Compare Ethereum Trading Accounts And Brokers
While still undeniably in its infancy, the market for cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum has exploded. Decentralised, digital alternatives to fiat currencies have been around since around the time the most well-known, bitcoin, was launched in 2009. However, it is over the past few years that adoption levels have seen cryptocurrencies enter mainstream public consciousness.
Venture capital has been pouring into cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology for several years now. Perhaps even more tellingly, financial and government institutions are now taking the concept of cryptocurrencies playing an important role in the economy seriously. They are investing big money into educating themselves and preparing infrastructure and legislation around what many consider to be the biggest technological leap since the internet to influence how we live and conduct commerce.
Top Ethereum Brokers
Exactly what the future holds in store for cryptocurrencies and their role in our world is hard to tell at this point. That they will have a major role is becoming hard to argue against. As a payments system, blockchain cryptocurrencies are faster, cheaper and potentially more secure than current online payment technologies. This means that they will almost certainly have a key role in future payment processing systems. However, their position as a viable alternative to fiat currencies will face stronger opposition from established governmental and financial institutions. As such, the future of cryptocurrencies as an eventual replacement for fiat currencies is less clear cut.
A significant way in which some of the more established cryptocurrencies have already achieved acceptance as financial assets or investment instruments is that they can now be traded alongside the major fiat currencies. CFDs pairing Ethereum and bitcoin with the U.S. dollar, British pound, euro and yen are now a commonplace offering on the trading platforms of brokers. In this article, we’ll focus on Ethereum and what anyone interested in trading the cryptocurrency should be aware of.
Cryptocurrencies and How They Work
Cryptocurrency systems such as Ethereum and Bitcoin are based on a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralised ledger-type database that stores a registry of assets and transactions across a peer-to-peer network. It’s essentially a public registry of who owns what and who transacts what, its history locked in blocks of data then cryptographically linked and secured to make an unforgeable record of all transactions which replicated on every computer using the network.
The two fundamental differences between crypto and fiat currencies are:
- Cryptocurrencies do not require a third party to verify and control electronic transactions
- Cryptocurrencies have a finite, non-expandable total number of units
These two divergences in how cryptocurrencies work compared to fiat are put forward by advocates as why they are a superior alternative. The decentralised nature of blockchain makes tampering harder and security higher as there is no single point of weakness in a registry stored in potentially hundreds of millions of multiple copies on multiple devices. They are also not influenced by political and economic interests and events affecting specific geographies. And, most crucially, units cannot be devalued by a central bank printing more of the currency as and when they see fit.
What’s the Difference Between Ethereum and Bitcoin?
We’ve seen how cryptocurrencies differ from fiat currencies but how do different cryptocurrencies differ between each other? What’s the difference between ethereum and bitcoin, for example? The first, and probably the most important, difference between cryptocurrencies is nothing more than rate of adoption.
Bitcoin was the first widely used cryptocurrency. As such, the supporting infrastructure of online and offline storage facilities, exchanges, merchants who accept payment in bitcoin and businesses built around bitcoin is the most developed. It has the highest rate of adoption. Ethereum is bitcoin’s closest challenger in terms of rate of adoption.
Ethereum’s growing popularity and usage is the result of an accompanying software ‘platform’ that adds additional features and makes it more than just a cryptocurrency. Ethereum is actually the name of the wider platform, with the cryptocurrency units referred to as ethers. Smart contracts can be created from digital tokens to represent things such as virtual shares, assets, proof of membership voting, fundraising and more.
Other differences between Ethereum and bitcoin are that Ethereum ‘blocks’, which store cryptographed transaction and ownership data, are formed more quickly, at around 12 seconds compared to 10 minutes for bitcoin. This makes transaction confirmations faster with Ethereum. There are a number of other differences between the two, such as how transfer costs are calculated. The main difference, however, can be summed up as that bitcoin’s ambition is purely to be a digital currency while Ethereum aims to accomplish more with the currency aspect one element of a bigger overall aim.
