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How to trade cryptocurrency

Learn how to trade Bitcoin and other cryptos with our step-by-step beginner's guide.

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Whether you're branching out from traditional markets or new to investing, you may be curious about crypto trading.

Before getting started, it's important to note that trading crypto is notoriously unpredictable and not suitable for everyone. Prices can fluctuate wildly in a short period which means that profits can be made quickly, but losses incurred just as fast.

This guide aims to provide an overview of where to begin, including choosing a trading style, devising a trading plan and what to look for in an exchange.

This is not an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade or use any services.

How to trade crypto in Australia

If you're a beginner looking to get started trading crypto, you'll need a clearly defined strategy and a crypto trading account.
  1. Research the risks.
    Before you start trading crypto, do your own research (DYOR) and decide whether trading is right for your risk tolerance and investment goals. Learn about different cryptocurrencies, how they work and their potential use cases.
  2. Choose an exchange.
    There are many exchanges available, so research the most reputable and secure ones to ensure the safety of your funds. Consider the fees, trading pairs and liquidity of the exchange to choose a platform that best suits your needs.
  3. Choose a trading pair.
    A trading pair is a combination of 2 currencies you can trade against each other. For example, BTC/USD is a trading pair where Bitcoin is the base currency and the US dollar is the quote currency. Choose a pair based on your research and trading strategy.
  4. Choose a trading strategy.
    You can use several strategies, such as day trading, swing trading and trend trading. Each strategy has advantages and disadvantages, so choose one that aligns with your goals and trading style.
  5. Stick to your plan.
    Once you have a trading plan, stick to it. Trading can be high-stress, so take the emotion out of it and stick to your plan. Don't let fear or greed guide your decisions, and always set stop-loss orders to limit your losses.

What is crypto trading?

Crypto trading refers to the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies through an exchange or trading platform. Similar to traditional stock trading, crypto traders aim to profit from price fluctuations in the market by buying low and selling high.

Trading typically involves using technical analysis tools and market research to identify potential opportunities and make informed decisions. Traders can choose from various styles, including day, swing and position trading, as well as strategies such as range trading or mean reversion.

Why do people trade crypto?

Cryptocurrency trading has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its unique characteristics, including decentralised networks and the potential for high volatility. Here are some of the most common reasons people trade crypto:

  • Potential profits. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have a reputation for being highly volatile, which means there is the potential for large gains or losses in a short amount of time.
  • Decentralisation. Unlike traditional financial systems, which are centralised and controlled by governments or financial institutions, cryptocurrencies are decentralised and operate on peer-to-peer networks. This appeals to people who value the idea of a decentralised financial system that is not controlled by any single entity.
  • Anonymity. Many blockchains offer a degree of anonymity that traditional financial systems cannot match. This is attractive to people who value privacy and want to keep their financial transactions confidential.
  • Diversification. Cryptocurrency is a relatively new asset class and investing in it can help with portfolio diversification. By diversifying investments, traders have the potential to hedge against other asset classes.
  • Access to new investment opportunities. Crypto has opened up investment opportunities previously unavailable to investors. This includes the ability to invest in blockchain technology, DeFi, NFTs and other new crypto-related ventures.

Crypto trading vs stock trading

Crypto trading involves buying and selling digital assets through a cryptocurrency exchange or trading platform, while stock trading involves buying and selling stocks through a stock exchange. Cryptocurrency markets are open 24/7, while stock markets have set opening and closing hours.

A major difference between them is that stocks represent fractional ownership of a publicly listed company. In Australia, this comes with certain consumer protections and shareholder rights. Conversely, the use cases for cryptocurrencies are incredibly diverse and ownership doesn't necessarily entitle you to anything other than the asset itself.

Crypto and stock trading both rely on identifying trading opportunities and managing risk, but crypto trading is generally considered higher risk due to these markets' inherent volatility and comparatively low liquidity.

How does crypto trading work?

Crypto trading involves buying and selling digital currencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum and other altcoins. Traders aim to capitalise on market price fluctuations by speculating on the future value of these assets.

They can either go long, venturing that the price will increase, or short, anticipating a decrease. Crypto trading operates 24/7 and offers opportunities for short-term and long-term investments.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to trading, as each person has a unique market perspective and strategies often differ depending on market conditions, risk tolerance and investment goals.

Example crypto trade

Let's say you have done your research and identified Ethereum (ETH) as a potential buy opportunity. You believe it has strong fundamentals, including an upcoming development advancement and potential for long-term growth. You've also evaluated the technicals and identified a bullish chart pattern and positive indicators.

You decide to enter a long position on ETH by buying 10 coins at a price of $1,000 per coin, using a total of $10,000 of your trading capital. You set a stop-loss order at $900 to limit your potential losses.

