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Cryptocurrency trading

Cryptocurrency trading

It’s time to talk about cryptocurrencies – and why not? Everybody else is talking about it. Cryptocurrencies are the latest fad on the news, financial sites and blogs and it’s not difficult to understand why. This new instrument has the potential to change the way we handle money and could even affect the global banking system and many other industries.

In this quick article we will offer a quick explanation of this revolutionary instrument and explain how it can be traded online in the form of CFDs.
Want to go straight to the cryptocurrency CFD trading part? You can skip the rest.
Want to start at the beginning? Let’s get going…

What is a cryptocurrency?

What is a cryptocurrency?

In simple words, a cryptocurrency is a digital asset used as exchange. New currency units are created via cryptography (encrypted code), and the same process is used as security. The best way to understand the nature of cryptocurrencies is by looking at what differentiates them from fiat (traditional) currencies. Unlike the US Dollar, Euro, Pond, Yen, etc., a cryptocurrency is not issued by a specific, central authority.

And now, in a chart:

Cryptocurrency Traditional currency
Central control None Central banks and/or governments
Existence Virtual Online and offline
(as paper money)
Exposed to regulatory intervention No Yes
Connected to a specific economy No Yes
Who creates new units Random users
(through mining)
(usually central banks)

Now, a bit of history

Perhaps “history” is a big word when we’re talking about an instrument that hasn’t even existed a decade ago, but let’s take a quick look at how it all started. The first known decentralized cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which made its first appearance in 2009. Who invented Bitcoin? Nobody knows for sure. We do have a name - It was invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto – but it’s uncertain if it refers to a single programmer or a group of them.
Bitcoin uses Blockchain – a kind of a constantly growing, public ledger that records every transaction and is viewed by many as providing the crypto currency with its innovation and security.
The creation of Bitcoin was quickly followed by the creation of many additional, decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple and have gained both publicity and popularity worldwide.

Types of cryptocurrencies

It’s hard to evaluate the exact number of cryptocurrencies, especially since new ones are probably being created as we speak, but current estimations stand at nearly a thousand. This means we can’t possibly cover the whole list here, but we do have time to mention just a few examples…

  • Bitcoin

    Do you really need us to introduce Bitcoin? As we’ve mentioned before, is the mother of all decentralized cryptocurrencies. First introduced in 2009, the popularity of Bitcoin quickly spread and its technical innovation, most notably the blockchain, addressed difficulty of previous attempts and served as an inspiration to the many cryptocurrencies that followed it.

  • Litecoin

    Introduced in 2011, Litecoin is very similar to Bitcoin, but offers some technical improvements. We won’t burden you with the technicalities, but one of the main upgrades is that it enables the processing of more transactions simultaneously – and much faster.

  • Ripple

    When you mention Ripple, many people will immediately think of the digital payment protocol and only then on the cryptocurrency, XRP – which both belong to the same company. Ripple is essentially a decentralized, peer-to-peer platform though which people can transfer money. Ripple serves as a kind of a ‘bridge currency’ to many other currencies – both fiat and crypto.

  • Ethereum

    Introduced only in 2015, Ethereum is both a blockchain-based computing platform (open-source of course) and a cryptocurrency token (commonly referred to as ‘Ether’). This cryptocurrency is both used as means of exchange - like a regular digital currency - and is used inside the Ethereum platform to run applications and pay for services.

Who’s worried about cryptocurrencies?

Who’s worried about cryptocurrencies?

We talked earlier about the fact that unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies cannot be controlled or manipulated by central banks and governments. So, one guess: Who’s worried about the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies? That’s right – banks and governments.

Unsurprisingly, many central banks consider cryptocurrencies a risk to the traditional monetary system. Their main concerns are based around the potential decrease in the ability of governments and central banks to influence the economy, as well as a decrease in the public’s trust in fiat (traditional) currencies, should cryptocurrencies gain significant footing in the global economy.

Why do people trade cryptocurrency CFDs?

At iFOREX, you have the opportunity to trade cryptocurrencies in the form of CFDs. What does it mean? Well, CFD stands for Contract For Difference and when you trade cryptocurrency CFDs you invest in the price of the cryptocurrencies without actually having to buy them. Instead of having to download an E-wallet, finding a reliable exchange and buying – and then selling – cryptocurrencies, you open a ‘buy’ (long) or ‘sell’ (short) deal via the trading platform.



When you trade cryptocurrencies CFDs, you can always choose to ‘short’ or ‘long’ your position, potentially taking advantage of price changes in any direction – up or down.
Need a more thorough explanation? Learn more about Long and Short Trading.

  • Leverage
    This brings us to our next point – leverage trading. When you trade cryptocurrencies CFDs, you can use leverage – a tool that essentially boosts your trading power. Leverage enables you to open large deals with a relatively small investment.

