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Crypto Glossary/Limit Order

Limit Order

Discover limit orders, their functionality, and comparison to market orders in trading, including crypto markets.

TLDR - Limit Order

A limit order is a crucial tool in the world of cryptocurrency trading, enabling savvy traders to set a predetermined price for buying or selling a crypto asset. This method offers control over price but doesn't guarantee order execution since the market must reach your price. It stands contrasted with market orders which aim for speed over price. Additionally, stop orders operate conditionally, triggering at a specified future price, and have different visibility compared to limit orders. While limit orders can sometimes seem like waiting for a bus that never comes, they can be a good friend to the patient investor looking for a certain return on investment.

In this article, we'll explore:

  • The core concept of a limit order in cryptocurrency trading
  • Comparison between limit orders, market orders, and stop orders
  • The potential risks and rewards of using limit orders
  • An overview of how limit orders affect visibility in the market
  • FAQs addressing your burning questions on limit orders

I. Understanding Limit Orders

At its core, a limit order in the realm of cryptocurrency is an instruction given to an exchange to execute a trade – that is, to buy or sell a cryptocurrency – at a specific price or a better one. Let's say you've got your eyes set on some Bitcoin (as one often does). You could set a limit order at a lower price than the current market value. If Bitcoin's price takes a dip and reaches your specified price, bam! Your order is executed, and you've grabbed some Bitcoin at a bargain.

However, one must remember that limit orders are a bit like fishing. You cast your line, but the fish (in this case, your desired price) has to bite. If the market price doesn't hit your limit order, your order won't be executed. It's a waiting game that favors patient investors who are willing to bide their time for a better return on investment.

II. Limit Order Vs. Market Order Vs. Stop Order

To understand limit orders better, it's essential to see them in contrast with market orders and stop orders. A market order is like being at an auction and being the guy who shouts, "I'll take it!" It doesn't matter what the price is, the order is executed immediately at the current market price. They're all about speed over price.

Stop orders, on the other hand, are a bit more complex. They are conditional orders that are triggered once a specified future price is hit. They then become regular market orders. Think of it like setting an alarm – once the clock hits the time you set (the stop price), the alarm goes off (the order is executed).

The main distinguishing factor between these order types is their visibility and speed. While limit orders are visible to the market, stop orders only make their grand appearance once the transaction is triggered.

III. Risk and Reward in Limit Orders

Using limit orders is a bit of a balancing act between risk and reward. The potential upside is that you get to buy or sell your chosen cryptocurrency at your desired price point, which could mean bigger profits. But on the flip side, there's always the risk that the market might not swing in your favor, and the order will never be executed. You might end up watching from the sidelines as the crypto bus takes off without you.

That being said, limit orders provide an effective way to mitigate the risk of market volatility, allowing you to set your buying or selling price. They're particularly handy when dealing with a fast-moving, volatile market like cryptocurrencies.

IV. Visibility and Limit Orders

An intriguing aspect of limit orders is their impact on market visibility. In the bustling digital marketplace, limit orders are public, giving other traders a peek into your trading strategy. This visibility might affect the market's behavior, as other traders adjust their strategies in response to the information.

In contrast, stop orders are the ninjas of the trading world – invisible until the moment they strike. They become visible only after being triggered, making them less likely to influence market behavior.


Limit orders provide a strategic tool for cryptocurrency traders looking to get the best possible price. They allow for more control over the price at which you buy or sell crypto, making them ideal for patient investors. However, they come with their own set of risks, primarily that the market may never reach your set price, leaving your order unfulfilled.

Overall, understanding how limit orders, stop orders, and market orders work can help traders navigate the ever-volatile crypto seas. Each type serves different needs, and a wise trader will learn when to use each one.

FAQ about Limit Orders

1. What happens when you set a limit order?

When you set a limit order, you're telling the exchange to execute a trade at a specific price or better. For a buy limit order, the order will be executed at the specified price or lower, and for a sell limit order, the order will be executed at the specified price or higher. If the market doesn't reach your specified price, the limit order remains open until you cancel it or the price condition is met.

2. What are the 3 types of limit orders?

There are several variations of limit orders, but the three most common ones are:

  • Buy Limit Order: This order is executed at the limit price or lower. Traders use this to buy an asset at a price lower than the current market price.
  • Sell Limit Order: This order is executed at the limit price or higher. Traders use this to sell an asset at a price higher than the current market price.
  • Stop-Limit Order: This order becomes active only after a certain price level (the stop price) has been reached. It then acts as a regular limit order, seeking to be executed at the limit price or better.

3. What is a limit vs sell order?

A limit order refers to a type of order where you specify the price at which you want to buy or sell an asset. A sell order, on the other hand, is a broader term that could refer to any order that involves selling an asset. A sell order can be a market order (sell at the best available price), a limit order (sell at a specific price or higher), or a stop order (sell when the price drops to a certain level).

4. When would you use a limit order?

Limit orders are particularly useful when you expect the market to move favorably but want to lock in a specific price. You would use a limit order when:

  • You're not in a rush to buy or sell.
  • You want to buy or sell at a specific price.
  • The market is volatile, and you want to avoid buying or selling at an unfavorable price.

5. What are the pros and cons of limit orders?


  • Gives you control over the price at which you buy or sell.
  • Can help protect against buying at too high a price or selling at too low a price in volatile markets.
  • Allows for the setting of a specific target price.


  • Not guaranteed to execute since the market price must reach the limit price.
  • May miss out on trading opportunities if the market price never reaches your limit price.
  • Due to its visibility, large limit orders can sometimes influence market behavior.
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