A few days later, the price of ETH rises to $1,200 per coin. Following your trading plan, you close your position and take profits. You sell your 10 coins for a total of $12,000, making a profit of $2,000 (20%) on your initial investment.

In this example, you used fundamental and technical analysis to identify a potential buying opportunity and managed your risk by setting a stop-loss order. You also had a profit target in mind and closed your position when the price reached your target.

It's important to remember that not all trades will be profitable. Implementing a solid trading plan and risk management strategy is crucial to success.

Where to trade crypto in Australia

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Name Product Deposit methods Fiat currencies Cryptocurrencies Offer Disclaimer Link
Finder Award
Kraken Pro
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT, ACH online banking

8

235

Capital at risk

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EXCLUSIVE
CoinSpot
Bank transfer, BPAY, Cash, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, PayID

1

444

Get $20 in BTC when you make a deposit. T&Cs apply.

Capital at risk

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Exclusive
EXCLUSIVE
Swyftx
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Osko, PayID

3

352

Get $20 in BTC when you verify your account. T&Cs apply.

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Exclusive
EXCLUSIVE
eToro Crypto
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, eToro Money

20

83

Get a US$50 bonus when you buy at least US$500 in crypto. T&Cs apply.

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Binance Australia
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Osko, PayID, Simplex, Banxa, Apple Pay, Google Pay

82

376

Earn up to US$100 in rewards by completing welcome tasks within 7 days of signup. T&Cs apply.

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Disclaimer: General information only. All forms of investments (and in particular, trading CFDs, commodities and forex) carry significant risk, including the risk of losing more than the invested amounts, market volatility and liquidity risks. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Such activities are not suitable for most investors.
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Name Product Payment Methods Supported Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies Minimum Deposit
Plus500 Cryptocurrency CFDs
Plus500 Cryptocurrency CFDs
Credit/debit card, Bank transfer, PayPal, Skrill
AUD, USD, GBP, EUR
BTC,ETH,ADA,LTC,XLM,EOS,NEO,IOTA,ETHBTC,Crypto10,BAB
$200
CFD service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade CFDs on top cryptos as well as Australian and international shares, indices, commodities and more.
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How to choose the best crypto to trade

Choosing the best crypto to trade depends on several factors, including your trading strategy, risk tolerance and market conditions. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Research the market. Do your research and stay informed about the latest market trends and news. Look for cryptos with clear technical patterns or strong fundamentals – depending on whether your strategy is long-term position or intraday trading.
  2. Consider liquidity. Liquidity is crucial in trading, as it affects the ease of buying and selling. Choose cryptocurrencies with deep liquidity, as they tend to have lower bid-ask spreads and offer lower slippage.
  3. Look for volatility. Volatility is essential as it provides profit opportunities. If you're looking for short-term trades, it may be worth finding crypto that is showing a high level of volatility and wide price swings.
  4. Evaluate the competition. Evaluate the competition of the coin or token you want to trade. Consider factors such as the number of competitors, the technology used and the market share.
  5. Use technical analysis (TA). Analyse the technicals, such as price charts and indicators, to identify patterns and trends. Correctly using TA can help determine your trades' best entry and exit points.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the best crypto to trade. It's essential to have a plan and risk management strategy that aligns with your goals and trading style.

Crypto trading strategies

Crypto investors are typically divided into 2 groups – long-term and short-term traders. While every trader has a unique approach to the market, basic guidelines for these groups are as follows:

Long-term trading

BTC wallet vector icon blue
Long-term crypto trading involves holding cryptocurrencies for extended periods with the aim of making a profit in the future or using them for future transactions.

This style of trading is suitable for investors who believe in the long-term growth potential of a particular coin or token and are less concerned with short-term price fluctuations.

This style of trading requires a sound understanding of the crypto market, extensive research and picking the right crypto to invest in.

Short-term trading

BTC trade graph vector icon blue
Short-term crypto trading involves buying and selling, usually within a day, with the aim of making a profit from price fluctuations. This style of trading is most suitable for investors who prefer an active approach and are comfortable with taking risks.

Short-term traders or day traders often use technical analysis and market trends to make quick decisions. This requires a high level of knowledge, discipline and the ability to manage risk effectively. Short-term trading may also involve complex strategies such as arbitrage, where traders aim to exploit price discrepancies between exchanges.

Day trading

Day trading crypto involves buying and selling within a single trading session – usually within a few minutes to a few hours. Day traders, otherwise known as scalpers, use technical analysis, order flow and other tools to identify short-term opportunities and make quick trades based on market conditions. Charts used by scalpers are typically 1 minute to the hourly.

Although day traders' profit targets are generally much smaller than swing traders, the aim is to take advantage of small price fluctuations many times throughout a trading session. This advanced style of trading is often associated with the use of leverage and derivatives.

