Why can I sometimes not trade bitcoin?
Given the high demand and price increases, we may restrict any new orders to buy or sell cryptocurrency, both online and over the telephone.
As we hedge client exposure in the underlying market, our interests are aligned with yours. However, due to the various risks and complexity involved in trading underlying cryptocurrencies, there's a limit to the total amount of physical cryptocurrency we can hold as a business. We therefore need to reflect this by limiting the exposure that each client is allowed to maintain through CFDs and spread bets. This limit is currently £250,000 notional (or equivalent) per client across all cryptocurrency holdings. Any client with a notional size above this limit is at risk of having their cryptocurrency positions reduced.
Sometimes our platform won't allow you to open a new long position on bitcoin. This happens when we reach our maximum exposure in the market. You'll be able to open a position when our trading volume changes.
Please note this should not affect your ability to close any existing open positions, provided this does not increase or create net long exposure.
You can check whether or not our bitcoin markets are 'unlongable' in the platform. In IG Trading, click the 'information' icon in the deal ticket, then select 'other'. In the classic platform, click on your market's dropdown and select 'get info'. Please refresh your browser for the latest updates.
IG policy on blockchain forks
We base the price of our cryptocurrency products on the underlying market, made available to us by the exchanges and market-makers with which we trade.
There is currently one accepted decentralised ledger which records all bitcoin transactions – as well as an equivalent for ether – called the blockchain. When the software of different miners becomes misaligned, a split – or 'fork' – in the blockchain may occur. This results in the existence of two different blockchains.
Generally, cryptocurrency users quickly agree which version to continue to use, causing minimal disruption. The old version of the blockchain is then discontinued.
In the event that one version isn't discontinued – known as a hard fork – we will generally follow the blockchain that has the majority consensus of cryptocurrency users, and will therefore use this as the basis for our prices. We reserve the right to determine which blockchain and cryptocurrency unit have the majority consensus behind them.
If the hard fork results in a viable second cryptocurrency, we may create an equivalent position on client accounts to reflect this. However this action is at our absolute discretion, and we will have no obligation to do so. If, and when, the second cryptocurrency is tradeable on a major exchange, we will endeavour to represent that value. We’ll do this either by making the product available to close based on the valuation on that venue, or by booking a cash adjustment on client accounts. If, within a reasonable timeframe, the second currency does not become tradeable on major exchanges or is otherwise deemed not to be viable as a currency (for example, it is not mined), we may delete any positions that had previously been created at no value on client accounts. We will take steps to notify you when we have taken this action.
When a hard fork occurs, there may be substantial price volatility around the event, and we may suspend trading throughout if we do not have reliable prices from the underlying market.
We will endeavour to notify you of potential blockchain forks, however it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the forks that could occur.