How to trade cryptocurrency online

This guide explains the basics of how to trade coins and the best places to do it. This page and our educational crypto guides teach you how to get started. 

Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

What’s the best cryptocurrency trading platform?

If you already know everything you need to know about cryptocurrency and just want to start trading, see the table below. We recommend the below services so take a look and make sure they meet your needs. If you need more time to research or just want to learn more, keep reading.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Exclusive promotion
User Score
10
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
Description:
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
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
User Score
9.3
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
Description:
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
1Pay, 2C2P, 3d Secure Credit Card, ACH, ANELIK, Abaqoos, AdvCash, AlertPay, Alfa-Click
Algocharge, AliPay, American Express, Apple Pay, AstroPay, BPAY, Bank Link, Bank Transfer, Bank Wire, Baofoo, BitGold, BitPay, Bitcoin, Boleto, Bonds, Borneo Exchanger, Bradesco, CEX.io Mobile App, CFDs, CSS System, CUPS, CartaSi, Carte Bleu, Carte Bleue, Cash, CashU, Cashier Order, Check, Check (UK only), China UinonPay, China Union Pay, China UnionPay, ClickandBuy, Commodities, Contact, Contact Z, Credit Card, Cryptocurrencies, Currencies, DCPay, DIXIPAY, Dankort, Debit Card, Dengi Online, DineroMail, DirectPay, Dotpay, E-dinar, ELV, ENets, EPS, ETFs, EXCARD, Easy2Pay, EcoPayz, Ecommpay, Ecurrencyzone, EgoPay, Emerchant Pay, Eprotections, EstroPay, Ethereum, Euro Bank Account, Euteller, Express Dotpay, Express Polish Post Office 24/7, Express Zabka Market, Ezeebill, Ezybonds, FasaPay, Fastapay, Fastbank, Faster Payments, FilsPay, Forex, GTBank, Gate2Shop, Giropay, GlobalCollect, GlobalPAY, GlobePay, Gluepay, Halcash, I-Account, IPS, Ideal, Indices, Individual US State License(s), Indonesia Exchanger, InstaBill, Instadebit, IntellectMoney, Interswitch, Investmate, Itukar, KNET, Klarna, LaoForexBoard, LavaPay, Lion Payment, LiqPay, Litecoin, Lobanet, MOTO, MT4, MT5, Mailing Cash, Market Maker, Masari, Mastercard, MegaTransfer, Mister Cash, Mobile Trading App, Mobile Trading Platform, Moneta, Money Bookers, Money Order, MoneyBookers, MoneyGram, MoneyPolo, Multibanco, NETBANX, Nab, Namecoin, Neosurf, NetPay, OKPAY, OMT, OmahPoin, OnPay.ru, Online Naira, OrangePay, PAYSEC, POLi, POLi & BPay, PYEER, PagoEfectivo, Paxum, Pay Nova, PayCo, PayPal, PayRetailers, PayWeb, Payeer, Payoneer, Payonline, Payvision, Payza, Perfect Money, PocketMoni, Postbank, Powercash 21, Prepaid MasterCard, Prepaid MasterCard (I-Account), Prepaid MasterCard (Intercash), Prepaid MasterCard (Payoneer), Privat 24, Przelewy24, QIWI, RBK Money, Rapid Transfer, RegularPay, SEPA, Safecharge, SafetyPay, SahibExchange, Shilling, SmartPay, Sofort, SolidTrust Pay, SorexPay, Sporopay, Stock Certificate, Stocks, Swish, Teleingreso, Thailand Exchanger, Ticketsurf, Todito Cash, Trade Interceptor, Transact Europe Payment, Trazus, TrustPay, Trustly, UAE Exchange, UPayCard, USD, Ukash, Unet, UnionPay, Unistream, Uphold, Verve, Vietnam Exchanger, Visa, VixiPay, VoguePay, Vouchers, Wallet One, WeChat, Web Based Trading Platform, WebMoney, WebPay, Webtrader, Western Union, Wire Transfer, Wirecard, Yandex, Yandex Money, Yemadai, YuuPay, Z-Payment, Zenith, Array, cTrader, dinpay, eCard, eCheck, eKonto, ePay bg, ePayments Transfer, eToro Mobile Trading Platform, eToro Trading Platform, eTranzact, iPay, mPay, neteller, paysafecard, postepay, skrill, unichange.me
Full regulations list:
3
Min. Deposit
$20
Exclusive promotion
User Score
8.7
Margin Trading with full legal compliance
Cryptocurrency staking
Various Payment options
Start Trading
Description:
Cex.io 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, Cryptocurrencies, Debit Card, Wire Transfer, skrill
Full regulations list:

What do I need to trade cryptocurrency? 

