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How to Short Crypto: The Ultimate Guide

Alina Haynes

Jul 29, 2022 15:57

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The market fears cryptocurrency bears because they might cause investors to suffer significant losses in a short period. While some traders record losses amid price declines, others record profits.


The most excellent cryptocurrencies for short selling are Bitcoin and Ethereum. Agile traders have an opportunity to earn from both positive and negative market swings due to their rapid price changes. Read on if you are interested in learning more about shorting Bitcoin in a bear market.

What Does Shorting Crypto Mean?

Selling cryptocurrencies to repurchase them at a lower price is known as shorting them. This strategy is best used when it is anticipated that the price of a particular cryptocurrency will decline.


Because traders are "short" the coins, the crypto they want to use for profit is not something they genuinely possess. To comprehend short, they must be familiar with crypto long and short positions. Going long essentially involves purchasing cryptocurrency with the expectation that its market value will increase. For instance, they may pay $10 for an alternative currency and forecast a price of $12. Traders sell it to earn a profit as soon as the cost rises.


In contrast, shorting is borrowing a cryptocurrency and selling it at the going rate while anticipating a price decline. Following this, you sit tight until the coin's value drops or begins to rise again, at which point you make a purchase and pocket the gain.


Making money off the value drop of an asset is possible through shorting. Therefore, when anticipating a decline in the market value of a coin, traders may choose to go short. Since markets are frequently unexpected, shorting cryptocurrency is a dangerous endeavor. Of course, a chance for profit, but given the market volatility, there is also a chance for substantial losses.


The currency's price may decrease when people retain a long position, but it rarely goes to zero. Traders keep their initial investment even though they do not make any money. A coin's price may grow while they are shorting it, compounding its losses. Because of this, they must ensure that they have done their study before acting. Take the calculated risk since it might result in thousands of dollars in earnings if they are sure that their research is sound and that the price will genuinely decline.

How Does Shorting Work?

The most popular way to short a cryptocurrency is to borrow a lot of it and then sell it right away to someone else. Because traders need to recover those assets to repay the loan later, they are left with a sizable financial hole.


People may use the money they made from selling it to repurchase that crypto at a lower cost later. This is because the loan is valued in cryptocurrency rather than US dollars. If the value of the cryptocurrency plummets, they may purchase it all at a discount and use the proceeds to pay back the loan.


People can see the difference as a profit as it will cost them less money in US dollars to repay the loan than it did to get it.


For instance:

  1. A trader obtains a 1 Bitcoin loan on January 1 with an annual interest rate of 10%. Assume him do not need to provide any collateral and that one Bitcoin costs $10,000 at the time of the loan.

  2. Go to the crypto exchange and sell the Bitcoin right now for US cash.

  3. Wait precisely one year. Bitcoin has maintained its $10,000 price, but traders still think it will fall. They choose to pay the interest on the loan of $1,000 throughout this period.

  4. Suddenly, on January 2, Bitcoin dropped below $5,000. Traders were right the entire time! They spend their remaining $9,000 to purchase Bitcoin at $5,000 while everyone else is sobbing, then use it to pay back the debt. The remaining $4,000 is theirs to keep.

  5. Traders have earned $4,000 in profit.


Margin trading, commonly referred to as leveraged trading, is used in this deal. Leveraged crypto products allow people to borrow more money than they have. Most crypto platforms provide margin trading; some go as high as 100 times their initial investment. Anyone, regardless of professional background, may apply for a loan.

Can Traders Short Sell Cryptos?

Yes, you may "sell" and "go short" cryptocurrencies like other financial assets. However, short selling cryptocurrencies might be problematic depending on whether you want to utilize a cryptocurrency exchange or a leveraged trading service.

Why Should We Short Cryptocurrencies?

A trader might decide to short-sell Bitcoin for various reasons. Short-selling may be pretty profitable when you believe that prices will decline due to market-moving external factors. Some of the explanations for why many traders favor shorting Bitcoin are listed below:


The price of Bitcoin has occasionally been so overstated that it has crossed the overbought boundary. Typically, a price bubble forms during periods of intense market activity when traders swarm the market to profit from the high prices.


