The Complete Guide for Trading Bitcoin for Beginners
Bitcoin is one of the time-tested cryptocurrencies and has over time proven to be quite profitable for both professionals and beginners. This digital currency has a huge market and is traded on all the exchanges you may ever come across, making it highly liquid.
But perhaps what contributed greatly to its ability to attract many investors is its history of volatility and bubbles. Bitcoin has created a lot of hype around itself to the extent that if anyone thinks about cryptocurrency, they’re most probably thinking or talking about Bitcoin.
The coin is quite popular in the crypto space and often records the highest trading volumes in almost all the exchanges it’s listed on.
If you’re looking to trade Bitcoin, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide on trading Bitcoin for beginners, I will share with you everything you need to know about trading the coin to enable you to trade like a pro.
Why You Need To Be Trading Bitcoin Today
It is essential to learn why you should be trading Bitcoin prior to investing in it – below are some of the reasons why Bitcoin trading is important.
Enjoys a Good Rapport
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be established back in 2009. The coin has been around for close to a decade now. One wouldn’t be mistaken to think that trust is almost inevitable for the pioneers of anything good; but for Bitcoin, the journey has been all about upgrading their security measures, improving their transactions speeds, trading on as many exchanges as possible, among other things. In short, they’ve worked their way up, and that’s the plain truth.
More recently, various government agencies are beginning to be keen on incorporating Bitcoin and Blockchain in their operations. You can find more details about this in the video below:
Bitcoin operates on a market where trading takes place at any time of the day regardless of where you are. Bitcoin exchanges are web-based; this means that you don’t have to physically visit a market for you to purchase an asset. However, the same can’t be said about the stock markets which open and close at specified times, with some transactions requiring one to appear physically.
Bitcoin is Global
At the moment, Bitcoin operates in more than 90% of countries around the world – this means that almost anyone can have a chance to invest in it. Unlike most other digital currencies, Bitcoin is acceptable in most parts of the world as a medium of exchange in various establishments, such as restaurants, transport companies, investment vehicles, and so on.
The price pattern of Bitcoin has always been shifty. In 2018 especially, Bitcoin has experienced some of the major shifts in its prices, both upwards and downwards as may be seen below:
From the table above, you can see how volatile Bitcoin’s price is, making it a great investment for speculative purposes.
Identify A Bitcoin Trading Exchange
This is the first step when looking to invest in Bitcoin to enable you to buy or sell your digital assets.
At the moment, Bitcoin does not have an official trading platform; however, as I mentioned earlier, you will find it on almost any exchange you can ever think of.
Think of Bitcoin as the backbone of any cryptocurrency exchange and it would probably be insane for any to miss it.
Due to not having an official exchange, a lot of users find it difficult to identify the right platform for trading Bitcoin.
But over time, we picked up a pattern in some of the great exchanges around the world; here’s what to look out for in a Bitcoin trading platform:
Safety standards: It goes with saying that safety is a fundamental ingredient in the cryptocurrency space. Many users lose money every day due to coin burglars; be sure to research the level of safety in a platform using online reviews. Look out for any cases of a security breach in the recent past. You want to avoid exchanges with hacking histories or system failure. Be aware of the platform’s security measures, such as whether it uses two-factor authentication and user data encryption, what is its privacy policies, does it have an SSL certificate (look out for the “HTTP//” on a site’s URL), and if there are bug bounties for any vulnerabilities on a platform.
Reputation: A good exchange has its users speak for it – check out various forums such as Quora, Reddit, BitcoinTalk, and more to find out more about an exchange that you wish to sign up on. You should be keen on finding out how efficient their customer support is, the experiences of other users, as well as the pros and cons of the platform. Of course, you should expect to find some flaws with every exchange, but you want to settle for something that is almost negligible.