Swing trading

Swing trading is a strategy that involves longing or shorting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over a medium-term period, typically several days to weeks, to profit from price movements.

Swing traders aim to take advantage of more significant price movements than day traders while minimising the risks associated with long-term investments. Swing traders use technical analysis and charting tools to identify trading opportunities, usually monitoring charts from the 1 hour to the daily.

Position trading

Position trading involves buying and holding cryptocurrencies for a long-term period, typically several months to years, with the aim of profiting from long-term trends and growth in the crypto market.

Position traders use fundamental analysis and market research to identify promising cryptocurrencies and hold through market fluctuations. This strategy requires a strong conviction in the long-term potential of the assets being held and a willingness to weather short-term volatility.

Position traders monitor a range of high timeframe charts, as well as news events and market fundamentals.

Derivatives trading

Crypto derivatives allow traders to speculate on the price movements of an underlying asset without holding the asset itself. For example, an Ethereum derivative contract will represent the price of ETH but will not be able to be withdrawn or transferred on the Ethereum blockchain.

Derivatives include crypto futures, margin and options and often involve leverage. This trading style is more complex and risky than traditional spot trading and requires a good understanding of the underlying assets and market dynamics.

Best crypto futures exchanges

An unfortunate combination of leverage, impatience, and emotional trading is a common trend in the crypto market. Fortunes have been won and lost with leverage, and new traders should strive to avoid using leverage and maintain a cautious approach.

How to read the crypto markets

Diving into the world of crypto trading requires a solid understanding of the various analytical tools at your disposal. Key tools for reading the crypto markets include technical, fundamental and on-chain analysis. These approaches can help you make well-informed trading decisions, optimise your strategies and navigate the volatile digital asset landscape.

Technical analysis

Technical analysis is a trading technique used to forecast future price movements based on past market data. Technical analysts use patterns, trends and indicators to identify potential trading opportunities and manage positions.

Fundamental analysis

Fundamental analysis involves analysing the underlying factors that affect the value of a cryptocurrency, such as technology, adoption and regulatory developments. Following the fundamentals can help you make more informed decisions about buying or selling based on its intrinsic value and potential long-term growth prospects.

On-chain analysis

On-chain analysis is a method of analysing a blockchain to gain insights into its network activity, such as transaction volume, miner and staker activity and wallet balances. Due to the transparent nature of blockchains, on-chain data can provide valuable information, such as the cryptos held by a whale or institutional investors.

Trends in prices can be detected using technical analysis algorithms, which only look at the history of prices, but there's no guarantee that a trend detected that way will continue in the future. To spot a trend that's likely to continue, it's necessary to look at fundamentals, such as whether the user base is growing along with the price. Innovative cryptocurrencies that make it possible to do things that could never be done before are likely to experience short-term and medium-term growth during the period before competition appears.

Is it safe? Crypto trading risks

Cryptocurrency trading incurs many of the risks of trading on any other market as well as some unique challenges.

  • High volatility. Cryptocurrencies are known for their volatility and can experience significant price fluctuations within a short period. This means traders may experience significant gains or losses in a short timeframe.
  • Market risks. The crypto market is largely unregulated and can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including economic, political and social events, making it difficult to predict.
  • Cybersecurity risks. Cyber attacks, hacks and phishing scams are common in the crypto world and can lead to the loss of funds.
  • Lack of liquidity. Some markets may lack liquidity, making it difficult to buy and sell quickly without suffering slippage losses.
  • Human error. Traders aren't immune from making trading or analysis mistakes that can lead to loss of capital.
  • Being over-exposed. Don't go in for more than you can afford to lose. Limit your exposure and consider setting up "take-profit" and "stop-loss" orders to limit your exposure in the event of drastic swings.
  • Not knowing when to fold. Whether you're up or down, knowing when to close a position and either take profits or cut your losses is important.
  • Tax implications. Be aware of the tax liabilities associated with trading cryptocurrencies, as profits may be subject to capital gains tax or other applicable taxes. Consider tracking your trades with dedicated crypto tax software and consult a professional to ensure compliance and proper reporting.

Bottom line

Trading Bitcoin and other cryptos can be a lucrative venture. However, cryptocurrency markets are highly volatile and the risk often outweighs the reward – even the most experienced traders aren't immune to losing streaks.

Before trading cryptos, ensure you're familiar with the market and have a solid trading plan and risk management strategy implemented. Choose an exchange or trading platform that suits your strategy and practise trading on small size or a demo account to get a feel for the platform and its features.

Never rush into trades. Monitor the charts and wait for an opportunity that aligns with your strategy before executing – the crypto market never sleeps, so there's no need to feel like you're missing out if you don't have an open position.

FAQs

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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