Through short-selling Bitcoin, a trader can benefit from such a trend. However, short selling is just as dangerous as regular trading. Therefore, you must perform a fundamental study of Bitcoin to determine when it is appropriate to sell short and when it is appropriate to repurchase the borrowed coins.


Additionally, some traders short-sell Bitcoin because of its high volatility. Although volatility makes Bitcoin a high-risk investment, it also allows traders to profit from the sharp price swings.


Risk-averse traders typically purchase low and sell high. However, a trader who enjoys taking on many risks will be tempted by the benefits of price declines. Therefore, short selling might be profitable if you are familiar with market movements.

Hedging Risk

Due to sudden price swings, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and others are frequently rated as highly volatile assets. Long holdings are impacted by volatility, and traders who have held Bitcoin and anticipate a price decline might employ short selling to mitigate the risk.


Traders will gain money if they conduct a thorough study and the prices decline as predicted. The losses people incur while their stocks are locked in the bear market might be somewhat offset by these profits. Short selling can limit the damage done by a bear market when employed as a preventative measure.

Pros of Short Selling Crypto

There are benefits and drawbacks to shorting cryptocurrencies to take into account. On the plus side, shorting enables traders to gain from an asset's price decline. So, if they anticipate a decline in the price of Bitcoin, they may sell short and profit when it happens.


Furthermore, shorting might assist them in protecting their portfolio from downside risk. Shorting a portion of their investment might assist offset losses in other areas of the portfolio if they are concerned about a potential market meltdown.

Risks of Short Selling Crypto

When the market is down, shorting cryptocurrency is undoubtedly a chance to make some additional cash, but you need also take its hazards into account. Here are a few significant drawbacks of shorting cryptocurrencies. 

Limitless Losses

People only run the risk of having a cryptocurrency that does not appreciate to the level they expected when they acquire and hold it intending to sell it for a more excellent price in the future. People still possess their money at the end of the day and can keep it for as long as they choose.


On the other side, since they exceed the initial investment, the potential losses while shorting crypto are endless. Traders may need to loan the currency at a higher rate to decrease their average cost, but this is necessary if they wish to cover without incurring losses.

Margin Interest

Remember that traders do not precisely own the crypto when they short sell it. Instead, they borrow it from a broker, who will charge interest if they keep the coins in their possession.


Let us say the currency price forecasts do not come true. Traders might have to spend time sitting on it. While this increase occurs, interest rates continue to grow and deplete the profits.

6 Ways to Short Sell Cryptos

1. Margin Trading

Centralized exchanges might not be all that appealing to crypto purists. Nevertheless, as cryptocurrency gained popularity, it became a necessary evil to entice more people. Anyone who has struggled with the tedious process of purchasing crypto on decentralized exchanges needs to acquire it. Additionally, they made exchanging fiat money for virtual currencies simpler than before.


However, in addition to being straightforward, most centralized exchanges provide margin trading. Now, margin trading is often carried out to maximize profits from upward movement. On other exchanges, like Binance, anyone may, however, essentially borrow tokens. From here, people may immediately resell those tokens on the market.


The brokerage will eventually need their tokens back, however. If the token's value keeps decreasing, that is not a significant problem. Purchase them at the (perhaps) reduced cost. Once you have returned them, you can keep the difference in your pocket. This is arguably the simplest way to start learning how to short crypto. Additionally, it does not call for opening new accounts with different services.

2. Futures Markets

When Bitcoin and its crypto siblings took off in 2017, they were so well-known that a futures market was established for some of the more oversized tokens. People may now short crypto on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Here is how it functions:


You effectively trade a futures contract when you short crypto. This wager assumes a future decrease in price. In this case, someone purchases the contract from you for the current token price. The seller would then purchase the tokens at the lower price, complete their commitment, and keep the difference when the buyer demanded that the seller fulfill the cryptocurrency contract.


