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Trading volume in crypto markets can be a key indicator of price volatility — but is there a direct correlation that traders can use to help inform their investment decisions?
Trading volume — the amount of an asset that changed hands over a given period — is one of the key metrics that investors use to track price trends and assess the market outlook for a specific coin in terms of liquidity and trader activity.
The ranking below zooms in on the fortunes of five coins that have had the greatest increase in average daily trade volume this month compared with the month before. Most of them — although not all — emerged as massive winners in terms of their monthly returns, but the relationship between the price and trading was not always what you’d expect.
Data from the Cointelegraph Markets Pro platform sheds further light on how these two indicators can influence each other.
Along with multiple other quantitative metrics, trading volume is at the heart of the VORTECS™ Score — an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from billions of data points gathered and analyzed by a proprietary machine learning model.
Polygon (MATIC): +643.79%
Capitalizing on the sprawling activity in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector and the expansion of the number of projects springing up on its platform, Polygon has had a fantastic month, with its MATIC token conquering one all-time high after another. The coin delivered 329% vs. the U.S. dollar and 456% vs. Bitcoin (BTC) alongside a 643% increase in average daily trading volume.
The trading volume dynamics faithfully followed each price uptick, reaching an impressive $11 billion on May 19. On that day, MATIC was responsible for as much as 4.5% of the crypto market’s overall trading volume.
From the look at the VORTECS™ Score chart, it becomes apparent that trading volume spikes have been an essential component of each ultra-high-score stretch that MATIC sported this month (red circles in the graph). These dark-green sequences, in turn, foreshadowed each new leg of the coin’s powerful rally.
Ethereum Classic (ETC): +229.23%
A legacy chain of the original Ethereum that has been abandoned by much of the community in the wake of the 2016 The DAO heist, Ethereum Classic (ETC) has a small but enthusiastic fanbase and the reputation of a network lacking security.
Observers are divided on what exactly triggered ETC’s 300% price run, closely followed by surging trading volume, in the first week of May. Opinions range from users suddenly seeking cheaper alternatives to the main Ethereum network to new investors mistaking the coin for its better-known cousin.
At any rate, at the height of its May 6 rally, ETC commanded a shocking 15.9% of the crypto market’s overall trading volume — not too bad for a coin that has risen from years of oblivion.
Going by the VORTECS™ chart, not only was ETC’s showing unexpected — it was historically unparalleled. The combination of market and social conditions that preceded the coin’s blastoff was not similar to those that systematically came before ETC’s price leaps in the past, as evidenced by largely neutral VORTECS™ Scores.
Telcoin (TEL): +507.8%
Telcoin, a global remittance platform whose token appreciated by 437% against the dollar and 600% vs. Bitcoin over the past month, owes at least some of its success to Polygon’s fiery run. The likely reason behind TEL’s surge in early May has been a layer-two migration to the lower-fee Polygon network and the token’s subsequent listing on QuickSwap, which opened attractive terms for liquidity providers.
As visible in the graph, it was the QuickSwap moment that produced the greatest increase in TEL’s trading volume rather than the even bigger price hike that followed a few days after.
It was the same surge in trading activity between May 2 and 8 that the VORTECS™ algorithm picked up and, in conjunction with other constituent metrics, deemed worthy of a series of high VORTECS™ Scores that began flashing around three days before the final leg of the price hike.
iExec (RLC): +1,153.62%
RLC, the native token of cloud computing platform iExec, demonstrated the greatest month-to-month growth in average daily trading volume, adding an astounding 1,153% compared with the previous 30-day period. The coin’s price began picking up following the May 4 announcement of a Coinbase Pro listing and was boosted even more by a cascade of further exchange listings, big-name partnerships and collaborations, as well as the announcement of a developer rewards program. Over the month, RLC delivered 200% gains against the dollar and almost 300% against Bitcoin.
As the chart supplied by data analytics firm The TIE suggests, on May 8 and early May 9, the trading volume indicator mirrored the steeply upward price movement with a few hours’ lag. The two lines then effectively merged, indicating that a further increase in trading volume was no longer driven solely by price action but began responding to the news and heightening sentiment around the coin independently.
As visible in the graph, RLC’s VORTECS™ Score had been neutral (yellow) in the days preceding the coin price’s spike, and briefly turned moderately bullish (light green) as the rally unfolded. However, when both the price and trading volume peaked, the VORTECS™ Score went from bullish back to neutral (red boxes in the graph) — meaning that in the past, such concerted upticks in both price and trading volume were not followed by price consistently going up or down.
In summary, RLC’s run this month did not have clear historical precedents in terms of market and social activity regularities that the VORTECS™ Score could capture. Rather, it has been driven by a series of bullish news announcements. This is where another element of Markets Pro functionality, NewsQuakes™, comes into play: In the same graph, it is plain to see how two listing announcements, on Coinbase Pro and Bithumb (red circle in the chart), came shortly before the rally.
The average daily trading volume of OKB, the native token of crypto exchange OKEx, grew by more than 250% this month. However, this fact did not translate to a corresponding increase in the utility token’s price: Over the same 30 days, OKB lost 18.76% against the dollar and gained a mere 4.89% against the beleaguered Bitcoin.
Charting the token’s price vs. trading volume offers some explanation of this discrepancy. While trading volume largely mirrored price movement in the first half of the month, the two starkly diverged around May 19 and 20, around the time of the marketwide slump. As the price declined, trading volume shot up.
The key to this seemingly paradoxical dynamic lies in the nature of the asset. In a bid to keep the value of the token high, OKEx reduces OKB supply every three months by buying back and burning a few million coins. As the current burning period is set to expire at the end of May, some traders likely wagered on OKB staying afloat thanks to the guaranteed buyback liquidity when other digital assets were in a tailspin. Indeed, a surge in trading volume did support a brief rebound, yet it could only be sustained for a couple of days before the asset began sliding down again.
Note how the VORTECS™ algorithm remained unfazed by the May 20 increase in trading volume, as the score remained neutral. A constantly learning model, it has surely seen such token burn-inspired spikes before — and apparently, in the past, these spikes didn’t always spell significant price increases.
Any single metric describing an asset’s market outlook can be uninformative or even misleading on its own, yet it becomes exponentially more useful when contextualized within the recurring patterns of the VORTECS™ algorithm's other metrics (which include price action, sentiment and tweet volume).
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