How It Works
Getting Started on Polymarket
Welcome! We’re excited that you’re trying out Polymarket! In this short guide we’ll walk you through how to make your first trade on Polymarket and use key features. We provide a thorough overview, but feel free to just skim and follow the pictures if you only want the instructions.
First, a little bit of background: Polymarket is a decentralized information markets platform that lets people trade real-money markets on the outcomes of the most-highly debated current events and follow the odds to garner accurate insights about the future. Users buy or sell Outcome Shares, which can be redeemed for $1 if the outcome is resolved as correct, and become worthless if it’s incorrect. Owners of outcome shares are never locked in and can sell their position at any time. The goal is, by harnessing the power of free markets, Polymarket can aggregate collective knowledge and provide the general public with an unbiased source of truth in regards to the likelihood of certain significant events happening in the future.
The new version of Polymarket is still built on a blockchain and non-custodial, but now utilizes a Layer 2 solution to bring scalability and free transactions to the same user experience that our early adopters loved. The markets are still entirely non-custodial, transparent, and open source, where we play no role as an intermediary, take no profits, and never hold anyone’s funds — however, our goal is to abstract away the complexities of the tech we use under the hood so you don’t even have to worry about it!
Let’s get started! Here’s what you’ll need:
A debit or credit card, or USDC
A Coinbase account or Ethereum wallet
1. Sign Up
The first step to get started trading on Polymarket is signing up. Polymarket currently uses a password-less email login for maximal security and ease of use. Even though you’re using your email, this is still your own non-custodial crypto wallet that only you have the keys for (for more information, read here).
Click the green “Sign Up” button in the top right corner, type your email address, and hit enter. In a few seconds you’ll receive an email with a link to click that logs you in: open the email in a new tab or on your phone and click the “Log In to Polymarket” button, then return to the original Polymarket tab where you’ll be logged in. No more forgotten passwords!
If you’re signing up for the first time, you’ll need to choose a username, and optionally input a referral code. For the username, feel free to pick a pseudonym — it will be used in the future when we add social features to Polymarket. If you’re signing up now, feel free to use the referral code “gettingstarted”.
Once you’re signed up or in, you’re ready to deposit USDC to start trading. USDC is a cryptocurrency by Coinbase and Circle that is redeemable 1:1 for US Dollars. You can buy it directly from Coinbase here. Polymarket uses it so that the markets can be fully non-custodial, transparent, and open-source — don’t worry, once you deposit it, it’ll function just like dollars on a normal marketplace; you won’t even know it’s using blockchain tech under the hood. Remember, when sending USDC to your Polymarket Wallet Address, you’re not sending it to another individual or entity, but rather to a new wallet that you exclusively have the keys for. You can always access the Deposit page by hovering over your username and clicking “Deposit”.
You can deposit in two different ways:
Clicking the “Buy USDC with Debit or Credit Card” button on the Deposit page and completing the compliant process to buy USDC with Debit or Credit card, which will automatically be deposited into your Polymarket account once successfully completed. The embedded fiat on-ramp supports multiple jurisdictions and payment via both Credit or Debit card and in some cases Bank wire, but do note, different jurisdictions have different maximum limits, and a few locations, like New York State, aren’t supported at all.
Sending USDC to your Polymarket wallet address. If you’re doing it this way, you’ll first have to acquire USDC. The easiest way to do this for non-crypto-natives is to make a Coinbase account and buy USDC here, where you’ll also be able to buy much larger quantities than via the embedded fiat on-ramp. As for crypto-natives, you can acquire USDC using Uniswap or another exchange of your preference. Once you have the USDC, either in your Coinbase account or your own wallet, you will send it to the address visible on the Deposit page in the bottom left corner. Click the “Copy” button and paste it into the wallet you’re sending the USDC from. Or, if you’re using a mobile wallet, click the “Deposit” button under the Current Balance and scan the QR code.
After you’ve successfully sent the USDC, you will get a pop up to initiate the deposit process. Click this button. Now begins a 6–8 minute countdown for when your USDC will be ready for trading! Feel free to look around the site in the meantime and scope out different markets you’d like to trade. When it’s ready, you’ll get a notification. You’ll know your deposit has been successful when your current balance on the Deposit page has updated to the new amount. This is what the pending page looks like:
Voila! You’re ready to trade. You can come back to the Deposit page anytime to deposit or withdraw funds by hovering over your username and clicking “Deposit”.
3. Make Your First Trade
Once your deposit is successful, you have all you need to start experiencing Polymarket’s unlimited free trading. First, click on “Markets” in the Navigation Bar at the top of the page, then scroll down and browse the different available markets, sorting by Category, Volume, Liquidity, etc. Once you’ve decided on a market to trade, click it.
Once you’re on the market page, look at the right side and you’ll see the Buy and Sell modal. For now, we’ll focus on the Buy option.
First, choose the outcome you believe will resolve correctly. Then, you can input how many USDC worth of shares you’d like to buy. Play around with inputting different amounts and watch as the metrics of your trade respond dynamically.
The large top price in each outcome share box is the current market price. Underneath (which the arrow points to) is what the price will be after your trade is executed as a result of price slippage, which is smaller the more liquidity there is in the market. As for underneath the input field, metrics can be defined as:
Your Avg. Price: The average price you’re paying for each outcome share. This changes depending on how much you buy and how much liquidity depth the market has. This metric is not to be confused with the post-trade price, which is the final market price post-trade. The Avg. price is the average price you paid per share by buying up all the shares that moved the market price to the post-trade price. This concept can be thought of as similar to dollar cost averaging.
