Trading Cryptocurrency

If you are interested in buying or selling a cryptocurrency, there are few better places to look than one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, Binance.

Founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao – who earned the number-one spot on CoinDesk’s 2018 Most Influential list – Binance rose to prominence during the historic crypto market-wide bull run in 2017 by supporting a wide array of cryptocurrencies in what was, and perhaps still is, one of the fastest and most reliable trading platforms.

In fact, Binance became so popular, so quickly that CZ and Binance both became worth more than $1 billion in less than one year, officially making it one of the first companies to achieve “unicorn” status in the cryptocurrency industry.

Yet despite its reputation as a destination for crypto traders, it’s not exactly easy for users who lack a traditional trading or investment background to navigate their way around.

In this piece, we take a step-by-step look at how to use Binance and conduct a trade on the exchange.

Signing up

First thing’s first, you’ll need to create an account. Anyone is able to sign up since Binance does not require customer information, but by doing so “you acknowledge and declare that you are not on any trade or economic sanctions lists” as per its Terms of Use.

This includes citizens of the member countries in the UN Security Council Sanctions list, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department (OFAC), among other groups.

The terms also state each user must be at least 18 years of age. Binance reserves the right to cancel or freeze any account If the terms are disobeyed.

If the restrictions do not apply to you, to sign up simply navigate to the homepage and click register.

You will then be asked to enter a minimal amount of personal information such as your email address, password, and a referral ID if you have one.

As per Binance’s referral system, you will receive 50 percent of your referrals trading fees.

After you fill in the required fields, click “Register” and complete the captcha, a confirmation link will be sent to your email address.

Once the link is clicked, your Binance account is ready to be used.

Deposit Funds

Now that your account is activated, but before exploring the rest of the exchange, you’ll need to add funds to your account if you wish to buy or sell any cryptocurrencies.

Pay with credit card

Binance has a feature that allows users to purchase certain cryptocurrencies directly with their Visa or Mastercard credit card. If you are a qualified candidate, navigate to the “Funds” tab and select “Buy With Credit Card.”

You will then be required to enter the purchase amount of the desired cryptocurrency and whether you will be paying with the US dollar or euro. Cryptocurrency purchases by credit card are limited to BTC, ETH, and LTC at this time.

There is a minimum processing fee of $10 or 3.5 percent of the total order – whichever is more expensive. After completing this step, you will need to confirm your billing information, email address as well as your identity.

A valid government issued form of ID is required to be submitted to confirm your identity.

Once all of the required steps have been completed, the newly purchased cryptocurrency should reach your Binance wallet within 10-30 minutes.

Deposit from wallet

You can also make a deposit by sending funds from a separate cryptocurrency wallet into your Binance account.

In order to do this, navigate to the “Funds” tab once again and click “Balances.”

On this page, you will see all of the cryptocurrencies available for trading on Binance. To deposit the corresponding crypto into any of these, simply click the “Deposit” button next to the crypto asset of your choice.

Next, either scan the QR code from your cryptocurrency wallet or paste in the address and then send.

Once that’s complete, wait for the transaction to process and you’ll be ready for trading.

Placing a trade

Let’s go back to the home page now that your funds are ready to be used.

Here, you will again see all the cryptocurrencies that are tradable on Binance and their respective markets.

For this example, let’s say you previously deposited 0.0024 BTC (~$10) into your account and now wish to trade it for NEO.

First, you’ll need to find the right NEO market.

Since you want to spend BTC in order to get NEO, click the “BTC Markets” tab and then type NEO into the search bar.

Click the appropriate row and the page where trading takes place will open.

Trading module

This page may look intimidating, but you can easily get the hang of it with a bit of practice.

Plus, most cryptocurrency exchanges have a similar trading interface so what you remember here, in all likelihood, will be relevant elsewhere.

The left section of the screen is known as an order book.

Here, you will see all active buy and sell limit orders. A limit order is simply an order that will only be placed at the user’s desired price, given there are buyers or sellers interested at that level.

If you would like to learn the “in’s and out’s” of an order book, check out our comprehensive guide, but for now all you need to know is that the top of the order book (red) is where the limit sell orders wait to be filled and the bottom section (green) is where the limit buy orders wait to be filled.

The right side of the page is more simple – the above section shows the other cryptocurrencies that can be traded and the lower section shows the public trade history of the market currently being viewed.

Trade example: Buying NEO

The center of the page is where the real magic happens.

Here lays a chart feature that shows real-time price action and technical analysis indicators. Just below the chart is where you will actually execute the trade, so let’s buy some NEO.

If certainty of execution is your priority, select market order. If you are interested in only buying at a specific price level, select either limit or stop-limit order.

For the purposes of this example, let’s place a market order, which will be placed immediately at current market prices.

Now, just enter the amount of BTC desired to be spent and how much NEO you want to purchase. Binance has a useful shortcut for entering the purchase amount and it is based on a percentage of your bitcoin balance (or any other appropriate trading pair).

Let’s spend 50 percent of the BTC balance so there is some left over, perhaps for another trade.

The last step is to click the big green button “Buy NEO.” Since this is a market order, the trade for 0.58 NEO should have completed instantly, but that is most likely not the case if you selected limit or stop-limit order.

To check on the status of your order, look towards the bottom of the page where it says “Open order.” As the title would suggest, if your order has not yet executed, in other words, is still “open,” it will appear in this box until it has either been canceled or filled.

When it has been filled, it will show up in the lower box highlighting your 24-hour order history, just as how this order has below.

In order to sell, simply follow this same process but execute a market or limit sell order.

Withdrawing funds

While Binance does have a decentralized exchange in the works, the existing platform is centralized and susceptible to hacks like many other websites, so it’s recommended funds are only held on the exchange for as long as necessary.

In order to withdraw, navigate back to the “Balances” page. If you would like to see only the cryptocurrencies you have a substantial balance in, check the “hide” box.

Now select the withdrawal button in the NEO row and have your destination address or QR code handy. Paste the address and select how much you want to withdraw.

Last but not least, click submit and wait for the transaction to complete.

Binance Launchpad

The Binance Launchpad is a token launch platform exclusive to Binance and plans to offer token sales for new projects.

Binance handpicks which tokens to launch based on a number of factors including project maturity, scalability and adoption readiness, team quality and the ability of the project to benefit the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.

To ensure the sales are being conducted in compliance with regulatory regimes around the world, each user must verify his or her Binance account.

Completed token sales, as well as those scheduled for a future date, can be seen on the home page of the Binance Launchpad. It’s worth noting that the token sales operate on a “first come, first serve” basis and usually sell out in just minutes, so be sure to do your due diligence.

If you successfully participate in a Launchpad token sale, the tokens will be automatically credited to your Binance account.

Security

Like most modern cryptocurrency exchanges, two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled on Binance and is highly recommended to be set up in order to add an extra layer of protection to your account.

In order to do so, navigate to your account summary by clicking the user avatar in the top right of the home page.

Once directed to your account page, a prompt will likely appear suggesting you to enable 2FA, which happens to automatically pops up when a new user accesses this page.

Binance allows two methods for enabling 2FA, via SMS or Google Authenticator.

With the SMS version, simply enter your mobile phone number and the verification code sent to the corresponding phone and you will be all set.

If Google Authenticator is your 2FA of choice, download the mobile application, open it and scan the QR code provided by Binance. Next, you will be asked to write down a 16-word recovery phrase to be used as a backup in case you lose access to this google authentication.

Lastly, you will be prompted to enter your account’s login password and the authenticator code found in the Google Authenticator mobile app. Once complete, this form of 2FA security will be complete.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • If you’re constantly on the go, Binance’s mobile application may be perfect for you. It’s compatible with iOS, Android, as well as Mac and PC operating systems so just about anyone can place a trade or monitor their account from virtually anywhere.
  • Binance offers a large selection of tradeable cryptocurrency markets. As of May 1, 2019, 467 different markets are supported on the exchange.
  • Binance has it own native exchange token, BNB, which can be used to supplement trading fees and boost the overall liquidity on Binance.
  • Binance was a pioneer of the Initial Exchange Offerings, and It’s Launchpad facilitates sales once a month for those who are interested in being early holders of new tokens.
  • Higher trading volume that most other cryptocurrency exchanges.