You’ll need a basic knowledge of both online trading and the crypto market first. That includes understanding bid and ask prices, and figuring out if the current price of the cryptocurrency you want to buy makes sense.

You’ll want to find an online platform on which you can make your crypto trades. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

  • 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 actively trading cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple and more. There are many variations with minor differences. However, the most important thing to know is: A CFD (contract for difference) broker allows you to speculate on the price of assets without actually owning them. This means that you wouldn’t be able to withdraw and spend your coins. Rather, you’d withdraw profits in your local currency. Learn how to open an account here.
  • 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 cryptocurrency?

This one’s up to you, what we’re here to do is give you all the information so you can make sound choices as to your own investments. Trading crypto can be a profitable venture when done right, but like any form of investing it comes with a degree of risk. We suggest reading this page and our crypto guides in order to educate yourself, and then using a demo account on a broker can be a useful way to practice before spending real money. 

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

If you’re a beginner in the crypto space who wants to make money trading crypto, using a CFD broker (compare the best here) means you won’t have to go through the process of buying and holding actual coins. This is because CFDs allow you to speculate against the value of cryptocurrencies without literally buying them.

Essentially, CFD trading enables you to own a contract related to the value of the cryptocurrency in question, which can then be cashed out for the new value of the coins after the market has moved up or down. This means you don’t need to worry too much about learning about cryptocurrency wallets or all the different pairs you’ll find on an exchange. Later on, you can always move onto trading on a crypto exchange, especially if you want to trade different cryptocurrencies for each other and/or hold a variety of cryptos at once.

When using a CFD platform, you’ll usually have the option to trade with leverage – but be careful of this. 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 be relatively small (such as 2x or 5x the size of your stake) or much larger (up to 100x the size of your own stake, or more), depending on the platform you use to trade. 

Leveraged trading can maximise profits, which makes it a viable option for more experienced investors. The problem is that leverage can also quickly produce huge losses, particularly in volatile markets such as cryptocurrencies. For this reason, we don’t recommend that beginner investors trade with leverage.

How to use a broker

There are many cryptocurrency brokers that offer platforms you can use to trade various crypto assets, with some of the most important variables to consider when choosing a platform being the security offered and fees charged. 

You’ll find links to some of the best crypto brokers above, and here’s how trading with a cryptocurrency broker works:

1. Open an account with your crypto broker

Signing up with a crypto broker is a fast and easy process. First, choose a broker that offers a secure platform, low transaction costs, and narrow price spreads. You’ll need to provide some contact and security information to confirm your account, similar to when you open other kinds of online accounts. Then, select the cryptocurrency you want to trade. 

2. Deposit funds into your account

You’ll need to add money to your account in order to begin trading. There are several different methods you can use to deposit funds, and the options available will depend on the broker you choose. Some of these methods can include linking to a debit card or credit card, linking to your bank account and then using bank transfers, or using PayPal. Once your payment method has been set up, you’ll be ready to trade. 

3. Plan your crypto trading strategy

Picking and sticking to a sound cryptocurrency trading strategy will help you stay disciplined in your trading. Here are the four most common methods for trading crypto:

  1. Day trading. This is when you open and close a crypto position in the span of one trading day. In this case you’re aiming for the quickest gain possible, albeit not necessarily the largest. Successful day trades can occur in a matter of hours, or even minutes. 
  2. Swing trading. This is also a short-term trading strategy, albeit with a slightly longer timeframe than day trading. When swing trading crypto, you’re holding for somewhere between one day to a few days, in an effort to profit from price changes, otherwise known as swings. CFD brokers will usually charge overnight fees for leaving positions open across multiple days, though.
  3. Scalping. This is an intricate technique that seeks to capitalise on small market inefficiencies, producing lots of small gains. Two common approaches to scalping are arbitrage and spread scalping. Arbitrage entails finding a discrepancy between the bid and ask spread of two different brokers, and 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 if you’re considering this approach. 
  4. Automated trading. This is a way to trade through computer-generated algorithms, rather than with your own hands. Technical indicators and statistical arbitrage drive automated crypto trading. This is also known as robot trading, and it is worth noting that it’s good to be careful of these platforms, as not all are legitimate.