    Leverage is a very popular tool among online traders, but keep in mind that while it boosts your investment potential, it also increases risk. Before you start using leverage, take your time getting to know how it works and if you like, use the Demo Account for training.
    For an in-depth explanation, check out our leverage trading article.
  • 60 seconds on E-Wallets
    When you want to trade cryptocurrencies, you will usually need to download E-wallets, through which you will manage your deals. E-wallets are very popular, but they are not all equally safe and some traders are concerned about the possibilities of hackers breaking into their E-wallets and stealing their Bitcoins, Litecoins or nay other cryptocurrency they happen to be trading.
    When you trade cryptocurrencies CFDs, this is a nonissue. You don’t keep your CFDs in a wallet, but in your trading account, where it’s fully protected by the site.
  • Volatility
    Many of the popular cryptocurrencies have been extremely volatile, presenting traders with numerous opportunities. Want an example? Sure.
    Between January and August 2017…
    • Bitcoin increased by over 340%
    • Litecoin increased by over 1,200%
    • Ripple increased by over 3,500%
    • Ethereum increased by over 4,500%
    These are just examples of course, but they do suggest why so many people are attracted to this new, exciting market. Also remember that while increased volatility means more opportunities, it also means greater risk.
  • Quick summary
    Here are the main reasons people choose to trade cryptocurrencies in the form of CFDs…
    1. Leverage
    2. Ability to short or long your position
    3. E-wallets and security
    4. Volatility
Quick summary

Differences between cryptocurrency trading and cryptocurrency CFD trading

We’ve already covered most of these points above, but for clarity’s sake, here they are in a nice, little chart:

Cryptocurrency trading Cryptocurrency CFD trading
Leverage No Yes
Short trading No Yes
Requires E-wallet Yes No
How to open a cryptocurrency CFD deal

How to open a cryptocurrency CFD deal

When you decide you want to open a CFD deal with iFOREX – be it on cryptocurrencies or any one of our other CFD instruments – you can do so in four steps.

  • 1. Choose your instrument – iFOREX has hundreds of CFD instruments including shares, commodities, indices, ETFs, currencies and cryptocurrencies. In this example though, let’s go with the always-popular Bitcoin.
  • 2. Choose your deal size – Remember: Thanks to leverage you can open large deals with a relatively small investment. Your maximum deal size will depend on your initial investment and the instrument you choose.
  • 3. Choose direction – When trading CFDs, you can choose to ‘short’ (sell) or ‘long’ (buy) your position. In this example - think that the price of Bitcoin will rise? Open a ‘buy’ deal. Think it’ll fall? Open a ‘sell’ deal.
  • 4. Click on ‘open deal’ and when you decide, close your deal – and may it be a successful one.
Factors that affect the price of cryptocurrencies
Factors that affect the price of cryptocurrencies

As we’ve mentioned above, cryptocurrencies are decentralized, so they are not controlled – and cannot be manipulated - by a specific government or central bank. This also means that many of the factors that impact the price of traditional currencies – a change of a central bank’s policy, economic data or a natural disaster – are unlikely to have a direct impact on the price of cryptocurrencies.

What factors could affect the price of cryptocurrencies? Clearly supply and demand are the main market movers, but here are a few more detailed examples…

  • Popularity/ perceived popularity
  • News about a ‘fork’ or a technical issue
  • Change in legal status by a major government
  • Level of trust
  • Statements by policy makers

Wait… we just said governments can’t control the price of cryptocurrencies, so why do we mention them among possibly influencing factors? Well, a major government still has power, even if it’s just in its ability to pass decisions regarding the legality of a specific instrument. For example, on September 4th 2017, China decided that all ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) were illegal and made comments indicating it might be cracking down on cryptocurrency trading in the country. Considering the size and influence of the Asian superpower, the market reacted and in the days that followed days, Bitcoin price decreased.

Bitcoin Trading Chart


Just like any other financial instrument, the price of cryptocurrencies is also affected by crowd psychology. In simple words: The perceptions of people regarding the stability, status or potential of a specific cryptocurrency could be a major factor in dictating its price.

Cryptocurrency trading and traditional currency analysis

Because cryptocurrencies are not connected to a specific economy, they pose major challenges to traditional currency analysis methods. Many of the analysis tools that traders use are simply irrelevant to cryptocurrencies and analyzing Bitcoin, Litecoin or similar cryptocurrencies could require new strategies and a new way of thinking.


There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies are an exciting new instrument that has the potential to change global financial markets. Will the popularity of cryptocurrencies continue to rise or is it a temporary fad? Only time will tell. For the time being though, many traders choose to trade cryptocurrencies in the form of CFDs and when they do so via iFOREX they get to take advantage of leverage, tight spreads, no expiration dates and access to free education and training.

Want to learn more about cryptocurrency CFD trading?

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