Interactive Brokers Bitcoin Crypto Currency Trading (2021)

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) crypto investing account fees. How to buy or sell BAT, NEO, Ripple, Stellar, Cardano, Dogecoin, Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC) crypto currencies on Interactive Brokers?

Trading Bitcoin at Interactive Brokers

Bitcoin is increasingly on investors’ radars, and Interactive Brokers (IBKR) provides several ways to tap into this new asset. Here’s everything you need to know:

Futures on Bitcoin at IB

With an Interactive Brokers account, you can trade futures contracts. The CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) rolled out Bitcoin contracts in 2017. With these derivatives, you can make money (or lose money) off of Bitcoin’s volatile price movements.

To trade futures in your IB account, you first need to request futures trading privileges. To do this, head over to the client portal and click on the menu icon (the three horizontal bars in the upper-left corner of the screen).

After opening the menu, you’ll see a vertical list of choices. Scroll down to the bottom and click on the Account Settings link. On the next page, you’ll see a sub-menu of Trading Experience & Permissions. Scroll down to the Futures section and click on Request Trading Permissions. In just a few minutes, your account will be enabled to trade futures contracts.

The futures ticker symbol for Bitcoin is BTC. This will need to be followed by the month code for the specific contract you want to trade. The monthly codes unfortunately don’t correspond at all to the names of the month (V is for October, G is for February, and so on). You’ll just have to memorize them.

And the next two digits are for the year. Thankfully, these do make logical sense. For example, 21 is for 2021. BTCN21 is the Bitcoin contract that expires in July of 2021.

IB’s trading platforms have screeners that can look for contracts on the futures exchanges. To find the scanner on the desktop platform, click on the New Window link in the top menu and select Advanced Market Scanner underneath the Scanners sub-menu.

Bitcoin on Foreign Exchanges at IB

Because Interactive Brokers has a major emphasis on global trading, it’s quite easy to gain access to Bitcoin products that trade on international exchanges.

One security in particular we found inside our IB test account was the CI Galaxy Bitcoin Fund. Trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BTCG.UN, this closed-end fund invests directly in Bitcoin.

On IB’s client portal, we found 2,500 shares of BTCG.UN available for shorting if you’re so inclined. And if you want to trade the fund in U.S. currency rather than Canadian, there is a fund for that (ticker symbol BTCG.U).

How to buy bitcoin on IBKR

Ethereum on Foreign Exchanges

If you think Ethereum has a brighter future than Bitcoin, Interactive Brokers has a solution for you: the XBT Provider Ethereum ETN. Trading on the Stockholm Exchange under ticker symbol COINETHE:SS, this exchange-traded note is denominated in Euros. If you prefer the local currency (Swedish krona), there is a sister fund (with symbol COINETH:SS).

Just type in either ticker symbol on any of IB’s trading platforms, and you’ll get the note’s profile with buy and sell buttons.

Webull as Alternative

If all the derivatives of Bitcoin and other digital currencies don’t appeal to you, there is always direct trading in cryptos themselves. Although Interactive Brokers doesn’t offer this service, Webull does. And in fact, Webull doesn’t even charge anything for it. All of the available crypto investments mentioned above, by comparison, do come with trading fees.

Webull clients can directly trade 4 cryptocurrencies:

Bitcoin Cash

How to buy bitcoin on Webull

There is just a dollar minimum per trade. This of course is a major benefit over IB’s crypto trading service. None of the crypto products IB offers have fractional-share trading, so you can’t invest just one dollar. Learn more...

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