Take the following example:

On a cryptocurrency exchange with a maker/taker fee structure, the buys are listed as

1.030000 btc - $ 2103.89, 409.2138 btc - $ 2103.67, 44.23384 btc - $ 2103.53, ..., .., .

And sells are listed as

101.0300 btc - $ 2104.01, 79.21638 btc - $ 2104.21, 2.233874 btc - $ 2104.97, ..., .., .,

And let's say the exchange charges .3% for a taker fee and .001% as a maker fee.

Now as I understand it, the only way for the market to market to move is for takers to come in and purchase (maker) orders that have been placed on the books. Why would someone do this, when you pay significantly less fees by creating liquidity (a maker order)? Do people decide that they have to be the sacrificial lambs and eat the taker fees in order to get the market to move? I just don't understand what incentivizes someone to eat the taker fee, rather than just wait for either someone else to move the market up a little bit to hit your order that's on the books (either stick the sell in at 2104.01 or the buy in at 2103.89).

  • 2
    Do you really not see the value of an immediate transaction?
    – quid
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:53
  • Not if it means you only have to wait for a few cents to change. I'd just assume that most of the time, especially on larger transactions, .3% is going to be much larger than a few cents Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 23:00
  • 4
    you only have to wait for a few cents to change. Sure, but if you try to sell at 2104.01, you run the risk that the price just goes down, and never gets back to 2104.01. Now it's a week later, and the price is $1400, and your sell order is still siting there at 2104.01; now what? May not happen often, but when it does, you're really unhappy. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 0:06
  • 1
    Ah, so that means that the people who do immediate buys/sells are expecting that the market is going to go up for the buys, or down for the sells, and completely miss their entry, and that the market will go up enough (immediately) to make up for any taker fees they might have to pay Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 14:23
  • 1
    @NateEldredge comments are not for answering, etc, etc can you make that comment into a proper answer? Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


Any time you place a limit ("maker") order, you run a risk that it will never execute, because the price may move in the opposite direction and never come back. A market ("taker") order avoids that risk, at the cost of a slightly higher trade fee.

In your example, imagine you put in a limit sell order at $2104.01. An instant later, someone else puts in a large sell order at $2104.00. The next several orders drive the price down further. Then a succession of buys and sells makes the price fluctuate a bit, but with no trades as high as $2104.01. A few days later, the price collapses and settles around $1000.00. There is little chance of your $2104.01 order ever executing now. If you want to unload your BTC, you'll have to cancel your order and sell at $1000.00 instead. On the other hand, if you had put in a market order in the first place, you'd have sold at $2103.89. By trying to save a few pennies, you missed the peak entirely and lost thousands of dollars.

Granted, this scenario is pretty unlikely. In a market with reasonable liquidity and volatility, there will usually be enough fluctuation that your order at $2104.01 will probably execute rather promptly. But there is no guarantee of that, and a scenario like the one above is always possible, even if improbable. So it represents a risk, though possibly a small one. The lower fee for limit orders helps compensate you for that risk. Some people will feel it's adequate compensation and go ahead with a limit order; some will feel it's inadequate and go with a market order.

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