Use this Bitcoin exchange list to find a Bitcoin exchange for you. Each user has unique needs, so there is no one size fits all for exchanges.

Our Bitcoin exchange reviews detail each exchange's supported countries, payment methods accepted, fees, privacy, limits, liquidity, reputation, speed (delivery of bitcoin), customer support, and any past issues.

Heads Up!

Your bitcoins should not be stored on ANY exchange! If you want a secure Bitcoin wallet you will need to use a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S.

Once you buy from one of the exchanges below, move your coins off the exchange and into your own wallet.

Popular Bitcoin Exchanges

CoinbaseCoinbase Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Coinbase is the world's largest Bitcoin broker, available in the United States, UK, Canada, Singapore, and most of Europe.

Customers can buy bitcoin with a connected bank account, credit/debit card, SEPA transfer, Interac Online, iDEAL, and many more payment methods depending on location.

Visit Coinbase Full Review

LocalBitcoinsLocalBitcoins Buy Bitcoin Read Review

LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange. Buyers and sellers agree on trade terms, and LocalBitcoins makes sure the trade goes through with no problems for both parties. LocalBitcoins is considered a good way to buy bitcoins privately or with cash.

Visit LocalBitcoins Full Review

GDAXGDAX Buy Bitcoin Read Review

GDAX is an exchange run by San Franisco based Coinbase. It has been active since 2015 and supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and Bcash trading.

Visit GDAX Full Review

CoinmamaCoinmama Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Coinmama is a bitcoin broker that specializes in selling bitcoins for credit card to nearly anyone in the world.

Visit Coinmama Full Review

CEX.IOCEX.IO Buy Bitcoin Read Review

CEX.IO allows for the buying of bitcoins for low fees via credit card. Customers can also purchase for free with bank transfers. CEX.io is available for use in most countries.

Visit CEX.IO Full Review

Wall of CoinsWall of Coins Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Wall of Coins is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange that makes it easy to buy and sell bitcoins.

Visit Wall of Coins Full Review

itBititBit Buy Bitcoin Read Review

itBit is a global Bitcoin exchange licensed with the New York State Department of Financial Services. It also operates a global OTC trading desk.

Visit itBit Full Review

ChangellyChangelly Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Changelly is a Bitcoin and altcoin exchange. Users can shift between coins without depositing coins to the exchange.

Visit Changelly Full Review

USA

The above exchanges all work in the USA, but the exchanges listed below only work in the USA.

BitQuickBitQuick Buy Bitcoin Read Review

BitQuick is a Bitcoin exchange that lets customers buy bitcoins with cash via cash deposit.

Visit BitQuick Full Review

Bitcoin Exchanges in Europe

BitpandaBitpanda Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Bitpanda is a Bitcoin broker based in Austria. It offers a wide range of payment methods and has good prices.

Visit Bitpanda Full Review

BititBitit Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Bitit, based in Paris, France, lets users buy Bitcoins online with a 3D secure credit card or debit card, and with cash using Neosurf, Flexepin and Cashlib prepaid vouchers.

Visit Bitit Full Review

More Exchange Reviews

While we don't have a dedicated page for every exchange, the section below will give you more details on other popular exchanges

Gemini Review

Gemini is a Bitcoin exchange run by the Winklevoss twins.

It's a licensed Bitcoin exchange and operates in 42 US states and many other countries (check here for full list of supported districts):

gemini review

Once you create an account on the exchange you will need to setup 2-factor authentication, verify your bank account, and verify your identity. Once you do all of that you can get started with the exchange.

Gemini's interface can be confusing for first time buyers, which is why we usually recommend Coinbase to new buyers. Have a look at the trading interface below:

gemini review

If you can get past understanding how to use Gemini it is a unique exchange. Some of its great features include:

Instant Deposit for ACH Transfers

At most exchanges, when you deposit via bank transfer you have to wait 1-7 days for the bank transfer to complete. Gemini understands this is frustrating and time consuming.

Luckily for US users, you can make instant ACH deposits to Gemini. This means you can buy bitcoins super fast. You will have the bitcoins you bought locked into your account until your ACH deposit clears, but at least this way you were able to buy bitcoin fast and lock in the price you wanted!

Kraken Review

kraken

If you live in Europe, don't worry!

Kraken is a global Bitcoin exchange and supports European residents along with residents of the United States, Canada, and Japan.

Kraken offers excellent liquidity as its average daily volume is around 10-12 million euros. So if you want to buy large amounts of bitcoins, Kraken is a good option.

