always open, so to speak, crypto trading never starts or stops. Investors and traders can use an exchange or brokerage to trade crypto any time they’d like.

That’s not to say that all markets will have lots of liquidity or trading partners at any given time, but it’s a 24-hour market nonetheless.

Are There Time Limitations on Crypto Trading Networks?

Though crypto exchanges are similar to services that allow users to actively invest in stocks and other assets, there are some differences. One of the most important differences is time limitations — or, the hours of the day during which transactions are executed.

If you’re trading assets like stocks, bonds, and ETFs, transactions are executed during the market’s open hours, and to a lesser extent, the after-hours market. That’s generally 9:30 am ET to 4 pm ET, Monday through Friday, and 4 pm ET to 8 pm ET for after-hours trading.

But some assets can be traded 24 hours per day. The foreign exchange (forex) market is an example — traders can swap currencies all day between Monday and Friday. The crypto markets are likewise much looser with trading hours, in that the crypto markets never actually close.

Does The Time You Trade Affect Your Crypto Fees?

Though the crypto markets never close, when you choose to trade can have an impact on applicable trading fees. That’s because the markets can get busy, and it requires network resources to facilitate trades — network participants need to validate trades on blockchain networks, for instance, and if many traders are trying to execute transactions at once, it can create a logjam.

For that reason, you may end up paying higher or lower transaction fees (commonly called “Ethereum gas fees”) if you try to trade during busy hours. Conversely, the fees may be lower during slower times of the day, like the middle of the night.

Note, too, that there are ways to minimize crypto trading fees.

On the other hand, there is more liquidity in the market during stretches of higher trading volume. That means there are more participants, and generally speaking, more “action” in the market. That can likewise be a good or bad thing, but something crypto investors should know before they decide on a time of the day to trade.

Cryptocurrency Trading Hours vs Stock Market Trading Hours

The stock market has set operating hours: 9:30 am ET until 4 pm ET, Monday through Friday. The stock markets are closed during weekends and holidays.

Conversely, the crypto markets operate non-stop. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t certain days or times that are better to trade, as mentioned, since the numbers of traders and overall level of liquidity in the markets can vary. But access to the crypto markets is always open.

So, you can get real-time updates on crypto prices, add some coins to your portfolio, or fine-tune your crypto day-trading strategies at odd hours, on weekends, and even on holidays.

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Does The Global Market Affect Crypto Trading?

The global market does have an effect on crypto trading, but we’re still learning the degree to which that relationship exists. While crypto is, in some ways, siloed off from other trading markets, the two can and do affect one another, as you may have noticed by the fluctuating values in your investment portfolio.

During 2022, we saw this first-hand, as an overall market downturn likewise spilled over into the crypto markets — hence, 2022’s “crypto winter.” Similarly, the collapse of large crypto companies like FTX in late 2022 had an effect on global markets as well, causing some investors to lose money, likely altering their other investment decisions and creating a ripple effect in the markets.

Pros and Cons of Crypto Always Being Tradeable

There are some pros and cons given that the crypto markets have no set hours.

For instance, during times when fewer traders are on the market, it can affect crypto exchange liquidity — or more specifically, Bitcoin liquidity — and make values more volatile. Conversely, the open-ended hours of the market can make it easier to research and execute trades at your convenience.

Pros of 24-7 Crypto Trading

There are some advantages to the crypto markets always being open. These are the top benefits:

•   Convenience for traders

•   Higher potential returns due to bigger market and liquidity

•   Access to markets anytime, anywhere

Cons of 24-7 Crypto Trading

Of course, there are also potential downsides to crypto’s non-stop market:

•   Some exchanges and platforms may limit market access to certain times

•   Higher risks and higher Bitcoin volatility (or other crypto volatility) on certain days and times

•   Lack of regulated market hours means traders could miss big market movements

How Non-Stop Crypto Trading Hours Impact Institutions

There are some ways in which the non-stop crypto market affects institutions — banks and exchanges, in particular.

The stock market takes a break every day, and every weekend. That gives all the players in the market — individual investors and institutions — a chance to assess and reposition their assets for their next moves. But since crypto trades all the time, there are stretches during the 24-hour day when banks and exchanges are effectively closed, and money isn’t being moved around as quickly or efficiently as it would during business hours.

This can cause lags — if a crypto trader is trying to deposit money into their crypto exchange account to execute a trade at, say, 2 am ET on a Sunday night, that money won’t actually move until the next day. That has the potential to cause some friction in the markets.

In short, there’s a mismatch between the standard business hours of many institutions and the 24-hour nature of the crypto markets, which may have an effect on the markets.

How Does Crypto Trade on Weekends?

Crypto trades the same on weekends as it does during weekdays. Remember: The market never closes! But there is one thing to keep in mind: The crypto markets are volatile, and even more so on the weekends. In fact, crypto values often crash during the weekends for a few key reasons:

•   Less trading volume: Many people take the weekends off, and that includes crypto traders. As such, the volume of trades takes a dip. With lower volume, the trades that are executed (especially big ones) can have an outsized effect on the markets — more so than during times with higher trading volume.

•   Margin trading: Many traders trade crypto “on margin,” meaning that they borrow money to execute trades. And when prices drop, it may trigger a “margin call,” which means those margin traders must repay their loans. That forces traders to try and move some money around, but with banks closed on the weekends, it can make things more difficult, and in effect, potentially cause crypto values to fall further.

•   Hourly mismatches and liquidity: With banks closed on weekends but the crypto markets firing away at all hours, traders may have trouble getting more money into their crypto exchange accounts. This can limit market liquidity, potentially adding yet another systemic and chaotic element to weekend crypto trading.

When Are the Best Times to Buy and Trade Crypto?

As discussed, there are times and days that are generally more favorable to crypto traders to execute trades. The best times and days to trade crypto is generally “whenever it works for you,” but research shows that professional traders tend to be more active during weekdays.

Monday tends to be the day when traders historically see the biggest returns when trading, followed by Friday and Saturday. And as for which hours of the day are the most fruitful? Data shows that the markets are busiest around 12 pm ET.

But as with any investing, past performance and trends are no guarantee of future outcomes. There’s no promise that trading during these days or times will translate to bigger returns (or any returns) for an individual trader or investor. It’s also worth keeping in mind that these trends are likely to change with time.

The Takeaway

The crypto markets are a wild, non-stop ride, and they operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The markets never close, which means you can buy, sell, or trade crypto any time you want — that’s not to say that there aren’t times that may be more advantageous, however.

FAQ

What hours does cryptocurrency trade?

Cryptocurrency trades non-stop, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The crypto markets never close, which means traders and investors can always execute crypto transactions.

When are the best times to buy crypto?

The best times to buy crypto depend on an individual investor’s preferences, but the markets are generally more liquid during business hours on weekdays. Transaction fees, however, may be higher during those times, too.

Can I trade crypto on weekends?

Yes, you can trade crypto on weekends. The markets never close, so you can trade crypto on weekends, holidays, or any other day, too.


Photo credit: iStock/Stefan Tomic

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