Losing money on profitable crypto trades

I wrote a bot which buys and sells crypto, it only sells when there is a 2% gain in profit from when it was originally purchased. When these trades take place the Alpaca dashboard does indeed say the trade was sold at a higher price than when it was purchased. However, the total equity amount on the paper trading account actually loses money.

Is this a known issue? Has anyone else experienced this?

I’ve seen the same thing. Last night my ML algo made 49 trades, and according to the “Account Activities” 41 of them were profitable with a total profit of $3,867. But the overview screen shows I lost $9,100.

1 Like

wondering if there is a hidden host to trading cryptos or if it’s just a bug.

It’s got to be some kind of bug with the crypto API because my bot has no issues when I trade company stocks. It works as expected and the profits generate in my account.

I sent a note to Support to report the bug. So far no anwer.

1 Like

There is currently an issue with the P&L and the cost basis reported for crypto which are being resolved. Crypto trades incur a ‘spread markup’ of .1%. What this means is if one is buying and the current ask price of $1000 then Alpaca will charge, or debit the account for 1000 x 1.001 or $1001. Selling is just the reverse. The cost basis and P&L are currently incorrectly being reported as that quote price (eg $1000 in the above example) and not the actual executed price price (eg $1001 in the above example). The account equity correctly uses the executed prices.

There are no other hidden fees or commissions for crypto trading other than this ‘spread markup’.

The dashboard should be updated to reflect executed prices and P&L soon and will show the correct values.

Dumb question, but how is that not just a fee? I would have assumed that the spread would just be reflected in the price, and not tacked on afterwards.

1 Like

omg bu cok zor bir durum

I am currently facing the same issue. Different execution prices are sent via email, and different are shown on the dashboards. Also, it appears that the commission/pricing is not transparent.

Hello, I believe I am experiencing a similar issue and wanted to see if this is expected behavior I should be planning for, or if I am fundamentally misunderstanding how the crypto margins are calculated.

Below is a trade from a freshly reset paper account with $30k value buying QTY 8 ETHUSD. Below are the stats of the order purchase. You will notice that after some time went by the total P/L is reporting $190.40 due to the difference between current price and avg entry. This makes sense to me:

At this same time, my portfolio summary and equity amount is showing $30,103. As shown below:

Now I understand there is a 0.1% spread markup for crypto trades. Looking at chart above I would have expected this fee to be somewhere around 3365 * 0.001 * 8= ~$27, but looking at the difference in my equity to the profitable trade P/L, it seems like the markup was more along the lines of $87 (190-103 in this example). After more time goes by, it seems like this value seems fairly consistent - in the example below 228-145=$83:

In these examples, can you please try to outline why there is a loss of $80-90 right off the top of the trade, when I would expect the 0.1% spread margin to be lower than this? Am I fundamentally misunderstanding the spread margin calculations?


I was just reading through the slack crypto-trading channel, and noticed a comment from Eyad that said “our spread markup does not exceed 0.3%”, and “It is helpful to know that the transaction fees is 0.3%”.

So in the example I shared above, 3365 * 0.003 * 8 = ~$81 - so this checks out. I guess I was confused when reading the documentation that said the spread margin was 0.1% but really seems more like 0.3%.


Also this note was helpful for future reference too:

  • This is true for both transactions you would do, so for buy and sell, correct? Meaning that you effectively need at least .6% (i know it’s not fully accurate) gain in order to break even ?
  • True, it’s marked on each order buy/sell.


Thank you for contributing! We have a dedicated discord focused solely on Crypto related queries with an active community and more engagement. Feel free to join via the invite link below;