Benefits & Risks of Trading Forex with Bitcoin. The forex market is the largest and most liquid market in the world. It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all over the world. As if forex is not dynamic enough, cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) are adding a fascinating new dimension to currency trading. You see, a few forex brokers are now accepting bitcoins for currency trading. Should you jump in and begin using your hard-mined bitcoins in the forex markets? In this article, we’ll cover the risks and benefits of trading forex using bitcoins. (See related 5 Tips For Selecting A Forex Broker.) A Standard Forex Trade. First, here is an example of how a standard forex trade works. Imagine you are an American trader betting on the British pound/U.S. dollar currency pair (GBP/USD). You deposit $100 with your forex broker. Assuming the rate of $1 = ?0.5, you will receive ?50 for your $100. If the GBP/USD rate changes to 0.45, you close the position to 50/0.45 = $111.11. That is, you make a 11.11% profit over your initial $100 deposit. A Forex Trade Using Bitcoin. Now, let’s move on to an example of a forex trade using bitcoin. First, you open a forex trading account with a broker who accepts bitcoins (like AvaTrade, eToro or Liteforex). You then deposit 2 bitcoins from your digital wallet to the forex broker’s digital wallet. Assuming the current bitcoin to U.S. dollar rate is 1 bitcoin = $500, your deposit of 2 bitcoins is equal to $1,000. Now, assume that you want to take a position in British pounds. If the exchange rate is ?0.5 = $1, you will receive ?500. After some time, the GBP/USD rate changes to 0.45, and you square off your position to get $1,111.11 in your trading account. You have made a tidy 11.11% profit and you are ready to cash out. However, suppose by this time the bitcoin to U.S. dollar rate has changed to 1 bitcoin = $560. When you withdraw your money in bitcoins, you receive ($1,111.11/$560) = 1.984 bitcoins. Despite the fact that your bet on British pounds earned you an 11.11% profit (from $1,000 to $1,111.11), the fluctuation in the bitcoin to U.S. dollar rate means that you still sustain a loss of .016 bitcoin, or -0.8%. (initial deposit of 2 bitcoins — 1.984 bitcoins = .016 bitcoin). However, had the bitcoin to U.S. dollar exchange rate changed to 1 bitcoin = $475, you would realize a profit from both the forex trade and the bitcoin exchange. In other words, you would have received ($1,111.11/$475) = 2.339 bitcoins, a profit of 16.95%. Beyond the exchange rate fluctuations impacting profit and loss, there are other benefits and risks to consider before trading forex with bitcoin. Benefits of Trading Forex With Bitcoin. Decentralized Valuations : One major advantage of trading forex with bitcoin is that there is no central bank to randomly change bitcoin valuations. Due to its decentralized nature, the bitcoin rates are free from geopolitical influence as well from macroeconomic issues like country-specific inflation or interest rates. High Leverage : Most forex brokers offer high leverage ranging up to 1:1000 for bitcoin trades. Experienced traders can use this to their benefit. However, such high margins should also be approached with great caution as they also magnify the loss potential. No Transaction Costs : All bitcoin transactions are digitally recorded on public networks without any involvement from banks or clearing agencies. Hence, there are usually no transaction costs involved in bitcoin, even for global transfers. Brokers pass these benefits to the clients by not imposing any deposit or withdrawal fee for bitcoin transactions. This improves trade profits. Low Deposit Amount : One can start with as little as $25 with some bitcoin forex trading firms. As promotional offers, a few forex trading firms even offer new members a matching deposit amount. Traders should take care to check that all brokers are appropriately regulated. Low Cost of Trading : Most forex brokers that accept cryptocurrency are keeping brokerage costs very low to attract the new bitcoin-trading clients. Security : With bitcoin transactions, you don’t need to reveal your bank account or credit card details to deposit or withdraw money. Especially when dealing with foreign brokers, this is a huge advantage in terms of cost and financial security. No Global Boundaries : Bitcoin transactions have eliminated global boundaries. Using bitcoin, a trader based in Africa can trade forex through a broker based in the United Kingdom. Regulatory challenges may remain a concern, but if both traders and brokers are willing to transact, then all geographical boundaries are eliminated. Risks of Trading Forex with Bitcoin. Bitcoins trade on multiple exchanges, and exchange rates vary. Traders must ensure they understand which bitcoin exchange rates the forex broker will be using. (See related A Look At The Most Popular Bitcoin Exchanges.) While receiving bitcoin deposits from clients, almost all brokers instantly sell the bitcoins and hold the amount in U.S. dollars. Even if a trader does not take a forex trade position immediately after the deposit, he or she is still exposed to the bitcoin to U.S. dollar rate risk from deposit to withdrawal. Historically, bitcoin prices have exhibited high volatility. In absence of regulations, volatility can be used by the unregulated brokers to their advantage and to a trader’s disadvantage. For example, assume the intraday bitcoin rate fluctuates from $500 to $530 U.S. dollars per bitcoin. For an incoming deposit of 2 bitcoins, the unregulated broker may apply lowest rates to credit the trader $1,000 (2 bitcoins * $500 = $1000). However, once the trader is ready to make a withdrawal, the broker may use the lowest exchange