What Is Leverage in Crypto Trading and How to Use It?

Considered a magic tool to multiply your investments by many, here is the beginner's guide to leverage trading in crypto with a list of the best platforms you can try out as a newbie!

Over the past weeks, we have discussed ample tools that can assist your technical analysis. But what about the tools to optimize your trades themselves? What about managing risk? In today’s article, we will discuss a tool perfect for the job: the leverage slider.

What Is Leverage in Crypto?

Leverage can be explained in two ways. Firstly, to put it simply, leverage is a position size multiplier. It allows you to have a $5,000 position, with only 500 dollars. When I first learned about this, I thought leverage would be the golden ticket to infinite riches, superyachts and Lamborghinis. And to be fair, it does sound like free money, but that was the simple explanation. In reality, there is a little more to it. As I said, it allows you to increase your position size. This works like a loan. The platform lends you extra position size. This results in amplified profits, but losses as well.

Imagine you have a position of $10,000 USD, with $1,000 in equity (often referred to as margin). Here, the position is leveraged 10 times which means that the position is 10 times larger than the margin. Because profits are made on the entire position size, a 1% move on the position is $100, which is 10% of your equity or margin.

Source: BitMex

This allows you to make lots of money, only if you do it right. On the other hand, you only need a 10% drop to lose the entire position; as when your losses on the position size become larger than your margin, the position gets liquidated.

To come back to the simple explanation, if you use leverage without any additional risk management, it does indeed amplify your position size, but the percentage of moves too.  You risk being forced to sell (liquidation). In spot trading, this risk does not exist, but you are limited to your capital alone.

You may also check out our guide on spot trading vs margin trading! So, what’s the better deal? As with many other things in trading, it depends both on the situation and the trader. I believe leverage is amazing, so long as you know how to manage your risk. With a proper stop loss, you can eliminate the liquidation risk and put a hard cap on the maximum amount you can possibly lose. Yet, you still get all the benefits of leverage: increased position size and profit potential.

In essence, leverage can be a great tool to add to your portfolio, but only after you have demonstrated a solid understanding of risk management, and some track record in spot trading. If used by inexperienced traders, leverage can wipe out your entire portfolio in mere minutes.

Let’s assume you are ready to trade with leverage, what are the best platforms to do this?

Best Crypto Leverage Trading Platforms

With hundreds of leverage trading platforms out there, it can be daunting to select the exchange for you. I’ll briefly cover a few exchanges I think are excellent and highlight some key differences between the two. Our first pick for leverage trading is Binancefor two reasons. Firstly, Binance offers an incredibly wide range of tokens. This is great because it allows you to capitalize on endless opportunities. Additionally, Binance is known for relatively low fees, which can save you lots of money in the long run, especially when trading with leverage.

Another great exchange for leverage trading is FTX. As one of the newer exchanges on the block, they have quickly risen to become a major player.

In the Asian demographic, OKX (formerly known as OKEx) is dominant. The second-largest exchange globally by volume has fees comparable to Binance. If you are trading in the Asian session (when that part of the world is awake), this might be the place for you.

If you prefer to trade on your mobile phone, ByBit is the way to go. Fees are steeper than most other platforms, but the convenience of a smooth mobile application may be worth your while.

Finally, an exchange to watch is Delta Exchange. I have personally used Delta over the past year and have seen the experience improve tremendously. While I don’t think they’re at the level of Binance or FTX just yet. However, if the improvements continue, there is nothing holding them back from getting there. That concludes my top picks for leverage platforms. You can also find an in-depth list of my top crypto exchanges for 2022.

Closing Statements

Risk management is a must-have if you want to open the leverage box. To put it into a nice analogy, leverage is like a nuclear power plant – highly powerful and perfectly safe if you keep it in check. However, if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing, the consequences can be disastrous. If you have a solid plan, stick to it and manage your risks!

As usual, please remember this article is based on my own experiences in trading, and it does not constitute financial advice. Do your research, try new things out and let’s continue to make some money.

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