Cracking the Code: What Are Crypto Pairs? – A Short Explanation by ChangeNOW

Arbitrage trading offers a plethora of opportunities to make profits, yet, only savvy crypto traders know how to take advantage of differences in asset prices across different markets. In order to spot these money-making opportunities, traders have to get to know more about cryptocurrency pairs first. Today, we’re diving deeper into crypto pairs. So how do crypto pairs work exactly? 

What Is a Crypto Pair

Put simply, crypto pairs are assets that can be swapped one for another on crypto exchanges. The crypto pair as a concept is pretty much self-explanatory. You can’t buy one currency without selling another one, and vice versa – that’s why we call them pairs. Some cryptos can be bought with both fiat and crypto while some can only be bought with other cryptocurrencies. Many crypto exchange platforms such as ChangeNOW also offer stablecoin trading (USDT/BTC, USDT/DOGE, etc) and offer multiple pairing options, so you can easily find a pairing based on the assets that are already sitting in your wallet. 

Crypto Pair Trading

Crypto pair trading involves comparing the relative worth of two cryptocurrencies, which eliminates the need for exchanging each for fiat money first. For instance, if you’d want to trade BTC for LTC, you’d participate in the BTC/LTC trading pair, where BTC is the base currency (since it is put first, on the left side of this trading pair) and LTC is the quote currency (it always comes after the “/”). Most of the time, BTC and ETH are used as base currencies. 

When learning how to trade crypto pairs, you should know how to read them in the first place. Now that you understand the difference between the base and quote currency, let’s learn how to read pairs. 

If you’d be trading ETH for BTC (ETH/BTC trading pair), you’d need 0.0696 BTC to get 1 ETH. This trading pair, as well as other pairs, actually tells you how much of the quoted currency you need to receive one unit of the base currency. 

It’s worth mentioning that crypto pair trading also eliminates paying hefty trading fees. If it wasn’t for crypto pairs, traders would have to use intermediaries and lose money on transaction fees. 

In other words – if you wanted to buy some ALGO with SOL, and if there wasn’t an SOL/ALGO trading pair, you’d have to swap SOL to USDT first, and then USDT to ALGO. Luckily, there’s an SOL/ALGO trading pair that makes this entire process hassle-free. 

When is the best time to enter a trade? Well, if you think that SOL will outperform ALGO in the short term, you can open a long order on the SOL/USDT trading pair and a short one on the ALGO/USDT trading pair. 

Top Crypto Pairs

These are the most popular and most traded crypto pairs: 


Cryptocurrencies are more or less correlated across different exchanges, which is why you should be super attentive to price changes and choose the right pairs. To choose the right pair, you should analyze price charts, research historic prices, and plan your trades. In short – you should have some experience under your belt and a deep understanding of the market. High-volume and high-liquidity pairs such as BTC/ETH are safe plays since neither of them experiences sharp drops as altcoins do. To conclude, before you delve into crypto pairs trading, make sure to double-check which exchanges support which cryptocurrency pairs. 

About ChangeNOW

ChangeNOW is a non-custodial crypto exchange that gives users access to almost 500 currencies that can be traded without any limits, within a matter of minutes! So far, the ChangeNOW team built several super-useful products, including NOW Wallet, NOWPayments, and NOWTracker just to mention a few. Creating a wallet is quick and easy and absolutely doesn’t require you to sign up, although you can, if you want. Becoming a registered user gives you access to premium benefits such as unlimited crypto loans and fixed LTV and APR. The best thing of all? ChangeNOW mobile app makes it super convenient to trade and track crypto even when you are on the move and brings the best money-making opportunities at your fingertips!