Cons

  • If following government regulations like that of the US is important to you, then you may want to try out exchanges such As Coinbase or Gemini, because at this point Binance is still an unregulated exchange.
  • Many of Binance’s markets, specifically those of the lesser known altcoins, offer low liquidity which can make trading large altcoin positions difficult.
  • The somewhat complex user interface can be challenging for novice traders and investors to adjust to.

Images via Binance website

A cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong and founded in 2012, Bitfinex is one of the market’s largest and most liquid exchange services providers, has long attracted a clientele drawn by its offerings of leverage and more advanced trading tools.

An early market entrant, Bitfinex has experienced the bumps and bruises that accompany such distinctions. In August 2016, it lost 120,000 bitcoins (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that resulted in user account balances being reduced.

In June of that year, it was further fined by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Still, Bitfinex battled back, issuing a cryptocurrency to users that represented their claims on crypto lost in the hack in an innovative first. (It would buy back all those tokens by April 2017).

As a result of its perseverance, Bitfinex has boasted some of the highest recorded trading activity, handling anywhere between $90-500 million a day. This makes the exchange highly liquid in addition to offering a sizeable collection of tradable crypto assets.

Today, you’ll either need to have some cryptocurrency ready to send to your new account from another major exchange such as Binance or Coinbase or be prepared for a large bank wire transfer in order to get the ball rolling.

Luckily for the more entry-level traders, Bitfinex recently removed it’s $10,000 equity minimum for account creation, so users can now gain access to the exchange no balance requirements at sign up.

Signing up

Head over to the Bitfinex website and go through the signup process by fulfilling your basic information such as your name, email and desired password.

Run through the process of verifying your account with the email link provided and begin to familiarize yourself with the platform.

ID verification

No ID verification was required upon initial sign-up and it is possible to send funds to the account but requires $10,000 USD in liquidity in order to use their platform, limiting it to large-scale investors.

The process of verification is simple however and requires any form of legal documentation with your current name and address as well as your driver’s license to confirm your identity.

Note: Verification can take up to 48-hours.

Once you have signed up and logged in you’ll want to set up your two-factor authentication (2-FA) which enables an additional layer of security by requesting a code from your smartphone upon every log in.

Security

Locate the “Security” tab in the top right corner of your screen and then on the new screen find “Two-Factor Authentication” which will take you to the QR code that you’ll use to scan via the Google Authenticator application on your smart device.

After completing the process you will be sent an email link to verify and finalise your 2FA.

You’re now ready to stock up some funds for trading.

Depositing Funds

Click on the “Wallets” tab in the top-right corner of your screen, here you will see a list of two available assets to withdraw from or deposit into, as a new account we can only access bitcoin.

In our example, we decided to send a fraction of a bitcoin (BTC) to our wallet address which was located by clicking on the down arrow labeled underneath “deposits/withdrawals”.

You’ll be taken to a new screen that provides your unique wallet address which can be produced anytime you’re on this page.

Trading

Once you’ve sent over the funds to your account either from another exchange wallet or bank wire transfer, click on the desired asset on the left hand of your screen with a list to choose from.

Here’s a list of the USD pairings available for you to trade. If you’d like to buy BTC for example,  click “BTC” and you will be directed trading interface.

On the trading page, you’ll see the asset’s price chart, order book, order buttons and a list of all other assets in the BTC markets to your left.

Choose the amount of bitcoin you’d like, in our case we selected “1” in the quantity field, chose “Market” from the drop-down menu and hit “Exchange Buy.” Presto, you’ve now purchased your first bitcoin at market price on the Bitfinex exchange!

There are quite a few different options to trade including setting a stop limit, which triggers an event sell/buy depending on price crossing a particular threshold.

A stop-limit order is a conditional trade over a set timeframe, let’s say an asset is currently trading at $15.00. You’d like to sell the asset if it reaches or goes below $14.00, but only if the security can be sold for $13.00 or more.

You can place a Stop-Limit order by setting the Stop Price to $29.00 and the Limit Price to $28.00. There’s also margin trading which allows you to borrow more than you currently own using your crypto as collateral, this is also known as leverage.

Trading on margin is borrowing money from a broker or exchange to purchase assets/stocks.

Margin trading attracts a higher profit potential than traditional trading but also greater risks.

Withdrawal

The act of withdrawing your funds is simple.

Once you have decided to take profit or close your positions and you would like to transfer off the Bitfinex exchange, click on “Withdraw” in the top-right corner of your screen and select from the list of cryptocurrencies the one you’ve just traded on the platform with.

In our case, we were trading with bitcoin (BTC) and decided it was time to take a 2 percent profit.

We chose bitcoin amongst the list and entered another separate wallet address that we owned.

Sometimes the process can take up to a week if the exchange is going through difficulties such as recent events that have seen a 5-day limitation on fund withdrawals.

Which looks like this:

Tip: Litecoin and XRP offer quick speeds when transferring funds from the exchange to a separate wallet address.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Established Exchange that generally features high trading volume
  • A highly intuitive and easy-to-navigate platform that imitates a lot of other major exchanges in their user interface lessening the burden on usability.
  • It offers leveraged trading which can be both a pro and con considering the risks involved.

Cons

  • Requires a minimum $10,000 USD liquidity in your account in order to use the platform
  • Recent events have increased skepticism among the crypto trading community throwing into question its authenticity and legitimacy.
  • Sometimes trades at a premium to other exchanges such as bitcoin being $309 different in value when compared to prices on the Coinbase or Kraken exchanges.

Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX) is a “crypto-products trading platform” founded in 2014 by a group of former bankers behind HDR Global Trading Limited and is currently operating in Hong Kong while being registered in Seychelles.

BitMEX is probably best known for its margin lending capabilities, which allow its users to conduct a leveraged trade as high as 100 times, significantly amplifying the profit potential as well as potential losses.

With large daily trading volumes (usually between $500 million – $1 billion) and over 10 million users accessing the site every month, it’s safe to say BitMEX is one of the most liquid cryptocurrency trading platforms on earth.

There are no trading limits on BitMEX aside from an over 18 years age restriction, however, users should also be aware that BitMEX does not currently offer support or registration for U.S citizens due to ongoing legal compliances.

See below for a step-by-step guide on how to place a trade on BitMex

Signing up

Users will need to register with the website in order to create an account and provide a genuine email address to start the registration process.

In the top right corner click on ‘register’ and fill in the blanks including your email, desired password, country of residence and name, select “I accept the terms and conditions” and click register.

Open up your email and click on “verify email,” the process should take you from your email application to a webpage that opens onto the exchange (we will come back to this shortly).

Instead of diving straight into trading, let us first assess your security and deposit funds into your account so that you may begin doing so.

Security

In the top left corner, select “account” and then navigate to the left window pane and select “my account,” this will bring you to a new page with the ability to now setup your Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

In the section labelled “security”, you will see a dropdown menu providing you with an option to scan the barcode using an application of your choice, select “Google Authenticator.”

This barcode provides you with a unique code specific to your account for you to use via Google Authenticator.

Note: On this page, you can also select to change/update your password should you so choose in the future.

You will then be signed out and forced to re-enter your login details except for this time you will need your 2FA security key as well.

Depositing Funds

Once your security has been configured, head over to the “Deposit” page located in the lefthand window pane under “Wallet.” If you aren’t sure where that is located, click on the tab labeled “Account” then check your left window pane and it should be located to the top left.

BitMEX does not charge for withdrawals or deposits, instead, it charges a network fee based on the size of the transaction, but take note that the exchange only accepts deposits in bitcoin (BTC) and serves as collateral regardless of whether or not the trade includes BTC.

Warning: Do not send Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Tether to this address. Any unsupported coins sent here will be lost.

On the ‘Deposit’ page you will notice a code at the bottom (marked black), use that as your default BTC deposit address where you will send funds from another wallet to this one.