Trading cryptocurrencies online via CFDs, spread betting or binary options brokers, whether Ethereum, bitcoin or another, works in the same way as with any other derivative. An Ethereum/fiat pair CFD is created by the broker which reflects the exchange price between the two. The actual cryptocurrency is not held and the trader simply uses a derivative to take a position on whether its price will rise or fall against the fiat currency it is paired against over the course of the trade.
The broker bases the exchange price of Ethereum to the fiat side of the pair, which could be USD, BGP, EUR or JPY, on the prices currently trading on the dominant cryptocurrency exchanges and market makers they work with.
A handful of particularly progressive brokers have also started to offer the option of traders using Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies as the base currency of their trading accounts.
Advantages to Trading Ethereum
The fact that cryptocurrencies are both a developing market and asset class and that different factors influence their pricing in comparison to other financial instruments creates an interesting scenario for traders. Ethereum’s unique status in this regard has several advantages for traders as well as some disadvantages.
One strong plus as to why trading cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum is gaining popularity is that, unlike with fiat currencies, there are no market hours. Their decentralised nature means they can be traded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is of particular appeal to retail traders who have day jobs and find time limited during the working week.
Traditionally traded financial instruments such as fiat currencies, commodities, stocks and indices are closely connected to geo-politics and the economics of particular countries and geographical regions. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, are not influenced by localised factors in the same way and this leads to minimum correlation with most other instruments. Many traders consider this as a benefit to taking cryptocurrency positions, which can be considered as a hedge to positions held in other more highly correlated markets.
Finally, the biggest incentive for trading Ethereum and other cryptos is their high levels of volatility. It’s highly unusual to see daily movements of more than a decimal place of a percentage point between major fiat currency pairs. Ethereum, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are, however, still immature markets and as a result much more volatile. Movements of up to 3% against the major fiat currencies over the course of a single day are relatively commonplace and double-digit swings also take place from time to time. Such big price swings mean the potential to realise huge profits for traders who are on the right side of them.
Disadvantages to Trading Ethereum
Ethereum’s relative volatility in comparison to major fiat currencies can also be considered a disadvantage when it comes to trading the cryptocurrency. Just as big profits can be made by traders on the right side of any major price swing, those on the wrong side will sustain significant losses. This makes trading cryptocurrencies a high risk-high reward trading position and only appealing to more aggressive, adventurous traders.
A further disadvantage to trading Ethereum or bitcoin is another flipside to one of the advantages – non-correlation with other financial markets. Because cryptocurrencies are not influenced by the same geo-political and localised economic trends as other financial instruments, predicting their price trajectories means learning about and monitoring a different set of influencers. Ethereum price changes are mainly influenced by events around adoption numbers and sentiment and security.
While blockchain technology theoretically means cryptocurrencies should be much safer than electronically held fiat currencies when it comes to fraud or theft, their newness means that there are still bugs in the system that hackers occasionally exploit. Security breach scandals tend to send cryptocurrency values temporarily tumbling while big events that pep up sentiment that Ethereum or another cryptocurrency demonstrating strong adoption progress can really boost values. Cryptocurrency traders therefore have to monitor a whole different set of information which is both a time commitment and learning process.
Where Can I Trade Ethereum?
As little as a year ago there were very few online brokers offering Ethereum or other cryptocurrency CFDs. That is rapidly changing and now traders wishing to take positions on crypto/fiat pairs have a good degree of choice. Some of the biggest international names in financial markets trading now offer Ethereum and bitcoin pairs as part of their suite of tradable instruments. In another year, a brokerage not offering cryptocurrencies as tradable instruments will most probably be the exception.
When choosing a broker to trade Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies with the most important factors to look at are the size of the spread or commission, as some can be quite a lot wider than standard, and where pricing is taken. Most of the bigger cryptocurrencies have competing exchanges and prices for crypto unit to fiat currencies are not always 100% uniform do to the relative immaturity of the markets. When trading with leverage even fractional price discrepancies can make a difference. Most brokers will state the source and methodology of their cryptocurrency price feeds and it is important to see this is done in a clear and transparent manner.