Looking to join the crypto revolution but don’t know where to start? Worried about security issues, account safety or liquidity? This guide is for you. Learn the key differences between trading cryptocurrencies and CFDs on crypto, the pluses and minuses of each product and how to trade the latest digital trend with Capital.com.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies appeared on the financial scene back in 2008 with the release of Bitcoin’s ‘white paper’. The ‘peer-to-peer electronic cash’ system welcomed in a new age in online transaction.

Bitcoin secures its transactions via a trustless system that uses blockchain technology. A digital process that verifies, records and approves transactions through complex cryptography.

Proving popular, in December 2017 Bitcoin hit a high of $19,000, but it’s not the only cryptocurrency out there. Some of the most prominent are Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.

Find out more about cryptocurrencies.

What are CFDs?

CFD stands for Contract for Difference, it’s a financial instrument. A CFD is a type of derivative trading, wherein one party agrees to pay the other the difference between the value of a security at the start of the contract and its value at the end of the contract. CFDs are also a useful tool for hedging risks on exchanges and for arbitrage.

Say an investor thinks the price on gold will rise, they make a contract with a broker. If the price rises, they are successful and make money, but if the price falls they lose.

Grasped the CFD basics, but want to know more?

What are CFDs on cryptocurrencies?

Trading CFDs on cryptocurrencies means trading based on the market prices of cryptocurrency. While you never own the actual crypto coin, you can invest and make profits (or losses) on their price changes.

Let’s compare

  Cryptocurrencies CFDs
Where your money kept Stored in digital wallets, the benefits are the ease access. The risks include loss of access to your digital wallet and exchange hacks.


In your account, assets are intangible. The benefits include segregated accounts, account security and broker services, regulated by a financial regulator.


Liquidity Liquidity is limited on crypto exchanges, meaning crypto assets are not always easily convertible into real-world comparatives. Their value is also highly volatile – losses and gains come quickly.


With CFDs you can buy contracts at the indicated price.

Also, you’re not tied to the asset, you only trade its price movements, so you’re free to switch between markets.

Usage Cryptocurrencies offer flexibility of payment, cryptocurrencies can be exchanged, sold or gifted.


CFDs cannot be used for shopping, exchange or sending to a friend. As you do not own the currency itself, you are only trading on its price movements.
Regulation The cryptocurrency ‘peer-to-peer’ transaction system is largely unregulated. As a newcomer, it lacks a legal ecosystem. This means traders do not benefit from protection from Investor Compensation Fund and cannot refer to the relevant Financial Ombudsman should problems arise.

Additionally, exchanges can be located in shady jurisdictions.

CFD trading can only be offered by regulated companies that follow set policies to protect the business and their clients.

These regulations include the segregation of client’s money, meaning trading is more secure, projection against fraud, account security standards and data protection to ensure the trading process is as safe as possible.

Commissions Cryptocurrency trading involves commissions on selling and buying the cryptocurrencies. With CFDs, there is no commission taken on buying and selling, overnight fees may be incurred if your position is open after the end of the trading day.


Length of investment In general, cryptocurrencies are considered a long-term investment, however shorting is possible.


CFDs are by nature short-term investments, offering traders variety in their choice of trades.


Illegal activity There have been cases where cryptocurrency has been related to terrorism or other illegal activities.

Due to the lack of regulations criminals can easily send more via these cashless transactions. Traders should always be careful with whom they trade.

CFD trading is strictly regulated so such problems do not occur in this type of trading.
Taxes Cryptocurrency traders are required to pay tax on their earnings.

However, with crypto it’s more complicated as not all countries have developed a sufficient tax infrastructure or legislation to support this.


With CFD trading, tax payments are clear. As it is well regulated, it is more straight-forward to explain losses and gains in tax reporting.


The most important part, however, is finding a broker you can trust. They should be regulated to ensure your trading security. For instance, Capital.com, a CySEC-regulated broker, offers trading in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple CFDs.

Trading cryptocurrency CFDs with Capital.com

Step 1. Download the Capital.com mobile app or open the desktop version.

Step 2. Open an account in GBP (£), EUR (€), USD ($) or PLN (zl) and make a deposit in the corresponding currency.

Step 3. Choose a cryptocurrency you want to buy or sell via CFD on.

Step 4. Discover handy cryptocurrency charts and rates on the Capital.com site.

Step 5. Open a long (buy) or short (sell) position on a cryptocurrency CFD and speculate on the market’s movements.

Step 6. Close your position successfully and withdraw your funds within 24 hours.

You must remember that you trade at your own risk. You can lose all your invested capital once you begin trading. Do not in any circumstances trade with money which you cannot afford to lose.

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