Payment methods: The last thing you want to do is to sign up on a platform that offers payment methods that are not supported in your locality or, if supported, you have to travel miles to access an agent or a dealership. The time and resources used to access such payment services will be eating into your profit margins, and even if you don’t wish to put a price tag on your time, you’ll find it inconvenient to travel miles just to access a payment service anytime you wish to transact.
Transaction fees: Yup, you guessed it right! After talking about payment methods, it’s only fair for us to know what we’re being charged for deposits, withdrawals, and trading. Some exchanges offer free deposits and withdrawals, while others charge for all other transactions except for trading. Whatever the case, do a thorough research of some of the lowest if not nil-charging platforms for user transactions.
User interface: This ought to have been among the first things to look out for in a good exchange because there won’t be any Bitcoin trading if you’re going to sign up on a platform that relays its information in what seems like rocket science to you (well, not unless you’re indeed a rocket scientist). The point is, signing up on a platform that is easy to navigate will save you tons of trouble if you ask me.
From our checklist above, below are some of the platforms that pass the set standards of a great exchange. What’s more, these platforms allow for day trading bitcoin for beginners and experts.
Top Exchanges for Bitcoin Trading
Coinbase is among the top-rated exchanges globally. They have some of the bests security measures and trade only a few selected coins (Bitcoin obviously included). Due to their quality and security standards, their expansion to many countries has been quite slow. At the time of writing this post, the exchange operates in 33 countries around the world.
Coinbase is said to be the first regulated exchange to start trading Bitcoin, an asset that now forms the biggest chunk of their daily trading volumes.
This is another popular platform that trades Bitcoin and other digital assets. Binance originated in China but moved its headquarters to Malta, which is one of the crypto-friendly countries.
This platform is fairly new in the market, having only been launched in 2017, but they have managed to match up to the safety, trading, and customer support standards that have only been achieved by platforms that have been around for close to a decade.
In terms of trading, Binance has consistently remained among the top five highest trading exchanges globally.
Kriptomat is a product of Slovenian crypto expertise and it offers an extremely user-friendly experience.
Kriptomat was established in Estonia, one of the most progressive tech regulators. They have been issued operating licenses by the Financial Intelligence Unit for Providing services of exchanging a virtual currency against a fiat currency and for Providing a virtual currency wallet service. This regulatory compliance, along with KYC and AML procedures, makes them one of the most trusted new platforms.
The service currently allows you to exchange 17 cryptocurrencies and tokens to and from Euros. It is also available in 20 languages, making it a great choice for people who want to use their native language.
In addition, their blog offers educational content, mostly geared towards beginners, but also useful for people wanting to remain informed about the crypto industry.
Cex.io is one of the oldest Bitcoin trading platforms today. It currently operates in 99% of the countries around the world, including 44 states in the U.S.
Established in 2013, Cex.io is registered in FINCEN and prides itself in applying the KYC (Know Your Customer) standards and the AML (Anti Money Laundering) policies, both of which qualify the platform as one of the safest and the most trusted in the cryptocurrency space.
Just like Cex.io, Bitstamp has been around for a while now and was established in 2011. The exchange initially had most of its operations limited to Europe but has over time spread its wings to 78 countries around the world.
Bitstamp is popularly known for its ability to cater for beginner and advanced users through its two sets of interfaces: beginner and advanced.
The platform is among the highest trading exchanges globally with an average daily volume of $700 million.
Kraken is an exchange that operates globally and has been around for five years now. Based in Europe, the exchange offers a range of fiat to Bitcoin trading pairs, including BTC/USD, BTC/GBP, BTC/EUR, and BTC/JPY.
In addition, Kraken offers a variety of crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, such as BTC/ETH, BTC/XRP, BTC/LTE, among others.
When it comes to security matters, Kraken boasts some of the high-tech security controls such as two-factor authentication and PGP/GPG encryption.
The list goes on and on, but hopefully, you can now be able to choose from the five listed exchanges or use the checklist above to identify a suitable Bitcoin trading platform for you.