Placing a Trade

The “Trade” tab in the top left corner brings you to the exchange page from which you can conduct your trades. Directly underneath that tab, there is a list of coins ranging from left to right representing the available tokens for trade on the exchange.

The order book shows three columns – the bid value for the underlying asset, the quantity of the order, and the total USD value of all orders, both short and long.

While on the far left you have a choice to either long, a particular asset or short it, for now, you should concern yourself with the spot price of assets rather than dabbling in any leveraged trades or futures markets.

Directly under the BitMEX logo on the trading page, you will see a tab named “market” click on that in order to perform a trade on the spot market. In our example, we had bitcoin selected and set our buy order at $1 USD for a spot position and executed the trade, at the time of writing we received back 0.0002 BTC.

Congratulations! You’ve now successfully purchased your first bitcoin on the BitMEX exchange, to sell simply input the same amount of BTC you received when you first bought it.

There is also an option to modify the window panes to display information that’s relevant to you.

By choosing to remove certain windows you can streamline your information flow to increase the quality and relevance of the data you are receiving.

Intro to Leverage trading

BitMEX allows its users to leverage their position and presents the ability to place orders that are bigger than the users’ existing balance.

This could lead to a higher profit in comparison when placing an order with only the wallet balance this is known as “margin trading.” The platform allows users to set their leverage level by using the leverage slider with a maximum leverage of 1:100 being available for bitcoin and bitcoin cash SV only.

Note: BitMEX fees are much higher than on conventional exchanges because the fee applies to the entire leveraged position. So, a $1,000 trade on 100x leverage could end up costing more than $100 in fees.

Withdrawals

So, now you’ve made a trade and taken profit and want to transfer those funds to another wallet or exchange to cash in.

Click on the “Account” tab located in the home bar and select “Withdraw” highlighted in blue.

Here you will find the option to send to a particular wallet address, the specific amount in bitcoin (XBT) as well as the desired network fee.

Enter your 2-FA code we setup earlier and click “Submit” located at the bottom of the page.

Bitcoin transactions are prioritized on the network by fee meaning the higher the fee the faster the withdrawal process takes to complete.

Note: BitMEX recommends a minimum fee of 0.001 and requires at least 0.0009.

Futures contracts and perpetual swaps

A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a given asset in the future at a predetermined price. On BitMEX, users can leverage up to 100x on certain contracts.

Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except that there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. They also tend to trade close to the underlying index price, unlike futures, which may diverge substantially from the index price.

BitMEX can, therefore, be complex and difficult to navigate at times if you are uncertain how these financial instruments operate but also possesses the potential to maximize your earnings through futures markets, leveraged trading and perpetual swaps.

Just be sure you know what you are doing.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A Highly liquid platform, well within the top 10 exchanges by reported global derivative volume.
  • Best known for its leverage trade option as high as 100 times, which can act as a risk management tool and amplifier for potential profit
  • Limited ID verification required to begin trading immediately.

Cons

  • Due to ongoing legal compliances BitMEX does not currently offer support or registration for U.S citizens.
  • BitMEX can be complex and difficult to navigate at times if you are uncertain how futures markets or particular financial instruments operate.
  • Leveraged trades can incur considerable risk, especially to those less experienced and should not be approached lightly.

A key player in the first generation of cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitstamp’s largest competitors for many years were mostly exchanges that no longer exist today.

Now eight years old, Bitstamp has currently amassed over 3 million users, largely in Europe.

Once based in Slovenia, Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financie, a distinction it achieved in 2016.

Like many other early exchanges, however, Bitstamp has suffered from being early to the crypto market, most notably a January 2015 hack in which it lost 19,000 BTC (worth nearly $115 million at current market prices).

It’s also struggled somewhat to define a clear identity among major exchanges, with its narrative neither defined by multiple rounds of venture capital from major investors (like Coinbase or Kraken) nor a grassroots-led litany of cryptocurrency trading options.

This means if you have an interest in trading a select few cryptocurrencies from one of the more established exchanges in the industry, and are based in the regions in which it offers services, Bitstamp might be the best option for you.

Below we’ve broken down how to conduct a trade on Bitstamp in a step by step process.

Signing up

The first step in using any cryptocurrency exchange is signing up and getting your account activated.

To do this, simply navigate to Bitstamp.net and either select “Get started” or “Register” on the landing page. You will then be prompted to select whether your account will be for personal or corporate use. It’s important to note that not all exchanges enforce the same terms of use policy, so simply because you are allowed to use exchange A in your jurisdiction does not automatically mean you will be allowed to use exchange B. Bitstamp’s terms of service can be found here.

The personal information requirements also differ amongst exchanges during the signup process.

ID verification

With Bitstamp, the personal information required to verify your identity is quite extensive compared exchanges like Binance that only require for your name and email address to create an account.

Bitstamp’s registration process is more rigorous due to the fact it abides by KYC and AML policy. You will be required to enter  such information as your address of residence, US citizenship status, photo ID document as well as a document to prove you residence.

Security

Like most cryptocurrency exchanges, or at least those taking extra measures to secure user accounts, Bitstamp has option 2-factor authentication (2-FA).

To enable this feature, the user will need to navigate to the main account dashboard and select “security” from the left-hand side of the page.

To proceed, the user will need to have Google authenticator installed which will present a six-digit code when paired with his or user Bitstamp account. 

Next, simply enter this code and the account will now be secured with another layer of protection. Once enabled, the user will need to enter this six-digit code shown in the app during each login attempt.

Depositing Funds

Once your account has been verified, all trading functions will be accessible but funds will need to be deposited in order to do so.

A feature more exchanges are beginning to incorporate is the ability to purchase cryptocurrency directly on the exchange via credit card payment.

Bitstamp has enabled this feature (link to CC how to) and currently allows the purchase of BTC, XRP, LTC, ETH and BCH with USD or EUR. To begin this process, click the “Deposit” tab towards the top of the screen and then select “Credit Card” in the left sidebar.

Note: If you would like to purchase funds and add them to your account as quickly as possible, this route is a much better option than buying through a separate fiat onramp and then sending the funds to Bitstamp (as long as you are willing to pay a credit card processing fee).

Alternatively, deposits can be made via bank transfer or with Bitstamp’s supported cryptocurrencies, which can be selected in the same sidebar on the left side of the “Deposit” page.

Similar to most exchanges, when the option to deposit a particular cryptocurrency is selected, you will be presented with your deposit address and its associated QR code. Using a mobile wallet to scan the QR code is most likely the fastest and easiest way to send funds, but the address can also be copy and pasted.

Placing a trade

Trading Interface 1) Basic

First, click the “Buy / Sell” tab in the top menu to be directed to the trading interfaces.

Bitstamp is unique in that it allows users to trade cryptocurrencies in a variety of ways that appeal to both users with novice and advanced levels of trading expertise.

The simplified trading interface essentially allows the user to place the same type of orders as the advanced interface but presents the features in a more beginner-friendly way without a live price chart and a full order book that can be distracting or intimidating to new cryptocurrency buyers.

On the simplified trading page shown below, the user has the option to conduct five different trade types as follows:

  1. Instant order – Aimed towards a fresh beginner, an instant order will be placed at the current bid or ask price, and if there is not enough liquidity available at that price level to satisfy the order, Bitstamp’s trading engine will reposition the order instantaneously to the current order book offer.
  2. Limit order – This is a standard limit order in which a user enters how much and at what price he or she wishes to buy a cryptocurrency. The order will be executed at the desired price or better if enough liquidity is available to fulfil the trade.
  3. Market Order – Simply enter the amount of the cryptocurrency you wish to purchase and the trade will be executed at the current market price, in other words, the last traded price.
  4. Stop order – Similar to a market order, the stop order is designed to be executed at the user’s desired price when the market price reaches the desired level. The difference is that the user enters the price he or she wants the trade to be triggered at as well as the price he or she wants to buy or sell order.
  5. Credit Card – Last but not least, a user can select the credit card payment option. Please note cryptocurrencies can only be bought with credit cards on Bitstamp, there is no way to sell a cryptocurrency and have the funds be directly sent to a credit/debit card.

