Crypto Margin Trading – Tutorial & Best Exchanges

With a boom in cryptocurrency, margin trading on this volatile asset provides new and potentially lucrative opportunities. In this tutorial, we explain how to trade crypto on margin plus offer tips for choosing the best exchanges and platforms. We also cover the pros and cons of crypto margin trading and a guide to getting started.

Crypto Margin Trading Platforms

#1 - eToro USA

Why We Chose eToro USA

eToro US offers 24 tradeable cryptoassets, with just a 1% buying/selling fee added to the spread. Additionally, there are 80 different coins available through the broker’s proprietary wallet service. You can also practice your crypto strategies easily by switching between live and demo mode. Crypto asset investing is highly volatile and unregulated. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.

"eToro remains a top pick for traders looking for leading social investing and copy trading services. With a low deposit, zero commissions and an intuitive platform, the broker will meet the needs of newer day traders."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, ETH, BCH, DASH, LTC, ETC, MIOTA, XLM, EOS, NEO, ZEC, XTZ, MKR, COMP, LINK, UNI, YFI, DOGE, AAVE, ALGO, MANA, ENJ, BAT, MATIC, FLR, SHIBxM
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: BTC 0.75%
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: eToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $10
  • Regulator: SEC, FINRA

About eToro USA

eToro is a social investing platform that offers short-term and long-term trading on stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. The broker is well-known for its user-friendly community-centred platform and competitive fees. With FINRA and SIPC oversight and millions of users across the world, eToro is still one of the most respected brands in the industry. eToro securities trading is offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc.

Pros

  • The broker's Academy offers comprehensive learning materials for beginners to advanced-level investors
  • eToro USA Securities is a trustworthy, SEC-regulated broker that is a member of FINRA and SIPC
  • The $10 minimum deposit and straightforward account opening process means beginners can get started quickly

Cons

  • There's no MetaTrader 4 platform integration for traders who are accustomed to using third-party charting tools
  • There's a narrower range of day trading instruments available compared to competitors, with only stocks, ETFs and cryptos
  • The proprietary terminal doesn't support trading bots and there are no additional stock market analysis tools

#2 - NinjaTrader

Why We Chose NinjaTrader

You can get exposure to micro Bitcoin futures through the CME Group’s centralized exchange, which is highly regulated by the US CFTC. Micro contracts allow you to trade a fractional size of one Bitcoin, giving you more risk control and order flexibility.

"NinjaTrader continues to meet the demands of active futures traders looking for low fees and premium analysis tools. The platform hosts top-rate charting features including hundreds of indicators and 10+ chart types."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: Floating
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: NinjaTrader Desktop, Web & Mobile, eSignal
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC

About NinjaTrader

NinjaTrader is a US-headquartered and regulated brokerage that specializes in futures trading. There are three pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets, as well as ultra-low margins on popular contracts. The brand's award-winning charting software and trading platform also offers a high-degree of customization and superb technical analysis features.

Pros

  • NinjaTrader continues to deliver comprehensive charting software for active day traders with bespoke technical indicators and widgets
  • Traders can get free platform access and trade simulation capabilities in the unlimited demo
  • NinjaTrader is a widely respected and award-winning futures broker and is heavily authorized by the NFA and CFTC

Cons

  • The premium platform tools come with an extra charge
  • There is a withdrawal fee on some funding methods
  • Non forex and futures trading requires signing up with partner brokers

#3 - Interactive Brokers

Why We Chose Interactive Brokers

IBKR lets you purchase and hold Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin at competitive commission rates and without needing a crypto wallet. Additionally, there is a range of other diverse assets to explore, such as crypto indices like the NYSE Bitcoin Index, as well as futures contracts like the BAKKT Bitcoin Futures.

"Interactive Brokers is one of the best brokers for advanced day traders, providing powerful charting platforms, real-time data, and customizable layouts. Its superb pricing and advanced order options also make it highly attractive for day traders, while its diverse range of equities is still among the best in the industry."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: 0.12%-0.18%
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: Trader Workstation (TWS), Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Regulator: FCA, SEC, FINRA, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB

About Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage for experienced traders, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

Pros

  • IBKR is one of the most respected and trusted brokerages and is regulated by top-tier authorities, so you can have confidence in the integrity and security of your trading account.
  • While primarily geared towards experienced traders, IBKR has made moves to broaden its appeal in recent years, reducing its minimum deposit from $10,000 to $0.
  • With low commissions, tight spreads and a transparent fee structure, IBKR delivers a cost-effective environment for short-term traders.

