It was only a matter of time, and now UK licensed Plus500 becomes the first forex broker to launch bitcoin trading. The leveraged CFD is based on pricing from leading exchange MtGox. The BTC/USD CFD is priced with a minimum spread of $1.00, has 4:1 leverage, and is available for short trading.
Flying under the radar, Plus500 has been around since 2008, and in addition to its FX offering has been aggressively growing its list of CFD products. According to Forex Magnates estimates, Plus500’s monthly volumes are around $8-12 billion. While the broker has been growing its business, it fell into hot water issues with the UK regulators and was fined last year by the FSA for £205,128 for failing to submit transaction details.
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Like CFD heavyweight IG Group, who became the first broker to provide bitcoin binary options trading as it added the product to its extensive list of CFDs and binaries; the launch of the BTC/USD trading at Plus500 appears to fit in their goal of focusing on non-Forex derivative products. Plus500’s bitcoin launch comes as multiple trading platforms are expected to hit the market soon.
While Plus500 becomes the first forex broker to provide bitcoin trading, it isn’t expected to be the last. Along with eToro which has publically stated is interest in the products, Forex Magnates has heard from several brokers that they are also involved in internal discussions about offering the product. For brokers, launching bitcoins as a CFD would be the easiest and most natural way to offer trading. Unlike bitcoin exchanges, with CFDs prices are derived from the actual prices, but don’t involve the company in facilitating an actual exchange in assets (more on forex brokers and the potential of bitcoin trading). Interestingly though, Plus500 hasn’t initiated the ability for customers to deposit or withdraw in bitcoins.