Crypto Leverage Trading: How to Margin Trade Cryprocurrency

Gianluca Lombardi, 8 min read
Last Updated: 9 July, 2023

leverage trading crypto

Hello ecoinomists! Gianluca speaking.

Have you spent time exploring our guide on cryptocurrency trading srategies and are ready for more?

We’re going to get deeper into an exhilarating aspect of crypto trading: leveraged trading.

As I share my experience I will try to help you figure out what it is, how it works and how it can play a significant role in your trading strategy.

Key takeaways

  • Leverage trading magnifies potential profits but also potential losses.
  • Risk management strategies like setting stop-losses are essential.
  • Margin trading involves a significant degree of risk and is more suited to experienced traders.

Leverage in Crypto Trading: The Basics

Leverage trading, known as margin trading, is a mechanism that allows traders to open positions larger than their own capital.

To use leverage in trading means basically borrowing capital to be used to increase the return on investment.

Cryptocurrency exchanges, acting as the lender, allow traders to borrow funds to make larger trades than they can afford with their current balance.

However, it’s not all that simple to print money with this; it also comes with a significant increase in risk and potential losses.

The crypto market is famous for its volatility, and margin trading can amplify both your gains and losses.

To give you a basic example, imagine you have $1,000 in your balance and are using 20x leverage.

In this case, you are effectively trading with $20,000. If the price of your chosen cryptocurrency rises by 5%, you’d gain $1000 instead versus just $50 if you played this without any amount of leverage.

Conversely, if the market goes against your prediction, you’d lose $1000.

How to Use Leverage in Crypto Trading?

Trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum with leverage allows traders to enter larger positions than they could with their existing capital. Leverage gives traders the potential to magnify their gains (and losses), by allowing them to control more crypto than they actually own. Here’s a quick guide on how leverage works and how to use it safely in crypto trading:

  • Leverage allows traders to open positions larger than their account balance. For example, 5x leverage means you can trade with 5 times the value of your capital. If you have $1,000, you could control a $5,000 position.
  • Leverage is expressed as a ratio – 2x, 5x, 10x, 100x. Higher leverage = higher risk/reward potential.
  • To open a leveraged position, you borrow funds from the exchange or broker. You must put up some collateral – called margin – a percentage of the total position value.
  • Margin requirements vary based on leverage. With 5x leverage, you may only need 20% margin. So for a $5,000 position, you’d only need $1,000 in your account.
  • Be aware of liquidations. If the market moves against your position, and your margin level drops too low, your position may be forcibly liquidated. This avoids further losses.
  • Start with low leverage like 2-5x, until you gain experience. Use tight stop losses to control risk.
  • Monitor your margin level – don’t let it get too low. Deposit more funds or close some positions if needed.
  • Leverage amplifies gains and losses. Use it wisely and responsibly. Never put in more than you can afford to lose.

Leverage can be a powerful tool for crypto trading, when used properly. Be sure to learn and follow the margin and risk requirements of your chosen platform.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Leverage Trading in Crypto

Leverage trading, like every other trading strategy, has its set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s delve into these:

Advantages

  1. Profit Potential: The main allure of margin trading is the opportunity for higher profits. Since you’re trading with more than your capital, you have the potential to earn significantly more if the market moves in your favor.
  2. Access to Greater Capital: Especially for small traders, leverage trading allows to play in leagues they would typically not be able to afford, thus providing access to potentially more significant profits.

Disadvantages

  1. Risk of Higher Losses: As the mirror image of its main advantage, leveraged trading also comes with the risk of larger losses. The very mechanism that allows for bigger profits also leads to the possibility of significant losses.
  2. Liquidation Risk: If the market takes a turn for the worse, and you’re unable to maintain the margin requirement (the minimum amount of money required to keep your positions open), the exchange will liquidate your position, potentially resulting in a total loss of your initial capital.

Strategies to Trade Crypto with Leverage

In our previous read on crypto order types, we explained different trading orders. These orders also apply to margin trading. Let’s discuss a few strategic decisions you need to make when doing leverage trading:

Long and Short Positions

In trading, taking a long position means you expect the asset’s price to rise, while a short position implies you’re anticipating a drop in price. With margin trading, you can amplify the profit from these positions. For instance, if you go long on Bitcoin with 10x leverage and Bitcoin’s price rises by 3%, you would enjoy a 30% profit on your trade.