Trading Interface 2) Advanced

If you are comfortable using a more professional trading interface, the “Tradeview” is the place for you. The full-featured “Tradeview” interface can be accessed by clicking the “Tradeview” tab in the upper right corner of the page.

As with most advanced cryptocurrency trading interfaces, there are 5 key components:

  • Trade History – A history of recently executed trades can be found on the leftmost part of this trading interface. 
  • Depth chart – This tool visual represents order book data so you can easily see what price levels contain a high or low concentration of orders.
  • Orderbook – Here you can see all the limit orders waiting to be filled. Wondering how to read it? See our detailed instructional guide here.
  • Price chart – The price chart displays the live price action of the cryptocurrency selected.
  • Order executor – Here you will decide whether you want to open a limit, market or instant order with the desired amount and price if limit or stop was selected.

Withdrawing funds

So if you’ve made your trade and now would like to remove your funds from the exchange, the next step is to go through the withdrawal process.

In order to begin, click the “Withdraw” tab as seen below.

Next, select the withdrawal method you’d like to engage in. Bitstamp allows funds to be withdrawn to an external digital wallet and EU or international bank.

Similar to the depositing process, you will be prompted to enter or confirm your banking information if withdrawing via an EU or international bank, or your destination wallet address and withdrawal amount if withdrawal via cryptocurrency is selected, as is shown below. 

Last but not least, select “2FA 7 Withdraw,” enter your 2FA code, click “Confirm” and your funds will be on their way.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Highly liquid exchange with over 3 million users; the main portion coming from Europe.
  • While subject to an exchange hack back in January 2015, Bitstamp has since built upon its reputation as a highly secure and transparent platform.
  • Simple and intuitive user interface with features for both novice and professional traders.
  • Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financie, a distinction it achieved in 2016.

Cons

  • Cryptocurrencies can only be bought with credit cards on Bitstamp, there is no way to sell a cryptocurrency and have the funds directly sent to a credit/debit card.
  • High credit/debit card fees
  • Does not offer USDT trading pairs
  • Just 5 different cryptocurrencies are supported

A key player in the first generation of cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitstamp’s largest competitors for many years were mostly exchanges that no longer exist today.

Now eight years old, Bitstamp has currently amassed over 3 million users, largely in Europe.

Once based in Slovenia, Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financie, a distinction it achieved in 2016.

Like many other early exchanges, however, Bitstamp has suffered from being early to the crypto market, most notably a January 2015 hack in which it lost 19,000 BTC (worth nearly $115 million at current market prices).

It’s also struggled somewhat to define a clear identity among major exchanges, with its narrative neither defined by multiple rounds of venture capital from major investors (like Coinbase or Kraken) nor a grassroots-led litany of cryptocurrency trading options.

This means if you have an interest in trading a select few cryptocurrencies from one of the more established exchanges in the industry, and are based in the regions in which it offers services, Bitstamp might be the best option for you.

Below we’ve broken down how to conduct a trade on Bitstamp in a step by step process.

Signing up

The first step in using any cryptocurrency exchange is signing up and getting your account activated.

To do this, simply navigate to Bitstamp.net and either select “Get started” or “Register” on the landing page. You will then be prompted to select whether your account will be for personal or corporate use. It’s important to note that not all exchanges enforce the same terms of use policy, so simply because you are allowed to use exchange A in your jurisdiction does not automatically mean you will be allowed to use exchange B. Bitstamp’s terms of service can be found here.

The personal information requirements also differ amongst exchanges during the signup process.

ID verification

With Bitstamp, the personal information required to verify your identity is quite extensive compared exchanges like Binance that only require for your name and email address to create an account.

Bitstamp’s registration process is more rigorous due to the fact it abides by KYC and AML policy. You will be required to enter  such information as your address of residence, US citizenship status, photo ID document as well as a document to prove you residence.

Security

Like most cryptocurrency exchanges, or at least those taking extra measures to secure user accounts, Bitstamp has option 2-factor authentication (2-FA).

To enable this feature, the user will need to navigate to the main account dashboard and select “security” from the left-hand side of the page.

To proceed, the user will need to have Google authenticator installed which will present a six-digit code when paired with his or user Bitstamp account. 

Next, simply enter this code and the account will now be secured with another layer of protection. Once enabled, the user will need to enter this six-digit code shown in the app during each login attempt.

Depositing Funds

Once your account has been verified, all trading functions will be accessible but funds will need to be deposited in order to do so.

A feature more exchanges are beginning to incorporate is the ability to purchase cryptocurrency directly on the exchange via credit card payment.

Bitstamp has enabled this feature (link to CC how to) and currently allows the purchase of BTC, XRP, LTC, ETH and BCH with USD or EUR. To begin this process, click the “Deposit” tab towards the top of the screen and then select “Credit Card” in the left sidebar.

Note: If you would like to purchase funds and add them to your account as quickly as possible, this route is a much better option than buying through a separate fiat onramp and then sending the funds to Bitstamp (as long as you are willing to pay a credit card processing fee).

Alternatively, deposits can be made via bank transfer or with Bitstamp’s supported cryptocurrencies, which can be selected in the same sidebar on the left side of the “Deposit” page.

Similar to most exchanges, when the option to deposit a particular cryptocurrency is selected, you will be presented with your deposit address and its associated QR code. Using a mobile wallet to scan the QR code is most likely the fastest and easiest way to send funds, but the address can also be copy and pasted.

Placing a trade

Trading Interface 1) Basic

First, click the “Buy / Sell” tab in the top menu to be directed to the trading interfaces.

Bitstamp is unique in that it allows users to trade cryptocurrencies in a variety of ways that appeal to both users with novice and advanced levels of trading expertise.

The simplified trading interface essentially allows the user to place the same type of orders as the advanced interface but presents the features in a more beginner-friendly way without a live price chart and a full order book that can be distracting or intimidating to new cryptocurrency buyers.

On the simplified trading page shown below, the user has the option to conduct five different trade types as follows:

  1. Instant order – Aimed towards a fresh beginner, an instant order will be placed at the current bid or ask price, and if there is not enough liquidity available at that price level to satisfy the order, Bitstamp’s trading engine will reposition the order instantaneously to the current order book offer.
  2. Limit order – This is a standard limit order in which a user enters how much and at what price he or she wishes to buy a cryptocurrency. The order will be executed at the desired price or better if enough liquidity is available to fulfil the trade.
  3. Market Order – Simply enter the amount of the cryptocurrency you wish to purchase and the trade will be executed at the current market price, in other words, the last traded price.
  4. Stop order – Similar to a market order, the stop order is designed to be executed at the user’s desired price when the market price reaches the desired level. The difference is that the user enters the price he or she wants the trade to be triggered at as well as the price he or she wants to buy or sell order.
  5. Credit Card – Last but not least, a user can select the credit card payment option. Please note cryptocurrencies can only be bought with credit cards on Bitstamp, there is no way to sell a cryptocurrency and have the funds be directly sent to a credit/debit card.

Trading Interface 2) Advanced

If you are comfortable using a more professional trading interface, the “Tradeview” is the place for you. The full-featured “Tradeview” interface can be accessed by clicking the “Tradeview” tab in the upper right corner of the page.

As with most advanced cryptocurrency trading interfaces, there are 5 key components:

  • Trade History – A history of recently executed trades can be found on the leftmost part of this trading interface. 
  • Depth chart – This tool visual represents order book data so you can easily see what price levels contain a high or low concentration of orders.
  • Orderbook – Here you can see all the limit orders waiting to be filled. Wondering how to read it? See our detailed instructional guide here.
  • Price chart – The price chart displays the live price action of the cryptocurrency selected.
  • Order executor – Here you will decide whether you want to open a limit, market or instant order with the desired amount and price if limit or stop was selected.

Withdrawing funds

So if you’ve made your trade and now would like to remove your funds from the exchange, the next step is to go through the withdrawal process.

In order to begin, click the “Withdraw” tab as seen below.