Shares Bought & Maximum Winnings: Shares bought is how many outcome shares you’re receiving given the amount of USDC you’re willing to put at risk. Your maximum winnings is $1 per share. Simple enough, right?
Max Return on Investment: This calculates the maximum percentage gain you can generate on your initial capital if your chosen outcome proves to be correct. This is for net gain, not including the amount you started with.
4. Monitor Your Positions
There are two ways to monitor your positions and their market performance.
- You can go to the respective market page and click “Market Positions” underneath the graph:
- You can go to the portfolio page by clicking “Portfolio” in the Nav Bar and see a list of all your positions.
The metrics can be defined as follows:
Outcome: The outcome share that you’ve bought. If this proves true, you win $1/share.
Price: Avg | Cur.: The average price you paid per share and the current market price of 1 share, separated by |.
P/L: $ | %: Your profit or loss on the position thus far, dollar-denominated | percentage-based.
Qty: Number of outcome shares you own.
Value: Init. | Cur.: The total value of your position, at the time of buying | at market price.
Max. Payout: The maximum amount of USDC you can win.
When signed in, on the top of the Markets and Portfolio page, you should see 3 performance metrics, defined as such:
Portfolio Value: The total market value of all your positions plus your cash balance.
Open Positions: The market value of all your positions.
Cash: Your account’s cash balance.
5. Sell or Redeem Winnings
There are 2 ways you can cash out of your positions.
- On Polymarket, traders can sell their positions at any time before market resolution.
To sell your shares, go to the market page and locate the Buy and Sell modal. This time we’ll click Sell. Input the amount of shares you wish to sell or click Max to sell them all. Once again, pay attention to how the trade metrics change as you input the amount — the metrics have the same definitions as the ones on the Buy modal. When you’re ready, click sell, agree to the ToS and PP in the pop up modal, and confirm your sell order.
Keep in mind, you can only sell shares you already own — if the market supports shorting, it will be available in the Buy section. Also, oftentimes when selling Max, there are some shares left over, which we call Dust. If there’s Dust leftover, you can try selling Max again and that should take care of it.
- Once the market has resolved, if your Outcome Share is correct, you can go to the market page and redeem your winnings where you would normally see the Buy and Sell modal, just click “Redeem Winnings” button at the bottom. To find a market that has resolved, click the “Show Resolved” filter on the Markets page.
6. Withdraw and Cash Out
When you’re ready to withdraw and cash out your winnings, head to the Deposit page and click the Withdraw button underneath the Current Balance. You’ll be able to initiate the withdrawal very quickly by specifying the amount you’d like to withdraw and confirming the initiation of the process.
In 30 minutes, it’ll be ready to claim: a “Claim” button will show up underneath the Withdraw button. Remember, you don’t need to claim it immediately once the 30 minutes are finished, instead you can claim it anytime after the 30 minute period is over. Keep in mind, even if you can’t see your withdrawal at some point, don’t panic, it will always be retrievable.
Now, once that’s ready, you can click Claim and, in the modal, it should display a blue button with the specific withdrawal amount you’d inputted earlier: click it.
Now you’ll need to specify your receiving Ethereum address by pasting it in. It should look something like: 0x5A0b54D5dc17e0AadC383d2db43B0a0D3E029c4c. If you’re a non-crypto-native, your best course of action is to make a Coinbase account, copy your Coinbase Ethereum or USDC address (they’re the same), and paste it into the withdrawal address modal in Polymarket.
Once your USDC arrives to your Coinbase wallet from your Polymarket wallet, you’ll be able to easily exchange the USDC into normal money in your bank account.
If you already have an Ethereum wallet, just paste your address in, click confirm, and it should be processed and received in no time!
Polymarket is still in the late stages of its Beta, so there will be bugs. If you see a bug or need help with something, do not panic, your funds will always be retrievable from your wallet, and please do not hesitate to contact someone from our team on either Discord, Twitter DMs, Intercom (bottom right of the site), or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be quick to help and will work hard to iterate based on user feedback to make your experience using Polymarket as awesome as possible!
Some other potential bugs: Given Polymarket’s secure login mechanism, we suggest you use Google Chrome, as sometimes it doesn’t work on Safari or Firefox. If you’re having trouble using Polymarket on Brave Browser, try turning off your shields. Also, if at any time you feel like a withdrawal or deposit isn’t working as intended, reach out to us. We guarantee you your funds won’t be lost, and we’ll directly help you with troubleshooting, so don’t sweat it.
For existing Polymarket users, you can access your positions on the old Polymarket, and connect with Metamask, by going to old.poly.market. If you have the URL, you can also just add “old.” before “poly.market/…” and you’ll be able to access the original page.
Congratulations! You’ve now made your first trade on Polymarket, the global information markets platform. Share your first trade on Twitter, tagging @PolymarketHQ and using #BetOnYourBeliefs, for a chance to win $150 USDC and other prizes. Also, if you’d like to make your own Polymarket tutorial video on YouTube, reach out and we can give you a small grant.
Visit Polymarket.com to start trading information markets on the most highly-debated topics today!