Cons

  • Support can be slow and frustrating based on tests, so you might find it challenging to reach customer service representatives promptly or encounter delays in resolving issues.
  • You can only have one active session per account, so you can’t have your desktop program and mobile app running simultaneously, making for a sometimes frustrating trading experience.
  • IBKR provides a wide range of research tools, but their distribution across trading platforms and the web-based 'Account Management' page lacks consistency, leading to a confusing user experience.

#4 - OANDA US

Why We Chose OANDA US

You can speculate on the world’s biggest cryptos by market cap. Commissions are lower than many peers starting at 0.25%. Through the broker’s partnership with Paxos, clients can spot trade cryptocurrencies on the itBit exchange through the OANDA native platform.

"OANDA remains an excellent broker for US day traders seeking a user-friendly platform with premium analysis tools and a straightforward joining process. OANDA is also heavily regulated with a very high trust score."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, PAXG, LINK, UNI, AAVE
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: $100
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC

About OANDA US

OANDA is a popular brand offering exceptional execution, low deposit requirements and advanced charting and trading platform features. The top-rated brand has over 25 years of experience and is regulated by trusted agencies, including the NFA/CFTC. Around the clock support is available for short-term traders, alongside flexible contract sizes and automated trade executions.

Pros

  • There's a strong selection of 68 currency pairs for dedicated short-term forex traders
  • Seasoned day traders can access industry-leading tools, including an MT4 premium upgrade and advanced charting provided by MotiveWave
  • The proprietary OANDA web platform continues to deliver a highly competitive charting environment, including 65+ technical indicators powered by TradingView

Cons

  • The range of day trading markets is limited to forex and cryptos only
  • It's a shame that customer support is not available on weekends
  • There's only a small range of payment methods available, with no e-wallets supported

#5 - Uphold

Why We Chose Uphold

You can buy and sell 250+ crypto assets with fiat currencies or in crypto pairs using the straightforward mobile app or through Uphold's browser-based account homepage. This is significantly more than many rivals. You can also earn up to 16% APY by staking one or more out of 32 valid tokens, or send tokens to an external wallet.

"Uphold remains a top choice for crypto investors looking for a one-stop-shop solution to accessing the markets. There are over 250 tokens to buy, sell and trade through flexible platform options."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, BTCO, AAVE, ALCX, DYDX, INH, XYO, API3, GHST, LSK, AUDIO, GLMR, NMR, CAKE, GODS, REQ, CHR, TRB, DAO, ROOK, XRP, ETH, BAT, ADA, ALGO, ATOM, AVAX, AXS, BCH, BAL, BTG, CSPR, COMP, CRV, DASH, DCR, DGB, DOGE, DOT, EGLD and many more
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: Up to 1.5%
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: Desktop Platform, Mobile App
  • Crypto Staking: Yes
  • Minimum Deposit: $0

About Uphold

Uphold is a digital asset platform offering a range of services, from crypto trading and staking to payment cards that provides rewards and easy multi-currency payments. The company was established in 2015 and has enabled $4+ billion in transactions. Uphold is now active in 180+ countries and deals in 200+ crypto and fiat currencies.

Pros

  • Fees are competitive based on tests, with 26 underlying platforms helping to source the best prices
  • The proprietary app is extremely easy to use with a slick design and navigation
  • Uphold continues to remain ahead of the industry, often being one of the first platforms to list new crypto tokens

Cons

  • There is a 2.49% fee if you want to use debit or credit cards
  • Uphold operates with limited regulatory oversight
  • The charting analysis features on the platform trail specialist exchanges

What Is Crypto Margin Trading?

Crypto margin trading is the practice of using leverage to multiply the results of a trade. The amount a trader has deposited in their account is known as the margin.