Each of these strategies offers certain advantages to crypto traders. Consider how short you want your trading time horizon to be and whether you want to place your own crypto trades or have a machine do it when deciding which trading method to use. If you’d rather buy and hold crypto, that falls more under the category of investing than trading, and can be a profitable venture in its own right if done correctly.

4. Place your first trade

You’ve done your research, picked a trading platform, deposited money into your account, and selected your preferred method for trading cryptocurrencies. You’re now ready to make your first trade.

That was easy, what should I do next?

Congratulations, you’ve made your first trade! We recommend continuing to learn more about trading strategies, risk management, and other key principles, to ensure that you stay ahead of the curve. It is also advisable to keep up-to-date with all the latest cryptocurrency news, as crypto markets are often very reactive to new information and move fast.

Additional hints and tips

We do not recommend trading crypto on an exchange until you have more experience, as they can create an environment that can be more challenging to navigate, harder to make deposits, and require a steeper learning curve. That said, if you’d like to give exchange trading a shot, keep reading and we’ll take you through what you need to know.

How to use an exchange

If you’re looking to buy and trade coins, you can do so on a crypto exchange. That’s a different approach than with CFDs, where you don’t own the actual cryptocurrency being traded. There are numerous different types of exchanges, with the biggest ones letting you trade a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, and smaller ones allowing you to purchase a limited range of cryptos instantly with fiat currency. Here’s what you need to know when planning on trading crypto through an exchange:

1. Decide which exchange you want to use

Which exchange you plan to use can depend on a number of factors. Those include the strength of the exchange’s reputation, how low that exchange’s fees are, and the breadth of choices available to crypto traders. For instance, some exchanges aim for simplicity, allowing you to buy just a few cryptocurrencies using fiat currency. Others will offer a huge range of trading options, including trading a wide variety of crypto pairs. Figure out whether your crypto-trading goals are simple or more varied when picking an exchange. 

2. Set up an account

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

3. Select which cryptos you want to hold and trade

If you’re planning to trade popular cryptos such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple/XRP you’ll find them on any exchange. If you’re considering a different cryptocurrency, you’ll want to check with the exchange you’re considering before signing up, since some exchanges only offer a limited number of cryptocurrencies for trade.

4. Place your trade

Once you’ve selected the market and cryptocurrency you wish to trade, it’s time to place your trade. Here are some of your trading options: 

  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 the flip side of a buy order, where you’re either cashing in your crypto trade to make a profit, or to cut your losses.
  3. Put/call. When trading crypto options, you can bet on price either going up (call) or down (put). Here, you’re purchasing a contract which gives you the option (but not the obligation) to buy or sell crypto at a specified price by a specified date.  
  4. Market order. This is when you want to buy a crypto immediately at the current market rate determined by trading activity on the exchange.
  5. Limit order. This is when you want to buy crypto, but you’re only willing to pay up to a certain price, known as a limit. You set a limit at which the exchange is instructed not to buy any more coins for you.
  6. Stop-loss order. This is when you buy a cryptocurrency, then put in an order to limit the size of your loss. 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%, in the event that Bitcoin falls in price. The exchange will automatically sell your coins if the price of Bitcoin falls to $6,300.

5. Receive your coins

You’ve now bought the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, or other cryptocurrency you’ve been seeking. If you plan to store your coins on the exchange you’re trading on, then you don’t need to do anything else.

6. (Optional) transfer your coins to a separate wallet

In general, if you’re not planning on trading your coins in the near future, it is advisable from a security standpoint to transfer your coins to a separate personal wallet.

Which exchange should I use?

We’re here to help you decide! Check out the table below to see the most reputable exchanges around for trading cryptocurrency.

