Know Your Limits

Configuring Gunbot can be an art, and it can be a science.  One of the most basic configuration elements is setting the proper limits to tell Gunbot how much to trade.  This article explains those basics and then some tips on how to avoid mistakes.

Know your limits

What’s Going On

Gunbot needs to be told what to do.  It needs to know what pairs you want to run, what strategies to run on those pairs, what Telegram account to notify of massive profits, and so much more.

One of the most fundamental pieces of information Gunbot needs to know is your budget.  Some people trade with very low amounts… skirting with the minimum order size that the Exchange will allow, and others trade with amounts that would make most people’s head spin.

In order to tell Gunbot your budget, you don’t tell it the total amount you have to play with, nor will it assume all the crypto you have in your account is fair game and auto-budget itself. It must be told how big each trade should be, and needs to know how to tell if an amount is too small to care about.  These small amounts, also called “dust”, might prevent Gunbot from trading if it’s not told to ignore them.

Limits Explained

Like with any configuration element, your first trip to learn about it should be the official Gunbot wiki.  That’s where the latest intel resides about variables, default settings, strategies and what’s latest in the most recent version.

Let’s see what the wiki has to say about these limits:

Parameter Default value Description
TRADING_LIMIT Strategy dependent Values: numerical – represent an amount in primary trading currency. This value defines the trading limit for limit buy orders placed by Gunbot. A value of 0.001 would place maximum orders of 0.001 BTC when used on a BTC_x pair. Only use whole numbers for fiat pairs.
MIN_VOLUME_TO_BUY Strategy dependent Values: numerical – represents the total value of a coins holdings in base currency. Sets a threshold for buy orders. If you own less than the set amount, buy orders will still be placed. This prevents owning very small quantities (dust) blocking buy orders. Only use whole numbers for fiat pairs.
`MIN_VOLUME_TO_SELL` Strategy dependent Values: numerical – represents the total value of a coins holdings in base currency. Sets a threshold for sell orders. If you own less than the set amount, sell orders will not be placed and the bot goes into buying mode again.

So, the first thing we learn is that TRADING_LIMIT does not represent your entire budget – it’s the amount Gunbot will trade per pair.  This is important, because every new pair you add to a Gunbot instance can possibly spend at least TRADING_LIMIT amount of your funding currency.

Use funding currency terms

Speaking of funding currency, that’s the second thing we need to know about TRADING_LIMIT  The amount you put as this value needs to be expressed in the same coin as you are using as the funding currency.  In Gunbot, this is the first coin of the pair.  For example, if the pair you run is BTC-OMG , then “BTC” is the Funding Currency (aka “base”) and OMG is the coin you want to buy (aka “quote”).  If your pair is ETH-LTC then Ethereum is your base and LiteCoin is your quote.  In Gunbot’s terms, the base comes first and quote comes second.

Note: As of Gunbot v7, all pairs are denoted in “BASE-QUOTE” format with a dash in the middle, regardless of how the Exchange expresses or denotes the format.  For example, Cryptopia might say “ETH/BTC” with a slash, or Kraken might put it backwards and use “XLTCXXBT” with an extra “X” in front of each asset, but only some, but Gunbot’s notation would be ETH-BTC for the Cryptopia example and BTC-LTC for the Kraken example.

So, put the TRADING_LIMIT in the same terms of the base.  If you run BTC-xxx pairs, then you should put the limit in as a Bitcoin amount.  ETH-xxx pairs need Ethereum values as the limit.

FIAT is “special”

There’s a special case for FIAT pairs (USD, EUR, USDT, TUSD, etc) where not only do you need to put the amounts in FIAT terms (100 for $100, for example instead of 0.001 BTC for a $10k bitcoin value), but you also need to not use any decimals.  WHOLE NUMBERS ONLY

Good:

TRADING_LIMIT: 120

Bad:

TRADING_LIMIT: 120.50

TRADING_LIMIT: 0.001

This goes for all “currency value” settings: TRADING_LIMIT, MIN_VOLUME_TO_BUY, MIN_VOLUME_TO_SELL, and FUNDS_RESERVE.   It also applies to Ping Pong Strategy variables PP_BUY and PP_SELL.

MVTB and MVTS – what are they?

