Cryptocurrency trading can be extremely profitable if you know what you are doing, but it can also lead to disaster. Even though most traders decide to either go with fiat or bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies can represent viable income sources, as long you as you tread carefully and understand what you are doing. This guide is for those who want to start getting involved in cryptocurrency trading.
That being said, after you learn how to trade cryptocurrencies, study the ones you are going to trade before actually investing. Some may be on the forefront of innovation and represent a safe way to make money, while others might just flat out fail – as bitcoin has shown us, sometimes it may be better to hold on to your coins.
Where to trade
The first thing you will need is a safe and secure platform to trade your cryptocurrencies. While fiat currencies have well-renowned financial institutions in which you can trade, most cryptocurrencies aren’t that lucky. It is, however, possible to trade bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency, using renowned institutions.
A few trading platforms now include bitcoin, as some even offer Contracts For Differences (CFDs). These allow you to trade bitcoin without actually using it, as they represent a contract between you and the exchange. In it, the two parties ‘agree’ the difference between the entry and exit price will determine your profit or loss. CFDs are a flexible option, but they do have disadvantages worth looking into.
To trade other cryptocurrencies, you will need to use cryptocurrency exchanges. According to CoinMarketCap, there are well over 100 active exchanges, so we need to filter them. The best way to do so is to go with those with the largest trading volume, as they will enable the best possible opportunities. According to data, these are the 20 biggest exchanges you can use:
In the last 24 hours, Poloniex had a whopping $160 million trading volume, and CHBTC was at $7 million. Note that, trading volume alone, doesn’tmean the exchange is trustworthy. Before choosing one, check for online reviews. A great tool to use is Web of Trust, as it compiles user reviews and can be downloaded as a plugin to your browser.
There are also other exchanges in which you don’t need to create an account, such as Shapeshift.
The following principles stay true across exchanges, even though user interfaces and other aspects can vary. As an example, I’ll be using Poloniex to explain how one can start trading cryptocurrencies.
The first thing you need to do is to sign-up and confirm your account via email (Poloniex). While setting up your account, make sure you use a safe password that includes numbers, letters, and symbols. 2-factor authentication might also be worth considering. A varying level of verification will be required, so make sure you pick a trustworthy exchange.
Once you’ve signed up, you will need to transfer funds into the exchange. At Poloniex, you are now presented with the exchanges’ terms and conditions. After agreeing, select the currency you are interested in trading and click “Deposit/Withdraw.” In some exchanges, it is also possible to deposit via bank wire.
You’ll be given an address to which you should transfer your funds. After doing so, you should have access to the pending deposit. Depending on the currency, it shouldn’t be long until your funds are available. Remember, you might need bitcoin to be able to start trading on a cryptocurrency exchange as most do not accept fiat money (if you do not have any other cryptocurrencies).
Buying and selling
Now all you need to do is find your desired market, in which you will trade a certain amount for another cryptocurrency. Before placing an order, make sure you properly analyze the market, and agree with the current best price. If there are enough available tokens at your eligible price, your order will be immediately taken care of. If not, your order will be waiting for someone to trade at your desired price.
Cryptocurrencies are volatile and can be traded 24/7. It’s important to closely follow the news and to understand how the market may interact with certain types of information – you need to know the ins and outs. General trading principles apply, and always remember: buy low, sell high.
Some believe it isn’t a good idea to leave money on an exchange for a long period of time. Bitcoin’s history has been marked by the collapse of Mt. Gox, an exchange trusted by users that suffered the largest-ever bitcoin heist.
If you are new to cryptocurrencies the volatility may make you feel like gambling. In order to start learning without risking your money, we’ll give you a few ideas:
If you want to experiment with bitcoin, you can try the Plus500 platform, and check the BTC/USD currency pair using a demo account. The pair is also available on the Spark Profit app, in which you can trade for free and earn points. If you accumulate a lot of points, you can then cash out real money.
It is also possible to mine specific cryptocurrencies so you can trade them. Although popular coins such as bitcoin can be ruled out for most users, currencies such as Monero and Bytecoin are optimized for CPU mining, and pretty much everyone can get a few coins.
Fidelity Investments is Mining Cryptocurrency
Fidelity Investments is a multi-billion dollar brokerage that just so happens to be mining cryptocurrency. In fact, it has been at it for three years, using its own computers to harvest bitcoin and Ethereum.
CEO Abby Johnson recently told Fortune that its U.S.-based mining operation is “making a lot of money.” This comes despite running a relatively modest operation.
Hadley Stern, Senior VP of Fidelity Labs, described his company’s venture as an “experiment.”
The real reason we began mining, and still do, is to learn how the network works, how consensus works, how difficulty levels work,” he said in reference to the mining process.
The key to profitability has been the dramatic rise in cryptocurrency over the past year. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the world’s No. 1 and 2 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and no-one else comes close.
Well Ahead of the Pack
The fact that Fidelity has been at this for three years speaks volumes about the company. Other, much bigger players are still dipping their toes in the market, but are unsure about how to proceed. Goldman Sachs is reportedly on the fence about starting a cryptocurrency trading operation, while J.P. Morgan has already begun handling customer orders for bitcoin-based instruments.
Fidelity is doing a lot more than just mining tokens. Earlier this year, it reached an agreement with Coinbase to let customers view cryptocurrency prices alongside other assets on their Fidelity homepage.