Stop-Loss and Take-Profit Orders

Setting a stop-loss order will automatically close your position if losses reach a certain point. For example, if you’ve taken a long position on Ethereum and set a stop-loss order at 5% below your entry point, your position would be automatically closed if Ethereum’s price drops by 5%. This prevents further losses.

Similarly, a take-profit order ensures that you secure your gains by closing the position once a certain profit level is reached. If you’ve taken a short position on Litecoin and set a take-profit order at 10% above your entry point, your position would close automatically, securing your profits if Litecoin’s price rises by 10%.

Trend Following

This strategy is based on the assumption that markets move in trends, and price momentum will continue in the same direction. Leverage traders can use technical analysis tools like Moving Averages and the Relative Strength Index (RSI) to identify trends and make trades accordingly.

Swing Trading

Swing traders aim to capture price swings within a trend. They enter long when the price is low and exit when the price is high (or vice versa for short positions). Swing trading often involves analyzing candlestick patterns and using technical indicators like Bollinger Bands.

Scalping

Scalping is a high-frequency trading strategy where traders aim to profit from small price changes. They open and close positions quickly, often within minutes or seconds, and use high leverage to maximize profits from these minor fluctuations.

These strategies should always be used in conjunction with risk management techniques, like setting stop-loss and take-profit levels to protect your capital.

Remember – money is at stake! All strategies come with risk, always do your research and consider your risk tolerance before engaging in margin trading.

Risks in Crypto Margin Trading and How to Mitigate Them

The most significant risk in leverage trading is the potential for amplified losses. As we’ve discussed, if a trade goes wrong, you can lose much more than your initial investment, up to the total value of the leverage position.

The first step to mitigating these risks is a thorough understanding of the market. Knowledge is your primary defence against market volatility. Stay updated with the latest news and events that could impact the price of the cryptocurrency you’re trading.

Then also, employ risk management strategies like setting stop-loss orders, only trading with money you can afford to lose, and diversifying your investment portfolio. For instance, a stop-loss order can limit your potential loss if the market moves against your position.

Margin call

A margin call is essentially a risk control measure taken by your broker. When the value of your assets falls to a certain point where it’s approaching or has breached the maintenance margin, the broker will issue a margin call. This is a demand for you to deposit additional funds or securities to bring the margin trading account back up to the required level.

The purpose of a margin call is to minimize the risk of loss not only for the investor but also for the brokerage. Failing to meet the requirements of a margin call typically results in the broker liquidating your positions to bring the account back up to the maintenance margin level.

Margin calls are especially relevant in volatile markets, where asset prices can swing wildly in a short period, significantly affecting the value of the collateral (the purchased securities in a margin account).

100x Leverage Crypto Trading Platforms

Choosing the right crypto exchange for leverage trading in crypto is crucial. The right platform can provide you with the tools and features you need to execute successful trades. In this section, we will discuss four prominent platforms: Bybit, Binance, Bitget, and Gate.io.

1. BingX

Top Exchange

bingx logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

9.1/10


Max Leverage Up to 125:1
Headquarters Singapore
Deposit Fees Crypto, SEPA 0%
Trading Fees 0,02% - 0,1%
Cryptocurrencies 530+ BTC kryptowaluta logoETH logo della criptovalutaBCH logo della criptovalutaRipple криптовалута логоADA криптовалута логоLTC криптовалута логоTezos криптовалута лого
Payment Methods Crypto, SEPA
Number of Users 10+ million

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Start now

BingX is a rapidly growing crypto trading platform known for its comprehensive offerings that include spot and derivatives trading. It distinguishes itself with a copy trading feature, allowing users to mimic the trades of experienced investors. While offering competitive leverage options, BingX ensures accessibility for beginners and advanced traders alike, with a focus on user experience and security.

2. Bybit

bybit logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

9.0/10


Max Leverage 100:1
Headquarters Dubai
Deposit Fees Card 2%
Trading Fees 0,075%
Cryptocurrencies 370 BTC kryptowaluta logoETH logo della criptovalutaBCH logo della criptovalutaRipple криптовалута логоADA криптовалута логоLTC криптовалута логоTezos криптовалута лого
Payment Methods Crypto, Visa, MasterCard
Number of Users 3.000.000+

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Start here

Bybit is a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange that offers margin trading up to 100x. This Singapore-based platform provides perpetual contracts for Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, and XRP. Bybit is known for its user-friendly interface, strong security measures, and 24/7 customer service. With its ‘Dual Price Mechanism’, it aims to prevent market manipulation and unnecessary liquidations, making it a popular choice for leverage traders.