The other two main configuration elements regarding actual money values are MIN_VOLUME_TO_BUY (MVTB) and MIN_VOLUME_TO_SELL (MVTS).  These help Gunbot understand when to buy and when to sell.

Dust explained

“Dust” is a term crypto traders use to describe very small amounts of crypto in an account.   Just like when you use a saw to cut some wood, the action of sawing not only gives the intended result (wood that is cut), but it also produces material as a side effect of performing the sawing — namely, dust.

Dust is important to understand, because you can accumulate dust in many ways in the crypto world.

For one, if you have, say 10.05634 EOS coins in your account, and you are only able to sell 10 of them, you will have 0.05634 EOS left in your account.  This might happen because your sell order couldn’t be matched up to an exact sell order that filled all 10.  Maybe your order was matched up to two buy orders – one for 6 EOS and one for 4 EOS.  Then when it came to try and get rid of the remaining amount, the order would be too small for the exchange to honor.

Another way you might get dust is from small micro-deposits, such as from Binance’s referral program.  Binance gives fee commissions for anyone you refer. It started off at 50% and is currently 20%.  So when someone you refer makes a trade, they have to pay a fee on that trade.  You get 20% of that fee.  The fee is already small – usually 0.1% if no BNB is used and 0.05% if BNB is used.   Therefore you’d be getting 0.02% or 0.01% of their trade, which is almost guaranteed to be a miniscule amount.  This becomes dust in your account.

MIN_VOLUME_TO_BUY (MVTB)

This setting allows Gunbot to avoid dust.  Normally, dust clogs up Gunbot and prevents it from trading.  Basically, it won’t initiate a trade if you already own some value of the coin.  However, since “dust” needs to be ignored, Gunbot needs to know what you consider “dust” vs “substantial enough to notice”.

Once you have at least MVTB amount of coins in your account, Gunbot goes into sell mode.  If you have less than MVTB coins, Gunbot is in buy mode.

MIN_VOLUME_TO_SELL (MVTS)

After reading the wiki entry for MVTS, you might think it’s basically the same as MVTB, since it says “threshold for sell orders”.

However, there’s a difference between when Gunbot should be in a Buying mood (crypto amount is less than MVTB) and when Gunbot should be allowed to sell (crypto amount is more than MVTS).

There’s also a difference between Gunbot being in a selling mood and Gunbot being allowed to sell.

How to Set Appropriate Limits

Now that we’ve reviewed a ton of detail on each of the settings, you might just be asking “ENOUGH ALREADY!  WHAT DO I PUT HERE?!?!?!”

Here are some tips on how to set the right amount:

Rule #1: MVTB must be less than or equal to TRADING_LIMIT.

Rule #2: MVTB and MVTS must be greater than or equal to the Exchange’s Minimum Order Size.

If you set this too low, then Gunbot will attempt to make orders, but the Exchange will kick them back.  It’s not like Gunbot is going to auto-increase the values for you – it is your money after all.

Rule #3: It’s ok and common for MVTB and MVTS to be the same

You can set MVTS higher, but be careful that you don’t make Gunbot stop selling while it’s unable to buy.  Most commonly, these two values will be the same amount.

Rule #4: It is highly recommended that TRADING_LIMIT be higher than MVTB  to avoid the “Double Buy Exploit“.  Target would be 3x to 4x, but it’s usually enough to make it 1.5 to 2x.

Many people, and the defaults in previous versions of Gunbot helped with this, use the same amount for `TRADING_LIMIT` and `MVTB`.  However, if you do this, then you are subject to experiencing the “Double Buy Exploit”.  It’s not an actual exploit from a security perspective, and it’s not a bug in any way.  It’s just a consequence of Gunbot doing exactly what you told it to do.

Rule #5: If you’re too Greedy, you’ll suffer in bear markets

Many beginner crypto traders, and especially Gunbotters, look to their right and see someone who has tripled their money with amazing trades.  They look to their left and see another person who’s made 10X gains and brags about the constant profits.

So, naturally, they think that’s what crypto is, so they set Gunbot running and give all their BTC to Gunbot.  It might work for a little while, but eventually the bear cycle comes around and BAGS happen.  And because they were greedy and gave all their BTC to Gunbot, Gunbot did exactly what it was told to do, and pretty soon, all the BTC is gone and all the trader has is a bunch of heavy bags that have lost value.