These days, more than that, the CME provides trading in derivatives. TD Ameritrade, eToro, Kraken, and other well-known exchanges provide opportunities to trade futures contracts right now. This may be a more straightforward approach to learning how to short crypto for those unaware of some of the more well-known crypto exchanges.

3. Inverse ETFs

There is an ETF for almost anything, as anyone familiar with the stock market should know. Do you wager that inflation will grow further? There are a ton of them available for investment. Do you believe that interest in space travel will soar shortly? Procure Space ETF is the only option (Nasdaq: UFO). This suggests that many of them are based on capitalizing on the decline of Bitcoin.

4. Prediction Markets

Maybe you already knew that you could place a sports wager by visiting a website or using an app on your phone. That is how easy it is to try to forecast who will win the Super Bowl, World Series, or World Cup. If the guess is correct, you might win a generous prize. In any case, there is a similar procedure for making bets on the future course of crypto.


These prediction markets could also appeal to individuals seeking a pure crypto play. There are several decentralized prediction markets available. For instance, Gnosis is a platform for Ethereum blockchain-based prediction market applications. With this one, users may estimate crypto prices hourly, daily, or weekly.

5. Crypto CFDs

Contracts for difference are another well-liked method of shorting Bitcoin (CFD). With CFDs, people may speculate on the price movement of Bitcoin without owning any of it, similar to how leverage trading works. Doing this reduces the danger of keeping an asset with a highly fluctuating value.


Traders must deposit a portion of the funds on their margin account to trade Bitcoin CFDs. This will assure them they can purchase the cryptocurrency at the best price.


The account will continue to hold the deposited money; however, the exchange or broker lending traders the Bitcoin will hold it as collateral. It would help if they contributed a certain percentage of the entire value of their deal in order to short sell using a CFD.


Trading with this position opens the door to a potentially lucrative return on investment for the investor (ROI). The winnings will be substantial if bitcoin prices go the way they predicted, and they will be in the loss area if the price swings the other way.

6. Short Selling Bitcoin Assets

The simplest simple method of shorting Bitcoin is this. Most short sellers, both novice and experienced, use this tactic to wager on the upcoming decline in Bitcoin values.


Direct short selling is straightforward. People may borrow Bitcoin from an exchange at a predetermined price and sell it later. Once they have sold the borrowed Bitcoin, they must return it to the exchange.


Traders keep the Bitcoin they borrowed while waiting for its value to drop. Buy Bitcoin as the price drops, then pay the exchange back. The difference between the amount borrowed and sold will represent their profit.

How to Short Sell Crypto Step by Step

Follow our detailed instructions to learn how to sell bitcoin at a loss using a leveraged trading account. Please note that it is crucial to educate oneself about leveraged trading, short selling, and the bitcoin market. You would be accountable for errors if you lacked competence in these areas. Before investing any money in a live trading account, novice traders may profit from experience on a demo account.


  • Open a trading account online. Confused about which is the best? Please find out more by reading about our goods.

  • Perform a market study of bitcoin. It is crucial to research the bitcoin market utilizing numerous analysis methods. Check out this page to see how technical analysis and fundamental analysis vary. It is crucial to comprehend the bitcoin market to choose your market entrance and exit points.

  • Reduce the risk. It is crucial to stick to your risk management plan while shorting bitcoin. Your trading method can stay organized and dependable by utilizing risk management tools like take profit and stop-loss orders.

  • Short bitcoin and "sell" it. Place your bitcoin trade once you have decided to short bitcoin and have established the necessary risk management parameters.

Final Thoughts

Many investors scramble to sell off their holdings when the crypto market collapses or is predicted to collapse. On the contrary, if someone masters short selling, he will profit while others lose money.


Short selling is just as dangerous as spot trading, even though it sometimes seems profitable. Since we must borrow cryptocurrency to execute our trade, short selling is much riskier. If the transaction does not go through, we lose money and do not receive any Bitcoin.


As a result, short Bitcoin once the impending fall of the market has been established. Traders may do an analysis that will enable them to make an educated decision using the advice provided above. After reading this article, they may speak with a crypto trading specialist if they still have questions regarding short selling.