What Is RSI in Crypto and How to Use the Indicator in Trading?

Cryptocurrency represents a significant economic innovation. Interest in cryptocurrency has grown due to its high volatility and deflationary dynamics. Traders have begun applying fundamental and technical analysis tools to the cryptocurrency market.

The Importance of Technical Analysis in Crypto Trading

Trading generally follows a specific algorithm. Before opening a trade, traders must assess the probability of trend reversal or continuation and determine the entry moment. The accuracy of market research is crucial. Understanding how the rate of a particular cryptocurrency will change is necessary.

Besides fundamental analysis, which includes studying political and economic news, traders perform technical analysis. This involves studying cryptocurrency quotation history. Price dynamics are believed to be cyclical, with demand and supply regularly repeating patterns.

Mathematical indicators for technical analysis help predict price dynamics. These indicators are calculated automatically in trading platforms and are often displayed on or near the rate chart. Among these indicators, one of the most popular is the RSI indicator.

Understanding RSI: What Is It and How Does It Work?

RSI (Relative Strength Index) is a technical analysis indicator that shows the ratio of positive and negative price changes of a financial instrument. Developed by J. Welles Wilder, Jr., and presented in his 1978 book “New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems,” RSI is popular due to its simplicity and quality signals.

RSI measures relative strength, the ratio of average price increases to average price decreases over a period. This value indicates whether buyers or sellers had a stronger influence on the price and suggests future developments.

RSI Calculation Formula

The formula for calculating RSI is:

RSI = 100 – [100/ (1 + RS)]

RS (Relative Strength) is the average of upward price movements divided by the average of downward price movements over a specified period.

RSI Chart

Graphically, RSI is displayed as an oscillator with a scale from 0 to 100. It moves with price changes, allowing traders to see trend lines, support, and resistance levels on both price and RSI charts. This redundancy helps filter out false signals and identify accurate ones.

How to Use RSI in Crypto Trading

Overbought and Oversold Levels

RSI fluctuates between 0 and 100. Levels above 70 indicate overbought conditions, while levels below 30 indicate oversold conditions. Traders often adjust these boundaries to 80 and 20, respectively, in strong bullish or bearish trends to improve entry accuracy.


Divergence occurs when the price reaches new highs or lows while RSI shows lower or higher values than previous records. Bullish divergence, where the price hits a new low and RSI is higher, suggests an upward price reversal. Bearish divergence, where the price hits a new high and RSI is lower, suggests a downward price reversal.

RSI 50 Crossing

When RSI crosses the 50 level, it indicates a trend change. Crossing above 50 suggests an uptrend, while crossing below 50 suggests a downtrend.

Advantages and Disadvantages of RSI


  • Versatility: RSI works across various markets and timeframes.
  • Accessibility: Widely available on most trading platforms.
  • Easy Setup: Simple to use and understand, even for beginners.
  • Flexibility: Can be used alone or with other indicators for deeper analysis.


  • Signal Inaccuracy: RSI is a lagging indicator, especially on lower timeframes and in volatile markets. It can give false signals.
  • Market Conditions: Works better in calm markets. Comparing values across different timeframes can improve accuracy.

Trading Strategies Using RSI

Combining RSI with Moving Averages

One effective strategy is to combine RSI with moving averages. For example, traders can use a 50-day moving average to identify the overall trend and then use RSI to time their entries and exits. When the price is above the 50-day moving average and RSI indicates overbought conditions, it might signal a selling opportunity. Conversely, when the price is below the 50-day moving average and RSI indicates oversold conditions, it could signal a buying opportunity.

Using RSI with Support and Resistance Levels

Another strategy involves using RSI in conjunction with support and resistance levels. Traders can look for RSI divergence at these key levels to identify potential reversals. For instance, if the price is approaching a known support level and RSI shows bullish divergence, it may indicate a buying opportunity. Similarly, if the price is nearing a resistance level and RSI shows bearish divergence, it could signal a selling opportunity.

RSI Swing Rejections

RSI swing rejections provide another method to use RSI effectively. This strategy focuses on RSI’s behavior when it reverses from the overbought or oversold zones. For example, during an uptrend, traders can look for RSI to move back above 30 after dipping below it, indicating a potential buy signal. Conversely, during a downtrend, traders can look for RSI to move back below 70 after rising above it, suggesting a potential sell signal.

RSI Trend Lines

Drawing trend lines on the RSI chart itself can also be useful. By identifying trends and breakouts on the RSI chart, traders can gain additional confirmation of price movements. For example, a break of an RSI trend line in an overbought condition may indicate a potential price decline, while a break of an RSI trend line in an oversold condition may suggest a potential price increase.


RSI is a valuable technical analysis tool for crypto trading. It helps traders determine the strength of trends and make informed trading decisions. When used correctly and with other indicators, RSI can be an effective component of a trading strategy. Success in trading with RSI depends on the tools used alongside it and the trader’s ability to interpret its signals accurately. By combining RSI with other analysis techniques and understanding its advantages and limitations, traders can enhance their trading performance and achieve better results in the cryptocurrency market.

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