Crypto has been the trendiest financial instrument to follow over the past few years. Many people believe digital currencies are the future. But we are already in such an age, given how our lives have become increasingly digitized.
Of course, you need a reliable charting platform like MT4 to invest in this asset. Although digital currencies are complex, trading crypto on MetaTrader 4 is relatively simple. Let’s guide you through the whole process with this article.
MetaTrader 4 cryptocurrency trading: what is it?
To understand MT4 crypto trading, we, of course, must look at the two elements: MT4 and crypto.
MetaTrader 4 is a free-to-use CFD charting platform released by MetaQuotes, a Cyprus-based software corporation, in July 2005. As the name suggests, it is the fourth MetaTrader series and is the developer’s most successful product.
Traders also love the platform for creating robots or expert advisors.
Here are MT4’s basic features:
- Number of trading instruments: 1024
- Number of time frames: 9 (M1, M5, M15, M30, H1, H4, D1, W, MN)
- Number of built-in indicators: 30 (more custom ones available)
- Number of graphical objects: 19
- Execution types: 3 (instant execution, market execution, request execution)
- Order fill policy: fill or kill
- Order types: 4 (buy stop, sell stop, buy limit, sell limit)
- One-click trading
- Strategy Tester
- Price alerts
This software is quite user-friendly, meaning that trading crypto on MetaTrader 4 is a breeze. Although the platform is less advanced than its competitors, it has enough technical tools for efficient charting.
Another advantage of crypto MT4 trading is that you can do it on numerous popular operating systems and browsers, whether mobile or on your PC.
MetaTrader 5 is MetaTrader 4’s successor, which was released in 2010 (check out our in-depth guide comparing the two).
Now let’s look at the second part of our equation.
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency built and maintained by a computer network. Whether used as a medium of exchange or a complex operation, crypto doesn’t rely on any central authority.
Bitcoin remains the most popular coin, being the first of its kind in 2009. Yet, we have over 22 000 cryptocurrencies, according to CoinMarketCap.
There are two methods of trading digital currencies: buying the actual coin from an exchange or speculating its price on a platform like MT4. The latter approach is what we refer to as a CFD (contract for difference).
It simply means the profits and losses from trading are settled electronically without transferring the underlying asset. When you buy and sell crypto on MetaTrader 4, you are speculating on the prices of real digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and many others.
Most of these markets are paired against the US dollar and euro on the platform (but some brokers offer more). So, when you observe crypto on MetaTrader 4, you’ll find a few of the following pairs:
Like any CFD or derivative, MT4 crypto investing is traded on margin. This leverage mechanism allows users to execute far bigger positions with a smaller balance. Given the high volatility of digital currencies, such a feature can produce impressive profits in a short space of time.
At the same time, it can magnify your losses just as fast if not used responsibly. Yet, the margin with MT4 crypto brokers is much less than margin in forex.
Choosing an MT4 crypto broker
Needless to say, you need a broker to trade crypto on MetaTrader 4. There are tons of these companies out there, with many adding digital currencies to their offerings each year. So, how do you choose the best broker? Here is what you should consider.
- Regulation: Let us first say that the crypto industry is largely unregulated. However, most MT4 brokers were licensed long before they started offering crypto. Therefore, you should stick with such firms to minimise any potential malpractice.
Ideally, your crypto MT4 broker should be regulated by any of these top-tier regulators (or the body relevant to your region):
– FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)
– ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission)
– CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission)
– CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission)
- Competitive trading costs: Like any financial product, trading crypto on MetaTrader 4 should be cost-effective. You’ll want to make a thorough comparison across multiple brokers when it comes to spreads (or commissions) and swaps.
Also, ensure that your broker doesn’t charge you for deposits and withdrawals. Additionally, pay attention to other miscellaneous fees.
- Range of markets: One drawback of MT4 crypto charting is the limited pair selection compared to what you’d find on an exchange. So, you’ll want to use a broker with as many crypto markets as possible.
- Excellent customer support: Any MT4 cryptocurrency should have a responsive live chat service to solve most queries on the spot. Of course, brilliant customer service also includes the ability to contact a call centre or email the company.
Additionally, receiving this support in multiple languages is advantageous for extra convenience.
How to add cryptocurrency to MetaTrader 4 (and place an order)
Firstly, you must sign up for an account with a crypto MT4 broker. A demo account is always the best place to start if you need to become more familiar with the platform. Once you have a proven strategy and a track record, you can consider a live account.
Either way, you will first go to the broker’s site and download the MT4 package. Once downloaded, open up the software, go to File > Login to Trade Account. The following screen will pop up, where you will enter the login details of your account:
This access will allow you to view all the instruments provided by the broker, not just crypto on MetaTrader 4.
The next step is going to View > Market Watch (which you can also access with the Ctrl + M shortcut). Generally, this section will appear quite limited, but not to worry. Simply right-click on the tab and click on ‘Show All,’ revealing the broker’s entire market array.
