Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren't printed, like dollars or euros – they're produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.
We've previously examined general Bitcoin trading in depth. This article focuses on day trading Bitcoin.
What is Day Trading?
Given the chaotic sleep schedule of most traders, "day trading" could be better stated as:
Trading when it's convenient to you, without holding any position while you sleep.
Day trading is an active and involved trading style which seeks to capitalise on short but significant price moves.
The good news is:
Bitcoin has more than its fair share of short but significant price moves! This makes Bitcoin a great instrument for day traders.
Why Day Trade Bitcoin?
We might go so far as to call Bitcoin the ultimate day trading instrument, based on these 5 factors:
Trading-focused Bitcoin exchanges have very low fees and minimums compared to traditional exchanges. Zero fees for makers are common and you won't pay more than 0.25% in fees if you choose your exchange wisely. Our site helps you choose!
Bitcoin can be traded from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365.25 days a year. It doesn't matter where you are or when you have time to trade; you can be part of the multibillion Dollar Bitcoin market if you have an internet connection. Day trading lets you profit from Bitcoin without having to understand its technical complexities nor hold a long-term position in a new form of money, which is still considered experimental.
Several Bitcoin exchanges offer leveraged trading. This means you gain can more exposure to upside and downside price risk than your trading budget would ordinarily allow.
Bitcoin's volatility remains much higher than most other trading instruments, with the exception of alternative cryptocurrencies. This means you're likely to find plenty of tradeable action in the Bitcoin market. For better or worse, Bitcoin seldom has dull, sideways price action!
One Good Reason Not to Day Trade Bitcoin
Unless you're a skilled professional day trader, perhaps with a bit of luck, it's usually much easier and more profitable to adopt a longer term strategy. Simply buy Bitcoin at a major low and sell it at the next major peak (or vice versa if you're betting on a price fall). This strategy saves a lot of screen-watching, stress, and trading fees.
Our guide to general Bitcoin trading covers the various timeframes and their related trading approaches. Be sure to consider all of them before committing to day trading! Day trading is demanding in terms of time, energy and attention. If you already have a busy lifestyle, it's probably not a good fit for you.
How to Day Trade Bitcoin
You'll need 4 things to get started with day trading Bitcoin:
A good Bitcoin exchange for trading,
Let's discuss these elements in detail…
Bitcoin Exchanges for Traders
Check out our full article on the leading Bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitfinex. Other good options for traders include Bitstamp, Kraken, BTC-e, Cex.io, GDAX, Luno… the list goes on!
If you wish to search for a good exchange for your location and / or payment method, BuyBitcoinWorldWide exists for this exact purpose. Search for exchange (as opposed to "broker") entries which specifically mention low fees, deep liquidity, and an interface designed for traders.
Only day trade with funds you can afford to lose. If you're a new trader, the odds are extremely high that you will lose your initial trading funds. Always start out with a small amount while you learn and practice and consider this amount as "school fees."
Day trading is based on technical analysis; the ability to make market decisions based primarily on price charts. This skill takes a lot of practice and screen time to master. Even more important is a sound money management strategy. Markets can never be predicted with perfect accuracy so proper money management is key. It will minimize your losses due to wrong calls and maximize your profits when you get things right.
For further info, check out our general guide to trading.