Next, select the withdrawal method you’d like to engage in. Bitstamp allows funds to be withdrawn to an external digital wallet and EU or international bank.

Similar to the depositing process, you will be prompted to enter or confirm your banking information if withdrawing via an EU or international bank, or your destination wallet address and withdrawal amount if withdrawal via cryptocurrency is selected, as is shown below. 

Last but not least, select “2FA 7 Withdraw,” enter your 2FA code, click “Confirm” and your funds will be on their way.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Highly liquid exchange with over 3 million users; the main portion coming from Europe.
  • While subject to an exchange hack back in January 2015, Bitstamp has since built upon its reputation as a highly secure and transparent platform.
  • Simple and intuitive user interface with features for both novice and professional traders.
  • Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financie, a distinction it achieved in 2016.

Cons

  • Cryptocurrencies can only be bought with credit cards on Bitstamp, there is no way to sell a cryptocurrency and have the funds directly sent to a credit/debit card.
  • High credit/debit card fees
  • Does not offer USDT trading pairs
  • Just 5 different cryptocurrencies are supported

If you are interested in buying or selling a cryptocurrency, there are few better places to look than one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, Binance.

Founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao – who earned the number-one spot on CoinDesk’s 2018 Most Influential list – Binance rose to prominence during the historic crypto market-wide bull run in 2017 by supporting a wide array of cryptocurrencies in what was, and perhaps still is, one of the fastest and most reliable trading platforms.

In fact, Binance became so popular, so quickly that CZ and Binance both became worth more than $1 billion in less than one year, officially making it one of the first companies to achieve “unicorn” status in the cryptocurrency industry.

Yet despite its reputation as a destination for crypto traders, it’s not exactly easy for users who lack a traditional trading or investment background to navigate their way around.

In this piece, we take a step-by-step look at how to use Binance and conduct a trade on the exchange.

Signing up

First thing’s first, you’ll need to create an account. Anyone is able to sign up since Binance does not require customer information, but by doing so “you acknowledge and declare that you are not on any trade or economic sanctions lists” as per its Terms of Use.

This includes citizens of the member countries in the UN Security Council Sanctions list, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department (OFAC), among other groups.

The terms also state each user must be at least 18 years of age. Binance reserves the right to cancel or freeze any account If the terms are disobeyed.

If the restrictions do not apply to you, to sign up simply navigate to the homepage and click register.

You will then be asked to enter a minimal amount of personal information such as your email address, password, and a referral ID if you have one.

As per Binance’s referral system, you will receive 50 percent of your referrals trading fees.

After you fill in the required fields, click “Register” and complete the captcha, a confirmation link will be sent to your email address.

Once the link is clicked, your Binance account is ready to be used.

Deposit Funds

Now that your account is activated, but before exploring the rest of the exchange, you’ll need to add funds to your account if you wish to buy or sell any cryptocurrencies.

Pay with credit card

Binance has a feature that allows users to purchase certain cryptocurrencies directly with their Visa or Mastercard credit card. If you are a qualified candidate, navigate to the “Funds” tab and select “Buy With Credit Card.”

You will then be required to enter the purchase amount of the desired cryptocurrency and whether you will be paying with the US dollar or euro. Cryptocurrency purchases by credit card are limited to BTC, ETH, and LTC at this time.

There is a minimum processing fee of $10 or 3.5 percent of the total order – whichever is more expensive. After completing this step, you will need to confirm your billing information, email address as well as your identity.

A valid government issued form of ID is required to be submitted to confirm your identity.

Once all of the required steps have been completed, the newly purchased cryptocurrency should reach your Binance wallet within 10-30 minutes.

Deposit from wallet

You can also make a deposit by sending funds from a separate cryptocurrency wallet into your Binance account.

In order to do this, navigate to the “Funds” tab once again and click “Balances.”

On this page, you will see all of the cryptocurrencies available for trading on Binance. To deposit the corresponding crypto into any of these, simply click the “Deposit” button next to the crypto asset of your choice.

Next, either scan the QR code from your cryptocurrency wallet or paste in the address and then send.

Once that’s complete, wait for the transaction to process and you’ll be ready for trading.

Placing a trade

Let’s go back to the home page now that your funds are ready to be used.

Here, you will again see all the cryptocurrencies that are tradable on Binance and their respective markets.

For this example, let’s say you previously deposited 0.0024 BTC (~$10) into your account and now wish to trade it for NEO.

First, you’ll need to find the right NEO market.

Since you want to spend BTC in order to get NEO, click the “BTC Markets” tab and then type NEO into the search bar.

Click the appropriate row and the page where trading takes place will open.

Trading module

This page may look intimidating, but you can easily get the hang of it with a bit of practice.

Plus, most cryptocurrency exchanges have a similar trading interface so what you remember here, in all likelihood, will be relevant elsewhere.

The left section of the screen is known as an order book.

Here, you will see all active buy and sell limit orders. A limit order is simply an order that will only be placed at the user’s desired price, given there are buyers or sellers interested at that level.

If you would like to learn the “in’s and out’s” of an order book, check out our comprehensive guide, but for now all you need to know is that the top of the order book (red) is where the limit sell orders wait to be filled and the bottom section (green) is where the limit buy orders wait to be filled.

The right side of the page is more simple – the above section shows the other cryptocurrencies that can be traded and the lower section shows the public trade history of the market currently being viewed.

Trade example: Buying NEO

The center of the page is where the real magic happens.

Here lays a chart feature that shows real-time price action and technical analysis indicators. Just below the chart is where you will actually execute the trade, so let’s buy some NEO.

If certainty of execution is your priority, select market order. If you are interested in only buying at a specific price level, select either limit or stop-limit order.

For the purposes of this example, let’s place a market order, which will be placed immediately at current market prices.

Now, just enter the amount of BTC desired to be spent and how much NEO you want to purchase. Binance has a useful shortcut for entering the purchase amount and it is based on a percentage of your bitcoin balance (or any other appropriate trading pair).

Let’s spend 50 percent of the BTC balance so there is some left over, perhaps for another trade.

The last step is to click the big green button “Buy NEO.” Since this is a market order, the trade for 0.58 NEO should have completed instantly, but that is most likely not the case if you selected limit or stop-limit order.

To check on the status of your order, look towards the bottom of the page where it says “Open order.” As the title would suggest, if your order has not yet executed, in other words, is still “open,” it will appear in this box until it has either been canceled or filled.

When it has been filled, it will show up in the lower box highlighting your 24-hour order history, just as how this order has below.

In order to sell, simply follow this same process but execute a market or limit sell order.

Withdrawing funds

While Binance does have a decentralized exchange in the works, the existing platform is centralized and susceptible to hacks like many other websites, so it’s recommended funds are only held on the exchange for as long as necessary.

In order to withdraw, navigate back to the “Balances” page. If you would like to see only the cryptocurrencies you have a substantial balance in, check the “hide” box.

Now select the withdrawal button in the NEO row and have your destination address or QR code handy. Paste the address and select how much you want to withdraw.

Last but not least, click submit and wait for the transaction to complete.

Binance Launchpad

The Binance Launchpad is a token launch platform exclusive to Binance and plans to offer token sales for new projects.

Binance handpicks which tokens to launch based on a number of factors including project maturity, scalability and adoption readiness, team quality and the ability of the project to benefit the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.

To ensure the sales are being conducted in compliance with regulatory regimes around the world, each user must verify his or her Binance account.

Completed token sales, as well as those scheduled for a future date, can be seen on the home page of the Binance Launchpad. It’s worth noting that the token sales operate on a “first come, first serve” basis and usually sell out in just minutes, so be sure to do your due diligence.

If you successfully participate in a Launchpad token sale, the tokens will be automatically credited to your Binance account.

Security

Like most modern cryptocurrency exchanges, two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled on Binance and is highly recommended to be set up in order to add an extra layer of protection to your account.

In order to do so, navigate to your account summary by clicking the user avatar in the top right of the home page.

Once directed to your account page, a prompt will likely appear suggesting you to enable 2FA, which happens to automatically pops up when a new user accesses this page.

