What Is a MACD Indicator? How to Use it in Crypto Trading

Monday, November 22nd 2021.

exponential moving

It’s an important basic to include in your trading wardrobe. But the moving average convergence divergence indicator can help put you on the right side of critical changes in a stock’s price. A prudent strategy may be to apply a filter to signal line crossovers to ensure that they have held up. An example of a price filter would be to buy if the MACD line breaks above the signal line and then remains above it for three days. As with any filtering strategy, this reduces the probability of false signals but increases the frequency of missed profit. As is visualized in the image above, the ‘Signal’ line and the ‘MACD’ line appear as moving averages that oscillate mostly in tandem with price action.

When MACD forms highs or lows that that exceed the corresponding highs and lows on the price, it is called a divergence. A bullish divergence appears when MACD forms two rising lows that correspond with two falling lows on the price. This is a valid bullish signal when the long-term trend is still positive. The numbers on the right of the MACD indicator chart are its settings.

Buy and sell on the MACD crossover

Imagine you want to calculate the difference between the MACD and its EMA and plot it on the chart. This time, however, the difference is plotted in the form of a bar chart . In points in which there is no difference between the MACD and its EMA, the bar chart will display zero. Arrow indicators for binary options are the tools for “the lazy”. In the Forex charts they indicate with arrows the potential points of the market entering. The moving average lines originally were designed to work on hourly charts.

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This is a bullish divergence, as the MACD is a higher low.This may mean that the security’s downtrend is coming to an end. Most MACD interfaces are set up as two separate graph boxes. The upper box contains a candlestick chart for the security in question. This chart tracks the trading price of a security over time by representing each day as a “candlestick” that shows the day’s opening, closing, high, and low prices. Below that is the MACD graph that shows several lines and the MACD histogram. Most charts use a 9-period exponential moving average by default.

In the image below, both bullish and bearish scenarios are defined. The period between candles is arbitrary and can be adjusted at a trader’s discretion. When the MACD line crosses above the signal line, traders often interpret it as a potential buying opportunity .

Using MACD to Trade

If MACD is below its signal line, the histogram will be below the MACD’s baseline. Traders use the MACD’s histogram to identify when bullish or bearish momentum is high—and possibly overbought/oversold. The Moving Average Convergence Divergence zero line, also known as “centerline” divides the positive area of the chart from the negative.

For example, when the signal line crosses the MACD, either buy or sell the security. The MACD line, denoted by a blue line, is derived by subtracting the longer exponential moving average from the shorter exponential moving average. EMA periods refer to the number of price points included in a specific measurement and depending on the indicator, you’ll use different EMA periods to find different trends.

The MACD demonstrates good efficiency on timeframes from H1 and higher. But even in this case you shouldn’t use this indicator alone. Almost all successful trading systems involve the use of several technical analysis tools that confirm each other’s signals. While the MACD shows the difference between the moving averages, the RSI works in a slightly different way.


What do we have to plot to analyze indicators and EMA? Because all parameter values changes when we select min, day, month and year chart. I have personally met many aspiring traders who spend a lot of time and energy learning different indicators, but this is futile in the long run. The working knowledge of a few basic indicators, such as those discussed in this module is sufficient.

How Is The MACD Strategy Used In Crypto?

Next, we’ll look at the how to read the macd chart combined with the indicator to get a better idea. The MACD indicator uses the 12 and 26-period MA’s standard. These settings are never changed and it is best to keep them this way. Remember, indicators also work better when most people are seeing the same signals.

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MACD indicators can be interpreted in several ways, but the more common methods are crossovers, divergences, and rapid rises/falls. In this article, you’ll learn about the Moving Average Convergence Divergence indicator, or MACD for short. It’s one of the most popular and widely used technical analysis tools. We’ll explore everything about the indicator from the way it’s calculated, through how to read it properly, to how you use it when trading live. However, the MACD alone is not quite enough to confirm that the security is overbought or oversold.

This estimate has the additional lag of the signal filter and an additional gain factor equal to the signal filter constant. As the D in MACD, “divergence” refers to the two underlying moving averages drifting apart, while “convergence” refers to the two underlying moving averages coming towards each other. A general interpretation of MACD is that when MACD is positive and the histogram value is increasing, then upside momentum is increasing.

macd lines

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Similarly, if a crossover seems shallow, or seems to move either up or down but then plateaus, be vigilant but don’t make a move in haste. The volatility in an underlying security can be deceptive and cause the MACD to move in unusual ways. The momentum then changed and the price only moved higher very slowly and did not advance much. The MACD turned lower which signals the change in momentum.

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If the shorter time period is higher than the longer time period – enter a long position. I trade stocks and have just gone through dozen of stock charts looking at MACD behaviour after reading this MACD lesson of yours. I’ve had MACD on my charts for over 12 months but clearly I never really knew how to read it properly. I mainly use the MACD on day trades, but you mentioning the momentum changes with the Histogram, was something I was not aware of. This means the MACD crossover will give many false signals that lead to “death by a thousand cuts”. If you want to use the MACD indicator successfully, it must complement the price action of the markets.


When the MACD line crosses from below to above the signal line, the indicator is considered bullish. Okay, that’s great, but what about the real trading signals? The hardest part to master with every trading indicator is finding out the best moments to place your buy and sell orders. The direction of the crossing – if the MACD crosses from below to above, then the signal is bullish, and vice-versa. The further away from zero, the stronger the generated signal is. The MACD chills out a stock chart and lets you see what is happening in the bigger picture.

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