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Crypto Fear And Greed Index, Explained

Published August 18, 2023 9:22 AM
Andrew Kamsky
Published August 18, 2023 9:22 AM

Key Takeaways

  • The Crypto Fear and Greed Index assesses market sentiment on a 1-100 scale, reflecting fear (1) to greed (100).
  • Incorporating factors like volatility, momentum, social media, surveys, and dominance, the index offers nuanced sentiment insights.
  • Low index values suggest undervaluation (fear), while high values imply overvaluation (greed), guiding strategic decisions.
  • The index aids decision-making, yet solely relying on sentiment, short-term focus, and potential biases are drawbacks.

What is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index is a metric designed to assess the market sentiment of cryptocurrencies at any given moment. This index measures over a spectrum from a single number between 1 and 100, showing extreme fear (1) to extreme greed (100) within the market.

An index value of 1, typically suggests the asset is oversold hence offering a buying opportunity. Whilst, an index value of 100 may be seen as an opportunity for a sell signal, reflecting an overbought market. 

History Of The Crypto Fear And Greed Index 

First introduced in February 2018 by alternative.me, this index is Bitcoin-specific but is often used to assess the sentiment of the broader crypto sector. Alternative.me is a platform designed to enhance connections between a range of software and product alternatives, aiming to optimize these relationships.

While traditional indices focus on asset performance, the crypto index factors in emotional triggers that can lead to deviations from long-term price ranges. The indicator is built on the following components:

  • Volatility: Volatility is a measure of how much a market or asset’s price fluctuates over time. Where higher volatility is mostly associated with fear, as investors become uncertain about the market’s direction.
  • Market momentum/volume: Market momentum or volume is the speed or momentum at which price changes are measured where strong momentum indicates strong price movement, which can correlate with market greed. High volume in a bullish market can reflect greed, while low volume in a bearish market can indicate fear.
  • Social media: Investors express their opinions, emotions, and predictions on platforms like Twitter and Reddit. Positive or negative sentiment on social media can influence market sentiment indicators.
  • Surveys: Survey data contributes to the sentiment index and offers an additional perspective on market sentiment.
  • Dominance: Dominance refers to the market share of a specific cryptocurrency, typically Bitcoin, in the overall crypto market. Higher dominance can indicate market confidence in that cryptocurrency, possibly reflecting greed. Lower dominance may suggest diversification and caution, aligning with fear.

Warren Buffett’s Quote 

Warren Buffett’s quote “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful” underscores the value of contrarian thinking. When index values are low, buying on market downturns might be advantageous, potentially leading to strong returns. The opposite thinking holds when the fear and factor indicator is printing higher levels.

Interpreting Index Values

Range of Index Values (1 to 100) 

The Fear and Greed Index ranges from 0 (Extreme Fear) to 100 (Extreme Greed). Lower values suggest fear, indicating undervaluation, while higher values imply greed, signaling overvaluation.

Extreme Fear (1) 

Fear And Greed Index 2018 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin
Fear And Greed Index 2018 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin


Fear And Greed Index 2020 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin
Fear And Greed Index 2020 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin

During the period of lowest fear in February 2018, the Fear & Greed Index stood at 8, with a Bitcoin price of around $6,817. Another instance of minimal fear was in March 2020, with the Fear & Greed Index bottoming at 9 and Bitcoin’s value at approximately $5,032. The snapshots above respectively reflect moments when market sentiment indicated a sense of extreme caution or concern.

Extreme Greed (100)


Fear And Greed Index 2019 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin
Fear And Greed Index 2019 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin


Fear And Greed Index 2021 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin
Fear And Greed Index 2021 | Credit: Lookintobitcoin

In June 2019, the Fear & Greed Index registered 95 alongside a Bitcoin price of $13,025. This optimism might have influenced decision-making, driven by the fear of missing out. A similar instance occurred in February 2021, with the Fear & Greed Index hitting 95 and Bitcoin price $49,238, respectively. 

Use Cases Of The Fear And Greed Index For Investors

Investors can leverage the Fear and Greed Index as a valuable tool for making informed decisions in the financial markets. When the market signals fear, the price of Bitcoin might become oversold or undervalued, presenting a chance for investors to enter the market at favorable prices.

On the flip side, during phases of extreme greed, the index helps identify overbought conditions where stocks may be overvalued. This recognition can serve as a signal for cautiousness and potentially taking profits. 

By tracking the shifts between fear and greed, investors may adjust their portfolios, allocating assets accordingly to manage risk and capitalize on market opportunities, as they navigate the dynamic landscape of investor emotions and market trends.

What Are The Drawbacks Of The Crypto And Fear Index?

Like any indicator some limitations and drawbacks exist and should be considered before taking financial decisions. Some drawbacks of the crypto Fear and Greed Index include:

  • Sole reliance on sentiment: The index doesn’t take into account fundamental factors like technology, adoption, or utility of a cryptocurrency. Market sentiment alone might not always accurately reflect the underlying fundamentals of a cryptocurrency.
  • Short-term focus: The index is more effective for short-term market analysis, as it measures immediate sentiment.
  • Lack of context: The index may not consider external factors that can influence sentiment, such as macroeconomic and black swan events, regulatory changes, or technological developments.
  • Subjectivity: The classification of sentiment into categories like “extreme fear” or “extreme greed” is subjective and can vary from person to person.
  • Market manipulation: Extreme market movements can sometimes be artificially created this could potentially lead to misleading signals.
  • Inaccuracy in extreme situations: In extreme market conditions, such as a market crash or rapid price surges, the index might not accurately capture the sentiment due to its simple calculation methodology.


The Crypto Fear and Greed Index offers investors and traders a source and valuable tool to navigate a volatile cryptocurrency market, helping traders and investors make informed decisions. While it presents insights into investor emotions, it’s important to recognize its limitations and use it as a complement to comprehensive market analysis.


What does the Crypto Fear and Greed Index tell you?

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index quantifies cryptocurrency market sentiment on a scale from 1 to 100, representing extreme fear to extreme greed. A low index (e.g., 1) suggests oversold assets, while a high index (e.g.,100) indicates an overbought market.

How is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index computed?

Introduced in 2018, this Bitcoin-centric index offers insight into crypto sentiment. It factors in components like volatility, market momentum/volume, social media, surveys, and dominance. Higher volatility often relates to fear, while momentum and social media can correlate with greed.

How to Interpret Crypto Fear and Greed Index Values?

The index ranges from 0 (Extreme Fear) to 100 (Extreme Greed). Low values imply fear and undervaluation, while high values suggest greed and overvaluation. Contrarian thinking aligns with Warren Buffett’s quote to buy during fear and be cautious during greed.

What are the limitations of the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?

The index relies solely on sentiment and is suitable for short-term analysis. External factors, like macroeconomic events, aren’t always considered. Classification of sentiment is subjective, and it lacks fundamental analysis, potentially missing technological or adoption factors. Extreme situations might lead to inaccurate readings due to its simple calculation method.

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