Binance allows two methods for enabling 2FA, via SMS or Google Authenticator.

With the SMS version, simply enter your mobile phone number and the verification code sent to the corresponding phone and you will be all set.

If Google Authenticator is your 2FA of choice, download the mobile application, open it and scan the QR code provided by Binance. Next, you will be asked to write down a 16-word recovery phrase to be used as a backup in case you lose access to this google authentication.

Lastly, you will be prompted to enter your account’s login password and the authenticator code found in the Google Authenticator mobile app. Once complete, this form of 2FA security will be complete.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • If you’re constantly on the go, Binance’s mobile application may be perfect for you. It’s compatible with iOS, Android, as well as Mac and PC operating systems so just about anyone can place a trade or monitor their account from virtually anywhere.
  • Binance offers a large selection of tradeable cryptocurrency markets. As of May 1, 2019, 467 different markets are supported on the exchange.
  • Binance has it own native exchange token, BNB, which can be used to supplement trading fees and boost the overall liquidity on Binance.
  • Binance was a pioneer of the Initial Exchange Offerings, and It’s Launchpad facilitates sales once a month for those who are interested in being early holders of new tokens.
  • Higher trading volume that most other cryptocurrency exchanges.

Cons

  • If following government regulations like that of the US is important to you, then you may want to try out exchanges such As Coinbase or Gemini, because at this point Binance is still an unregulated exchange.
  • Many of Binance’s markets, specifically those of the lesser known altcoins, offer low liquidity which can make trading large altcoin positions difficult.
  • The somewhat complex user interface can be challenging for novice traders and investors to adjust to.

Images via Binance website

A cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong and founded in 2012, Bitfinex is one of the market’s largest and most liquid exchange services providers, has long attracted a clientele drawn by its offerings of leverage and more advanced trading tools.

An early market entrant, Bitfinex has experienced the bumps and bruises that accompany such distinctions. In August 2016, it lost 120,000 bitcoins (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that resulted in user account balances being reduced.

In June of that year, it was further fined by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Still, Bitfinex battled back, issuing a cryptocurrency to users that represented their claims on crypto lost in the hack in an innovative first. (It would buy back all those tokens by April 2017).

As a result of its perseverance, Bitfinex has boasted some of the highest recorded trading activity, handling anywhere between $90-500 million a day. This makes the exchange highly liquid in addition to offering a sizeable collection of tradable crypto assets.

Today, you’ll either need to have some cryptocurrency ready to send to your new account from another major exchange such as Binance or Coinbase or be prepared for a large bank wire transfer in order to get the ball rolling.

Luckily for the more entry-level traders, Bitfinex recently removed it’s $10,000 equity minimum for account creation, so users can now gain access to the exchange no balance requirements at sign up.

Signing up

Head over to the Bitfinex website and go through the signup process by fulfilling your basic information such as your name, email and desired password.

Run through the process of verifying your account with the email link provided and begin to familiarize yourself with the platform.

ID verification

No ID verification was required upon initial sign-up and it is possible to send funds to the account but requires $10,000 USD in liquidity in order to use their platform, limiting it to large-scale investors.

The process of verification is simple however and requires any form of legal documentation with your current name and address as well as your driver’s license to confirm your identity.

Note: Verification can take up to 48-hours.

Once you have signed up and logged in you’ll want to set up your two-factor authentication (2-FA) which enables an additional layer of security by requesting a code from your smartphone upon every log in.

Security

Locate the “Security” tab in the top right corner of your screen and then on the new screen find “Two-Factor Authentication” which will take you to the QR code that you’ll use to scan via the Google Authenticator application on your smart device.

After completing the process you will be sent an email link to verify and finalise your 2FA.

You’re now ready to stock up some funds for trading.

Depositing Funds

Click on the “Wallets” tab in the top-right corner of your screen, here you will see a list of two available assets to withdraw from or deposit into, as a new account we can only access bitcoin.

In our example, we decided to send a fraction of a bitcoin (BTC) to our wallet address which was located by clicking on the down arrow labeled underneath “deposits/withdrawals”.

You’ll be taken to a new screen that provides your unique wallet address which can be produced anytime you’re on this page.

Trading

Once you’ve sent over the funds to your account either from another exchange wallet or bank wire transfer, click on the desired asset on the left hand of your screen with a list to choose from.

Here’s a list of the USD pairings available for you to trade. If you’d like to buy BTC for example,  click “BTC” and you will be directed trading interface.

On the trading page, you’ll see the asset’s price chart, order book, order buttons and a list of all other assets in the BTC markets to your left.

Choose the amount of bitcoin you’d like, in our case we selected “1” in the quantity field, chose “Market” from the drop-down menu and hit “Exchange Buy.” Presto, you’ve now purchased your first bitcoin at market price on the Bitfinex exchange!

There are quite a few different options to trade including setting a stop limit, which triggers an event sell/buy depending on price crossing a particular threshold.

A stop-limit order is a conditional trade over a set timeframe, let’s say an asset is currently trading at $15.00. You’d like to sell the asset if it reaches or goes below $14.00, but only if the security can be sold for $13.00 or more.

You can place a Stop-Limit order by setting the Stop Price to $29.00 and the Limit Price to $28.00. There’s also margin trading which allows you to borrow more than you currently own using your crypto as collateral, this is also known as leverage.

Trading on margin is borrowing money from a broker or exchange to purchase assets/stocks.

Margin trading attracts a higher profit potential than traditional trading but also greater risks.

Withdrawal

The act of withdrawing your funds is simple.

Once you have decided to take profit or close your positions and you would like to transfer off the Bitfinex exchange, click on “Withdraw” in the top-right corner of your screen and select from the list of cryptocurrencies the one you’ve just traded on the platform with.

In our case, we were trading with bitcoin (BTC) and decided it was time to take a 2 percent profit.

We chose bitcoin amongst the list and entered another separate wallet address that we owned.

Sometimes the process can take up to a week if the exchange is going through difficulties such as recent events that have seen a 5-day limitation on fund withdrawals.

Which looks like this:

Tip: Litecoin and XRP offer quick speeds when transferring funds from the exchange to a separate wallet address.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Established Exchange that generally features high trading volume
  • A highly intuitive and easy-to-navigate platform that imitates a lot of other major exchanges in their user interface lessening the burden on usability.
  • It offers leveraged trading which can be both a pro and con considering the risks involved.

Cons

  • Requires a minimum $10,000 USD liquidity in your account in order to use the platform
  • Recent events have increased skepticism among the crypto trading community throwing into question its authenticity and legitimacy.
  • Sometimes trades at a premium to other exchanges such as bitcoin being $309 different in value when compared to prices on the Coinbase or Kraken exchanges.

Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX) is a “crypto-products trading platform” founded in 2014 by a group of former bankers behind HDR Global Trading Limited and is currently operating in Hong Kong while being registered in Seychelles.

BitMEX is probably best known for its margin lending capabilities, which allow its users to conduct a leveraged trade as high as 100 times, significantly amplifying the profit potential as well as potential losses.

With large daily trading volumes (usually between $500 million – $1 billion) and over 10 million users accessing the site every month, it’s safe to say BitMEX is one of the most liquid cryptocurrency trading platforms on earth.

There are no trading limits on BitMEX aside from an over 18 years age restriction, however, users should also be aware that BitMEX does not currently offer support or registration for U.S citizens due to ongoing legal compliances.

See below for a step-by-step guide on how to place a trade on BitMex

Signing up

Users will need to register with the website in order to create an account and provide a genuine email address to start the registration process.

In the top right corner click on ‘register’ and fill in the blanks including your email, desired password, country of residence and name, select “I accept the terms and conditions” and click register.

Open up your email and click on “verify email,” the process should take you from your email application to a webpage that opens onto the exchange (we will come back to this shortly).

Instead of diving straight into trading, let us first assess your security and deposit funds into your account so that you may begin doing so.

Security

In the top left corner, select “account” and then navigate to the left window pane and select “my account,” this will bring you to a new page with the ability to now setup your Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

In the section labelled “security”, you will see a dropdown menu providing you with an option to scan the barcode using an application of your choice, select “Google Authenticator.”

