What Is Crypto Market Making?

Mar 29, 2023

14 min

What Is Crypto Market Making?

In the case of crypto markets, market makers normally have substantial amounts of capital at their disposal (usually hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth) which they are in charge of handling. Their activities involving the digital asset are directed at providing liquidity by placing orders on both sides of the order book at all times to ensure that there are always takers on either side of transactions involving the cryptocurrency at any given time. This allows you as an investor or trader to enter into positions whenever you so choose without having to worry about whether there will be enough buyers or sellers available.Let's take a closer look at who crypto market makers are and what they do.

What Is Meant by Market Making?

Market making is a process that involves buying and selling financial instruments, such as stocks or bonds. The goal of market making is to facilitate smooth transactions between buyers and sellers by ensuring that there are always enough buyers and sellers in each trade. As a result, neither side has to sit around waiting for a long time at the negotiating table.

Market makers have been around since the days trading markets first began, but they weren’t known as "market makers" until the 1980s when electronic trading began to replace face-to-face interactions between buyers and sellers on Wall Street. Today, electronic trading accounts for the majority of all transactions made by investors; however, some traders still prefer performing them through human brokers, since they are more comfortable with the personalized service a real human being can provide as opposed to just entering orders into an algorithm (like what happens when you use Robinhood).

How Does Crypto Market Making Work?

Market making is a popular strategy employed in cryptocurrency trading whereby a skilled trader provides bids and asks for a specific asset, along with their respective market sizes, in order to profit off the difference between the bid and ask spread. Originally, traditional markets used to rely on manual market making. Now, in the digital age, automated software has become commonplace, with companies such as CLS offering customizable, user-friendly tools designed to enhance the trading experience as well as attract new traders and investors.

Cryptocurrency market making denotes the regular buying and selling of cryptocurrencies to provide liquidity to the market.

The process of making cryptocurrency markets consists of the following steps:

1. Placing orders

Market makers place orders, both to buy and to sell at various price levels, in order to inject liquidity into the market. These orders can be placed on cryptocurrency exchanges or Over-The-Counter (OTC) markets.

2. Monitoring of the market

Market makers continuously monitor the cryptocurrency market to identify developing market trends and changes that may in some way or other impact their trading strategies. They use sophisticated trading algorithms to predict price fluctuations and adjust their trading strategies accordingly.

3. Order adjustments

Based on their analysis of the market conditions, market makers adjust their buy and sell orders to ensure the market is full of activity.

4. Profit making

Market makers earn profits by buying cryptocurrencies at low prices and selling them at higher prices. This bid-ask spread, the difference between the buy and the sell prices, is the market makers’ “bread and butter”.

5. Risk management

Market makers manage their risks by placing limited orders that limit their exposure to the market. They also use hedging strategies to mitigate their risk in case of surprises on the market.

Market Making Strategies

Market making strategies can be categorized into two types:

Passive market making

What is known as a passive market maker is a person who takes positions in the market without any directional bets. These market makers simply aim to profit from the bid/ask spread by buying at a lower price and selling at a higher one. This strategy is popular among high-frequency traders (HFTs) seeing as it keeps their risk to a minimum. On the other hand, it also leads to low returns if little price fluctuation takes place over time.

Active market making

Active market makers make directional bets on either side of an asset's price range, either buying or selling their own orders, which are then evened out later when opposite transactions have been executed by others. This allows them to profit on both sides without having any capital tied up in the actual trades themselves.

The Benefits of Crypto Market Making

If you are launching a new cryptocurrency token or have already released one, you may need market making services to ensure liquidity and trading volumes on exchanges. Here are some reasons why:


Market making services ensure that there are always buyers and sellers available on the market to provide liquidity to your token. This increases the chances that your token will be more frequently traded and attract more investors.

Price stability

A market maker can help stabilize the price of your token by continuously providing bid and ask orders at different price levels. This can help prevent sudden jumps or drops in price and reduce market volatility.

Increased trading volumes

Market making services can help augment the trading volumes of your token. This will mean elevated trading activity and thus higher demand for your token.


