Crypto copy trading vs. manual trading: Which is right for you?

In crypto trading, traders aim to maximize profit and minimize risk. To this end, copy trading has gained popularity as a strategy where traders replicate the techniques and positions of others in real-time. However, distinctions exist between copy, social, and manual trading.

Social trading involves exchanging ideas and learning from others, while copy trading automatically allows traders to mimic the trades of their more experienced peers. Crypto copy trading relies on the strategies of others, which means giving up some control. Copy trading is also often regarded as an easier alternative to mirror trading, which also involves replicating trades but typically requires more active decision-making from the trader.

Manual trading, on the other hand, is the traditional approach where traders independently analyze the market, develop strategies, and execute trades. However, it requires extensive knowledge, experience, and continuous monitoring, making it less ideal for beginners.

To succeed in the cryptocurrency trading, careful risk management and making well informed decisions are crucial. So before you jump in, it's essential to weigh the advantages and limitations of copy and manual trading to determine which strategy is right for you.

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What is crypto copy trading?

Unlike manual trading, where traders execute trades themselves, copy trading is a popular strategy that offers the advantage of auto trading. With auto trading functionality, traders can automatically replicate the trades of their chosen traders, eliminating the need for manual execution. This feature allows for a more hands-off approach, where trades are executed automatically based on the actions of the selected traders. Additionally, it provides convenience and efficiency, particularly for those who prefer a more automated trading experience. This tactic has gained significant traction in the crypto market because it offers various advantages to traders of all experience levels.

Getting started with crypto copy trading

Copy trading is accessed through specialized social trading platforms or services that connect a group of traders with different levels of expertise. These platforms provide a transparent environment where traders can observe the activities and performance of others. They also offer a range of trading systems with different risk profiles, allowing traders to choose the one that aligns with their investment objectives and risk tolerance.

Traders interested in this tactic can select one or more signal providers and allocate a portion of their capital to mimic another person's trades automatically.

With copy trading, traders, especially newbies, can capitalize on the skills and knowledge of top traders without requiring extensive market analysis or expertise. Meanwhile, it offers an opportunity for less experienced traders to benefit from the strategies and insights of more seasoned market participants.

Who's best suited for crypto copy trading and why?

Copy trading works by catering to a wide range of individuals in the crypto market. It is particularly beneficial for traders who may not have the time, knowledge, or confidence to engage in crypto trading. Novice traders can leverage the expertise of more experienced traders and replicate their copy trading strategies to potentially gain passive income. Busy professionals can also participate in the crypto market without dedicating significant time to research and analysis.

Advantages of copy trading for crypto traders:

  • No FOMO: Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can lead to impulsive and irrational trading decisions. Copy trading can help combat this by mimicking the movements of professional traders, allowing you to sidestep FOMO and tap into their disciplined and rational approach. These experts rely on systematic strategies, so you can follow their lead and avoid hasty moves.
  • A time-saving way to trade: Copy trading saves time and effort as it reduces the time you need to spend monitoring the markets, analyzing market trends, and executing trades manually. By copying the trades of skilled traders, you can trade more passively without dedicating significant time to research and trade execution.
  • Flexibility: Copy trading platforms often offer a range of customization options to suit individual preferences. You can adjust your copy settings based on trade size, risk management parameters, and asset allocation. This flexibility allows you to tailor your copy trading experience to your exact needs, growth goals, and risk appetite. This gives you control over your portfolio while benefiting from the expertise of other traders.
  • Transparency: Copy trading typically shows the trading activities of the traders being followed. As a result, you can access detailed information about their historical performance, risk levels, and portfolio composition. This transparency lets you decide which traders to follow based on your risk tolerance and growth objectives.

Is crypto copy trading profitable?

The profitability of copy trading depends on various factors, including the performance of the selected signal providers and the overall market conditions. While copying successful traders can lead to substantial gains, it is important to remember that the cryptocurrency market is volatile, and past performance does not guarantee future results.

To maximize profitability, traders should conduct thorough research when selecting signal providers. It is crucial to consider factors such as historical performance, risk management practices, and the consistency of their trading strategies. In addition, diversification of their crypto portfolios and selecting the right trader to copy, can help ensure success.

What is manual trading?

Manual trading with cryptocurrency exchanges refers to making trading decisions and executing trades based on personal analysis, research, and market knowledge. Unlike copy trading, where traders replicate the trades of others, manual trading empowers individuals with complete control over their trading strategies, allowing for customized approaches, active decision-making, and tailored risk management.

Manual trading puts you in control

Manual trading involves:

  • Actively monitoring the cryptocurrency market
  • Conducting technical and fundamental analysis
  • Executing trades based on personal judgment

Traders can develop their own strategies, adapt to changing market conditions, and make decisions based on their unique insights and risk tolerance. This level of control allows traders to fine-tune their approach and adjust their trading activities as they see fit.