Verification

Like all regulated exchanges, you will have to verify your identity and personal details before buying.

Here are Kraken's limits based on your verification level:

kraken review

So in order to deposit money and buy bitcoins, you will need to verify your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of residence
  • Phone number
  • Address verification

There are further verification levels, but most people will only need Tier 2 to buy bitcoins.

User and Trading Interface

Like other exchanges geared towards traders, its interface can be quite confusing. Kraken, however, has aimed to make things easier for first-time buyers and its "Simple" order form is pretty easy to use:

kraken review

Fees

Kraken's fees are quite confusing. So to keep it simple we will summarize:

If you are buying less than $50,000 of bitcoins per month expect to pay between 0.16-0.26% in fees per buy.

If you use the "Simple" order form is displayed above you will pay 0.26%. If you want to learn how to use Kraken's advanced order types you can pay just 0.16% if you become a "market maker".

Bitstamp Review

bitstamp

Bitstamp is one of the longer running Bitcoin exchanges. It has been around since 2011 and is a licensed exchange with the Luxembourg's Ministry of Finance

It is a good option for traders and those buying large amounts of bitcoins.

Verification

bitstamp review

Bitstamp requires extensive verification including the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of residence
  • Phone number
  • Address verification
  • ID number and scan of photo ID document

Fees

Because Bitstamp is geared towards traders, it also has confusing fees if you use the exchange. The fees you pay depend on your total volume. Unless you trade high volumes, you will likely pay 0.25% per buy.

If you buy bitcoins on Bitstamp with your credit card then the fees will be 8% for purchases up to $500 or €500. There are other exchanges that offer lower fees for buying bitcoins with a credit card or debit card.

Bitfinex Review

Bitfinex is a popular exchange because in terms of USD trading volume it has the most liquidity. It currently owns about a 10% share of the USD trading market.

Because of its confusing interface, it's probably only a good choice for traders who really know what they are doing. Here is what the main trading interface looks like:

bitfinex review

Despite getting hacked and losing $70 million or more in customer funds, Bitfinex remains a popular option for serious traders. Still, the hack is scaring some people away.

In the chart below, the orange portion of the bars represent Bitfinex's share of USD volume:

bitfinex share

Verification

One thing that has made Bitfinex popular is that if you only make a deposit with cryptocurrency no verification is required. If you want to deposit dollars or euro then you WILL have to verify your ID.

Fees

Btifinex offers very low fees even for low volume buyers, at 0.1% per buy for market makers and 0.2% per buy for market takers.

For Residents of India: Best Bitcoin Exchange Reviews

The following section reviews and shows you how to use the top three Indian Bitcoin exchanges.

Unocoin Review

Firstly you need to login to https://www.unocoin.com , then you need to enter the existing email id and password of your choice followed by clicking on the SIGN UP option to create an account.

After clicking on the SIGN UP option, you get this dialogue box stating that the Registration Process is in progress after which unocoin will send you an activation link on your registered email id. You have to login to your email id and click on the link to activate the account.

After clicking on the link, a new tab will open up in which the terms of use will be written, you need to read it carefully and click on ‘I Accept’ after which a pop up will appear stating that the Registration has been completed successfully.

Now you need to login with your email id and password used at the time of sign up.

After Logging in you will see this page, if you look at it carefully you will observe that in the status bar it shows that your account is unverified. In order to verify your account, you need to upload your id proof and bank account details, so now you will click on EDIT PROFILE

After clicking on the Edit Profile option, a new page will open up in which you have to enter all your details such as Name on account, Account Number, IFSC code, Mobile Number, Full Address as mentioned on your ID proof, State, City, Pin Code etc. After filling in all your details, click next.

Following are the Guidelines for Document which you have to upload after clicking next.

Here you need to upload the document for verification and then click next

After clicking on next, you will be shown your profile information, you need to check the details and click on ‘Save Document’ button present at the bottom right corner.

After that you will be redirected to the same page where you had to enter all your details as unocoin needs time to verify your details and document and to make your status verified. So now you need to wait for the intimation or status to change from unverified to verified to buy and sell bitcoin.

For buying bitcoin, firstly user needs to deposit money into unocoin wallet and for doing so we need to Make NEFT/IMPS/RTGS in there respected bank account. Minimum amount to deposit is 1000 INR which is approximately $15.

