What Is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?
Table of Contents
Introduction
What is an index?
What is a market indicator?
What exactly is a Fear and Greed Index?
How does the Crypto Fear and Greed Index work?
Why is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index useful?
Can I use the index for long-term analysis?
Closing thoughts
What Is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?
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What Is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?

What Is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?

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Published Jul 7, 2021Updated Sep 9, 2021
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TL;DR

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index provides a score of 0 to 100 for crypto market sentiment. It’s based on the CNNMoney Fear and Greed Index for analyzing the stock market. 

Fear (a score of 0 to 49) indicates undervaluation and excess supply in the market. Greed (a score of 50 to 100) suggests an overvaluation of cryptocurrencies and a possible bubble.

Noticing changes in the level of fear and greed can become part of your trading strategy when choosing to enter or exit the crypto market.


Introduction

When deciding if you should buy in or sell out of the crypto market, a good trader or investor will always look for supportive data. There are charts to look at, fundamentals to analyze, and market sentiment to tap into. However, studying every metric and index available isn't the most efficient use of time. With the Crypto Fear and Greed Index, a combination of sentiment and fundamental metrics provide a glimpse of market fear and greed. While you should not rely on this indicator alone, it can help you figure out the overall feeling of the cryptocurrency markets.


What is an index?

Traditionally, an index takes multiple data points and combines them into a single statistical measure. You might have already heard of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), a famous index that tracks the stock market. The DJIA is a price-weighted combination of 30 large companies listed on numerous stock exchanges in the U.S. Traders and investors can buy DJIA to get a combined exposure to these companies' stocks.

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index is also a weighted measure of market data, but that's where the similarities end. The Crypto Fear and Greed Index is not something you can purchase nor any kind of financial instrument. It’s just a market indicator that can complement your analysis.


What is a market indicator?

Market indicators make it easier for traders and investors to analyze market data. Indicators exist in all forms of market analysis: technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and sentiment analysis. If you've experimented already with technical analysis (TA), you've probably already got some experience with indicators. These range from simple moving averages to complex chart patterns like Ichimoku Clouds. TA indicators are concerned with analyzing prices, trading volume, and other statistical trends.
Fundamental analysis indicators take a different approach. When you research a token or stock, you’re essentially trying to determine the underlying fundamental value of the project. For example, your research could include the number of users and total market value combined into an indicator.
In addition, we have market sentiment indicators that measure the feelings and thoughts of investors and traders. The Crypto Fear and Greed Index is just one of many. Other examples include The Bull & Bear Index from Augmento and WhaleAlert that tracks large transfers from whales in crypto markets. To an extent, crypto research relies heavily on analyzing social media, the community, and public opinion. For this reason, sentiment analysis can come in handy for this asset class.


What exactly is a Fear and Greed Index?

CNNMoney originally created the Fear and Greed Index to analyze market sentiment for stocks and shares. Alternative.me have since then made their version tailored to the crypto market. 

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index analyzes a basket of different trends and market indicators to determine whether the market participants are feeling greedy or fearful. A score of 0 indicates extreme fear, while 100 suggests extreme greed. A score of 50 shows the market is somewhat neutral.

A fearful market could be an indication that cryptocurrencies are undervalued. Too much fear in a market can lead to overselling and excess panic. Fear doesn't necessarily mean that the market has entered into a long-term bearish trend. Instead, you can think of it as a short or mid-term reference to overall market sentiment.
Greed in the market is the opposite situation. If investors and traders are greedy, there's a possibility for overvaluation and a bubble. Imagine a situation where FOMO (fear of missing out) causes investors to pump the markets, overvaluing Bitcoin’s price. In other words, the increased greed may lead to excess demand, artificially inflating the price.


How does the Crypto Fear and Greed Index work?

Each day, Alternate.me calculates a new value from 0 to 100. As of July 2021, the Crypto Fear and Greed Index only uses Bitcoin-related information. The reason behind this is BTC's significant correlation with the crypto market as a whole when it comes to price and sentiment. There are plans in the future to cover other large coins, presumably including Ether (ETH) and BNB.


You can divide the index's scale into the following categories:

  • 0-24: Extreme fear (orange)
  • 25-49: Fear (amber/yellow)
  • 50-74: Greed (light green)
  • 75-100: Extreme greed (green)

The index calculates the value by combining five different weighted market factors. Let's take a look:

1. Volatility (25% of the index). Volatility measures the current value of Bitcoin with averages from the last 30 and 90 days. Here, the index uses volatility as a stand-in for uncertainty in the market.
2. Market momentum/volume (25% of the index). Bitcoin's current trading volume and market momentum are compared with the previous 30 and 90-day average values and then combined. Constant high-volume buying suggests positive or greedy market sentiment.
3. Social media (15% of the index). This factor looks at the number of Twitter hashtags related to Bitcoin and, specifically, its interaction rate. Typically, a constant and unusually high amount of interactions relates more to market greed than fear.
4. Bitcoin dominance (10% of the index). This input measures BTC's dominance of the market. Increased market dominance shows new investment into the coin and the possible reallocation of funds from altcoins.
5. Google Trends (10% of the index). By looking at Google Trends data for Bitcoin-related search queries, the index can provide insights into market sentiment. For example, a rise in "Bitcoin Scam" searches would indicate more fear in the market.
6. Survey results (15% Index Score). This input is currently paused and has been for some time.


Why is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index useful?

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index can be a valuable tool for checking market sentiment changes. Large swings may provide an opportunity to enter or exit before the rest of the market follows the trend. We can see a brief example of this by checking the last three months of total cryptocurrency market cap versus the index figures.


Point 1 shows April 26, 2021, the bottom of a significant swing in the index value from 73 (Greed) to 27 (fear). Point 2 shows the start of another slide on May 12, 2021, from 68 (greed) to 26 (fear). We can see if this has matched with the crypto market by comparing these changes with the overall crypto market capitalization.


Point 1 again shows April 26 starting at $1.78 trillion (USD) before climbing up to a peak of $2.53 trillion on May 12. If you combine this with what we see above, you see a large swing in sentiment from greed to fear coinciding with a local bottom in the crypto market cap. As the market becomes more greedy, the overall market cap rises until it reaches its maximum. At the maximum, sentiment once again sharply drops.

With our example, the index has proven helpful in finding a buying opportunity and predicting a sell-off in the market. Using the index, you can check whether your emotional reactions are overblown or in line with the market. But will it always be helpful for every situation? More than likely, no.


Can I use the index for long-term analysis?

The indicator doesn’t work as well on long-term analysis of crypto market cycles. Within a bull or bear run, there are multiple cycles of fear and greed. These switches are useful for swing traders to take advantage of. However, for investors who want to hold, it will be difficult to predict the change from a bull to a bear market just from the index. You will need to analyze other market aspects to get a long-term perspective.
As always, recommended advice is that you don't rely solely on one indicator or style of analysis. Make sure to do your own research (DYOR) before investing any money and only invest what you can afford to lose.


Closing thoughts

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index is a simple way to gather and summarize a whole range of fundamental and market sentiment metrics. Rather than have to do this yourself, you can rely on the indicator to track social media, Google Trends, and other statistics. If you want to include it in your analysis, consider complementing it with other metrics and indicators to get a more balanced view.