Tradestation offers access to both CME and CBOE futures contracts, with comparatively low margin requirements and fees.
- United States
- Bank Wire, ACH, Debit Card
- 1:1.42 on CME, 1:1.5 on CBOE
- Tradestation is widely thought to be the best trading platform in the market
- Relatively good margin requirements on both CBOE and CME
- Fees are $1.50, which are lowest in the market by a full dollar.
- Tradestation is a downloadable platform only
- The regulated bitcoin futures markets are in general pretty poor compared to the bitcoin-collateralized exchanges
The name says it all, Tradestation is a sophisticated platform for sophisticated traders. Retail traders and hedge funds alike will appreciate fast execution, a simple and public programming language which has spawned a TradeStation app store, the ability to customize to an extremely granular level technical analysis tools and backcheck it against decades of data, and a fee structure that can be very low for active traders.
More casual traders however might not be able to harness the true power of the Tradestation, and the product does fall short in other ways. The mobile product is well behind better offerings from competition like e*Trade and Ameritrade, the educational offerings are pretty paltry, and the web platform, though simple yet powerful, is not really the reason a trader would choose Tradestation. If you are not in it for the downloadable client, you would probably be better off elsewhere.
Bitcoin Futures at TradeStation
Tradestation is offering both the CME and CBOE bitcoin futures contracts, which have the following characteristics:
Tradestation offers the lowest per contract fee of any of the US brokerage houses offering CME or CBOE bitcoin trading. The margin requirements are quite high – but that is true across the market, with only interactive brokers and their 50% requirement really beating out TradeStation.
Note that trading is halted in the event of a price decline or incline of 7%, 13%, and 20% against the previous day’s closing price, according to the standard terms of the CME/CBOE contracts.
Most reviewers tend to rate Tradestation quite highly based on their exceptional downloadable platform, and some variation of the message – “what once was available only to institutional investors is now available to you, the retail trader!” – appears pretty ubiquitously.
Tradestation allows for the development of custom made trading strategies using a crazy amount of built in indicators, the development of your own indicators, or third-party developed strategies available for purchase through their innovative app store. All of these strategies can be set for automatic execution either for real money or using the TradeStation Simulator.
Tradestation has integrated decades of market data, meaning that strategies may be back tested on real life market conditions to determine performance over a set period of time. Of course, this is not much use for bitcoin traders, but it might be one day, and it is pretty wicked anyways.
It is understandable that the mobile product is a bit less developed because really, Tradestation is very much oriented around the actual downloadable platform. However, anything that needs to be done whilst on the fly – account management, placing orders, etc. can easily be done. However, for the real heavy lifting, to really get the most out of this product, you need to be sitting in front of your computer(s).
You Might be Better off Elsewhere if:
You are willing to collateralize your trades in Bitcoin.
If you are open to buying bitcoin and trading futures collateralized and settled in cryptocurrency, you might as well be using a bitcoin-only futures brokerage. Bitmex particularly is an exceptional product, with customizable leverages, low fees (makers actually get a full trade rebate) and billions in volume. US customers won’t be able to take advantage of bitmex, however, unless they are willing to use a VPN, which we don’t recommend.
You are a casual trader.
If you are looking to make a trade or two a month, probably better to use a product with a superior mobile application and web-based platform. Does it really matter that you are paying an additional one or two dollars per bitcoin contract with e-trade or Ameritrade, with superior mobile products? Mainstream casual traders, not simply those interested in bitcoin futures, might be better off elsewhere as well. If you are looking for a place to dollar cost average ETFs, Ameritrade offers tons of commission-free funds – TradeStation offers none.
Point is, if you don’t have the need to download the Tradestation, you are likely better off at a more mainstream-focused product.
TradeStation is an exceptional platform, robust enough for use by the most discerning and sophisticated of day traders. The standard fees on stocks, options and futures – particularly bitcoin futures – are extremely low. High-volume traders are eligible for further fee discount, making Tradestation one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, day trading platform in town.
If you are looking to place a trade or two a month, and prefer the casual method of simply buying ETFs or Mutual Funds, might be better to pick and alternative.