Published 1 year ago • 3 minute read

4 Ways to Trade Crypto Without Using an Exchange

Are you tired of paying the fees and dealing with the security hassles that come with using cryptocurrency exchanges? You are not alone because many serious traders want to find other ways to speculate on the price of altcoins without having to deal with the major exchanges. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to trade crypto, and all of them are less complex and costly than exchange-based methods.

What are the favored ways to trade assets like ethereum, litecoin, cardano, bitcoin (BTC), and other alts? The list of choices is a grab bag of acronyms, with the four preferred methods being CFDs, FX, P2P, and special ATMs. It's helpful to remember that the great majority of all crypto buying and selling takes place off-exchange, and this kind of dealing is gaining in popularity as more traders use it to protect their anonymity and cut down on the expense of transaction fees. Here's a quick rundown of the four methods you can use if you prefer off-exchange trading of cryptocurrency.

CFDs (Contracts for Difference)

CFDs are probably the simplest way to trade cryptocurrency or are tied for the top spot with forex. In any case, account holders can easily purchase CFDs that are tied directly to various cryptos. One of the big benefits of bitcoin trading via CFDs is the trader does not own any of the crypto as an asset. The process is about speculating on price changes, and traders who opt for this approach own zero underlying assets. Plus, with contracts for difference, there's total anonymity because you're a private account holder with a brokerage firm. So, there's no posting to the blockchain, a process that can eventually reveal your identity to the world. Finally, contracts can be purchased for any amount, small or large. That means you can invest based on personal preferences and risk tolerance.

4 Ways to Trade Crypto Without Using an Exchange

Forex Trading

FX enthusiasts can speculate on the price of bitcoin and several others by directly buying and selling currency pairs that include BTC as one of the pair components. The crypto-forex pair that enjoys the highest volume is BTC/USD, or dollars per bitcoin, expressed in US dollars. In late Q2, the price of BTC/USD hovered between $20,200 and $18,600. The beauty of using forex to trade bitcoin and several other top crypto is that anyone can purchase a stake in the leading coin without owning the asset itself. Likewise, getting in and out of FX trades take just a few seconds, involves little or no fees, and makes it easy for people to take part in day trading or scalping.

P2P Platforms

If you want the freedom to choose payment methods, minimal interference from an exchange, and a high degree of privacy, P2P (person-to-person) platforms can be an excellent way to conduct business. In a way, they're like auction sites, where sellers and buyers get together on a common platform and agree on how they will do the deal. There are several P2P online platforms that have been around for years and have excellent reputations for speed and reliability.

ATMs for Bitcoin

There are thousands of bitcoin ATMs around the world. If you use one, there will be a fee, but the machines offer near total anonymity and the ability to buy BTC for cash or sell the bitcoin you own and receive cash from the machine. The big downside is that you need to be close to a machine, or you will not be able to either sell BTC or pay cash for it.

The Pros and Cons Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The crypto exchanges are not all bad. They serve a purpose for millions of people who prefer to acquire cryptocurrency, hold it, sell it, and trade it. But for people who want a less complex, more secure, and more anonymous system, it's usually wise to check out CFDs and the other methods listed above. Overall, what are the good and bad aspects of exchanges? The good points include:

  • Simplicity
  • Instantaneous trades
  • Fresh information feeds
  • Most people already have accounts set up from their first purchases

However, for those who enjoy delving into the world of alternative currencies like BTC and ethereum (ETH), there are major downsides to exchange-based dealing, including the following:

  • Fees, which can quickly eat into any earned profits and widen the losses
  • There is usually a finite number of ways to pay and/or receive payment
  • All transactions are monitored, which means low anonymity
  • There can be security glitches that spill out vast amounts of personal information


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