Bitcoin Trading Or Investing: What’s the Difference?
A lot of people tend to think that the two terms mean one and the same thing; well, they don’t.
Investing in Bitcoin denotes that one buys the coin and holds it for the long-term. The fundamental strategy behind investing in Bitcoin is that such investors believe that despite market corrections, the price of their assets will ultimately go up.
Bitcoin investors prefer to HODL (yes, this is spelled correctly; this is a popular term in the crypto community that resulted from a 2013 typo for of the word “hold” in the BitcoinTalk forum) the currency for the long-run because they believe in the ideology, technology, and the team steering it.
On the other hand, trading Bitcoin means that an investor purchases the coin and sells it after a short period of time, a duration normally occasioned by small moves in market prices.
So, really the difference lies in the duration of holding your Bitcoin; investors hold their assets longer while traders hold theirs for a shorter period of time.
Types of Traders
All Bitcoin traders have one thing on their minds when buying the coin: making profits. But that is as far as their goals align, how they achieve this differs from one category of traders to the other.
There are typically three types of traders in the cryptocurrency markets; whichever one you choose to become or already are is really a matter of personal preference.
Day traders: Contrary to what I imagined when I first came across this phrase, there are no “night traders”. Day traders are people who execute several trades during the daytime, trying to mint as much profit as possible with fairly short moves that could last seconds, minutes, or hours.
If you’ve seen individuals staring at a couple of screens in any exchange, then you’ve probably met a day trader.
Scalp traders: Scalp traders are almost similar to day traders, but they don’t just trade during the day; they do it all the time. These traders spend a lot of time making dozens if not hundreds of trading moves within the 24 hours of a day.
The idea behind this type of trading is to sell out as fast as possible by locking in any small profits that are generated.
Swing Traders: This category of traders profit from the slight swing in the prices of assets. Swingers study the trend of prices and try to enter into a market at the start of a price movement and stay on until the movement stops, then get out with profits.
Unlike their day trader and scalp counterparts, they try to see the bigger picture in the market; they could hold on to assets for weeks as they monitor the movement in prices before bouncing off the market with profits.
Market Analysis Techniques
There is no perfect way of predicting the market price of Bitcoin or any other asset. However, you can develop a set of rules, formulas, and predictions to help you trade profitably even in the most volatile markets (or use existing and proven ones).
Of course, even with the best of scientific formulas, you can’t exclusively make profits in the cryptocurrency market. The most important thing is to always trade in such as way that your closing balance remains on the positive side.
There are two methodologies that are commonly used in analyzing any asset traded in an exchange: the fundamental or the technical point of analysis.
The fundamental point of view focuses on the bigger picture when predicting an asset’s price; the technical one, on the other hand, relies on a statistical approach to analyzing market prices. This technique uses the trends in price movements and trading volumes to try and establish a common pattern in all the possible scenarios.
To help you understand how each of these techniques work, let’s try to analyze market prices using both techniques:
Analyzing prices using the fundamental approach: This approach would analyze Bitcoin prices using influencers such as news about the coin, latest technological developments such as the lightning network, regulations affecting the currency, among other issues.
Analyzing prices using the technical approach: As the name suggests, this approach tends to rely more on the past data about Bitcoin. Regardless of what is going on around the world, the technical approach will use verifiable data to predict the price of an asset.
Any idea by now which one you prefer?
Well, if you asked me, I’d say ‘don’t prefer’ any; rather, find a way of working with both or remain as neutral as possible so that you can take advantage of any of them whenever it suits you. For instance, when there are no new or latest happenings around the world, you may opt to lean towards the fundamental approach; but when things are stable, I recommend going with the technical approach.
I sure do hope so because you can’t afford to trade without one or both of these strategies; if the worst comes to the worst, choose one that you feel comfortable going with.
Now that you understand how to trade Bitcoin using two of the widely used price analysis techniques, let’s become familiar with some common terms in this space.