To do any of these bank transfers user needs to have his/her bank account linked with a Cell phone, as prior to initiating the transfer bank will send OTP (One Time Password) which is required to be entered for the transaction to go through. To maintain security this OTP is valid only for a few minutes and if transaction does not go through in stipulated time, there will be a timeout and user will have to generate a new OTP to initiate the transfer.

You will get the bank information at this stage where you can send your bank wire/deposit.

After the money is deposited in their account user must contact their customer service number and provide details of the transaction and then money is added to your wallet on their website. Once that is done then user can start process of buying and selling bitcoins.

Coinsecure Review and User Guide

Firstly you need to open https://www.coinsecure.in , you will get this page and if you see there is a SIGN UP option on the bottom left side, you have to click on it.

After Clicking on the Sign Up option you will get a form in which you need to enter your new username, new password, repeat password, existing email id and tick mark on accept terms and then click on arrow sign in orange color to proceed further

As soon as you click on the arrow sign in orange circle you will get 2 pop-up on the same page one saying to SIGN UP and the second saying to click on the link send to your email account to verify your email id for signup.

Now you need to open you email account and click on the link you received, a new tab will open up and show you an option to sign in with your user id and password used at the time of sign up. As soon as you enter the username and password and click login, you will see this type of dashboard in front of your screen. Here you have to complete your KYC (Know Your Customer) and Bank information to start buying and selling Bitcoin. Now you will see the following line “Would you like to complete your KYC & Bank Link? “ , below it click on the start button to proceed.

After clicking on the start button, a new screen will appear in which you will be asked to enter your Full Name, Nick Name, Account Number, IFSC code & Phone Number. After entering all thedetails you need to click on SEND NEW SMS CODE.

After clicking SEND NEW SMS CODE button you will receive an OTP (One Time Password) on your registered mobile number mentioned in the above details. You need to enter OTP and click on SUBMIT.

After clicking on Submit, a Welcome page will open up and on the right side a dialogue box will appear stating success and below which it will be mentioned that we will mail you with the status as soon as we complete the verification.

Now you need to go to your dashboard, here you will see that you have received a message stating that your data has been uploaded for verification and below that with a star mark it is written “ This can take upto 48 hours to complete “.

After your verification is completed, on your dashboard you will see 2 dialogue box one to buy bitcoin and another for selling bitcoin at the current rate. Here you need to enter the quantity in any of the box depending whether you want to buy or sell and then click buy or sell.

User needs to deposit INR into any of their bank accounts mentioned below through bank transfers like: RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) /IMPS (Intermediary Payment System) / NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer)

To do any of these bank transfers user needs to have his/her bank account linked with a Cell phone, as prior to initiating the transfer bank will send OTP (One Time Password) which is required to be entered for the transaction to go through. To maintain security this OTP is valid only for a few minutes and if transaction does not go through in stipulated time, there will be a timeout and user will have to generate a new OTP to initiate the transfer.

You will receive Coinsecure's bank information at this stage. You can send your deposit via NEFT / RTGS / IMPS.

User receives a Transaction ID after deposit INR via NEFT / RTGS / IMPS. User will have to fill the details (like Transacton ID and Amount Deposited) into his Coinsecure account by going through the following:

'Bank' > 'Fiat Currency Balance' > 'Deposit'. (This is a one-time process). After depositing money the amount will be reflected in our coinsecure account and then only we can buy or sell bitcoins.

Zebpay Review

Here in Zebpay site you need to download the application to trade the bitcoin because Zebpay does not support without application.

You need to download the android or the IOS application in your phone.

After successfully Downloading the App in your phone, you need to open the app where you will be shown to enter your country code with your mobile number and click on verify button.

After clicking on verify, you will be shown the next screen where you have to enter the 6 digit verification code which you must received on your mobile number as mentioned above, then click on verify.

After clicking on verify, you will be shown this screen and below that you will see that there is a button as ‘setup account pin’, click on that.

After clicking on Setup account pin, a screen will appear in which you have to enter 4 digit pin of your own choice.

After that you will get a page to re-enter the same pin again, if the pin matches with the earlier one, then it will ask for your permission to whether to allow zebpay to access your contact or not, click ok.

After clicking on ok you will get a page to enter details such as Name, Email ID and currency format, fill in the details and click on save.

After clicking the save button, a page opens up which shows the current buying and selling bitcoin price with status activities of the user.

At the top right corner you will notice three small lines indicating a menu, click on it and you will see that the third option is for verification, you need to click on verification to complete your identity verification and bank account verification.

