How to trade Bitcoin online

This guide explains everything you need to know about trading the world's most popular cryptocurrency. Learn what to look out for and the different methods available to you.
By: Harry Atkins
Harry Atkins
Harry joined us in 2019, drawing on more than a decade writing, editing and managing high-profile content for blue… read more.
Updated: May 21, 2021
Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

Bitcoin is the most well-known and widely traded cryptocurrency around – with a track record of more than a decade and a market cap of around $120 billion. Use this guide to find out where to trade Bitcoin and the best platforms to use.

What’s the best Bitcoin trading platform?

If you think you’re ready to get started, see the table below for a list of the best platforms around. If you need more time to research first, then scroll down to keep reading.

Min. Deposit
Exclusive promotion
Our score
Accepts customers from the USA
Offers 15 crypto coins to buy&sell including BTC, LTC, ETC, NEO and more
Trade on the world's leading social trading and investing platform
Start Trading
eToro offers a wide range of cryptos, such as Bitcoin, XRP and others, alongside crypto/fiat and crypto/crypto pairs. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users.
Payment Methods
Wire Transfer, Bank Transfer
Full regulations list:
Min. Deposit
Exclusive promotion
Our score
Margin Trading with full legal compliance
Cryptocurrency staking
Various Payment options
Start Trading
Description: offers exchange of fiat currency for Bitcoin Ethereum, Tether, and 23 other cryptocurrencies, as well as Bitcoin/Ethereum trading against the USD.
Payment Methods
Credit Card, Debit Card, Wire Transfer, Cryptocurrencies, Skrill
Full regulations list:
Min. Deposit
Exclusive promotion
Our score
The broker offers access to a trusted MetaTrader trading system
Pricing is ensured to be completely transparent, also providing accuracy and speed
Trade a Wide Variety of Assets with Leverage up to 1:500
Start Trading
LonghornFX is a true ECN STP broker dedicated to delivering a superior trading experience to traders no matter their level of experience. Their services are based on transparency, innovation and efficiency, ensuring an unparalleled trading experience for all.
Payment Methods
Credit Card, Debit Card, Visa, Bitcoin
Full regulations list:
LonghornFX offers high-leverage trading on a wide variety of assets. Trading with leverage carries a degree of risk which may result in losing more than your investments. Clients should practise risk management to protect themselves from losing more than they can afford when trading with leverage.

If you want to start trading, you will want to understand some of the basic principles of cryptocurrency investing first. Consider these questions:

What do I need in order to trade Bitcoins?

The answer to this depends what you want to do. If you want to buy and hold coins, you’ll need a Bitcoin wallet, or an account on an exchange platform, or a stockbroker. However, you can also choose to trade without owning actual coins by using a CFD broker (more on CFD brokers shortly). 

Beyond that, you’ll want to know the basic terms and principles that go with online crypto trading. Getting to know how price spreads work and how Bitcoin’s price is behaving in relation to other global markets are good starting points.

Here’s a look at some of the services most relevant to Bitcoin trading:

  • Exchange – A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform that lets you swap coins for other currencies, be it fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies. Exchanges are recommended for more advanced traders, though, as they’re not always easy for beginners to navigate.
  • Broker account – A broker account is any account you can open which allows you to facilitate investments, be that holding shares or coins. There are many variations with minor differences. However, the most important thing to know is: A CFD (contract for difference) broker allows you to trade assets without actually owning them. This means that you can speculate on the price, but you wouldn’t be able to withdraw and spend the bitcoin. Rather, you’d withdraw profits in your local currency.
  • Wallet – A crypto wallet is a digital device, program, or service which stores the keys used to receive, spend, and track ownership of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Having your own wallet provides a more secure platform for your Bitcoin than just leaving it in the custody of an exchange. If you’re trading a significant amount of Bitcoin, this level of extra security can be a worthwhile purchase.

Should I trade Bitcoin?

It offers lots of potential for gains if you read the cryptocurrency market well, whereas the downside is that you can lose money with if things don’t go your way. One more helpful tip: many platforms will let you open a demo account where you can practice without risking any of your money. This is a useful practice technique that will help you get acclimated to trading in real time. 

