78% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

What are the risks of trading cryptocurrencies?

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The risks of trading cryptocurrencies are mainly related to its volatility. They are high-risk and speculative, and it is important that you understand the risks before you start trading.

  • They are volatile: unexpected changes in market sentiment can lead to sharp and sudden moves in price. It is not uncommon for the value of cryptocurrencies to quickly drop by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
  • They are unregulated: cryptocurrencies are currently unregulated by both governments and central banks. However, recently they have started to attract more attention. For example, there are questions about whether to classify them as a commodity or a virtual currency
  • They are susceptible to error and hacking: there is no perfect way to prevent technical glitches, human error or hacking.
  • They can be affected by forks or discontinuation: cryptocurrency trading carries additional risks such as hard forks or discontinuation. You should familiarise yourself with these risks before trading these products. When a hard fork occurs, there may be substantial price volatility around the event, and we may suspend trading throughout if we do not have reliable prices from the underlying market.

We will endeavour to notify you of potential blockchain forks. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure you find out when these might occur.

Risks of cryptocurrency spread bets and CFDs

With CMC Markets you can trade bitcoin and ethereum via a spread bet or CFD account. This means you are exposed to slightly different risks compared to when buying these cryptocurrencies outright. 

  • They are high-risk speculative products: with spread betting and CFD trading you only need to deposit a percentage of the value of a trade to open a position. Profits and losses are based on the full value of the trade. The volatility of cryptocurrencies, combined with trading on margin, could lead to significant losses.
  • They can be affected by gapping: market volatility can cause prices to move from one level to another without actually passing through the level in between. Gapping (or slippage) usually occurs during periods of high market volatility. As a result, your stop-loss could be executed at a worse level than you had requested. This can worsen losses if the market moves against you.
  • Charges may be greater than with other asset classes: you should review all costs involved before you trade. Charges may be higher when spread betting or trading CFD cryptocurrencies. The likelihood of making a profit versus the impact of these fees should be considered.
  • Pricing variations: compared with currencies, there can be significant variations in the pricing of cryptocurrencies used to determine the value of spread bet and CFD positions.

You should ensure that you fully understand the risks associated before you start trading. Only invest if you are an experienced investor with sophisticated knowledge of financial markets. Cryptocurrency trading may not be appropriate for everyone. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice, if necessary, before deciding whether to start spread betting or CFD trading.

The FCA regulates spread betting and CFDs. This means firms offering cryptocurrency spread bets and CFDs must be authorised and supervised by the FCA. Individual complaints can be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and eligible consumers have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). However, these protections will not compensate you for any losses from trading.

CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 78% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.