Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bittrex But Were Afraid to Ask
Bittrex is one of the most popular crypto exchanges for trading altcoins in the U.S.. Its complexity can be intimidating, but the learning curve is worth it.
On Bittrex you can trade BTC for almost any altcoin, compare that to GDAX where you can only trade a few different “trading pairs” (USDT/BTC, ETH/BTC, LTC/BTC, etc) and you’ll immediately see the value of Bittrex.
The drawback is that, while you can use USDT (Tether), you can’t use USD (or any fiat currency). This means you’ll need to also use an exchange like Coinbase/GDAX to load up on cryptocurrency first and then send it to Bittrex to trade using Coinbase.
It is not like Bittrex is the only exchange that offers a wide selection, it is only that it is one of the more popular choices for altcoin exchanges in the U.S. and other parts of the world (making it a good choice for someone who has Coinbase but is looking to expand their investment to coins not traded on Coinbase).
NOTE: Bittrex has been adding USD pairs in 2018. They currently have BTC, USDT, ETH, ADA, XRP, ZEC, ETC, and TUSD pairs. TRX and LTC will be added soon.
How to Sign Up For Bittrex, Send Coins, and Start Trading
Here is a super simple guide to signing up for Bittrex and getting started trading (for more detailed directions click the links below):
- To trade on Bittrex you need Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or Tether (USDT). So you need to obtain one of those first. I suggest you thus start by creating a Coinbase/GDAX account and loading up on some Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) first. TIP: In most cases you’ll want to use Ethereum rather than Bitcoin as it is cheaper to send. You can also send any coin you have that trades on Bittrex.
- Click the login button in the top right of the screen on the Bittrex home page. Then click the signup button below the login box.
- Creating an account is as simple following the on-screen steps. However, to actually use all the features you’ll need to click on the “settings” button at the top of the screen and input “basic information” and “enhanced verification.” TIP: make sure to enable and use two-factor authentication. That extra layer of protection will help protect your account.
- Once your account is verified and you are ready to trade, you’ll need to load some coins/tokens into the appropriate wallet. Go to the wallets tab at the top of the screen. Find the wallet you want to send to, for example Ethereum. Click the little plus button next to Ethereum, then click the create an address button. This is your on exchange Ethereum wallet. This is your wallet, you own all the coins that go in it, but you don’t control your private keys (so Bittrex is sort of playing middleman for you). TIP: Please note the directions in the box below the address you created carefully. Follow those directions, they can differ by coin. NOTE: You only need to create an address once. If you don’t and you send coins, Bittrex will automatically generate one for you.
- Now its time to send your coins. For our example we will send Ethereum from Coinbase to Bittrex. Go to the send screen in Coinbase in “accounts” under Ethereum. Copy and paste in the wallet address (the HEX Address) from Bittrex into the send screen on Coinbase, triple check everything including the directions you found under your address in Bittrex. Hit send and your Ethereum will begin the process of being sent to your Bittrex wallet. You can check the status of the transaction by copying the TX (transaction) number from Coinbase and finding it on etherscan.io, or you can just use the tracking information Coinbase and Bittrex give you. In many cases you’ll need to wait to see more than just a “transaction pending” message. In other words, if it takes a long time, don’t panic. You can always open a support ticket if you do think something is wrong. TIP: Send a small transaction first to ensure you got everything right.
- To send coins from Bittrex, it is nearly an identical process, the only difference is that you hit the minus button under wallets in Bittrex.
- To trade coins on Bittrex you can use the search bar or the front page to find a market, then use BTC, ETH, or USDT to trade for any coin on Bittrex. In the trading screen Units are how many of a coin you want to buy, Bid is the price you are willing to pay, order type is either a limit (buy when a price is met) or conditional (which places a limit order when a price is met), or ask (the amount you want to get from a sale). The left-hand side order form is for buys, the right-hand side order form is for sells. See more information below.
NOTE: Trading crypto to crypto can be risky for more reasons than I can list (I’ll include a list of reasons on the site shortly). Consider using caution and not doing any big orders until you are 110% confident in your abilities. If you are trading alts then I strongly, strongly, strongly [strongly] suggest using stop losses and averaging into positions with small buy-ins. See: How To Set A Stop Loss (and How to Place Limit Orders in General) On Bittrex and Risk Management for Trading.
TIP: For more information on using Bittrex, you can see: Bittrex: How to create an account, transfer funds and buy tokens, Steemit’s Bittrex.com Cryptocurrency Exchange Trading Tutorial with Bitcoin + Steem + 179 Altcoins!, Medium’s Getting started with trading on Bittrex, and Bittrex’s FAQ. Otherwise ask me any specifics in the comments below and I’ll answer them.
NOTE: Stop loss orders are a little strange on Bittrex. You have to set the price you want the order to trigger at, and the lowest price you want to bid. You have to set the price you want to sell at (the ask price) lower than the price you want it to go on the books at (the condition), or you risk your order not going off. So for a stop loss on Bittrex (called a “conditional” “less than or equal to” in this case) set “type” to “conditional,” set “condition” to “less than or equal to,” and then set your “Ask” lower than your conditional “less than or equal to.” Then when the condition is hit your ask will go on the books. Its a strange choice of semantics, but this is how it works. Of course, that is for a stop loss, you can also use this tool to set buy orders if a certain price is hit (for those set your bid price a little higher than the condition for the same reasons). Otherwise you just set limit buys/sells in Bittrex (don’t use market orders). One last note, it doesn’t matter how low you set the price, Bittrex will sell for the best price it can when the stop goes off. Thus, if you think the coin could plummet and you want to get out no matter what, try setting your ask a few points lower than your condition (if its too tight and the coin falls hard, it really could end up skipping over your order… that is never fun). See our guide to setting orders in Bittrex.
TIP: There are generally fees associated with trading crypto (unless an exchange says otherwise for specific order types). Bittrex takes a .25% commission on all trades. So you have to make more than .25% on a trade to turn a profit on Bittrex. Meanwhile, there are generally no fees for withdrawals or deposits. However, you should note that this is subject to change and you may pay transaction costs moving to and from Bittrex if the other entity you are using charges transaction fees or other fees. For example, Ether uses “gas” and Bittrex can’t do anything about that (and third party applications like Coinbase may charge their own fees as well). See What fees does Bittrex charge?
(To the Above Point) Keep transaction costs in mind, as you can’t fund Bittrex with USD. To use Bittrex you need to have coins already. That means you’ll likely want Coinbase/GDAX first. What you’ll do is sign up for Coinbase (and/or GDAX), buy your Bitcoins (or Ether or Litecoins), then transfer that to Bittrex (by clicking the wallet link in the top right and then hitting the plus sign next to the related wallet). This will cost you a pretty penny in transaction fees. Thus, you will need a good bit of profit to cover all the transaction fees in and out of Bittrex (especially if you want to turn your coins back to USD at some point). Not only that, but Bitcoin often goes on bull runs leaving alts behind. If Bitcoin goes flying to the moon, and you are paying transaction fees and waiting out other coins, you could take a net loss vs. staying in Bitcoin. If that doesn’t make sense, you probably aren’t ready for Bittrex and should play around with GDAX and Coinbase more. Bittrex is not a novice level exchange, but once you a ready for it, it is a place where a lot of digital money can be made!
WARNING: Exchanges have inherent risks. They can get go down for a while, they can get shut down, they can get hacked, the owners can go rogue. It isn’t common, but problems like that aren’t unheard of. Realize you are taking that risk and try not to leave all your funds on an exchange (especially those you aren’t actively trading).