Customized strategies, active decision-making, and tailored risk management

Manual trading allows traders to develop and implement customized strategies based on their individual preferences and market outlook. Traders can leverage technical indicators, chart patterns, news events, and other factors to make informed trading decisions. In addition, this hands-on approach allows for greater adaptability, as traders can quickly respond to market movements, capitalize on opportunities, and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Manual trading enables tailored risk management. For example, traders can set their own risk-reward ratios, implement stop-loss orders, and manage position sizes according to their risk appetite. This level of control allows for more precise risk management and the ability to protect capital in volatile market conditions.

Who's best suited to manual trading and why?

Manual trading is best suited to traders with a deep understanding of the cryptocurrency market and the time and dedication to conduct thorough research and analysis. It requires expertise, technical knowledge, and the ability to stay updated with market trends and news. Traders who are passionate about the crypto market, enjoy the process of analysis and decision making, and are comfortable with the risks associated with active trading are well suited to manual trading.

Advantages of manual trading in the crypto market

Potential for higher growth: Many believe manual trading provides greater potential for portfolio growth when compared to passive strategies like copy trading. Skilled and knowledgeable traders can identify unique trading opportunities, capitalize on market inefficiencies, and make well-informed decisions that may increase profitability.

Satisfaction and learning opportunities: Manual trading provides a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment as traders actively participate in the market and make their own trading decisions. The process of conducting analysis, executing trades, and witnessing the results can be rewarding and contribute to a continuous learning experience. Traders can gain insights into market dynamics, refine their trading strategies, and enhance their understanding of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

It's important to note that manual trading requires continuous monitoring, discipline, and managing emotions. In addition, the cryptocurrency market is highly volatile, and successful manual trading requires a comprehensive understanding of risk management techniques and the ability to control impulsive trading decisions.

Crypto copy trading vs. manual trading: Pros and cons

Before deciding which tactic is right for you, it might be helpful to consider the pros and cons of manual and copy trading in the areas of expertise, knowledge, time commitment, and risk management to help you make informed choices that align with your goals and preferences.

Risk management

Crypto copy trading:

  • Pros: Copy trading platforms often offer risk management features such as setting stop-loss orders and defining risk tolerance levels, which provide an extra element of control even when following the positions of another. Traders can benefit from the risk management strategies supported by successful signal providers.
  • Cons: Traders don't have full control over risk management decisions as they rely on the strategies of signal providers. If a signal provider's risk management is inadequate, it can lead to potential losses for copiers.

Manual trading:

  • Pros: Manual traders have complete control over risk management decisions. They can implement a tailored strategy, apply stop-loss orders, and adjust position sizes based on risk appetite. These factors can also be fine-tuned as needed in response to changing conditions.
  • Cons: Manual trading requires traders to understand risk management techniques deeply — knowledge that takes time to obtain. Poor risk management decisions can result in substantial losses if not executed properly.

Time commitment

Crypto copy trading:

  • Pros: Copy trading is suitable for traders with limited time as it reduces the need for extensive market research and analysis. Traders can allocate funds to copy the trades of successful traders and let the platform handle the execution.
  • Cons: Traders still need to research and select reliable individuals to copy. Continuous monitoring of their performance is also essential to make sure they remain profitable.

Manual trading:

  • Pros: Manual trading requires more time and active involvement in market analysis, research, and trade execution. Traders have the flexibility to adapt to market conditions, but it demands consistent monitoring and analysis.
  • Cons: Manual trading can be time-consuming and unsuitable for traders with limited availability or who prefer a more passive approach.

Expertise and knowledge

Crypto copy trading:

  • Pros: Copy trading can be suitable for traders with limited knowledge and experience in the market. They can leverage the expertise of successful signal providers without needing in-depth knowledge of technical analysis or market trends.
  • Cons: Relying solely on signal providers without understanding their strategies can limit a trader's ability to learn and grow their own trading skills. Traders may become dependent on signal providers and lack the necessary knowledge to make independent trading decisions.

Manual Trading:

  • Pros: Manual trading requires traders to understand market analysis, technical indicators, and trading strategies more deeply. Traders can develop their own trading approaches, adapt to market conditions, and make informed decisions.
  • Cons: Manual trading requires a significant learning curve and continuous effort to stay updated with market trends and news. Traders need to invest time and resources in educational materials and learning resources.

On OKX Learn, you can explore a variety of articles that specifically cover topics on copy trading and manual trading. These resources can provide valuable insights and knowledge to help level up your understanding and expertise of these powerful trading approaches.

Top 3 tips for copy and manual trading

As you continue to read more about copy and manual trading, here are some essential tips to remember. These insights can help guide you to make the right decision over which tactic is right for you at this stage of your trading journey.