Common Terms in Bitcoin Trading
The order book: This is a market register of all the buy and sell orders. Buy orders represent bids by the respective purchasers of coins while sell orders are also referred to as “asks” since they reflect the asking price of the seller for the assets they are disposing of in the market.
Bitcoin price: The term “price” may sound obvious to you but, in a real sense, it’s deeper than its plain meaning in this context. Bitcoin price is the price of the last trade that occurred on a specific exchange. It is essential to understand that as opposed to fiat currencies, there is no standard price for Bitcoin; prices may vary from one exchange to another or in different countries.
In addition, you may also notice some terms next to Bitcoin prices indicated as “low” and “high”, they essentially reflect the highest and the lowest prices of Bitcoin over the past 24 hours.
Volume: This represents the amount of Bitcoin that has been traded within a certain period of time, usually 24 hours, a week, a month, or a year.
Limit order: This is a market order that allows you to buy or sell Bitcoin and other cryptos at a specified price. That is to say, if the requirements for your order are not met, your order will remain unfulfilled until such a time that they shall be met.
Stop loss order: Stop loss orders are sell orders that restrict your selling price from falling below a limit specified by you. This type of order shields sellers from incurring losses resulting from negative fluctuations in the prices of their assets.
Instant (or market) order: Unlike a limit or a stop order, this is an order with no conditions that need to be met prior to being executed. Market orders allow buyers or sellers to set the amount of Bitcoin they wish to dispose or acquire and the exchange matches them with the corresponding order.
Maker and Taker fees: These are also some of the common terms you’re likely to come across when trading Bitcoin.
A maker is pretty much a seller of an asset in an exchange; however, this is a different kind of seller. A maker places an order that goes to the order book partially or fully like in the case of limit orders; subsequent sales from such an order are referred to as “makers”. Since makers help to make the market, they are charged lower fees by the exchange.
Maker orders add volume to the order book; they are, therefore “market makers” – thus, the name ‘maker’.
A taker, on the other hand, places a market order for an asset that has already been placed by the maker; therefore, their orders are fulfilled instantly. Takers take away business from the market, thus paying more fees as compared to makers who bring business to the market.
These two terms are always a bit complex, but they’ll probably make more sense when you apply them when trading.
Interpreting the Price Candles
This beginners guide to Bitcoin trading wouldn’t be complete without touching on price charts. A good number of people have no idea what those complex charts on the home pages of various exchanges mean.
But interpreting these charts is never that hard; here is what you need to know about price charts.
Candles sticks are an ancient Japanese way of conducting a price analysis and originated in the 1600s when trading rice.
Every “candle” reflects the opening, lowest, highest, and closing price of an asset. Depending on the color of a candle, you will be able to tell whether the opening price or the closing price was high or low.
Generally, a green candle signifies an opening price that was lower than the closing price while a red candle shows that the opening price was higher than the closing price.
Green candles show a rise in the price of an asset during a certain period, while the red ones show a fall in the price of an asset in the same period.
Tips for Trading Bitcoin Profitably
Below are some of the time-tested tips for both beginners and advanced traders; try as many as possible to apply them when trading.
- Never invest more than you’re willing to lose
- Just like any other business, establish a trading plan
- Never leave your coins on an exchange; transfer and store them in an offline wallet
- Don’t let emotions drive your trading decisions; remain firm and neutral even in the face of adversity
- Keep growing your knowledge through constant learning
Trading Bitcoin profitably can be difficult especially when the market keeps correcting – however, if you develop a solid plan and familiarize yourself with the things discussed in this guide, you should be able to trade more profitably than an averagely experienced trader even as a beginner.
Finally, as we come to the end of this guide on trading Bitcoin for beginners, we have covered most of the areas in this trade that you can start trading today. But if you still have any questions, feel free to drop them below and we’ll be happy to help out.