Coinbase is the world’s most funded cryptocurrency exchange with more than 7.4 million users.
The cryptocurrency market ended the week on a firm note, with bitcoin (BTC/USD) reaching a session high of $4,425.00. At press time, the index was up 1.6% at $4,368.
Ether is also trading higher against the dollar, with the ETH/USD rallying more than 3% to $305.
Ripple (XRP) lost momentum on Friday, but still managed a weekly gain of 21%.
Chinese Government Eyeing Fresh Bitcoin Legislation?
The Chinese government could roll out fresh cryptocurrency regulation in the coming months permitting licensed brokers to operate, based on recent information from Xinhua.
The state-owned news publication recently revealed that the government is mostly concerned with stamping out illegal activity involving bitcoin and other cryptos. Government authorities could be planning to regulate the market by creating a licensing program with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems.
The Case for AML
The need for KYC/AML protocols has long been raised by cryptocurrency proponents, especially in reference to initial coin offerings (ICOs). In response, the blockchain community has come together to create the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT). The SAFT is both an instrument and open-source framework for token sales that vets accredited investors.
SAFT activity is quickly gaining traction, with the likes of Gizer recently issuing a presale of its ICO through SAFTLaunch.
SAFT was officially created by Protocol Labs in close collaboration with AngelList and Cooley.
China’s Stance Looms Large for Cryptocurrency Market
Although digital assets have recovered from the China-induced flash crash of September, favorable regulations on the mainland could mean big business for bitcoin exchanges. Prior to the ban on ICOs and bitcoin brokers, Chinese investors were responsible for a quarter of all BTC trades.
According to Xinhua, China is likely to pursue a licensing program similar to Japan, a country that recently approved 11 cryptocurrency exchanges. CnLedger, a leading source of cryptocurrency news in China, recently had this to say:
“Xinhua News, official press agency of CN: Virtual currencies have become the top choices of underground economies. We shall adopt ‘0-tolerance policies’ towards crimes hidden underneath and take measures such as record-keeping, licensing, AML processes, real-name, limiting large transactions.”
Is China’s cryptocurrency ban temporary? It certainly looks that way. Regulators must already know that the ban hasn’t stopped mainland investors from buying cryptocurrencies next door in Hong Kong or Singapore. A saner approach to an all-out blanket ban is a tighter regulatory framework that will stamp out money laundering and other underground activities.
«Featured image from Shutterstock.»
Tim Draper Has Made Over $110 Million Since 2014 With his Bitcoin Investment
Tim Draper, the billionaire technology investor and prominent venture capitalist who has invested in some of the most successful technology startups in the likes of Coinbase, Patreon, SpaceX, Tesla, Box, FourSquare, has profited over $110 million from his investment in bitcoin less than three years ago.
In 2014, Draper participated in the auction of 144,336 bitcoins by the US government and the US Justice Department, which were seized during the investigation into Silk Road, a dark web marketplace. Draper was granted the permission to purchase a batch of 30,000 at around $600 from the US government.
Upon securing 30,000 bitcoins, Draper told Fox Business:
“[I’m] very excited about bitcoin and what it can do for the world. Bitcoin is as big a transformation to the finance and commerce industry as the internet was for information and communications. If bitcoin were here in 2008, it would be a stability source for our world economy. Everybody should go out there and buy a bitcoin. Every investor who’s a fiduciary should at least be partially involved in bitcoin because it’s a hedge against all the other currencies. There’s a whole ecosystem being built that’s going to make commerce much easier with much less friction and safer.”
Today, Draper’s 30,000 bitcoins are worth $129.9 million. Considering that Draper had spent $19 million purchasing the batch of 30,000 bitcoins in 2014, Draper has recorded a profit of over $110 million in less than three years.
While Draper held onto his investment in bitcoin, the US Justice Department was quick all of the 144,336 bitcoins seized during the Silk Road operation. According to various sources, the US government sold the majority of its 144,336 bitcoins at a price of $336, at $48 million. If the US government had sold its bitcoins in 2017, it would have generated an additional profit of around $573 million, as 144,336 bitcoins at today’s bitcoin price of $4,330 are worth $624.9 million.
Since 2014, in addition to purchasing tens of thousands of bitcoins, Draper has funded some of the most successful bitcoin companies in the cryptocurrency market including Coinbase and Korbit. Earlier this year, Coinbase secured a $100 million investment at a $1.6 billion valuation, while Korbit was acquired by the parent company of a $10 billion gaming company in Nexon at a $140 million valuation.
Furthermore, Draper has not sold his stake in Coinbase and earlier this year, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, revealed that Coinbase is still at an early stage in terms of developing and scaling. Armstrong noted that it will evolve into the safest and most trusted exchange in the global market.
“Digital currencies are having their ‘Netscape’ moment. The pace of innovation has been accelerating and we are now seeing exciting projects and companies being built on top of digital currencies. We’re beginning to transition into phase three of our secret master plan. Our goal is to be the safest, most trusted and compliant, and easiest to use. Not the first to market with new assets. Especially at scale, it takes time to ensure any new asset we add is well tested and secure,” said Armstrong.
Coinbase is also one of the two exchanges in the US market apart from Gemini that is targeting institutional and retail investors by providing sufficient liquidity. As Coinbase and its flagship cryptocurrency trading platform GDAX continue evolve, Draper will position himself at the forefront of cryptocurrency innovation and disruption.
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