Learn Crypto

What Are Crypto Trading Pairs?

Jesse
3 mn

What Are Crypto Trading Pairs?

Understanding what crypto trading pairs are is important for all levels of trading, whether new to the market and looking to buy cryptocurrencies or wanting to engage in advanced arbitrage strategies. 

While the concept has been around in the stock markets for a while, it came about in the crypto industry due to a number of exchanges only allowing bigger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to be purchased with fiat currencies. While other cryptocurrencies were available on the platform, they could only be bought by trading BTC or ETH. Hence, it became necessary for a relationship to be established in terms of value between the cryptocurrencies being exchanged for one another.

When it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies there are plenty of options available, it only makes sense that markets open allowing one digital asset to be traded for another.

Crypto Trading Pairs Explained

Every cryptocurrency has an established value against a fiat currency, while this will continuously change depending on the market conditions affecting it, the use of the same fiat will remain. Most sites default to present a cryptocurrency's value in USD, however, they also allow for changes to be made (to GBP, EUR, etc). This is referred to as a base currency.

A trading pair is when two cryptocurrencies can be traded against each other, as opposed to a cryptocurrency and fiat. For example, BTC/LTC, or ETH/DOGE. In order to acquire the one, the other will need to be exchanged. In this case, the base currency is now a cryptocurrency. 

If you would like to buy DOGE with DOT but the exchange does not have this trading pair available, you would need to exchange DOGE for BTC, and then buy DOT with the BTC. Unfortunately, this will incur more fees, illustrating the convenience of trading pairs. 

How Do Trading Pairs Work?

Exchanges typically allow you to compare costs between cryptocurrencies, i.e. how much Bitcoin you will need to pay for Litecoin. If you are unable to load your account with fiat, you can still trade using cryptocurrencies, depositing one and trading it for another. 

Trading pairs allow you to establish a cryptocurrency's value in terms of another cryptocurrency. 

Say you buy ETH/LTC, this means that you are buying ETH in exchange for LTC. LTC is then the base currency. If you were selling ETH/LTC, you would be selling ETH and accumulating LTC. Ethereum and Bitcoin are the most common base currencies, however, the bigger the exchange the more trading pairs are on offer. 

Before engaging in any trading pairs take a look at the fees and taxes associated with the trade on the exchange's website, as sometimes some cryptocurrencies can incur higher fees. 

In Conclusion

Trading pairs are when a cryptocurrency is valued against another cryptocurrency and capable of being traded for one another. Trading pairs provide an essential role in the crypto economy. These days there are hundreds of trading pairs on offer, allowing traders to make informed decisions, find better prices, and perform a greater number of transactions.