Crypto copy trading:

  • Do your research: Before hitting the "copy" button, conduct thorough research and due diligence. Look over the potential trader's track record, trading history, and overall performance. Ensure the trader has consistent profitability, understands the context of their successful trades, and checks their risk tolerance aligns with yours.
  • Diversify your portfolio: Don't rely on a single trader; consider diversifying your portfolio with multiple traders. Spreading your funds across a variety of individuals will help balance your portfolio and can minimize risk.
  • Review your portfolio regularly: Remember this isn't a 'set it and forget it' trading method. Instead, monitor the performance of the traders you're copying and evaluate their ongoing suitability for your portfolio. Be mindful of any significant changes in a trader's strategy, performance inconsistencies, or signs of excessive risk-taking.

Manual trading:

  • Knowledge is power: Knowledge is vital in manual trading. Take the time to understand the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies, market trends, and technical analysis. Stay updated with news, market developments, and regulatory changes that can impact the crypto market. Continuously expand your knowledge and adapt your strategies accordingly.
  • Develop a solid trading plan and strategy: Create a well-defined trading plan before executing any trades. First, outline your risk tolerance, growth goals, entry and exit strategies, and risk management techniques. Then, stick to your plan and avoid making impulsive decisions based on emotions or short-term market fluctuations. Discipline and consistency are essential for successful manual trading.
  • Understand the risk factors: Managing risk is crucial in manual trading. Set appropriate stop-loss orders to limit potential losses and protect your capital. Determine your risk-to-reward ratio for each trade and ensure it aligns with your overall risk tolerance. Avoid risking a significant portion of your funds on a single trade, and consider diversifying your portfolio across different cryptocurrencies.

Crypto copy trading and manual trading on OKX

We make it easy to start your copy trading journey here at OKX and want to give you the best chance to succeed. Here are some of our key highlights:

  • Simplified interface: As soon as you land on our copy trading page, we've designed an intuitive interface that simplifies selecting the trader you wish to copy. Whether you're new to copy trading or an experienced user, our platform provides a seamless experience. We offer a dedicated section featuring our steady traders, who have consistently maintained a stable Profit-and-Loss (PnL), making them ideal for long-term copying.
  • Enhanced transparency: We believe in eliminating guesswork and providing transparent information that aligns with your risk appetite and the ideal lead trader to copy. Beyond just displaying PnL figures, we offer comprehensive statistics of their trade history, allowing you to review their past trades, analyze their decision-making process, and gain confidence in their approach.
  • Collaborating with lead traders and copiers: At OKX, we highly value the feedback we receive from our lead traders and copiers. We understand your insights and suggestions are invaluable in shaping and improving our platform to meet your needs. As a result, our product marketing team takes concrete action to enhance and refine our copy trading experience by actively listening to your feedback.

If copy trading isn't your preferred method, you can opt for manual trading on OKX, where we provide a range of key features designed to enhance your trading experience:

  • Explore advanced trading features: Our platform offers various advanced manual trading features, including margin trading, futures trading, and stop-loss orders. Utilizing these features can effectively enhance your trading outcomes and optimize your strategies.
  • Benefit from high liquidity: We pride ourselves on being one of the most liquid crypto exchanges worldwide. This translates to a bustling marketplace with substantial buying and selling activity, ensuring you can quickly execute trades and access fair cryptocurrency prices with your trading account.
  • Enjoy competitive fees: We've established a reputation for offering some of the lowest fees in the industry. By trading crypto on OKX, you can maximize your portfolio growth by minimizing the impact of transaction fees.

Alongside these trading services and features, we're committed to providing exceptional support to all our users. Our dedicated support team is available 24/7 to assist you, regardless of whether you engage in copy trading or manual trading. Check out this FAQ guide to learn more Copy Trading on OKX.


The key differences between crypto copy trading and manual trading lie in the level of control, decision-making, and time and effort required. Copy trading offers convenience and accessibility by replicating trades of successful traders, while manual trading provides more control and customization but demands extensive market analysis and expertise. Both approaches cater to different trading preferences and skill levels, allowing traders to choose the best method with their goals and resources in the crypto trading market.

Crypto copy trading is a viable option for traders looking for a more straightforward and accessible approach to the cryptocurrency market with automation. Replicating successful traders' strategies offers convenience and allows new traders to participate in the market without in-depth research, making it a suitable choice for beginners.

Before copying someone, carefully assess their trading approach and strategy to ensure compatibility with your goals. Before copying someone, carefully assess their trading approach and strategy to ensure compatibility with your goals. Like forex trading in the foreign exchange and financial markets, copy trading doesn't guarantee positive growth due to the volatility of the crypto assets, including popular coins such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and XRP (XRP). So, before you start trading, always do your own research and due diligence.

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