Where to Margin Trade Crypto in the US (2024)

How to Margin Trade Cryptocurrency in the United States (Updated March 2024)

You can margin trade crypto in the US by using Coinbase or Kraken. You can also use brokers like Fidelity to trade Bitcoin ETFs with leverage, or use via decentralized solutions.

In our opinion the best place for margin trading in the US is Coinbase futures. Coinbase futures provides up to 10x leverage on perpetual futures contracts.

You can also use Kraken to margin trade.

Another way to leverage crypto is via the stock market through a broker such as Fidelity by margin trading or using options on Bitcoin ETFs or Grayscale Trusts (ETHE for example). You can also use LedgerX for options trading, or use Decentralized apps like AAVE + DeFI Saver or GMX, all of which can be used to create leveraged positions (if you go this route, consider using something like Arbitrum to save on fees).

While there might be some lesser-known exchanges that claim to allow leverage to US customers, the above options are tried and tested options that are generally safer than lesser known entities.

Trading Outside of the US: Leverage trading options include Kraken, Coinbase, Binance, BitMEX, and Bybit. However, none of these exchanges allow US traders to trade.

TIP: If you don’t have any options for centralized exchanges for margin trading in the US, you can try GMX. Use our referral link to get up to 10% off trading fees when you sign up https://app.gmx.io/#/trade/?ref=CCFacts.

Get a free month of Coinbase One to protect your account and save on fees: https://coinbase.com/one?promo=CB1H6SCZT5&referral.

US Legal Requirements and Tightening Regulation: In the past some US exchanges allowed margin trading. Then for a while no US exchanges did. But now margin trading is back again!

Margin Coinbase and Kraken

Coinbase offers leveraged futures trading. By trading perpetual futures contracts you can leverage long or short on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and XRP. Coinbase allows up to 5x leverage. You can learn more here.

Kraken offers over 100 margin-enabled markets for you to buy (go “long”) or sell (go “short”) a growing number of cryptocurrencies with up to 5x leverage. Kraken’s margin trading criteria are relatively strict and will result in the average person needing to choose another option. With that said, you can sign up here.

What is Needed to KYC

Part of the requirements of margin trading crypto are KYC-based. In general, you will need the following information:

Individual Accounts

  • Legal Name
  • Place of Residence
  • Date of Birth
  • ID Document
  • SSN
  • Proof of Address
  • Selfie to confirm identity
  • Source of Funds

Corporate Accounts

  • Entity Name
  • Principal Office Address
  • Entity Formation Documents
  • List of all Executive Officers and Directors
  • Beneficial Ownership
  • ID Documents
  • SSN
  • Proof of Address Document
  • Selfie to confirm identity
  • Source of Funds

Steps to Margin Trade On Coinbase

  1. Sign up for a Coinbase account.
  2. Deposit USD or buy USDC.
  3. Select the Futures tab near the top or the banner on the right.
  4. Fill out the questionnaire to see if you are eligible.
  5. You can then trade futures via Coinbase Advanced.

NOTE: To get access to Coinbase Advanced, simply create a Coinbase account.

NOTE: You can see your positions on the mobile app, but can only open and close futures on the desktop app.

Other Leveraged Trading Alternatives

For true margin, you’ll have to meet the criteria for entieis like Kraken or Coinbase, or try your hand at DEXs like GMX (check out L2 alternatives like Mango on Solana to save on fees as well).

However, there are other solid options for leverage with much fewer criteria. CME futures, options trading products, and margins on stocks like GBTC and ETHE allow US citizens other alternatives for leverage. While each has its drawback, mainly selection and in the case of GBTC and ETHE the unpredictability of premiums and discounts, they are all viable.

While these are excellent choices, none are traditional cryptocurrency exchanges (and any exchange with margin is theoretically subject to the same minimum standards). So do keep that in mind.

Slippage and Liquidity: If you are placing big orders, make sure to look at the books. You can get some hefty spreads and slippage when placing very large margin orders. On a highly leveraged position, this can get you into trouble. So consider this when planning out trades. Also, consider BTC and ETH will have the most liquid books.

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele has been working in the cryptocurrency information space since 2015 when CryptocurrencyFacts.com was created. He has contributed to MakerDAO, Alpha Bot (the number one crypto bot on Discord),...