Bitcoin Trading: Everything to Know
By Beluga Research October 10, 2023
- Bitcoin trading involves buying and selling the cryptocurrency bitcoin and aiming to profit from price fluctuations
- Operating on a decentralized blockchain network, bitcoin is the first and most well-known cryptocurrency
- This can be done through exchanges or trading platforms, involving spot trading and derivatives trading
- Traders of bitcoin use technical and fundamental analysis, practice risk management and stay informed about market sentiment to make informed trading decisions
Bitcoin trading involves buying and selling the cryptocurrency bitcoin and aiming to profit from price fluctuations. Bitcoin's value is determined by market supply and demand. As more people buy bitcoin, the price tends to rise, and vice versa. This price volatility has attracted traders and investors who aim to profit from short-term price movements.
A Brief History
Bitcoin was created in 2009, but it was not until 2010 that the first recorded bitcoin transaction occurred when Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 BTC. Over the years, bitcoin has gained recognition as a viable digital asset.
In 2013, bitcoin experienced the first major price rally, reaching over $1,000 per bitcoin. This attracted interest and led to the establishment of cryptocurrency exchanges. However, the price soon corrected significantly, highlighting the market's volatile nature.
Bitcoin's price fluctuated in the following years, with periods of growth and decline. In 2017, bitcoin reached an all-time high, surpassing $20,000 per bitcoin. This rally captured global attention and attracted new investors. However, the price subsequently plummeted, leading to a bear market that lasted until 2020.
Since then, bitcoin has experienced a remarkable resurgence, attracting institutional investors and gaining wider acceptance. In 2021, the price reached new highs, exceeding $60,000 per bitcoin. To date, bitcoin remains a dominant force in the cryptocurrency market.
Bitcoin Trading: Everything to Know
- Exchanges and Trading Platforms - To engage in bitcoin trading, individuals first need to access a cryptocurrency exchange or trading platform. These platforms act as intermediaries, connecting buyers and sellers and facilitating the exchange of bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies or traditional fiat currencies.
- Types of Trading - Bitcoin trading can be categorized into two main types: "Spot trading" and "derivatives trading." Spot trading involves buying and selling bitcoin at the current market price, while derivatives trading involves trading bitcoin-based financial instruments like "futures contracts" or "options," which derive value from the underlying asset.
- Technical Analysis - Many bitcoin traders use technical analysis to make informed trading decisions, and this generally involves studying historical price and volume data to identify patterns and trends. Traders use various tools and indicators to analyze charts and predict future price movements. However, technical analysis should be used in conjunction with other factors.
- Fundamental Analysis - Fundamental analysis evaluates the intrinsic value of an asset by considering factors such as technology, adoption rate, regulations and market demand. It helps traders assess bitcoin's long-term potential and make informed investment decisions.
- Risk Management - Bitcoin trading involves inherent risks due to market volatility, making risk management strategies crucial to protect capital and minimize losses. Techniques like setting stop-loss orders, diversifying portfolios and using proper position sizing can help mitigate risks.
- Market Sentiment - Market sentiment also influences bitcoin trading. News events, regulations and public perception can impact market sentiment and bitcoin price. Traders should stay informed about relevant news and developments to gauge market sentiment accurately.
To start trading bitcoin, a user should first choose a reliable cryptocurrency exchange that aligns with trading goals and has a user-friendly interface. The user can then create an account on the exchange and complete the necessary verification process to comply with regulations. Funds can be deposited into the exchange wallet using methods like bank transfers, credit or debit cards or other cryptocurrencies, after which, the user is ready to start trading bitcoin.
To initiate trading activity, the user can utilize the trading interface provided by the exchange to view the current bitcoin price and order book. A trade can then be executed by placing a "market order," which is a buy or sell at the current market price, or a "limit order," which involves setting a desired price and waiting for the market to reach it.
All users should note that trading involves risks, so it is important to start with a small capital and gradually increase exposure as they gain experience. Users should also familiarize themselves with trading concepts like "candlestick charts," order types and risk management strategies.