We prepared a Bybit detailed exchange review for you.

3. Bitget

bitget logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

8.9/10

Max Leverage 100:1
Deposit Fees Debit card 3-4%
Trading Fees 0.1%
Regulations
Cryptocurrencies 500+ BTC logo CriptovaluteETH Criptovalute logoIOTA logoBCH logoRipple logoDASH logoADA logoEOS logoLTC logoTezos logoNEO logoXLM logoZEC logoETC logoOmise-Go logo
Payment Methods Crypto, Visa, MasterCard, Bank Transfer, SEPA
Number of Users 2.000.000+

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Go to Bitget

Bitget is a rapidly growing platform that specializes in contract trading. It offers margin trading up to 100x on various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitget is recognized for its comprehensive range of contract options, innovative trading features, and robust risk management systems. Its ‘Copy Trade’ feature allows users to replicate the strategies of successful traders, providing an attractive option for newcomers to leveraged trading.

Compare the last two exchanges with the help of this article – Bitget vs Binance.

Wondering how the innovative features of Bitget measure up to the established platform of Bybit? Don’t miss our in-depth analysis of Bitget vs Bybit here.

4. Gate io

gate.io logo
Exchange

ecoinomy rating:

8.9/10

Max Leverage 10:1
Deposit Fees Debit card 2-3%
Trading Fees 0.145% - 0.2%
Regulations
Cryptocurrencies BTC logo CriptovaluteETH Criptovalute logoIOTA logoBCH logoRipple logoDASH logoADA logoEOS logoLTC logoTezos logoNEO logoXLM logoZEC logoETC logoOmise-Go logo +1400
Payment methods Crypto, debit and credit cards, bank transfer, Banxa, SEPA, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Number of users 10.000.000+

Security

Fees

Ease of Use

Customer Service


Go to gate

Gate.io is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers spot trading, margin trading, and futures trading with leverage up to 100x. It supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies and provides various trading tools and features. Gate.io is known for its strong emphasis on security and user experience. Its ‘Point and Click’ trading feature allows users to trade directly from the chart, enhancing trading efficiency.

Are you curious about how Gate io stands up against the titan of crypto trading, Binance? Check out our detailed comparison of Gate io vs Binance here.

Conclusions – is leverage trading right for me?

leverage trading setup desk

Margin trading in crypto can be a potent tool for experienced traders, offering potential for higher profits. However, it also introduces significant risk and should be approached with caution, a clear strategy, and a thorough understanding of how it works.

Remember, the key to successful trading lies in education. Keep learning, stay informed, and trade wisely. Whenever you need to refresh your memory on different types of orders or want to delve into more trading strategies, feel free to revisit our crypto trading guide and crypto order types guide.

Happy trading!

FAQ about leverage trading

What is leverage trading in cryptocurrency?

Leverage trading in crypto allows traders to borrow funds to increase their trading position beyond what would be available from their cash balance alone. This can potentially lead to higher profits but also greater losses.

How does leverage work in cryptocurrency trading?

Leverage in cryptocurrency trading is a service offered by many exchanges that allows you to borrow money to increase your trade size. For example, if you use 2x leverage to purchase $1000 worth of Bitcoin, you’re actually using $500 of your own money and borrowing the other $500.

What are the risks with margin trading?

The main risk associated with margin trading is that you can lose more than your initial investment. If the market moves against your position, you could be left with significant debt.

What are the benefits of leverage trading?

The primary benefit of leveraged trading is the potential for higher profits. By increasing your trading position with borrowed funds, you can potentially earn a higher return if the market moves in your favor.

Is Margin trading suitable for beginners?

Margin trading is generally better suited for experienced traders. It requires a good understanding of the market and risk management strategies. Beginners should ideally start with spot trading and gradually move to leveraged trading as they gain more experience and confidence.

Gianluca Lombardi

Gianluca is the editor-in-chief of this site. A finance graduate, he is an active trader who has tested all trading platforms and knows all their secrets. Technology is his passion; he spends much of his free time in the metaverse. Gianluca loves learning new things, researching, discussing and writing about technology, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.