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An exchange that allows speculation on the Bitcoin to USD (BTC/USD) exchange rate using leverage.

The service was launched on September 8, 2011[1]. At the time leverage offered was 5:1 though on November 19, 2011 the service dropped the default margin requirement level to 2.5:1Bitcoinica changes default leverage to 2.5:1 for everyone. The level may raised to 5:1 by placing a request via email.

The service charges no trading fees but instead earns from the trading spread -- similar to how forex trading functions.

Caution is recommended for those not familiar with leverage and/or forex trading.

Funds may be added in the form of either MTGUSD or Bitcoins. Leverage from funds added using bitcoins can purchase an even larger Bitcoin (long) position[2]. Similarly, funds added using USDs can be used to sell (short) bitcoins without already having bitcoins.

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