This barcode provides you with a unique code specific to your account for you to use via Google Authenticator.

Note: On this page, you can also select to change/update your password should you so choose in the future.

You will then be signed out and forced to re-enter your login details except for this time you will need your 2FA security key as well.

Depositing Funds

Once your security has been configured, head over to the “Deposit” page located in the lefthand window pane under “Wallet.” If you aren’t sure where that is located, click on the tab labeled “Account” then check your left window pane and it should be located to the top left.

BitMEX does not charge for withdrawals or deposits, instead, it charges a network fee based on the size of the transaction, but take note that the exchange only accepts deposits in bitcoin (BTC) and serves as collateral regardless of whether or not the trade includes BTC.

Warning: Do not send Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Tether to this address. Any unsupported coins sent here will be lost.

On the ‘Deposit’ page you will notice a code at the bottom (marked black), use that as your default BTC deposit address where you will send funds from another wallet to this one.

Placing a Trade

The “Trade” tab in the top left corner brings you to the exchange page from which you can conduct your trades. Directly underneath that tab, there is a list of coins ranging from left to right representing the available tokens for trade on the exchange.

The order book shows three columns – the bid value for the underlying asset, the quantity of the order, and the total USD value of all orders, both short and long.

While on the far left you have a choice to either long, a particular asset or short it, for now, you should concern yourself with the spot price of assets rather than dabbling in any leveraged trades or futures markets.

Directly under the BitMEX logo on the trading page, you will see a tab named “market” click on that in order to perform a trade on the spot market. In our example, we had bitcoin selected and set our buy order at $1 USD for a spot position and executed the trade, at the time of writing we received back 0.0002 BTC.

Congratulations! You’ve now successfully purchased your first bitcoin on the BitMEX exchange, to sell simply input the same amount of BTC you received when you first bought it.

There is also an option to modify the window panes to display information that’s relevant to you.

By choosing to remove certain windows you can streamline your information flow to increase the quality and relevance of the data you are receiving.

Intro to Leverage trading

BitMEX allows its users to leverage their position and presents the ability to place orders that are bigger than the users’ existing balance.

This could lead to a higher profit in comparison when placing an order with only the wallet balance this is known as “margin trading.” The platform allows users to set their leverage level by using the leverage slider with a maximum leverage of 1:100 being available for bitcoin and bitcoin cash SV only.

Note: BitMEX fees are much higher than on conventional exchanges because the fee applies to the entire leveraged position. So, a $1,000 trade on 100x leverage could end up costing more than $100 in fees.

Withdrawals

So, now you’ve made a trade and taken profit and want to transfer those funds to another wallet or exchange to cash in.

Click on the “Account” tab located in the home bar and select “Withdraw” highlighted in blue.

Here you will find the option to send to a particular wallet address, the specific amount in bitcoin (XBT) as well as the desired network fee.

Enter your 2-FA code we setup earlier and click “Submit” located at the bottom of the page.

Bitcoin transactions are prioritized on the network by fee meaning the higher the fee the faster the withdrawal process takes to complete.

Note: BitMEX recommends a minimum fee of 0.001 and requires at least 0.0009.

Futures contracts and perpetual swaps

A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a given asset in the future at a predetermined price. On BitMEX, users can leverage up to 100x on certain contracts.

Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except that there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. They also tend to trade close to the underlying index price, unlike futures, which may diverge substantially from the index price.

BitMEX can, therefore, be complex and difficult to navigate at times if you are uncertain how these financial instruments operate but also possesses the potential to maximize your earnings through futures markets, leveraged trading and perpetual swaps.

Just be sure you know what you are doing.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A Highly liquid platform, well within the top 10 exchanges by reported global derivative volume.
  • Best known for its leverage trade option as high as 100 times, which can act as a risk management tool and amplifier for potential profit
  • Limited ID verification required to begin trading immediately.

Cons

  • Due to ongoing legal compliances BitMEX does not currently offer support or registration for U.S citizens.
  • BitMEX can be complex and difficult to navigate at times if you are uncertain how futures markets or particular financial instruments operate.
  • Leveraged trades can incur considerable risk, especially to those less experienced and should not be approached lightly.

A key player in the first generation of cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitstamp’s largest competitors for many years were mostly exchanges that no longer exist today.

Now eight years old, Bitstamp has currently amassed over 3 million users, largely in Europe.

Once based in Slovenia, Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financie, a distinction it achieved in 2016.

Like many other early exchanges, however, Bitstamp has suffered from being early to the crypto market, most notably a January 2015 hack in which it lost 19,000 BTC (worth nearly $115 million at current market prices).

It’s also struggled somewhat to define a clear identity among major exchanges, with its narrative neither defined by multiple rounds of venture capital from major investors (like Coinbase or Kraken) nor a grassroots-led litany of cryptocurrency trading options.

This means if you have an interest in trading a select few cryptocurrencies from one of the more established exchanges in the industry, and are based in the regions in which it offers services, Bitstamp might be the best option for you.

Below we’ve broken down how to conduct a trade on Bitstamp in a step by step process.

Signing up

The first step in using any cryptocurrency exchange is signing up and getting your account activated.

To do this, simply navigate to Bitstamp.net and either select “Get started” or “Register” on the landing page. You will then be prompted to select whether your account will be for personal or corporate use. It’s important to note that not all exchanges enforce the same terms of use policy, so simply because you are allowed to use exchange A in your jurisdiction does not automatically mean you will be allowed to use exchange B. Bitstamp’s terms of service can be found here.

The personal information requirements also differ amongst exchanges during the signup process.

ID verification

With Bitstamp, the personal information required to verify your identity is quite extensive compared exchanges like Binance that only require for your name and email address to create an account.

Bitstamp’s registration process is more rigorous due to the fact it abides by KYC and AML policy. You will be required to enter  such information as your address of residence, US citizenship status, photo ID document as well as a document to prove you residence.

Security

Like most cryptocurrency exchanges, or at least those taking extra measures to secure user accounts, Bitstamp has option 2-factor authentication (2-FA).

To enable this feature, the user will need to navigate to the main account dashboard and select “security” from the left-hand side of the page.

To proceed, the user will need to have Google authenticator installed which will present a six-digit code when paired with his or user Bitstamp account. 

Next, simply enter this code and the account will now be secured with another layer of protection. Once enabled, the user will need to enter this six-digit code shown in the app during each login attempt.

Depositing Funds

Once your account has been verified, all trading functions will be accessible but funds will need to be deposited in order to do so.

A feature more exchanges are beginning to incorporate is the ability to purchase cryptocurrency directly on the exchange via credit card payment.

Bitstamp has enabled this feature (link to CC how to) and currently allows the purchase of BTC, XRP, LTC, ETH and BCH with USD or EUR. To begin this process, click the “Deposit” tab towards the top of the screen and then select “Credit Card” in the left sidebar.

Note: If you would like to purchase funds and add them to your account as quickly as possible, this route is a much better option than buying through a separate fiat onramp and then sending the funds to Bitstamp (as long as you are willing to pay a credit card processing fee).

Alternatively, deposits can be made via bank transfer or with Bitstamp’s supported cryptocurrencies, which can be selected in the same sidebar on the left side of the “Deposit” page.

Similar to most exchanges, when the option to deposit a particular cryptocurrency is selected, you will be presented with your deposit address and its associated QR code. Using a mobile wallet to scan the QR code is most likely the fastest and easiest way to send funds, but the address can also be copy and pasted.

Placing a trade

Trading Interface 1) Basic

First, click the “Buy / Sell” tab in the top menu to be directed to the trading interfaces.

Bitstamp is unique in that it allows users to trade cryptocurrencies in a variety of ways that appeal to both users with novice and advanced levels of trading expertise.

The simplified trading interface essentially allows the user to place the same type of orders as the advanced interface but presents the features in a more beginner-friendly way without a live price chart and a full order book that can be distracting or intimidating to new cryptocurrency buyers.

