eToro, an investment and trading platform, has been trying hard to get new users among Bitcoiners lately.
They’ve released an ad for Bitcoin that uses the “hodl” meme as well as a Game of Thrones reference – and for some reason Reddit went crazy about it:
To score even more PR among Bitcoiners, their CEO has given an interview where he made a controversial statement “regulation … will accelerate mass adoption”:
The ad itself is basic and predictable, but the main point that many are missing here is eToro has little to do with actual Bitcoin. Even though they claim that when opening a long position you are buying the actual underlying asset, Bitcoin, there is NO way to withdraw it right now. You can only withdraw profit you’ve made in USD:
Too bad eToro sucks and won’t even provide a wallet and keys for your coins. They pretend they actually store them for you and have been promising a wallet feature for over a year. They’re like Robin Hood, but European. @yoniassia, what’s up?
— Vlad Costea ⚡️ (@TheVladCostea) October 17, 2018
eToro used to offer strictly CFD trading services that let people place bets on Bitcoin to USD rate price change without owning the underlying asset, i.e. Bitcoin.
There are no Bitcoin wallets in eToro at all. The whole platform is denominated strictly in USD and the wallets are “coming soon”.
As for using leverage or shorting Bitcoin – eToro users are still trading CFDs there. Keep that in mind, as with CFDs predicting movement is hard.
65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
That’s the official disclaimer on eToro’s website and all their marketing materials.
Why you should avoid CFD trading platforms
eToro aside, make sure you understand what most of the regular CFD trading websites offer.
Most CFD trading platforms are very similar to gambling websites that look smarter than the usual slot machines. The term they use for themselves is “social trading” while in reality it’s often harboring addicts who max out their credit cards before they max out their relatives’ credit cards.
Almost all the major CFD companies have added betting on Bitcoin, and they are spending insane budgets on advertising. As a result many newcomers get confused and sign up only to slowly realize they are not buying any Bitcoin there.
Here’s a quick list of CFD trading platforms that may mislead you into betting on Bitcoin:
Once again, we will be seeing more and more ads from these providers, and more and more media coverage.
They have a) large budgets b) lucrative affiliate programs, which means you will see more and more CFD trading platforms reviews on crypto blogs. As an example – the popular crypto mag 99Bitcoins suggests trying eToro for simplified Bitcoin investment:
The good thing about their review is that 99Bitcoins is openly stating that withdrawing Bitcoin from eToro is not possible yet. Ofir Biegel from 99Bitcoins reached out to us (see comments below the post) to point out a factual mistake we’ve made in the article and also stated that
For investing purposes only (i.e. buying low selling high) and not hodling for the long term, eToro is actually a good solution as it removes a lot of barriers to entries for newbies such as getting a wallet, storing the private keys, etc.
We would disagree with the statement as we think immersion into Bitcoin infrastructure is necessary, but Ofir has his reasons for thinking that and we respect that it is openly expressed.
Ironically, after this article went live eToro contractors started trying really hard to defend eToro, emphasizing the fact that customers are buying actual BTC while going long. None of them mentioned the inability to withdraw Bitcoin though:
What are the eToro alternatives
Our opinion on this is – eToro has set out after newbie Bitcoin users and naturally wants them converted to traders on their platform.
While you will be able to buy Bitcoin on eToro and eventually transfer it away to your cold wallet, we recommend getting familiar with services that have been centered around Bitcoin since the inception of this cryptocurrency. After all, Bitcoin is an all new thing that challenges the existing financial system.
If you want to actually buy Bitcoin then use the following methods: