Paper Trading: What You Should Know and How It Works

Discretionary and automatic trading: which will prevail?This dilemma has been the subject of many debates among financial market investors for several years
Discretionary and automatic trading: which will prevail?This dilemma has been the subject of many debates among financial market investors for several years

Paper trading is the process of trading financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, options, futures, and currencies on a simulated or “paper” basis. This allows investors to practice and gain experience without incurring any real-world risks.

Paper trading can be a valuable tool for both new and experienced investors. By allowing you to practice your trading skills and gain experience without losing any real money, it can help you become more confident in your abilities and make better investment decisions.

But there is so much more to know and we’ll go over all the details in this guide, so make sure to read until the end.

What is Paper Trading?

Paper trading is a way for investors to gain experience in the markets without risking any actual money. Investors use a demo account to place simulated buy and sell orders on real stocks during paper trading.

These simulated trades are recorded in real-time, allowing traders to track their performance and see how they would have fared if they had actually been investing money.

Paper trading can be an especially useful tool for beginners who want to get more comfortable with placing trades before they start investing their own capital. Additionally, it can help seasoned traders refine their strategies and fine-tune their skills before committing real money to the market.

Overall, paper trading is a valuable way for anyone interested in investing in learning more about this complex and exciting arena.

How Does Paper Trading Work?

Paper trading is a way to simulate the buying and selling of stocks and other financial assets without actually using any real money.

This process is simple and you only need to set up a virtual account with a brokerage and then buy and sell securities just as you would with a real portfolio. Generally speaking, paper trading is free and you won’t have to add any money.

The best platforms to start paper trading are eToro,, and Trading 212. One of the key advantages of paper trading is that it allows you to get comfortable with various trading platforms and tools, giving you the confidence you need to enter the world of finance.

But there’s more, and we’ll go through all the benefits in the next paragraphs.

What are the Benefits of Paper Trading?

Paper trading is typically used by investors as a way to learn about different investment strategies and hone their decision-making skills. But, it also has a number of real benefits that can help improve your ability to manage actual investments.

For example, paper trading allows you to create and test out any number of hypothetical investment ideas without putting real money at risk. Additionally, it provides a safe environment for developing new investment strategies or testing existing ones before implementing them in the real world.

By taking advantage of these and other benefits of paper trading, you can gain valuable experience and knowledge that will help you become a more successful investor over time.

Additionally, it can help you gain insights into market trends, allowing you to make more informed investment decisions. Whether you are just beginning your journey in finance or have been trading for years, paper trading can be an excellent practice tool that can help you improve your skills and achieve better results over time.

What are the Risks of Paper Trading?

Paper trading can be a useful way to gain experience trading securities and practicing your investment strategy. However, it is essential to keep in mind that paper trading comes with some significant risks.

For one thing, all of the information used in paper trading simulations is typically just hypothetical. This means that there is no actual money at stake, so you won’t feel the same pressure and challenge as you would when making real trades.

As a result, many traders find themselves engaging in riskier behaviors during paper trading than they would in person-to-person or live trades.

Moreover, because paper trading doesn’t involve any real money and is primarily just for practice, many new traders start out by taking larger risks than they normally would be comfortable with. These risks could then reflect on real trading in the future, which could be an issue.

Clearly, then, there are real risks associated with paper trading – but if you use it wisely and understand its limitations, it can also be a valuable tool for learning about the stock market and developing investing skills.

Is Paper Trading Good for Beginners?

Buying and selling stocks with virtual money is known as paper trading. This allows you to practice navigating the trading platform and the stock market without putting your money at risk. It’s ideal for beginners who are looking to get a feel for trading or experts trying out a new approach.

How Can I Start Paper Trading?

There are a few different ways to start paper trading. The first step is to find a reputable online broker or platform that offers virtual, paper-trading accounts.

Next, you will want to set up your account, including choosing your risk tolerance and specifying the types of assets that you want to trade. Once your account is set up, you can begin to test out various trading strategies, using real-time market data for free.

Some platforms even allow you to simulate real-life trading conditions, including volatility and changing market conditions, so that you can see how well your strategies perform under real-world conditions.

Ultimately, the key to successful paper trading is to take it seriously and approach it as if it were the real thing. With diligence and practice, you should be able to build up your skills and confidence in no time.


If you are looking to improve your investment skills and become a more successful investor, paper trading can be an excellent way to do so. It allows you to test out different strategies and get valuable experience in the stock market without putting real money at risk.

However, it is important to keep in mind that there are also risks involved with paper trading. Therefore, it is essential to use paper trading wisely and understand its limitations.

With diligence and practice, you should be able to gain valuable experience and knowledge that will help you become a more successful investor in the long run.

Carolyn Coley is a blockchain reporter. She joined Smartereum after graduating from UC Berkeley in 2018.


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