A broker offering margin trading will provide traders with a leverage quote, this is usually displayed as either a ratio (e.g 1:2) or a multiple (e.g 2x), meaning that for every 1 base crypto coin, the results of a trade are multiplied by 2.

How does crypto margin trading work

To enable traders to open larger positions, the broker allows them to borrow capital. This will need to be paid back in full, but the profits can be retained by the trader.

For example, if your leverage is 1:2 and you deposit $1,000, you can open positions with a total value of $2000.

If you use this to purchase Ethereum and the price moves 5%, you’ll have $2,100 worth of ETH.

If you close your trade there and return the $1,000 borrowed, you’re left with $1,100, having made a $100 profit.

If you’d placed the same trade in your spot account, you’d have made a $50 profit.

It’s important to note that profits are amplified, but equally, so are losses. Plus, your borrowed amount will still need to be returned. Therefore, margin trading on cryptos should only be utilised by knowledgeable investors.

Some of the top crypto exchanges now offer crypto margin trading, including Binance, Kraken and Crypto.com. However, it is a fairly new practice, so some of the top brokers for professionals, such as TradeStation, are yet to facilitate crypto margin trading.

What Is A Margin Call?

If the price of the asset held on margin drops in value significantly, a broker will issue a margin call. This means that traders will have to prove that they can return the amount borrowed, by depositing more funds.

The account will usually be suspended from opening new trades until this has been completed, or the asset rises in value again.

A margin call is designed to protect traders from losing more than they can afford.

For example, if you’re trading $1,000 on margin with 5x leverage and the value of ETH drops 17.5%, the value of the asset you hold is now worth $4,125.

Your operating loss is -$875. Since you’ve only deposited $1,000, you’re in danger of losing more than your initial deposit amount if the value slips further. At this point, a margin call may be issued.

Pros Of Crypto Margin Trading

Cons Of Crypto Margin Trading

How To Start Crypto Margin Trading

To start crypto margin trading, you’ll first need to select a broker or an exchange that provides the service. Some of the best crypto exchanges that offer margin trading include Binance and Kraken. Then sign up to an account and complete any KYC checks. Most exchanges will require proof of identity if they also offer fiat exchange, however, there are some, such as Prime XTB, which have no KYC checks. Next, visit your settings. There will usually be an option to switch your account from spot to margin trading. In some cases, you’ll then need to transfer tokens to your margin account.

Binance crypto margin
Binance how to switch to crypto margin trading

Choosing A Crypto Margin Trading Broker

Final Word On Crypto Margin Trading

Now we’ve explained the ins and outs of crypto margin trading, you’ve hopefully got the understanding to get started. Bitcoin and other cryptos are highly volatile markets and while trading on margin can mean huge upside, retail investors should also be aware of the risks involved. It’s possible this asset could suffer from increased regulation in the future, but for now, it represents an exciting opportunity for traders.

FAQ

How Does Bitcoin Margin Trading Work?

Crypto margin trading means investors can multiply the results of their Bitcoin trade by utilising leverage. Leverage is the number of times you can multiply the results, it is either written as a ratio (e.g 1:3) or a multiple (e.g 3x). Leverage allows traders to borrow funds from their broker. In this way, a trader can execute much larger positions than their deposit amount and can amplify profits.

Are There Many Crypto Exchanges That Allow Margin Trading?

The top crypto margin trading exchanges that allow margin trading include Kraken and Binance, but there are more to choose from. However, availability does vary by location. Some popular exchanges, including eToro and Coinbase, have suspended crypto margin trading at times due to volatility in the market.

Bitcoin margin trading in the United States is restricted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Regulated exchanges that previously offered the service, such as Coinbase and Binance, have removed leveraged trading in 2021 for clients from the USA.

Will A Crypto Margin Call Go Away?

A margin call will cease once your account has been deposited with sufficient funds or the asset has increased in value. A margin call is designed to protect a trader from losses that exceed their deposit amount.

Can I Trade Crypto On Margin?

Yes, some of the top Bitcoin exchanges now offer trading on margin, with the opportunity to multiply the results of any trade. Whilst the practice is restricted in some jurisdictions, like the US, it is available in the UK, Australia, India, and Canada, to name just a few.