Retail traders have been attracted to cryptocurrencies since their inception, primarily due to the volatility of this asset class, which can provide several opportunities for gain at the blink of an eye. Many observers contend that retail traders are responsible for a decade of developing this market, since institutional investors did not materially join the fun until 2017, when speculators drove Bitcoin to miraculous heights until its fall in Crypto Winter.

Brokers have also held back to a degree, preferring to offer futures trading to their retail clientele, which negates their need to own Bitcoin or other altcoins directly or to deal directly with any of the unregulated global network of crypto exchanges. To support larger institutional clients, however, most brokers do provide service via their internal OTC (Over-the-Counter) trading desks, where they connect buyers and sellers outside of normal exchange venues. It is estimated that this trading activity is anywhere from 10% to 30% of total system wide volumes, a lucrative side trade.

For the U.S. market, recently released its picks for the “Top Six” crypto brokers, noting that: “Traditional brokers have the advantage of offering a wide selection of investible securities, though typically you can’t trade bitcoin directly, only futures. Meanwhile, crypto exchanges are limited to digital currencies, though you can own the currencies directly and can often buy several, rather than simply bitcoin or bitcoin futures, as you would with a general broker.” If you preferred to buy and own direct from an exchange, the folks at Bankrate recommended Coinbase, the present market leader.


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