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Say I want to make a money exchange to sell a small amount of Bitcoin for USD (I've not done this before). I notice a few things that I am not sure I understand when I visited btc-e.com. There are two boxes:

  1. Amount BTC (is initially blank)

  2. Price per BTC (looks like it is set to the Highest Bid Price when the page first loads but doesn't get updated).

Will the 2nd box effect how / if the order gets filled?

If I want to sell as I say then shouldn't the 2nd box be set to a lower price in USD so that they sell quicker? Or say I wanted to put the 2nd box to a value in USD that is higher than the highest bid then will it take longer (or never) to be filled?

The fact that the price in the 2nd box doesn't get updated and is editable seams weird; as I thought it was the spread. What if you left the page open for ages and then hit sell? Surly there would be a totally useless order on the book!?

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Will the 2nd box effect how / if the order gets filled?

Yes. The order can't be filled until there's crossing offer in the other direction.

If I want to sell as I say then shouldn't the 2nd box be set to a lower price in USD so that they sell quicker? Or say I wanted to put the 2nd box to a value in USD that is higher than the highest bid then will it take longer (or never) to be filled?

It depends what's more important to you, selling quickly or getting the highest possible price (but possibly never selling at all).

The fact that the price in the 2nd box doesn't get updated and is editable seams weird; as I thought it was the spread.

You can place an offer to buy or sell at any price you want.

What if you left the page open for ages and then hit sell? Surly there would be a totally useless order on the book!?

Well, not necessarily. Someone might want to buy more coins than are available at a price closer to the market price and might have to take offers a bit outside of the normal market price. Some people place offers just in case the price moves.

Imagine the price is $300 and nobody places out of market offers. What happens if all the people willing to sell at $300 have their offers taken? There would be no sell offers at all on the books and people willing to sell at, say, $325, would lose an opportunity. So there will generally be lots of offers to sell above, and buy below, the current market price.

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