As you can see above, there are two tabs, one is for id card and the second is for bank account details. You need to upload your pan and enter details such as full name, Pan card number, DOB, Sex and then click next and it will show a status bar of uploading after that you need to go to second tab where you need to fill bank account details such as IFSC code, Bank Name, Account Holder Name, Account Number & Confirm Account Number. After that you need to click on submit button.

After that you will receive a message stating that documents have been submitted successfully and it may take upto 3 working days to review it.

After account verification we need to go to home page of the app and below you will see a plus button, we need to click on that, a menu appears and we need to click on the second menu option which says buy/sell bitcoins.

After clicking on that option a buy page opens up where you need to enter the amount to buy

To Buy or Sell Bitcoin first user needs to deposit money in INR in his/her Zebpay account. For this you need to home page of the app and below you will see a plus button, we need to click on that, a menu appears and we need to click on the second menu option which says buy/sell bitcoins. After clicking on that option a buy page opens on right side and where it is written ‘Deposit’ you need to click that. After Clicking Deposit a new page will open you need to enter the amount you want to deposit and secondly need to choose your bank to pay.

Now, with Zebpay the thing is, user needs to have a bank account with any of the following four banks: Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank & HDFC Bank to purchase bitcoins. Since my bank account is with bank named Indian Bank hence I am unable to deposit money to buy the bitcoins.

Bitmex Review

BitMEX is an international cryptocurrency exchange that was launched in 2014 by HDR Global Trading Ltd. (Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed & Ben Delo). This particular platform is cryptocurrency only, meaning that deposits and withdrawals via fiat wire transfers are not allowed – i.e. Bitcoin in-Bitcoin out only.

BitMEX offers margin trading, with leverage up to 100x on Bitcoin on the spot and futures markets. Leverage on altcoins varies and for now Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that offers the full 100x, with Ethereum offering up to 50x and Litecoin up to 33.3x (It is important to exercise caution with respect to current market volatility).

Crypto Asset Offerings

BitMEX has limited selection at present in comparison to other cryptocurrency exchange alternatives such as Poloniex, Bittrex and Cryptopia. While new projects are added occasionally the volume thus far has remained low on every offering except for Bitcoin.

  • Bitcoin – Spot + Futures
  • Bitcoin/Yen – Futures
  • Binary – Futures
  • Dash – Futures
  • Ethereum – Futures
  • Ethereum Classic – Futures
  • Litecoin – Futures
  • Qtum – Futures
  • Monero – Futures
  • Ripple – Futures
  • Tezos – Futures
  • Zcash – Futures

BitMEX Volume

As of September 9th, 2017 BitMEX’s liquidity for both the Bitcoin spot and futures markets is respectable and has continued to grow since inception. What is lacking however is the volume on every other cryptocurrency traded on Bitmex. Slippage (degree of price movement when entering & exiting a position) is so drastic on some of the pairs as to render shorter term trades or large entry’s & exits as unfeasible.

The Bottom Line – For now BitMEX only has adequate liquidity on Bitcoin trading. If you want to actively trade altcoins with minimal slippage then for now this exchange is less than ideal.

Security

One of BitMEX’s strength is its focus on security. To date there have been no hacks or major security breaches and the withdrawals are processed by hand once a day for an added layer of security.

Additionally, the trading platform is written in kdb+, a database and toolset used frequently by major banks in high-frequency trading applications. The BitMEX engine has unprecedented speed and reliability, something that is a notable difference in comparison to some of the less polished platforms like Poloniex and Bittrex.

User Interface

Generally speaking, many cryptocurrency exchanges today have sub-par interfaces (think webpages circa 2005). Some examples of poor UI that stand out in the space are Poloniex and Bittrex, which both command extremely high levels of volume in the altcoin markets. For what BitMEX lacks in overall volume, it makes up for in UI.

The mobile implementation is full featured and the desktop page blends usability with simplicity. For those who have experience with trading there is an ‘advanced UI’ feature that can be activated to make use of all of the platforms features, including an aesthetically pleasing ‘night-mode’.

BitMEX is one of the few exchanges in the space to have built-in full featured TradingView charting. This offers a wide range of charting tools and is a vast improvement on the offerings by some of the current competitors.

Deposit & Withdrawals

Bitmex (for now) _ONLY accepts Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. Deposits can be made 24/7 but withdrawals are processed by hand at a recurring time once per day. The hand processed withdrawals increases the security of your funds by providing extra time (and email notice) to cancel any fraudulent withdrawal requests, in addition to bypassing the use of automated systems & hot wallets which may be more prone to compromise.