1
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
User Score
10
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
Description:
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
1Pay, 2C2P, 3d Secure Credit Card, ACH, ANELIK, Abaqoos, AdvCash, AlertPay, Alfa-Click
Algocharge, AliPay, American Express, Apple Pay, AstroPay, BPAY, Bank Link, Bank Transfer, Bank Wire, Baofoo, BitGold, BitPay, Bitcoin, Boleto, Bonds, Borneo Exchanger, Bradesco, CEX.io Mobile App, CFDs, CSS System, CUPS, CartaSi, Carte Bleu, Carte Bleue, Cash, CashU, Cashier Order, Check, Check (UK only), China UinonPay, China Union Pay, China UnionPay, ClickandBuy, Commodities, Contact, Contact Z, Credit Card, Cryptocurrencies, Currencies, DCPay, DIXIPAY, Dankort, Debit Card, Dengi Online, DineroMail, DirectPay, Dotpay, E-dinar, ELV, ENets, EPS, ETFs, EXCARD, Easy2Pay, EcoPayz, Ecommpay, Ecurrencyzone, EgoPay, Emerchant Pay, Eprotections, EstroPay, Ethereum, Euro Bank Account, Euteller, Express Dotpay, Express Polish Post Office 24/7, Express Zabka Market, Ezeebill, Ezybonds, FasaPay, Fastapay, Fastbank, Faster Payments, FilsPay, Forex, GTBank, Gate2Shop, Giropay, GlobalCollect, GlobalPAY, GlobePay, Gluepay, Halcash, I-Account, IPS, Ideal, Indices, Individual US State License(s), Indonesia Exchanger, InstaBill, Instadebit, IntellectMoney, Interswitch, Investmate, Itukar, KNET, Klarna, LaoForexBoard, LavaPay, Lion Payment, LiqPay, Litecoin, Lobanet, MOTO, MT4, MT5, Mailing Cash, Market Maker, Masari, Mastercard, MegaTransfer, Mister Cash, Mobile Trading App, Mobile Trading Platform, Moneta, Money Bookers, Money Order, MoneyBookers, MoneyGram, MoneyPolo, Multibanco, NETBANX, Nab, Namecoin, Neosurf, NetPay, OKPAY, OMT, OmahPoin, OnPay.ru, Online Naira, OrangePay, PAYSEC, POLi, POLi & BPay, PYEER, PagoEfectivo, Paxum, Pay Nova, PayCo, PayPal, PayRetailers, PayWeb, Payeer, Payoneer, Payonline, Payvision, Payza, Perfect Money, PocketMoni, Postbank, Powercash 21, Prepaid MasterCard, Prepaid MasterCard (I-Account), Prepaid MasterCard (Intercash), Prepaid MasterCard (Payoneer), Privat 24, Przelewy24, QIWI, RBK Money, Rapid Transfer, RegularPay, SEPA, Safecharge, SafetyPay, SahibExchange, Shilling, SmartPay, Sofort, SolidTrust Pay, SorexPay, Sporopay, Stock Certificate, Stocks, Swish, Teleingreso, Thailand Exchanger, Ticketsurf, Todito Cash, Trade Interceptor, Transact Europe Payment, Trazus, TrustPay, Trustly, UAE Exchange, UPayCard, USD, Ukash, Unet, UnionPay, Unistream, Uphold, Verve, Vietnam Exchanger, Visa, VixiPay, VoguePay, Vouchers, Wallet One, WeChat, Web Based Trading Platform, WebMoney, WebPay, Webtrader, Western Union, Wire Transfer, Wirecard, Yandex, Yandex Money, Yemadai, YuuPay, Z-Payment, Zenith, Array, cTrader, dinpay, eCard, eCheck, eKonto, ePay bg, ePayments Transfer, eToro Mobile Trading Platform, eToro Trading Platform, eTranzact, iPay, mPay, neteller, paysafecard, postepay, skrill, unichange.me
Full regulations list:
1
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
User Score
10
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
Description:
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
3d Secure Credit Card, Credit Card, Debit Card, Euro Bank Account
Full regulations list:

FAQs

ℹ Can I trade cryptocurrencies using my PayPal account?
ℹ Can I trade cryptocurrency using my credit or debit card?
ℹ Can I trade cryptocurrency using bank transfers?
ℹ Will I lose money trading crypto?
ℹ Are cryptocurrencies a safe commodity to trade?
ℹ Which cryptocurrencies can you trade online?
ℹ What are the trading hours of the crypto market?
ℹ Can I trade cryptocurrency on my mobile phone?
ℹ Is it easy to withdraw my profits?
ℹ What is a cryptocurrency wallet?
ℹ Should I trade with leverage?
ℹ Where can I go if I want more informatio?

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.