Always pay attention to Bitcoin. Most altcoins (every cryptocurrency except Bitcoin) are pegged more closely to Bitcoin than Asian currencies were to the USD during the Asian Financial Crisis. If Bitcoin price pump drastically, altcoins price can go down as people try to exit altcoins to ride the BTC profits; inversely, if Bitcoin prices dump drastically, altcoin prices can go down, too, as people exit altcoins to exchange back into fiat. The best times for altcoin growth appear when Bitcoin shows organic growth or decline, or remains stagnant in price.
These are what allow us to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. There are a handful of popular crypto exchanges, some of them have advantages over others. For example, some exchanges don’t allow us to deposit and withdraw using fiat currency like the U.S. dollar and euro; others aren’t available in certain countries. In this guide we will focus on two very popular exchanges, GDAX and Poloniex. GDAX gives us the ability to use our fiat currency to buy Bitcoin. Poloniex does not, but does give us a wide array of altcoins to trade. There, we’ll be using major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum to buy the altcoins, and vice versa. Other popular exchanges such as Kraken and Bittrex offer even more coins.
You cannot “buy the dips” if you have all your money to invest already invested. LET US STRESS THIS POINT! The point should be obvious, but it bears repeating over and over. It is tempting to go all-in, but that limits your options. Consider always having some funds to the side to buy an unforeseen downturn. Even if you want to “go all-in” on crypto… leave yourself at least a little money to the side just in case. If you are all-in and the price takes a hard downturn, it takes lots of options off the table. It is hard not to go all-in when a coin goes down 60% – 80% over the course of weeks or months, but sometimes they go down even more than that, and it is wise to always prepare for the worst case.
The No. 1 thing you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to cryptocurrency trading is that the price is extremely volatile. Where certain trade techniques used in forex might take months to come to fruition, in cryptocurrency trading, it could only take hours or days. While this is beneficial when it comes to making a profit, it could also be your downfall if the price moves the other way.
As I mentioned before, the Binance exchange fees are really very reasonable and Binance charges just 0.1% on the value of a trade which is less than many of the other popular cryptocurrency trading exchange platforms. It’s free to deposit coins into Binance and you can even cut the trading fees in half if you pay with Binance’s very own coin – The Binance coin. This is probably only worth doing if you are trading tens of thousands of dollars worth of crypto at a time.
Before buying into a position on an exchange, it’s probably prudent to consider whether there’s enough liquidity to make a well-timed exit. Day trading is all about timing one’s trades, and many cryptoassets and exchanges don’t have the liquidity to support the near-instant trades an experienced trader might be accustomed to in trading stocks or forex. Consider checking the 24-hour volume of the asset, and verifying that the exchange allows you to both buy and sell the asset — some only allow you to buy, and some that allow you to sell might temporarily turn off selling at times of high volatility.
This is one of the most important cryptocurrency tips. By looking at the number of wallets vs the number of active wallets and the current trading volume, you can attempt to give a specific currency a current value. You can then make informed decisions based on today’s market price. The more accurate your predictions, the greater your chances for profit.
To be able to take short positions, we need to understand margin trading. Trading on margin means we are trading with borrowed money. On exchanges like Poloniex, we can trade Bitcoin with a handful of coins (there are fewer coins offered for margin trading) with 2.5x leverage. That is, if we own 1 BTC, we can borrow up to 2.5 BTC to trade with. To be clear, this is not 2.5 BTC that we own. Now, on a trade that nets us 10% profit, we are bringing home .25 BTC instead of .1 BTC.
If you have an account on Poloniex.com or Bittrex.com (and other crypto exchange sites) you can use their API with TabTrader to easily trade and monitor prices on your phone. It's important to me that the app connects to Poloniex and Bittrex because these exchanges have good volume. And they're pretty credible. TabTrader supports other major exchanges too :)
Figure out if you want to go long or short. Are you going short with every penny you have to invest, or are you going to go long with some and short with some? Long-term investors will pay a lower tax rate if they can hold for over 12 months, but as a trade-off, they WILL have to sit through corrections (likely seeing their balance go down 50% plus on paper as often as they see it go up). Short-term investors can avoid corrections if they are nimble, but they’ll owe taxes on the profits from each trade they do along the way (see: how taxes work with cryptocurrency to understand how the long term and short term capital gains tax work with cryptocurrency).
Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, wrote a pamphlet in 1719, “The Anatomy of Exchange Alley or, a system of stock jobbing. Proving that scandalous trade, as it is now carry'd on, to be knavish in its private practice, and treason in its publick.” Does the sentiment sound familiar? I have republished some books from the turn of the 19th century with a preface saying basically, “Do you notice the stock market is basically unchanged even after more than a 100 years of historical turmoil?” The scams and attitudes of the market and its participants are still so recognizable after over 100 years you are left to wonder if the billions spent on compliance on the worlds bourses are not a complete waste of money.
Don’t FOMO. This is a spot that people most frequently lose money on. A dash of manipulation, two tablespoons of media hype, a cup of CME and CBOE announcements, and a generous handful of FOMO drove Bitcoin prices from $10,000 to $20,000 in December. Since that time, Bitcoin fell to a low of $9,000 and is currently sitting at around $11,000. It’s easy to look back and say, “if only I waited one month, then I could’ve bought at $9,000 instead of waiting for Bitcoin to hit $20,000 again for me to break even.” But the reality is, the combination of 1) being greedy, 2) investing blindly, and 3) FOMO were likely large contributors to the purchase at an all-time-high. Even in the crazy world of cryptocurrency, if a coin pumps that quickly, it will correct — it’s a matter of time. Speculative pumps are almost always followed by dips. While trying to jump onto a train going full speed sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie, I’m sure most of us can agree we would probably save some limbs if we just waited for it at the next stop.