We at GBU recommend you use much less than all your BTC when botting.  First, you need room to handle your bags.  Bags happen to everyone and there is no magic formula to eliminate all of them fast, cheap, and cleanly.  You should always keep dry powder, and use much less budget than you think.

When I started off, I used the lowest amount both you and the exchange can stand, and only ran enough pairs that I used 10-20% of my available BTC.  This gave me enough room to learn Gunbot’s settings, to make sure I didn’t make wild mistakes, and when the bear market came, I had plenty of BTC to move to other pairs, use Double Up or move my bags off to another wallet.

With the above guidelines, you should be good to go.

Double Buy Exploit

Example: let’s say you run BTC-ETH pair and have 0.002 set for both TRADING_LIMIT and MVTB.  This means when you have less than 0.002 BTC worth of ETH in your account, Gunbot feels like buying.

Then, ETH becomes tasty and Gunbot buys some.  It buys 0.002 worth and it’s now in your account.

Well, Gunbot usually buys on a downtrend, if it’s configured like most people want.  If ETH value continues to drop after Gunbot purchases it, then you will have, say 0.00195 BTC worth of ETH in your account.

If this value stays there for the next cycle, and Gunbot has a low TRADES_TIMEOUT and isn’t using the safety switch, then, per the rules you have configured, 0.00195 BTC worth of ETH is now considered “dust”.  It’s free to buy again!  If the conditions are still ripe for buying, Gunbot will then purchase another TRADING_LIMIT amount of ETH (0.002) and it will be added to the wallet.

Now you have 0.00395 BTC worth and that amount is greater than MVTB, so it won’t buy again.

This shows up as a “double buy” in your trading history, because it will show two purchases of 0.002 close together. You might think Gunbot is double-buying by mistake, but it’s doing what you told it to do.

Exchange Minimum Order Size

At time of writing, here are the different Gunbot-supported Exchange minimums:

Exchange Minimum
(BTC)
Notes
Binance 0.001 Binance used to be 0.001, then changed to 0.002 and is now back to 0.001.  It also has additional minimum requirements more than just order size, such as minimum number of coins. Also, many coins must be purchased in whole numbers and not fractions (this doesn’t impact TRADING_LIMIT, however – Gunbot will automatically round the order to a whole number when needed). Binance also publishes their Trading Rules online.
Bittrex 0.001 Bittrex used to have a 0.0005 limit and then issued an announcement in November 2017 where they said the new limit is 0.001.  However, we’ve seen that we can still place orders for 0.0005 for many coins, if not all of them. Maybe Bittrex is slow in implementing and enforcing the rules, but GBU recommends following the published guidelines.
Poloniex 0.0001 Polo’s minimum is the same for all the funding currencies – BTC, ETH, XMR and USDT.
Kraken 0.002 Kraken’s minimum orders vary by currency – 0.002 is the BTC minimum.  You can view all the details on Kraken’s article about the topic.
Cryptopia 0.0005 This is from experience and forum posts vs an official post by the company.  It used to be 0.0001.
Bitfinex <varies> The official Bitfinex post about exchange minimum order size states:  “The minimum order sizes for each trading pair is periodically adjusted to maintain order sizes that are reasonably proportioned to their values. The ultimate goal is to keep the minimum order size between 10-25 USD equivalent value while limiting the changes to the minimum order sizes to useful incremental values.
CEX.io <varies>
0.002
According to CEX.IO’s guidance posted on their website, they say:
“Trading on CEX.IO is flexible in terms of order placement, however, there are certain limitations.You can always check them by typing in https://cex.io/api/currency_limits into your address line.”BTC is listed at 0.002.  Other currencies have their respective limits.
GDAX  0.001  GDAX publishes their minimums for trading, withdrawals and deposits on their support site.

 

Summary:

  1. Make `MIN_VOLUME_TO_BUY` and MIN_VOLUME_TO_SELL at least as big as the Exchange’s minimum order size.
  2. Make TRADING_LIMIT higher than `MIN_VOLUME_TO_BUY`.
  3. Make `TRADING_LIMIT` as low as you and the exchange can stand while you learn how to configure Gunbot and learn the market cycles.
  4. When using FIAT pairs, use whole numbers only (no decimals).