Upon generating high enthusiasm among investors and maintaining market stability, market makers can help increase the visibility of your token on exchanges, thus rendering it more attractive to investors.

Thus, overall, market making services are an essential tool ensuring your token’s success by increasing liquidity, stabilizing prices, increasing visibility, and driving trading volumes.

The Risks Associated with Crypto Market Making

Automated crypto market making, which involves the use of trading algorithms to execute trades, also involves several risks that market makers ought to be aware of. Here are some of the risks automated crypto market making is known for:

Technical risks

Automated crypto market making relies heavily on technology, and any technical issues can result in significant losses. Technical risks include hardware or software failures, network outages, and cyber attacks.

Algorithmic risks

Trading algorithms may contain bugs or be improperly configured. The result is occasional erroneous trades and significant losses. Furthermore, algorithms that are not properly designed may be vulnerable to exploitation by other traders.

Market risks

Automated crypto market making is susceptible to market risks, including sudden market changes, volatility, and flash crashes.

Regulatory risks

Automated crypto market making may be subject to various regulatory risks, including new government legislation, legal challenges, and compliance issues.

Data risks

Trading algorithms rely on large amounts of data for their decision-making. If available data is inaccurate or is not updated, this may bring about poor trading decisions and suboptimal financial outcomes.

In conclusion, the list of advantages that the automated crypto market making offers is extensive, including increased efficiency and reduced human error. However, we must always be aware of the risks involved and use all available means to eliminate them. This includes regular monitoring and testing of trading algorithms, implementing robust security measures, and maintaining compliance with applicable regulations.

Who Can be a Crypto Market Maker?

Who are the types of people that tend to become market makers and what are the prerequisites? Depth of knowledge, experience, and resources are the primary needs of any potential market makers.

These are what will allow an individual or institution to actively quote buy and sell prices for cryptocurrencies. These are commonly professional traders, hedge funds, proprietary trading firms, and even exchanges themselves. There are also specialized agencies that provide market-making services on a professional level, such as CLS Global. CLS Global is what is known as a top market maker in crypto, already boasting cases with the likes of JasmyCoin, Ergo, ​​Skey Network, Streamr and others.

When it comes to the specific tasks of market makers, they must be able to handle the following activities:

Treasury Building

In the context of crypto market making, treasury building refers to the process of acquiring and managing assets that will be used to facilitate trades on a crypto exchange. It entails creating a pool of assets to always ensure that there are enough funds available to buy and sell the crypto assets.

Strategy Building

Strategy building involves developing a set of rules and guidelines to be used to determine when and how to trade crypto assets. This includes setting parameters for price limits, order sizes, and other trading rules. Strategy building requires a deep understanding of the market as well as the ability to analyze data and trends to be able to make informed decisions.

Risk Management

Risk management is an essential component of crypto market making. It involves identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate them. This includes setting limits on trading activity, monitoring market volatility, and adjusting trading strategies to the necessary extent in the interest of minimizing risk.


Analysis is the process of examining market data to identify trends, patterns, and other insights that can be used to inform trading strategies. This includes analyzing historical data, monitoring real time market data, and using statistical models to make predictions about future market movements.


Dashboards are tools used to visualize and analyze market data in real-time. They provide a real-time view of market activity, including prices, trading volumes, and other key metrics. Dashboards are essential when it comes to monitoring market trends, identifying trading opportunities, and making educated decisions as to when and how to trade crypto assets.


Simply put, the concept of crypto market making entails a market maker buying and selling of digital currencies so that buyers and sellers are guaranteed, keeping the market always moving. Market makers use a range of strategies, including leveraging arbitrage opportunities and utilizing advanced cryptocurrency trading algorithms.The most significant advantage of market making is its ability to stabilize crypto prices, preventing significant price fluctuations and limiting volatility. However, market making also comes with risks, including market volatility and regulatory uncertainties, which must be managed and monitored with the utmost care. Market makers are important in the crypto market, as they make sure there is no doubt regarding liquidity and stability. They are very important players in the industry.

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