On the simplified trading page shown below, the user has the option to conduct five different trade types as follows:

  1. Instant order – Aimed towards a fresh beginner, an instant order will be placed at the current bid or ask price, and if there is not enough liquidity available at that price level to satisfy the order, Bitstamp’s trading engine will reposition the order instantaneously to the current order book offer.
  2. Limit order – This is a standard limit order in which a user enters how much and at what price he or she wishes to buy a cryptocurrency. The order will be executed at the desired price or better if enough liquidity is available to fulfil the trade.
  3. Market Order – Simply enter the amount of the cryptocurrency you wish to purchase and the trade will be executed at the current market price, in other words, the last traded price.
  4. Stop order – Similar to a market order, the stop order is designed to be executed at the user’s desired price when the market price reaches the desired level. The difference is that the user enters the price he or she wants the trade to be triggered at as well as the price he or she wants to buy or sell order.
  5. Credit Card – Last but not least, a user can select the credit card payment option. Please note cryptocurrencies can only be bought with credit cards on Bitstamp, there is no way to sell a cryptocurrency and have the funds be directly sent to a credit/debit card.

Trading Interface 2) Advanced

If you are comfortable using a more professional trading interface, the “Tradeview” is the place for you. The full-featured “Tradeview” interface can be accessed by clicking the “Tradeview” tab in the upper right corner of the page.

As with most advanced cryptocurrency trading interfaces, there are 5 key components:

  • Trade History – A history of recently executed trades can be found on the leftmost part of this trading interface. 
  • Depth chart – This tool visual represents order book data so you can easily see what price levels contain a high or low concentration of orders.
  • Orderbook – Here you can see all the limit orders waiting to be filled. Wondering how to read it? See our detailed instructional guide here.
  • Price chart – The price chart displays the live price action of the cryptocurrency selected.
  • Order executor – Here you will decide whether you want to open a limit, market or instant order with the desired amount and price if limit or stop was selected.

Withdrawing funds

So if you’ve made your trade and now would like to remove your funds from the exchange, the next step is to go through the withdrawal process.

In order to begin, click the “Withdraw” tab as seen below.

Next, select the withdrawal method you’d like to engage in. Bitstamp allows funds to be withdrawn to an external digital wallet and EU or international bank.

Similar to the depositing process, you will be prompted to enter or confirm your banking information if withdrawing via an EU or international bank, or your destination wallet address and withdrawal amount if withdrawal via cryptocurrency is selected, as is shown below. 

Last but not least, select “2FA 7 Withdraw,” enter your 2FA code, click “Confirm” and your funds will be on their way.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Highly liquid exchange with over 3 million users; the main portion coming from Europe.
  • While subject to an exchange hack back in January 2015, Bitstamp has since built upon its reputation as a highly secure and transparent platform.
  • Simple and intuitive user interface with features for both novice and professional traders.
  • Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financie, a distinction it achieved in 2016.

Cons

  • Cryptocurrencies can only be bought with credit cards on Bitstamp, there is no way to sell a cryptocurrency and have the funds directly sent to a credit/debit card.
  • High credit/debit card fees
  • Does not offer USDT trading pairs
  • Just 5 different cryptocurrencies are supported

US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is one of world largest cryptocurrency exchanges, often finding its way into the top 3 US exchanges in terms of trading volume.

Based in Seattle, Bittrex is also one of the largest suppliers of alternative cryptocurrencies, which currently lists hundreds of different coins to choose from.

Founded in 2013 by Bill Shihara and two business associates, all of whom worked previously at Microsoft, helped shape Bittrex into the renowned exchange it is today.

Bittrex is an intuitive and easy to navigate exchange platform that provides simple solutions to all your crypto needs, let’s dive right in.

Signing up

Note: Due to geoblocking you may be redirected to the international landing page.

Upon signing up you will be prompted to enter an email address and desired password before you receive a link to verify your account in your email inbox.

Once you have verified your account, you will then be asked to read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before proceeding, read and click ‘Accept The Terms’ and you’ll be directed to your account management settings.

Security

Go ahead and enter your personal information inside the ‘My Profile’ tab under ‘Account’, ensure you fill all details correctly.

Underneath you will see ‘Identity Verification’ click on that and start the process.

From there you will be asked to provide identification in the form of official government ID such as your passport or driver’s license.

Once you have submitted the appropriate documentation for the process you will be redirected to another page to await verification, which takes about 10 minutes.

Hint: Try hitting the refresh button in your browser when you have been redirected to the waiting screen (10-minute wait), so as to be able to check the status of the verification process. You should get approved after 4-8 minutes of wait time.

Once you have been approved that’s it, for now, add funds to your wallet to start trading.

Loading up your wallet

Under the “Wallet” tab you will discover your account balance summary along with a list of coins you are looking to withdraw from and deposit to the Bittrex exchange.

In the blue search bar we typed in bitcoin’s ticker BTC and saw the option to ‘deposit’ or ‘withdraw’ funds, click ‘make deposit’ (green icon).

You will then be taken a new screen asking you to ‘generate a new wallet address’ select that option. This can take time so just be patient and don’t refresh your page.

Once completed you will receive an automatically generated wallet address that you will need to use to transfer your bitcoin funds to, from an existing exchange wallet to your Bittrex wallet address (ensure you enter all address details correctly).

Hint: If you are wishing to load USD to your account so that you can trade in fiat pair, you can choose to file this form request, which could take some time getting verified, just be mindful of the $1000 minimum limit.

Once you have made a deposit i.e bitcoin or fiat, from another exchange, you are ready to begin trading on the Bittrex exchange.

On the exchange

In the top right corner on the main Bittrex website, you will see a tab named ‘Markets’, select that and you will be directed to the page (shown above) where you will be able to choose from your favorite token/coin and pairings.

After you have selected your desired token/coin, you will be brought to the markets exchange page where you can see the price chart, order book for both buy and sell as well as the list of assets with percentage changes on the left-hand side of the screen.

You can choose to enter a specific amount for your particular asset, in this case, we selected USD-BTC pairing with the order type set to default.

Next, choose your quantity and select ‘bid price’ from the drop-down menu then select “Good til canceled”.

“A Good-Til-Cancelled (GTC) order is an order to buy or sell a token that lasts until the order is completed, expired, or canceled.”

Meanwhile:

“An Immediate-Or-Cancel (IOC) order is an order to buy or sell a token that must be executed immediately. Any portion of an IOC order that cannot be filled immediately will be cancelled”.

Finally hit “Buy Bitcoin” and there you have it, you have now successfully purchased digital assets via the Bittrex exchange.

Security

Lastly, but definitely not least of all is the Two-Factor security feature on Bittrex that you should familiarize yourself with and use to authenticate your account further.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a feature that asks you to confirm your identity from two separate points (usually mobile and computer) by sending a code via an application such as Google Authenticator (located on the iTunes and Google play stores).

Simply download the application to your mobile and scan the QR Code that is provided to you under “Settings” > “Site Settings” > “Two-Way Authentication” then enter the code you received from your phone, at the bottom of the page.

Withdrawals

The process for withdrawing your funds is similar to when you first deposited them.

In the top-right hand corner of the screen click on “Wallets” and from the list select the cryptocurrency you are wishing to withdraw.

Select the red balloon with a red up arrow that says “Withdraw” when you highlight it.

Enter another wallet address (the one you wish to offramp to for example) and enter the desired amount then hit “Withdraw”.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Bittrex is considered one of the world’s most stable and secure exchanges, boasting a large array of crypto assets to choose from, making it one of the more popular platforms of choice.
  • Highly secure platform with familiar user experience to that of its competitors, making the switch between exchanges, seamless.
  • Bittrex draws its wealth of experience and knowledge from a pool of talented developers and businessmen.

Cons

  • You will need to submit a somewhat lengthy form in order to be granted access to trade and purchase USD.
  • A minimum amount of $1,000 is required on top of the form in order to be able to start using USD.
  • You are having to file a form and await pending decisions by the exchange, which could prove costly to those wishing to create a new account and enter into a position quickly.
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