BitMEX Digest

The founder & CEO of BitMEX puts out a weekly ‘Crypto Trader Digest’, the repository to which can be found here - https://blog.bitmex.com/. Arthur has been an active member in the cryptocurrency community since 2013 and often has interesting & unique insights on the ever-turbulent cryptocurrency market events. As a free to view offering this is a useful resource for any avid cryptocurrency trader.

Caveats/ Points of Caution

As with most exchanges in the cryptocurrency space, especially those that trade solely crypto assets and do not interact with USD (and thus do not fall under the same regulatory oversight) have their risks. Due diligence such as reading the terms of service is advised before signing up with any exchange. It is also important to remember to not trust unregulated and uninsured exchanges with large amounts of capital.

Conclusion

If you are looking to trade Bitcoin spot and futures markets with up to 100x margin, this might be the platform for you. Liquidity is high and the UI is laudable in comparison to most of the current competition. Management takes a security-centric focus which is a must in the crypto space.

Bitcoin Trading Guide

To the uninitiated, Bitcoin trading probably sounds like this:

A dream job, reserved for the fortunate few who trade Bitcoin from home, set their own hours and perform nothing more strenuous than clicking a mouse or watching a screen.

The harsh reality?

The overwhelming majority of new traders lose money and quit within a year. All those washouts likely thought themselves future members of that exceptional minority of traders who achieve consistent profitability.

Why is trading such a difficult endeavour?

Firstly:

Due to the intrinsic unpredictability of markets.

The human mind, which excels at pattern recognition, struggles with random outcomes.

Secondly:

Trading is emotionally-taxing, involving long hours of boredom interspersed with periods of intense stress.

Finally, as traders risk their own capital in an endless zero-sum game, trading is an occupation which bears close resemblance to professional gambling. Those looking to take part in short term trading may find that the rewards of a Bitcoin casino (see TheBitcoinStrip) are far more fulfilling.

Even successful traders frequently succumb to burn-out due to the pressures involved.

Except in the marketing of trading courses, products or services, trading Bitcoin is no glamorous road to easy riches. Rather it is an activity demanding great patience, control and discipline. New traders are likely to lose money as they develop their skills and achieving consistent profitability is never guaranteed, even for the most experienced Bitcoin trader.

Trading Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Investing

This article discusses the active trading of Bitcoin as an (additional) occupation or supplementary income source. Trading Bitcoin is similar but distinct from investing in Bitcoin.

An investment in Bitcoin is a long-term undertaking, often with multiple goals such as portfolio diversification, fiat risk hedging, business or ideological objectives, etc. Bitcoin investors are generally insensitive to price volatility and unlikely to exit their positions, barring some dire eventuality.

By contrast, most Bitcoin traders maintain only short-term positions, staying in a trade for a maximum of a few months – but often for no more than a few hours. Bitcoin traders are also extremely price-sensitive, striving for perfect entry and exit prices and abandoning their positions immediately if they prove unprofitable.

Bitcoin Trading Advantages

For trading purposes, Bitcoin is superior to other instruments, such as stocks, commodities or Forex, for at least 3 reasons:

1) Bitcoin’s exceptional volatility allows for high percentage profits without leveraging.

Large price moves, the average trader’s bread and butter, are far more common in Bitcoin than almost any other instrument. Therefore, Bitcoin traders may eschew the increased risk and expense of leverage strategies designed to extract high profits from small moves.

2) Bitcoin trades non-stop; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By contrast, stocks and commodities only trade during business hours and Forex markets shut over the weekend. Trade in Bitcoin remains active around the clock as volume is distributed primarily across American, European and Asian sessions.

3) Bitcoin is probably the cheapest, quickest and most convenient instrument to trade.

Bitcoin exchange fees are minimal compared to traditional exchanges and Bitcoin deposits or withdrawals are accomplished within hours from anywhere in the world. Less stringent requirements for personal information are the norm for Bitcoin exchanges, particularly if deposits and withdrawals are handled exclusively in Bitcoin.

Ways to Trade Bitcoin

Short-term traders rely on real-time data feeds and liquid markets to enable rapid entry to and exit from trades. Sophisticated, high-volume exchanges are preferred, if not required. To be considered a suitable trading venue, an exchange must allow traders to profit from downward price moves by offering the capacity to short sell.

