Crypto Trading 101: What is Long and Short in Crypto?

When it comes to crypto trading, terms like long and short positions frequently come into play. These terms, though used in various financial contexts, specifically refer to whether an investor supports or opposes the price movement of a particular asset.

Understanding long and short positions is important for those just starting their crypto journey. When investors talk about long positions, they express confidence in the potential rise of an asset’s price. And when they talk about short positions, they indicate a belief that the asset’s price will decrease. It’s essentially a way for investors to take a stance on the market direction.

In this article, we will dive into the details of long and short positions and how traders use them to generate profits.

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What is “Long” in Crypto Trading?

Long trading in the crypto market involves taking a positive stance, anticipating that the value of a specific cryptocurrency will rise in the future. Those opting for long positions essentially bet on the potential price increase of the crypto asset. They acquire the asset expecting its value to increase, providing an opportunity to sell it later at a higher price and secure a profit. Traders typically hold onto their long positions for an extended period, from days to months or even years.

This strategy is well-suited for traders who hold an optimistic view about the long-term potential of a crypto asset. Long trading is often used during bullish market conditions when the overall sentiment is green.

For instance, if you believe that ETH is undervalued and has significant growth potential, you could open a long position by purchasing it with the intention to sell it later at a higher price. We refer to this practice as long trading in the crypto space.

What is “Short” in Crypto Trading?

Short trading, also referred to as “shorting,” involves adopting an antagonistic stance, predicting that the value of a crypto asset will decrease. In contrast to long traders, those engaging in short trading aim to profit from declining prices. The process involves borrowing the crypto asset from a third party, selling it at the current market price, and planning to repurchase it at a lower price in the future to return it to the lender. This can also be done with leverage on crypto exchanges to amplify profits.

Short positions are typically held for shorter durations, ranging from days to weeks. This strategy is more suitable for traders with a bearish outlook on a specific crypto asset or the overall market. It is mostly used during bearish market conditions when prices are expected to decline.

For instance, if you believe that ETH is currently overvalued and has reached its peak, you open a short position on it. This means that if ETH’s price drops as anticipated, you will profit from that decrease. We refer to this practice as shorting or short trading in the crypto space.

Long vs Short, How to Choose?

Choosing between a long and a short position in crypto trading requires consideration of various factors such as market analysis, asset reputation, and risk tolerance.

It is vital for traders to assess current market trends and potential future developments. A long position might be more fitting in a bullish market or when positive developments are unfolding in the crypto space. Conversely, a short position could be more effective during bear market conditions or when negative news or trends are dominating the market.

It is important to note that short positions generally come with more risk due to the nature of the market, especially during a bull market. Traders with a lower risk tolerance might find long positions more suitable. On the other hand, those comfortable with higher risk for potentially greater rewards can dip their toes into short positions.

Additionally, the choice between long and short positions is also influenced by your investment timeframe. Long positions are typically associated with a longer-term outlook, while short positions align with short-term trading strategies. Once you have set your goals and analyzed the market thoroughly, you will have a decent idea of whether to go long or short on a certain cryptocurrency.

Long vs. Short Comparison

Bullish vs. Bearish Outlook

Bullish vs Bearish Outlook

A long position in crypto is established with the expectation of a cryptocurrency’s price rising, indicating a bullish market perspective. In contrast, a short position is grounded in the anticipation of a price decline, reflecting a bearish market outlook.

Risk Profiles:

The risk profiles for these positions differ significantly. Long positions, even in market downturns, have a maximum loss limit, while short positions carry potentially unlimited risk. Long positions are generally considered much safer. However, during market crashes, short positions can give you strong results in the crypto market.


A long position is more accessible as all you have to do is buy the asset and hold it for as long as you like. Short positions, on the other hand, are a little complicated, and not every cryptocurrency exchange offers shorting. For a long position, you do not even have to go on a cryptocurrency exchange. You can go to any platform that sells crypto directly.

Read our Tips On How To Choose The Right Cryptocurrency Exchange

Market Sentiment:

Market Sentiment

Examining the proportion of short positions versus long positions in the market provides insights into overall market sentiment. A dominance of short positions may suggest a bearish sentiment, while a dominance of long positions indicates a bullish market outlook.

Long and Short with Leverage

Leverage plays a crucial role in crypto trading, especially when implementing long or short strategies. It allows traders to amplify their positions beyond their actual capital so they can amplify their profits as well. However, it’s important to know that leverage also escalates risks, including the risk of liquidation.

Opening Short Positions with Leverage

Many exchanges exclusively allow the opening of short positions through the use of leverage. Nowadays, exchanges heavily emphasize margin trading, making it easy for traders to open both long and short positions with leverage.

How Leverage Works?

How leverage works

In crypto trading, leverage involves using borrowed funds to increase a trade’s exposure. For example, with 5x leverage, a trader can open a position five times the value of their actual investment. While this can significantly boost profits if the market moves favorably, it also means that losses are magnified if the market goes against your trade.

The Risk of Liquidation

A major risk associated with leverage is liquidation. This occurs when the market moves against the leveraged position, and losses surpass the trader’s initial margin. Traders close to liquidation may face a “margin call” where they need to add more funds to their margin or risk having their position automatically closed by the exchange. Remember, when you are using leverage, the price of the asset only has to move a specific percentage (depending on leverage) for your position to be liquidated.

Caution with Leverage

Regardless of whether you are considering a long or short position, it’s a must to use leverage with caution. Keeping leverage at reasonable levels helps manage risks effectively, while trading with high leverage will only make things difficult for the trader.

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Where Can You Open Long and Short Trades?

For beginners, the easiest way to long or short crypto is through cryptocurrency exchanges. Some of the top cryptocurrency exchanges where you can open both types of positions include:

  • Binance
  • Bybit
  • MEXC

Long and Short Strategies for Beginners

Some popular crypto strategies that beginners can use for long and short trading include:

Balancing Acts

In this strategy, beginners take both long and short positions in similar crypto tokens or indexes. The goal is to neutralize the impact of the overall market on the portfolio, relying on the relative performance of assets. It’s a way to potentially thrive regardless of whether the market is bullish or bearish.

Capitalizing on News

This strategy for beginners revolves around taking long and short positions based on specific events likely to impact the market. Whether it’s regulatory changes, hard forks, or major news, reacting strategically to these events can create opportunities for profit. It’s a way for beginners to align their positions with current events.

Riding Correlations

For beginners, exploring this strategy involves selecting two correlated tokens. Take a long position in one and a short position in the other, aiming to profit from the price difference between the two. It’s a strategy that leverages the relationship between tokens, providing opportunities for gains even in difficult market conditions.

Going with the Flow

This strategy is all about aligning with market trends. Take long positions during uptrends and short positions during downtrends. By recognizing and following the direction of the trend, beginners can learn to capitalize on market movements.

As a beginner, understanding and experimenting with these strategies can contribute help you improve your trading skills. Remember to start small, learn from experiences, and adapt strategies based on your understanding of the market.


In conclusion, mastering long and short positions is vital for any aspiring crypto trader. Despite the stigmas, these tools offer opportunities to capitalize on market volatility, regardless of its direction. For crypto trading beginners, learning about these strategies is a key step towards success. However, it’s imperative to experiment cautiously, conduct thorough market research, and recognize the inherent risks in crypto trading. Diligence and informed decision-making are compulsory if you want to succeed in this market.

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