Next up in looking at trading crypto on MetaTrader 4, head over to File > New Chart. You will scroll down until you see something that mentions crypto on the list, e.g., ‘crypto,’ ‘crypto 1,’ etc.
For our broker, we have opened the Bitcoin MT4 1HR chart for further illustration.
When placing an order, you can right-click on the chart, go to Trading > New Order (or use F9 for a shortcut). This action brings up the following screen:
Here, you can choose the volume, add a stop loss and take profit, add a comment and decide on the execution type.
It’s crucial that you apply a stop for each MetaTrader crypto position to keep your losses manageable.
The top-left corner of the chart (next to the ticker symbol) has a tiny up arrow. This feature is one-click trading, where you can automatically execute a position without going through the first process.
Of course, it is more convenient and a time saver. Yet, it is risky because you cannot add a stop loss before execution.
So, how do you see when you’ve placed an MT4 crypto trade? Simple. Once executed, simply access the terminal (by going to View > Terminal or pressing Ctrl + T). Here, you can view your order at a running loss/profit and other useful information about your trading capital.
Once you close your MetaTrader cryptocurrency position, you can view it by going to Account History on your terminal.
How to install an expert advisor on an MT4 crypto broker
Installing a robot for trading crypto on MetaTrader 4 is straightforward.
Firstly, have the file of your bot already in MT4’s data folder (check out this piece on how to do it).
Next, ensure the ‘AutoTrading’ tab has a green arrow, meaning any bot can run on your platform.
Then, go to View > Navigator (or Ctrl + N for a shortcut). This brings up a panel where you can see a list of accounts, installed indicators, scripts and, of course, expert advisors.
You will open the expert advisors folder, then click and drag the EA onto your preferred chart. After confirming all settings, the name of it should appear with a smiley face at the top right corner.
Pros and cons of trading crypto on MetaTrader 4
To round off our MetaTrader cryptocurrency discussion, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks:
- MT4 is free to use: You can start trading a demo or live account on this platform without any monthly subscription.
- MT4 is popular charting software: Because there is no cost involved in using the platform, MT4 is quite well-known across trading circles. Furthermore, many brokers support it.
- MT4 is adaptable with other trading platforms: It is not only that you can use a crypto MT4 broker on multiple web, desktop and mobile systems. This software works across other services like trade analytics sites, simulators, copy trading services, etc. MT4 also requires less advanced system requirements to work.
- Simplicity: As previously, trading crypto on MetaTrader 4 is far less complex compared to other platforms. At the same time, the software is very reliable.
- Ease of developing robots: Many developers consider MQL4, MT4’s coding language, a simple framework for building crypto bots or expert advisors. It is similar to Java and C++.
- Reasonable minimum deposits: You can start trading crypto on MetaTrader 4 with some brokers for as low as $100. Yet, you will usually need a lot higher, considering the lower leverage, so you don’t blow your account.
Much of the drawbacks of MT4 crypto speculating revolve around the differences between crypto brokers and exchanges.
- Less transparency: All financial institutions that support crypto on MetaTrader 4 are brokers. We usually trade crypto on exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, OKX, etc. So, what is the difference between a broker and an exchange?
A broker is more internal, while an exchange is more public-facing regarding order execution. When trading with an MT4 crypto broker, you transact with them directly. They act as a middleman between you and another crypto dealer or take the opposite side of your positions.
On the other hand, an exchange matches your orders with other traders through a matching engine. You can view this information in real-time thanks to the order book, which you don’t find with MT4 cryptocurrency brokerages.
- No weekend trading: When you trade crypto on MetaTrader 4, the market is only available 24/5. This is unlike using an exchange, where you can trade digital currencies around the clock.
Also, only a few brokers provide weekend customer support, whereas many exchanges help clients during off-market hours.
- Lower market selection: Exchanges generally offer more crypto markets than brokers.
- MT4 is a less sophisticated platform: Despite being a super user-friendly software product, MT4’s charting proficiency is not amazing. Other platforms like cTrader and TradingView fare better in this regard.
Although MT4 cryptocurrency is only a few years old, MT4 is old software. MT5, which has slightly better features, has never been upgraded since its 2010 release.
- Volatility of crypto: Digital currencies are still a relatively new financial instrument with a younger track record than other markets. How the prices of coins change can be quite erratic.
When a market is new-ish, it has an abundance of speculators looking to profit from it. This is what is happening in crypto currently. Also, there are still concerns over the future of the industry overall. Many countries have begun placing bans or stronger regulation.
The integration of MT4 and crypto is a match made in heaven. Despite the fluidity of the two, it’s essential that you first become proficient at trading digital currencies. Our beginner guide is a good place to start.
Knowledge and applying it to maximum effect is power. Once you get to this stage, you can trade crypto on MetaTrader with the highest chance of success.