The necessity of holding funds in cryptocurrency and fiat form dictates that “trader exchanges” be centralised services, although this may change with the advent of next-generation decentralised exchanges. Whenever funds are held by a third party, there is custodial risk) – so choose your exchange wisely.

Prefer those exchanges which offer proof of reserves for client Bitcoins, regular external audits for client fiat funds and have a long history of secure, ethical operation. For convenient trading, select an exchange which also offers decent volume and a real-time, responsive trading interface.

Frequently recommended to Western traders are Bitcoin exchanges such as:

Fear and Greed

For all their technological sophistication, markets are driven by these primal human emotions.

To become a successful Bitcoin trader, it’s necessary for an individual to manage these responses appropriately. Great opportunities present when the market becomes irrational due to an abundance of fear or greed. This frequently occurs following major price movements or dramatic news. At such times, weaker traders are overwhelmed by emotion and misprice their trades.

Market chatter can provide insights into the market’s current mood but by following it too closely you risk becoming infected by market hysteria. Excitable market participants will shout “pump!” and “moon!” or “dump!” and “doom!” with every $10 price move up or down. Some traders will support whichever direction favours their pocketbook as if cheering their favourite sport team. And the media and public figures can be just as irrational. Strive to stay objective when taking the market’s emotional pulse.

Complete phase of the greed and fear cycle. Note the strong correlation to past Bitcoin price bubbles.

Smart investors build long positions when price is flat and public interest is low during the stealth phase. Traders aim to open long position in the troughs (bear trap, bull trap and despair) and open short positions at each peak (first sell off, “new paradigm,” and return to “normal”). Traders thus attempt to profit from every phase of the cycle; a lot harder but also far more profitable if achieved.

Money Management

Perhaps the most important element of trading is capital preservation. Before undertaking to trade Bitcoin, consider how much money you can afford to lose before your current lifestyle becomes unaffordable. This will allow you to better determine your “pain point,” or how much wealth you’re willing to risk losing. Never commit any more than this sum to your trading account.

Of this trading capital, never risk more than 5% on a single trade. Neophyte traders should not risk more than 1%. If your trading is successful, the size of each trade in absolute terms steadily grows as your trading account swells. If unsuccessful, at least losses are kept to a minimum, which allows time to adjust your trading plan.

Profit Targets and Stop-Losses

Initiating a trade without a clear exit strategy is a recipe for disaster. Determine beforehand the price at which you’ll cut your losses if the market moves contrary to expectations. This level is known as a stop-loss and it’s critical to market survival. Limit your losses below 25% of your position size. A stop-loss is wisely placed on the other side of a level at which price has reversed previously, the more times the better.

The converse of a stop loss is the profit target; the level(s) at which profit is taken when price behaves as expected. Profit targets are best-placed slightly before previously significant levels. If price exceeds your expectations by penetrating significant previous levels and maintaining a strong trend thereafter, consider substituting your target(s) for a trailing stop ; this acts as a ratchet on your profits.

Example of a successful long trade with target and stop set. Entry-point is the yellow oval.

Finally, know your breakeven point; the price at which you can exit a trade without incurring any loss due to trading fees. If you enter a trade only for the market to meander sideways, consider exiting at breakeven rather than wasting time and energy on monitoring a flat market.

Exercising discipline in regards stop-losses and targets is the best way to manage greed and fear. Placing stop loss and profit target orders immediately after entering each trade is a good habit to acquire.

Risk / Reward Ratio

Consider that setting a stop-loss of negative 25% in combination with a profit target of positive 50% affords a risk / reward ratio of 1:2. Adhering to this methodology, one good trade compensates for two bad ones. It’s fair to assume that a trader’s odds of success are roughly even on each trade. Therefore, selecting only trades which will potentially satisfy a 1:2 (or better!) ratio should ensure consistent profitability over time. Of course, markets are seldom predictable. Their randomness means that consecutive losses should be anticipated and guarded against through proper position sizing.

Timeframes Define Bitcoin Traders

The various types of Bitcoin traders are primarily distinguished by the timeframes they employ. Only consider a trader’s market view with reference to their timeframe context:

An $11 price range appears dramatic on a 5 minute chart.

Bitcoin scalpers usually trade on a 5 minute or lower timeframe, sometimes following tick charts which record every single trade without reference to time. Scalpers seek to profit from fleeting imbalances between buyers and sellers. They may make hundreds of trades over the course of a single day. For obvious reasons, such traders are particularly common on Bitcoin exchanges which offer zero or minimal trading fees.