What is the best way to trade Bitcoin for a beginner?

If you’re a beginner in the crypto space who wants to make money out of Bitcoin, then by using a broker you won’t have to go through the process of buying and holding actual Bitcoins. 

CFD trading means that you own a contract related to the value of Bitcoin, but not the actual coins themselves. That means you don’t have to worry about the hassle of finding a place to store your coins securely, and you won’t be able to spend them. Later on, you can always move onto trading on a crypto exchange, especially if you want to trade different cryptocurrencies for each other and hold a variety of cryptos at once.

When using a CFD platform, you’ll sometimes have the option to trade with leverage. Trading with leverage means that you can make large trades while only staking a small percentage of the overall trade amount. The size of that leverage can vary dramatically, including up to 100x the size of your own stake, depending on the platform you’re using to make the trade. 

Leveraged trading can maximise profits, which makes it a popular choice among more experienced investors. The problem is that leveraged trading can also quickly lead to substantial losses, particularly in volatile markets such as Bitcoin. For this reason, we don’t recommend that beginner investors trade with leverage.

How to to use a broker

Numerous brokers let you trade cryptocurrency, and you can find the links to some of the top platforms out there at the top of this page. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Open an account with your broker

Signing up with a crypto broker is a fast and easy process. First, choose a broker that offers a simple and secure platform, and narrow price spreads. You’ll need to provide some contact and security information to confirm your account, as you would when you open, say, an online banking account.  

2. Deposit funds into your account

There are several different methods you can use to deposit funds into your brokerage account. Those methods include debit card, credit card, linking to your bank account to use bank transfers, and using PayPal. Once your payment method has been set up, you’ll be ready to go.

3. Plan your trading strategy 

Here are the four most common methods for Bitcoin trading:

  1. Day trading. This is when you open and close a Bitcoin position on the same day, in search of rapid gains. To day trade successfully, you’ll want to learn the art of chart reading, also known as technical analysis. 
  2. Swing trading. This is also a short-term trading strategy, but with a slightly longer timeframe than day trading. When swing trading, you’re holding for a period ranging from one day to a few days. The goal is to profit from price changes, also called price swings.
  3. Scalping. This trading technique seeks to capitalise on market inefficiencies, in search of repeated small gains. Two common approaches to scalping are arbitrage and spread scalping. In arbitrage you’re searching for a discrepancy between the bid and ask spread of two different brokers, then taking advantage of that discrepancy. Spread scalping is the same idea, but with the same broker. Some crypto brokers ban this practice, so make sure your broker allows it before you dive in. 
  4. Automated trading. This is a form of trading done through computer-generated algorithms. Technical indicators and statistical arbitrage are an option, and automated trading is also sometimes called robot trading.

Each of these strategies offers different advantages. Consider how short you want your time horizon to be and whether you want to place your own trades or have a machine do it when deciding which method to use. 

If you’d rather buy and hold Bitcoin, that can yield big long-term gains if you buy at the right time and show patience through market fluctuations.

4. Place your first trade

Alright, you’ve done your research, picked one of the best Bitcoin trading platforms in the UK, deposited money into your account, and selected your preferred method for trading. Go ahead and make your first trade!

That was easy, what should I do next?

Keep learning more about trading strategies, risk management, and other key trading principles. The more you learn, the more sophisticated trading techniques you can pursue.

Additional hints and tips

If you’d rather trade directly, rather than using broker contracts then you can use an exchange. This can be more challenging to navigate and harder to make deposits, while also entailing a steeper learning curve. We recommend this for traders who have at least ‘some’ experience.

That said, if you’d like to give exchange trading a shot, read our online guide on how trading exchanges work for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

How to use an exchange

With an exchange, you’re trading directly with either brokers or other individuals, with price fluctuations happening in real time as trades are made. Here’s what you need to know when you use an exchange:

1. Decide which exchange you want to use

Which exchange you plan to use depends on multiple factors. Those include the strength of the exchange’s reputation, the size of the exchange’s trading fees, and the choices available to crypto traders. Some exchanges allow you to buy just a few cryptocurrencies using fiat currency. Others offer more trading options, including trading a wide variety of crypto pairs. 