rate and instead of the original 2 bitcoins deposited, the trader only receives 1.88679 bitcoins ($1,000/$530 = 1.88679 bitcoins). In reality, the unregulated broker may be exchanging bitcoins and dollars at say $515, and pocketing the difference at the expense of the client. (For more see Why Is Bitcoin's Value So Volatile?) Deposited bitcoins are prone to theft by hacking, even from the broker’s digital wallet. To cut down on this risk, look for brokers who have insurance protection against theft. (See related Can Bitcoin Be Hacked?) High leverage is risky for newbie traders who may not understand the exposure. Cryptocurrency is a different asset class altogether and has its own valuation mechanism. Trading forex with bitcoins essentially introduces a new intermediate currency which can impacts profit and loss in unexpected ways. Any money that is not locked down in a trader’s base currency is a risk. The Bottom Line. Although cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, are gaining popularity, there are still many associated risks. In forex trading, dealing in a decentralized currency that offers global transactions with no fees is an advantage. But the tradeoff is essentially adding a third currency to what was a trading pair. Traders who want to take on that risk should use only locally regulated forex brokerages. Bitcoin Forex trading reviewed. Bitcoin has emerged as one of the hottest investments around. Now, as Bitcoin trading continues to evolve, it is also being linked up with another hot investment market, Forex, which involves the trading of currencies. While Bitcoin itself aims to be a currency, there are some important differences between Bitcoin trading and traditional Forex trading. Forex trading refers to the trading of currencies. In a globalized world, companies and organizations must be able to quickly exchange currencies in order to facilitate global operations and purchases. A large company like General Electric can have operations in literally dozens of countries. This means that General Electric must be able to quickly access various currencies in order to pay local staff and make purchases, among other things. The Forex market is the largest and most liquid investment market in the world. Most of the traders are large institutions, corporations, and governments who conduct trading to facilitate their various operations. Some investors, however, also trade in Forex with the goal of making money off of fluctuating exchange rates. Currencies are traded in pairs. This means that one currency is exchanged for another. So USD/Euro and Euro/USD refers to two separate trading pairs. The first currency refers to the “base currency”, which means that USD is the currency being bought, and Euro is the currency being sold. In the USD/Euro pair, you are using Euros to purchase dollars. If you use Euros to purchase dollars, you are essentially betting that the dollar with rise in relation to the Euro, and the Euro will likewise fall. Forex is considered to be a more stable market to invest in. Currency exchange rates generally move very slowly and only change at moderate paces over time. While traumatic world events, such as the collapse of a national economy, or a major financial crisis, can cause exchange rates to rapidly move up and down, most of the time currencies remain quite stable in comparison to other investment vehicles such as stocks. Investors, however, make money off of fluctuations in markets. Generally, the more volatile prices for an investment are, the more opportunities there are to make and lose money. This is why Bitcoin Forex trading is becoming more and more popular. At the moment, the amount of speculation and number of concerns (i.e. security, government intervention) surrounding the currency mean that Bitcoin prices are highly volatile. This makes Bitcoin an investment vehicle more similar to stocks, commodities, and other highly speculative investments – giving it the ability to gain larger profit (and loss). Most Forex trading is conducted through dedicated Bitcoin exchanges, such as MtGox, which allow you to “buy” Bitcoins. Forex trading differs from a traditional Bitcoin exchange in that it is non-executable and you buy Bitcoins in pairs. This means that you can’t simply withdraw your Bitcoins and use them to make purchases. Instead, you invest in a dedicated financial instrument, in this case a currency pair. Lately, Forex brokers are beginning to get involved in Bitcoin and are setting up Bitcoin trading pairs similar to those found on traditional Forex platforms. Like other trading pairs, a Forex pair will allow you to buy and sell Bitcoins in relation to other currencies. This means that you could potentially profit off of the rise in the value of Bitcoin and the drop in the value of the US dollar, or vice versa. Popular Bitcoin/Forex trading companies that supply CFD services include Plus500 and Avatrade. Oanda, one of the world’s largest Forex brokers, has added Bitcoin to its conversion tool but has so far declined to make Bitcoin a tradable currency. Still, the mere fact that Oanda is engaging with Bitcoin is good news and adds credibility to the currency. When trading CFDs your capital may be at risk. This method of trading is suitable for experienced traders. Even though only a handful of companies allow Bitcoin in their Forex trading, you can still engage in Forex trading and currency pairs through the Forex brokers listed above. By trading Bitcoin through Forex brokers and through currency pairs, you should be able to maximize your earnings if your market analysis is right. Bitcoin Video Crash Course. Know more than 99% of the population about Bitcoin. One email a day for 7 days, short and educational (guaranteed).