An hourly chart reveals the $11 range appears as a minor upwards wiggle.

Those who seek to profit from larger Bitcoin price moves during the course of their session are known as day-traders. This term originates from traditional stock market traders who refrain from holding positions overnight. Nevertheless, it fits for Bitcoin traders who usually follow half hour, hourly or 2 hour charts.

On a daily chart, that $11 range appears inconsequential.

Swing traders or trend traders are those who maintain positions for days, weeks or even months. Such Bitcoin traders attempt to capitalise on large swings within a range-bound market or major trends. They generally follow daily charts, with occasional reference to weekly charts for greater context. They may consult lower timeframes to study price action at important levels or to achieve greater precision on exits and entries.

The move doesn’t register on this weekly chart of the “Mt. Gox bubble” and “China crash.”

Bitcoin investors are the most likely to time their market actions with reference to weekly or even monthly charts.

Choose your timeframe depending on your desired level of market activity. Scalpers and scalpers follow every trade and commonly conduct multiple trades per day, whereas swing or trend traders check price only occasionally and rarely execute market actions.

A final word of advice regarding timeframes: intelligent traders consider multiple time-frames when planning their trades. When a convincing case for the market’s future direction can be made across all relevant timeframes, it’s time to act!

Trending vs. Rangebound Markets

Markets spend the majority of their time rangebound. Price ranges between strong support (the consensus “low” level at which eager buyers absorb all volume offered by sellers) and strong resistance (the converse of support). This rangebound state is best illustrated by the following daily Bitcoin chart from late 2014 to late 2015:

BTCUSD ranged between blue (resistance) and red (support) lines for a year.

The more frequently price reacts against support or resistance (S/R) levels, the more important such levels become. S/R levels tend to become entrenched at psychologically-significant “big round numbers,” such as $200 and $300 in the above chart.

When S/R lines are slanted, they’re known as trendlines. As alluded to previously, stop-losses are well-placed to the other side of trend or S/R lines – if they’re decisively penetrated on high volume it’s a strong signal that momentum has shifted.

In mid-August, an upwards trend, denoted by the green line, emerged. This bull trend finally propelled Bitcoin’s price through the $300 – $320 resistance level, on high volume (denoted by the feint red and green bars). As often happens, resistance then became support as the initial impulse to $500 faded.

Enough screen-time will give you a feel for when markets are shifting from rangebound mode (when the winning play is to short at resistance and buy at support) to trending mode (when it pays to hold a position as it overcomes S/R and exit at an emotional extreme). In the above chart, the clue was that price action underwent a change in character around mid-October, transitioning from up-and-down chop to a steady upwards slide. This slide presaged the exciting curl-up on rising volume as market momentum gathered for the decisive upwards break.

What will price do next? Welcome to the mystery of the hard right edge, the as-yet blank area of a chart.

Indicators and Patterns

Charting sites or programs and trading interfaces commonly feature indicators – mathematically-derived visualisations of (sometimes) revelatory market aspects. Common useful indicators include moving averages, MACD, Bollinger Bands, RSI, etc. Before experimenting with the vast array of indicators, it’s recommended to master the basics covered above – money management and stop-loss discipline in particular!

Chart patterns and candlesticks are further tools to assist your trading. Certain topping and bottoming patterns are particularly important. Such things are best explained visually, as on Thomas Bulkowski’s excellent Pattern Site.

Trading Plan

Incorporating all the above strategies and tools into a coherent trading plan will take a great deal of time, study, experimentation and discipline.

Once you’ve proven the viability of a particular plan, consider advancing to the next stage of Bitcoin trading: programming a trading bot which connects to your exchange’s API and faithfully carries out your plan whilst you soak up the rays on a tropical beach… Good luck, you’ll need it!

Bitcoin Trading Charts

While in some ways Bitcoin behaves like no other asset, charts can still be used to track and predict Bitcoin’s next move.

A number of Bitcoin trading charts exist that help users plot, record and share their technical analysis, patterns, and more.

Here are three of the best sites for charting Bitcoin.

Cryptowatch

Cryptowatch is a somewhat new trading site in the Bitcoin space.

It has, however, quickly become the most popular charting site among traders.

Recently, the Bitcoin exchange Kraken purchased Cryptowatch in order to improve its own internal trading charts and interface.

Cryptowat.ch along with Trading View are probably the most up-to-date and have the most options.