- Constant Availability - Bitcoin operates in a decentralized, global market that never sleeps. Unlike traditional stock markets that have fixed trading hours, Bitcoin can be bought and sold twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. This constant availability allows traders to react to news and market events in real-time, making it attractive to those seeking flexibility with trading activities.
- Volatility - Bitcoin is known for price volatility, as the value can fluctuate significantly over short periods, presenting both opportunities and risks for traders. While volatility can lead to substantial profit potential, it also means that bitcoin trading can be exceptionally unpredictable, requiring traders to use risk management strategies and be prepared for rapid price swings.
- Lack of Regulation - The trading of bitcoin is less regulated compared to traditional financial markets. While this offers a degree of freedom to traders, it also exposes them to a higher risk of fraud and market manipulation. Therefore, due diligence and choosing reputable cryptocurrency exchanges are essential to mitigate these risks.
- Diverse Trading Pairs - Bitcoin can be traded against various other cryptocurrencies (BTC trading pairs) and fiat currencies (BTC/USD, BTC/EUR, etc.), allowing for diverse trading strategies. Traders can take advantage of arbitrage opportunities, speculate on different market trends or diversify portfolios by trading across a wide range of assets.
- Ownership and Security - In Bitcoin trading, individuals are responsible for the security of personal cryptocurrency holdings. As such, traders must manage private keys and employ robust security measures to protect assets from theft or loss. The absence of a centralized authority means that there is no recourse for recovering lost or stolen bitcoin, emphasizing the importance of security practices.
- High Liquidity - Bitcoin is highly liquid, meaning that it can be easily bought or sold without significantly affecting the price. This liquidity attracts traders who value quick entry and exit from positions.
- Volatility - There is a history of significant price swings with bitcoin, creating opportunities for traders to profit. Price fluctuations are influenced by factors like market demand, regulations and macroeconomic events. Traders who can analyze and predict these movements have the potential for substantial returns.
- Accessibility - Bitcoin trading is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, and unlike traditional markets with high barriers, bitcoin trading platforms are open to users worldwide. This allows individuals from different backgrounds to participate and potentially benefit.
- 24/7 Market - Unlike traditional markets with fixed trading hours, bitcoin trading operates twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Thus, traders can react to market developments and news in real time without waiting for the market to open. This flexibility is advantageous for those with other commitments.
- Diversification - Adding bitcoin to an investment portfolio can enhance the risk-reward profile. Bitcoin's price movements have shown a low correlation with stocks and bonds, acting as a hedge against market downturns. Including bitcoin can reduce overall risk and increase potential returns.
- Price Volatility - Bitcoin's rapid and significant price swings can lead to substantial gains or losses in a short time. Traders unprepared for such volatility may struggle to manage positions effectively and incur significant losses.
- Lack of Regulation - The cryptocurrency market, including bitcoin, is relatively unregulated compared to traditional markets. This exposes traders to risks like market manipulation, fraud and security breaches. Careful research and caution are necessary when selecting a trading platform to mitigate these risks.
- Technical Complexity - Trading bitcoin requires understanding and using various technical tools and indicators to analyze price charts and make informed decisions. Traders must grasp concepts like "candlestick patterns," "support and resistance levels" and "moving averages." Further, staying updated on technical analysis developments is essential, as technical complexity can be a barrier for novice traders.
- Security Risks - Bitcoin trading platforms and digital wallets are vulnerable to security breaches and hacking attempts, meaning that traders must take measures to secure accounts and funds. Such measures can include enabling two-factor authentication (2FA), using hardware wallets and practicing good cybersecurity habits. Inadequate security measures can result in loss of bitcoin holdings.
- Emotional Stress - Bitcoin trading can be emotionally demanding, especially during high volatility or when trades do not go as planned. Traders may experience fear, greed and other biases that cloud judgment and lead to impulsive decisions. Therefore, developing discipline and emotional resilience is crucial for navigating market fluctuations.