As we all know, any kind of professional activity requires its own set of tools and equipment. Trading is no exception to this. It is also true that the more demanding your use is, the more expensive the required equipment tends to get. Still, when compared to other jobs you could take up, the equipment required to trade, whether it is in crypto, stocks, or forex, is quite cheap.
You have wide options available when it comes to choosing a platform to trade on. Cryptocurrency traders usually use an exchange with its own decent web-based trading interface, thus reducing the need for other platforms that forex and stock traders have traditionally used.
Many cryptocurrency traders instead opt to do their charting on a separate platform, and then place their orders directly on the exchange. In fact, separating trading and charting is a good practice that I usually recommend because it keeps you from making impulse trades when you are doing your analysis. If you instead do your analysis on a separate platform, and then need to log in to your broker to place the trade, chances are you will have time to reflect over what you are doing and thus reduce the likelihood of making mistakes.
Trading software packages also vary widely in price, from free basic packages to extremely expensive options designed for institutions. In this article, I will cover two of the most popular platforms for retail traders that are available for a relatively low cost.
Perhaps the most popular charting software for technical analysis right now is TradingView. This platform has earned the top spot over the past few years for very good reason, with the main one being its social experience.
TradingView lets users publish their own trade ideas for the rest of the community to see and rate. Ideas are usually based on technical analysis, and are drawn directly on the charts using the built-in tools for technical analysis.
While TradingView used to be a community mainly consisting of forex traders, a huge number of cryptocurrency traders have also come to the platform over the past year. The charting tool now supports a large selection of cryptocurrency trading pairs, and their “Cryptocurrencies” chat has become one of the most popular chats on the platform.
Lots of technical analysis enthusiasts will claim that TradingView is simply the best charting platform available today. It is simple enough for beginners to understand, while at the same offers all of the features an advanced trader would ever ask for.
You can start using TradingView for free today, and choose to upgrade to one of their paid plans later once you become comfortable with the platform. Although their prices have increased over the past few years, TradingView is still reasonably priced considering how powerful the platform is.
TradingView has the following subscription plans (month-to-month subscriptions):
- PRO: US$14.95/month
- PRO+: US$29.95/month
- PREMIUM: US$59.95/month
All plans offer better prices if you opt for a 2-year subscription period. Personally, I feel that their PRO+ plan offers the most bang for the buck.
While TradingView is a web-based platform that runs directly in your browser, MetaTrader is a more traditional kind of trading software that you need to download on your computer. Originally built by Russian company MetaQuotes Software, MetaTrader is by far the most popular trading software for retail forex and CFD traders in the world.
We have previously talked about how you can profit from having robots trade for you, and this is probably what the MetaTrader platform has become best known for. You have the option of tracking the trades of a free robot, or paying for access to a (presumably) better one. You can also track the trades made by other human traders in the same way, also known as copy-trading.
MetaTrader users can also put their coding skills to work and develop their own trading robots or custom technical indicators. The end result of your work can either be used by yourself or sold to other users on the built-in marketplace.
As a new trader, it is really important that you don’t blindly buy into the promises of trading robots you come across, and that you are aware of their limitations. As Jonas explained in his recent article, oftentimes these robots will perform fantastic for a short amount of time before they eventually fail miserably, causing you to lose all the money you initially gained. Trading robots are sometimes optimized to perform perfectly in past market conditions, but that does not necessarily mean that they will perform equally well in the future. This is one of the big pitfalls of algorithmic trading, often referred to by traders as “curve-fitting” or “over-optimization.”
Lastly, there is no doubt that MetaTrader has a more advanced feel to it than TradingView, and it is also more complicated to learn how to use it. That alone, however, does not mean that it is a better platform to use.
MetaTrader or TradingView – which one should you go for?
Perhaps the best way to approach this is to think of MetaTrader and TradingView as complements of each other. You could for example use TradingView solely as a technical analysis tool and a social network for staying in touch with other traders, while placing your trades in MetaTrader (if your broker supports that platform).
Many traders who used to be hardcore supporters of MetaTrader have switched to TradingView, at least for their charting work. The most obvious reason for doing that is probably that TradingView runs in the cloud, and therefore automatically backs up everything you do on the platform. If your computer breaks down while using TradingView, you can simply get a new one and continue where you left off. With MetaTrader however, everything is saved locally on your hard drive, meaning everything you have done will be lost when your computer crashes.
For those active in the forex market, most brokers will offer their own web-based trading platform in addition to the MetaTrader platform. I would recommend starting with the web-based solution to learn the game at first. MetaTrader may feel overwhelming to start with, and there is no need to make things more difficult than they already are.
Once you have gained more confidence in the markets, you can try out MetaTrader if you feel the need for more advanced functionality or want to test out trading robots. If you instead prefer to do your own technical analysis, TradingView has you covered with pretty much everything you will ever need. By doing it this way and taking things one step at a time, your learning curve will become more manageable and your odds of success greatly improved.
Featured image from Pixabay.
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