What is Volatility? | Definition and Example

Volatility measures how much the value of an asset or a market index changes over time. A higher volatility means a higher risk, as prices can fluctuate more unpredictably. It is calculated using statistical tools such as standard deviation or variance.

Volatility in a nutshell

  • Volatility is a measure of price fluctuations and thus of risk, which is calculated using statistical instruments such as standard deviation or variance.
  • Types: Historical, Implied, Range, Realised and Parkinson Volatility
  • Volatility influences binary options trading, with high volatility increasing the value of the option and vice versa.
  • Indicators such as Average True Range (ATR) and Bollinger Bands help to measure volatility in binary options trading

Understanding Volatility

Volatility is a measure of the fluctuations present in a security of a market over a while. Each investor should be thorough about the volatility present in a market. It is a crucial resource to obtain profit from various fluctuating marketing instances. A volatile stock market is measurable in terms of time series taken from past market prices. 

An increase in volatility shows that investors can not understand the data. In a broader sense, volatility is seen as fear of the trade. Therefore, pricing contracts see the use of volatility for creating agreements.

A trader can determine volatility by using methods consisting of elements such as beta and standard deviation. We can find out more about volatility by understanding its types and knowing how to calculate it. Therefore, let’s move forward with the topic.


Here’s a breakdown of a few key volatility types:

Historical Volatility

Historical volatility calculates the actual price changes of assets over a certain period of time and is often calculated as the standard deviation of returns during this period.

Implied Volatility

Implied volatility is based on the prices of option contracts for an underlying asset and reflects the market’s expectation of future price movements due to options with different exercise prices and expiry dates.

Range Volatility

Range volatility measures volatility solely on the basis of the difference between the highest and lowest prices within a certain period.

Realised Volatility

Realised volatility measures the actual volatility of an investment in a given period, which is observed on the basis of the real price changes of the investment during this period.

Parkinson Volatility

Parkinson’s volatility measures the high, low and closing price of an asset, calculated as half the difference between the high and low price, divided by the square root of twice the closing price.


The standard deviation approach is the common way to check volatility.

The process for the same is explained below:

  • Calculate the past prices of securities: The prices from the previous instances should be used to understand what the upcoming situations would look like.
  • Calculate the mean price from the past market securities: The average of the prices should be taken to calculate volatility. The calculations should happen without error to get the perfect answer.
  • Determine the difference between the mean of the total prices: The mean of the prices and the prices should be subtracted to get the differences. 
  • Square and sum the differences from the above calculations: The differences should be used to calculate the rest. So, squaring and summing up is an important part of finding volatility.
  • Calculate the variance: To calculate the variance, we can use this formula: Divide the squares by the total number of prices.
  • Calculate the root of the answer obtained: The final answer comes when the root is calculated.

Investors will likely choose the less volatile one because the predictions can be much more dependable. Less volatility is better for a short-term situation.

Important Aspects of Volatility

The two significant aspects of volatility go as follows:


The official logo of the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX)

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) represents the market’s needs for the near term. VIX is a part of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated (CBOE). It is a popular way to measure stock market expectations on volatility. It describes the increase in price changes and is often shown as a risk. Therefore, an important part of dealing with volatility.

Maximum drawdown

The maximum drawdown is measured to deal with volatility. The highest loss historically of a specific time is used in this process. The investors also use the highest historical return for drawdown. Maximum drawdown indicates the risk over some time. The movement from high to low is measured before a new peak. In short, MDD is a measure from peak to trough. The maximum drawdown measures the large loss present.

Is high or low better Volatility for Stocks?

The high volatility stocks may bring better opportunities to work in a short period. However, most long-term buyers have an interest in low volatile situations. High volatility can increase fear of a downturn. The low volatile market is safer for trade. But if the traders are ready to take a risk, high volatile ones are the perfect market.

Criticisms of Volatility

The critics claim that the method of volatility is too easy and plain. It is even called plain vanilla. Most of them agree that it is not easy to implement volatility in every situation. It is seen as a complicated method by some critics. 

How Does Volatility Influence Binary Options Trading?

High volatility tends to increase the value of a binary option, while low volatility tends to decrease it. A binary option’s value depends on its position at expiration. In low volatility markets with little movement, the chances of binary options expiring profitably decrease. On the other hand, volatile markets increase the probability of assets reaching different price levels, which are closely monitored by traders. Consequently, traders often favor binary options in volatile markets due to the higher profit potential.

Indicators to Measure Volatility in Binary Options Trading

Two important indicators for measuring volatility in binary options trading are Average True Range (ATR) and Bollinger Bands.

Average True Range (ATR)

The ATR measures market volatility by taking market gaps into account. It helps predict asset range values, supports various binary trade types and increases trading effectiveness. High ATR values indicate high volatility, while low values suggest low volatility.

Bollinger Bands

Bollinger Bands consist of a moving average and two standard deviation bands and display the volatility level. A widening band suggests high volatility, while narrowing bands indicate low volatility.

About the author

Percival Knight
Percival Knight is an experienced Binary Options trader for more than ten years. Mainly, he trades 60-second trades at a very high hit rate. My favorite strategies is by using candlesticks and fake-breakouts

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