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How to trade BTC: bitcoin trading guide

In this lesson you will learn:

  1. How to start trading bitcoin
  2. How to trade bitcoin safely
  3. FAQs

Welcome to’s guide on how to trade bitcoin. After a brief introduction explaining what bitcoin is, we’ll go through some common bitcoin trading strategies and share tips on keeping your capital safe. Let’s learn bitcoin trading.

Bitcoin (BTC) has been around since 2009 when it initially traded at around $0.0008. The coin passed the $1 to 1BTC mark in 2011. It then went on a wild journey.

Bitcoin price chart since 2011

When you learn how to trade bitcoin, the first thing to remember is that prices can go down as well as up. Thankfully, there are bitcoin trading strategies for both scenarios. To increase your chances of successful trading, you should understand the factors that drive the BTC price.

Things that can drive prices up

Things that can drive prices down include

Bitcoin trading lessons help you know the difference between bitcoin investing and bitcoin trading. This comes down to how long someone holds a coin. For instance, buying bitcoin in 2011 and holding it until November 2021 – when its value rose from $0.68 to just under $68,500 – was a long-term investment. (On the downside, between 15 April 2021 and 21 June 2021, BTC fell from an all-time high of $63,233 to $31,653.)

You can buy bitcoin for investment via online exchanges. Read more about that here.

What is bitcoin trading? It’s buying BTC with a view to selling it within a short period of time, perhaps days, hours or even minutes. BTC’s high volatility makes it possible to achieve a favourable return in a very short space of time. Of course, you can lose just as quickly.

Another key attraction is that bitcoin can be traded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can trade BTC by scalping and swing trading. Scalping is when traders buy and sell to maximise revenue on relatively small price movements. Scalping involves watching prices very closely.

For most non-professional traders, the preferred method is swing trading. This involves trying to anticipate the market. Traders hold an asset until they feel it’s hit an optimum price before selling. This could be days, weeks or months after any purchase.

How to start trading bitcoin

So how to trade bitcoin? The first step is to convert your fiat currency into cryptocurrency, which you can do via an exchange. Here are three top things to look for when choosing an exchange platform.

Choosing an exchange platform

Be prepared to go through Know Your Customer checks. These can involve verifying your identity with a passport photo, for example. In some countries, exchanges are legally obligated to do this. If you don’t complete the process, there may be limits on how much capital you can deposit and withdraw.

You’re now ready to trade. Do you have a plan? In many respects, Bitcoin trading is no different from trading in other markets. You need to ask yourself a lot of questions. How much money are you prepared to lose? How often do you intend to trade? How long are you prepared to trade for?

You also need to decide whether to use leverage. In a traditional exchange, you pay the full amount of your trade, buying 10 Bitcoins at $68,500 would cost you $685,000, for example. In a 1:100 leverage trade, however, you pay 1% of that $685,000, so just $6,850.

Should the price of bitcoin rise by 10%, you’d make the same $68,500 profit in both cases. But through leverage, you can make significant returns for a limited upfront investment. But if BTC’s price falls by 10%, you lose $68,500. Both profits and losses are amplified through leveraging. It’s a strategy best left to experienced traders.

You can limit the downside with a stop-loss. These orders enable traders to automatically offer their bitcoin for sale if the price falls below a certain level. This can help prevent losses should bitcoin begin to decline quickly.

Stop-loss orders allow investors to consider the price at which they would want to sell their bitcoin in advance, reducing the risk of making rash and potentially costly decisions. Traders don’t need to constantly watch market movements because they know the action will be automatic if a price dips to the predetermined point.

It’s time to learn how to trade bitcoin. The most common strategy is to HODL (the phrase originated on a forum where someone repeatedly misspelled the word HOLD). HODL involves acquiring BTC at a reasonable price and attempting to cash out when the cryptocurrency has appreciated substantially. Timing such a transaction is challenging because the market can fall sharply without warning. Some experts who discuss how to trade bitcoin often recommend “buying the dips”. This involves gradually accumulating BTC whenever the price slips.

Discovering how to trade bitcoin depends on your level of commitment. For instance, you may wish to consider HODLing if you don’t want to watch charts all day. Other bitcoin trading strategies, such as day trading, are more involved, as you’re always on the lookout for opportunities.

Trend trading involves technical analysis to see when bitcoin prices reach higher highs or lower lows. These trends can be detected over the course of a few hours or days. You can zoom out and spot recurring themes over weeks and months.

Higher highs and lower lows

How to trade bitcoin safely

We hope this guide to bitcoin trading has offered a valuable insight into how bitcoin trading works. Cryptocurrencies are high-risk assets. You should diversify any portfolio with lower-risk assets.

When trading bitcoin, seek a platform that offers deep liquidity, as this means that you’ll be able to connect with buyers and sellers quickly. The exchange should offer a diverse range of trading pairs that link bitcoin with major fiat currencies, such as sterling (GBP) and the US dollar (USD), and rival cryptos, such as ether (ETH). One good example of this is

Think about your goals, and what you want to achieve with your bitcoin investment. Calculating your targets in advance could mean you’re a lot less likely to make rash decisions. 

Trade Bitcoin to US Dollar - BTC/USD chart

Bitcoin / USD
Daily change
Min.: 62816.45
Max.: 63274.95


It depends on many things. Do you prefer to wait for the price to go as low as possible and buy in the dip? Or do you like to see a crypto doing well and hope the market's bullishness continues? There’s no right and wrong answer. It’s up to you. Just never invest more than you can afford to lose. And always do your own research – expert analysts can often get things wrong.

It depends on what you mean by safe. No investment, not least one in a market as volatile as cryptocurrency, is 100% risk-free. But you can minimise the risk of losing money to a scam exchange by investing with a reputable company, like

It can be. Although high volatility means that you can incur heavy losses, too. You should do your own research, remember that prices can go down as well as up and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

You can buy bitcoin on most currency exchanges. It’s available to both buy and trade through