Cryptowat.ch shows charts for most popular exchanges like Poloniex, Kraken, GDAX, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Bitflyer, OKCoin, BTC-e, and BTCC.

Trading View

Unlike the other charting sites mentioned, Trading View is not just for Bitcoin traders.

It has charts for gold, stocks, and nearly anything else publicly traded.

Trading View allows you to create an account where you can save your charts. There is also a social aspect. You can join the Bitcoin trading group chat on trading view to share your views and charts with others.

Warning:

This chat gets very hectic, especially when Bitcoin’s price jumps or falls!

Bitcoin Wisdom

Bitcoin Wisdom is the oldest Bitcoin charting site.

Bitcoin Wisdom is popular because it has a simple, clean interface.

The main issue with the site is that its owner does not maintain it anymore. So there are a number of new Bitcoin exchanges that you won’t find listed on the site.

Bitcoin Charts

BitcoinCharts.com is different than the other three sites.

Rather than a live chart, it is slightly better for browsing historical data.

Are we missing a Bitcoin trading chart that you like? Questions? Drops us a line in the comments!

Day Trading

We’ve previously examined general Bitcoin trading in depth. This article focuses on day trading Bitcoin.

What is Day Trading?

Given the chaotic sleep schedule of most traders, “day trading” could be better stated as:

Trading when it’s convenient to you, without holding any position while you sleep.

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Day trading is an active and involved trading style which seeks to capitalise on short but significant price moves.

The good news is:

Bitcoin has more than its fair share of short but significant price moves! This makes Bitcoin a great instrument for day traders.

Why Day Trade Bitcoin?

We might go so far as to call Bitcoin the ultimate day trading instrument, based on these 5 factors:

  • Trading-focused Bitcoin exchanges have very low fees and minimums compared to traditional exchanges. Zero fees for makers are common and you won’t pay more than 0.25% in fees if you choose your exchange wisely. Our site helps you choose!
  • Bitcoin can be traded from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365.25 days a year. It doesn’t matter where you are or when you have time to trade; you can be part of the multibillion Dollar Bitcoin market if you have an internet connection.
  • Day trading lets you profit from Bitcoin without having to understand its technical complexities nor hold a long-term position in a new form of money, which is still considered experimental.
  • Several Bitcoin exchanges offer leveraged trading. This means you gain can more exposure to upside and downside price risk than your trading budget would ordinarily allow.
  • Bitcoin’s volatility remains much higher than most other trading instruments, with the exception of alternative cryptocurrencies. This means you’re likely to find plenty of tradeable action in the Bitcoin market. For better or worse, Bitcoin seldom has dull, sideways price action!

Bitcoin volatility over time, currently averaging 4.5%

One Good Reason Not to Day Trade Bitcoin

  • Unless you’re a skilled professional day trader, perhaps with a bit of luck, it’s usually much easier and more profitable to adopt a longer term strategy. Simply buy Bitcoin at a major low and sell it at the next major peak (or vice versa if you’re betting on a price fall). This strategy saves a lot of screen-watching, stress, and trading fees.

Our guide to general Bitcoin trading covers the various timeframes and their related trading approaches. Be sure to consider all of them before committing to day trading! Day trading is demanding in terms of time, energy and attention. If you already have a busy lifestyle, it’s probably not a good fit for you.

How to Day Trade Bitcoin

You’ll need 4 things to get started with day trading Bitcoin:

  • A good Bitcoin exchange for trading,
  • Trading capital,
  • A gameplan.

Let’s discuss these elements in detail…

Bitcoin Exchanges for Traders

Check out our full article on the leading Bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitfinex. Other good options for traders include Bitstamp, Kraken, BTC-e, Cex.io, GDAX, Luno… the list goes on!

If you wish to search for a good exchange for your location and / or payment method, BuyBitcoinWorldWide exists for this exact purpose. Search for exchange (as opposed to “broker”) entries which specifically mention low fees, deep liquidity, and an interface designed for traders.

Trading Capital

Only day trade with funds you can afford to lose. If you’re a new trader, the odds are extremely high that you will lose your initial trading funds. Always start out with a small amount while you learn and practice and consider this amount as “school fees.”

Your Gameplan

Day trading is based on technical analysis; the ability to make market decisions based primarily on price charts. This skill takes a lot of practice and screen time to master. Even more important is a sound money management strategy. Markets can never be predicted with perfect accuracy so proper money management is key. It will minimize your losses due to wrong calls and maximize your profits when you get things right.

For further info, check out our general guide to trading.