2. Set up an account

Once you’ve chosen an exchange that suits your goals, the next step is to set up an account. Provide contact information, verify your identity, and link to an accepted method of deposit, and you’ll be all set up. We discuss the different deposit methods you can use to set up your account below.

3. Select which cryptos you want to hold and trade

Exchanges offer a wide range of coins, and when you trade, you do so in pairs. That means that you can hold many different coins or swap Bitcoin for any of them – like Ripple (BTC/XRP), Ethereum (BTC/ETH), or a fiat currency like the British pound (BTC/GBP).

4. Place your trade

Exchanges offer a wide variety of strategies you can use. Here are some of your options when using an exchange: 

  1. Buy order. This is simply when you buy some number of crypto units, such as buying one Bitcoin at a price of around $7,000 (as of mid-April 2020).
  2. Sell order. This is when you close your trade, either by cashing in your Bitcoin position to make a profit, or to cut your losses.
  3. Put/call. When using options, you can bet on Bitcoin’s price either going up (call) or down (put). You’re purchasing a contract which gives you the option (but not the obligation) to buy or sell Bitcoin at a specified strike price, by a specified date.  
  4. Market order. This is when you want to buy Bitcoin immediately, at the current market rate given on the exchange.
  5. Limit order. This is when you want to buy Bitcoin, but you’re only willing to pay up to a certain price. You set that price and therefore ensure you don’t buy any coins for above the amount you’re willing to spend.
  6. Stop-loss order. This is when you buy a cryptocurrency, then programme your account to sell the coins if the value falls to a set amount. So for instance, if you buy Bitcoin at $7,000 and put in a stop-loss order at $6,300, your goal is to limit the size of your loss to no more than 10%.

5. Receive your coins

You’ve now bought Bitcoin. If you plan to store your coins on the exchange you’re trading on, you’ll use a digital wallet, which is essentially like an online bank account provided by the exchange to store your coins. Exchange-issued wallets are called “hot” wallets as they are connected to the internet.

6. Transfer your coins to a separate wallet

If you want better security than a hot exchange wallet can offer, you can opt to buy your own Bitcoin wallet and transfer your coins there. It is recommended that you only store coins on an exchange account that you are wanting to trade in the near future, as it is safer to store your coins somewhere where you control their security.

Which exchange should I use?

Check out the table below, which lists the leading Bitcoin exchanges today so you can find the right place to buy and sell coins.

Min. Deposit
Exclusive promotion
Our score
The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange with over 2bn daily users
Innovative trading platform offering enormous range of crypto coins
Supports over 60 methods of payment including PayPal
Start Trading
Binance has grown exponentially since it was founded in 2017 and is now one of, if not the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges on the market.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:
Min. Deposit
Exclusive promotion
Our score
FCA regulated crypto exchange with 4500+ digital assets available for trading
Supports users from over 100 countries including the US and Canada
Withdraw your funds using PayPal or other payment methods
Start Trading
Coinbase is one of the first places that made it easy to buy bitcoin and has since become a widely trusted exchange in the market.
Payment Methods
Credit Card, Debit Card, Euro Bank Account, 3d Secure Credit Card
Full regulations list:


ℹ Can I trade Bitcoin using my PayPal account?
ℹ Can I trade Bitcoin using my credit or debit card?
ℹ Can I trade Bitcoin using bank transfers?
ℹ Will I lose money with Bitcoin trading?
ℹ Is Bitcoin a safe commodity to trade?
ℹ What are the trading hours of the Bitcoin market?
ℹ Can I trade Bitcoin on my mobile phone?
ℹ Is it easy to withdraw my profits?
ℹ What is a cryptocurrency wallet?
ℹ Should I trade Bitcoin with leverage?

Fact-checking & references

Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.

Risk disclaimer

Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

Harry Atkins
Financial Writer
Harry joined us in 2019, drawing on more than a decade writing, editing and managing high-profile content for blue chip companies, Harry’s considerable experience in the… read more.