What Is Futures Trading in Crypto and How Does It Work?


There are many ways to get exposure to cryptocurrencies, but futures trade is one of the most democratic and commodious approaches. here are all you need to understand the intricacies of futures trading better. In which it can provide better opportunities compared to spot trade and options trade. To know how to open long and short positions on multiple digital currencies. here ’ s precisely what you need to know. Futures trading refers to a method of speculating on the price of assets, including cryptocurrencies, without actually owning them. Like commodity or stock futures, cryptocurrency futures enable traders to bet on a digital currency’s future price. Needless to say, Bitcoin futures are currently the most popular type of crypto futures contracts.

How Does Futures Trading Work?

If you had watched the process of cryptocurrency futures trading on a crypto central chopine like Bybit, you wouldn ’ thyroxine tell the difference from regular deal. That ’ sulfur chiefly because traders do precisely the lapp thing in both cases – open long and short positions and implement proper risk management techniques. however, futures contracts are very different from spot trade because they don’t operate with the underlying assets but alone with their price natural process. Without the actual asset, futures are means more fluid and easier to handle. besides, they enable margin trade with high leverage .

What Is a Futures Contract?

Futures contracts are depart of a large class of trade instruments known as derivatives, including— Contracts for Difference ( CFDs ), Options, and Swaps. initially, futures contracts made smell for many commodities, including foods, oil, and metals. however, they soon went beyond their virtual reasons to conquer all fiscal markets, including cryptocurrencies. today, most commodity price quotes you see on fiscal portals involve futures, normally with a monthly death go steady. In a nutshell, a futures contract is an agreement between two parties to either buy or sell an asset, such as digital currency, on a predetermined date, at a predetermined price. The contract tracks an underlie asset, be it a commodity, stock, or cryptocurrency. It is basically a form of count on the future price motion. For example, if you think that Bitcoin ( BTC ) will increase in price by the end of the calendar month, you would be interested in opening a long position on the cryptocurrency by buying a Bitcoin futures narrow with a monthly death date. otherwise, if you believe Bitcoin ’ sulfur price will go bullish, you would go long. At the sign ’ south death go steady, the two parties involved in the deal settle, and the contract closes. While a futures contract ’ mho condition is to have an termination date, there is a subcategory of cryptocurrency futures called ageless contracts. What discriminate ageless contracts than the rest is it does not have any passing. They behave precisely the lapp as traditional futures but without any termination and settlement. The monetary value of a ageless compress monitors the cryptocurrency spot price and trades identical close to it. The primary mechanism making ceaseless contracts possible is the fund rate, in which long and shorts make regular payments to each other depending on the commercialize site .

Types of Cryptocurrency Futures Contracts

There are respective types of futures contracts that crypto traders can choose from. It ’ south deserving mentioning that most platforms do not provide all of the list types, so make certain to select the suitable futures exchange .

Standard Futures Contracts

regular cryptocurrency futures have all the aspects of a standard futures compress from traditional markets, including death and settlement. Chicago-based CME Group and CBOE were the first futures trading exchanges to launch Bitcoin futures contracts back in December 2017. In fact, this was one of many reasons that boosted the BTC price to a record high at the prison term, until BTC price reached broke its all-time-high of $ 20,000 in 2020. today, CME provides several Bitcoin futures with different termination dates, as seen in its Bitcoin Futures Calendar. All contracts are settled in U.S. dollars at the death. elsewhere, CBOE decided to abandon its Bitcoin futures contracts, but it would decidedly bring them back soon as the interest in crypto is surging. On the contrary, some crypto exchanges do provide standard futures contracts. Like Bybit, FTX, Deribit, and Binance, most of them offer quarterly Bitcoin futures and the contracts normally dealt with in U.S. dollars. They are often settled every three months and are ideal for swing trade .

Futures with Physical Delivery 

Another type of cryptocurrency futures that besides have expiry dates are futures with forcible delivery. They were first introduced by Bakkt, an entity backed by Intercontinental Exchange ( ICE ), the parent New York Stock Exchange ( NYSE ). The merely remainder from the regular futures described above is that cryptocurrency is actually delivered during the colony serve. Bakkt now offers only Bitcoin futures with physical manner of speaking, meaning that it transfers Bitcoin at the termination date to those who bought futures on the cryptocurrency. As a cash-settled futures contract, this approach aims to contribute to the Bitcoin circulation .

Perpetual Contracts 

ageless contracts represent another democratic type of cryptocurrency futures. Since it does not rely on the exhalation date, ageless contracts cursorily took off on BitMEX, but soon being adopted by major crypto exchanges, including Bybit, FTX and Binance. The primary coil mechanism that helps ageless contracts keep as close to the blemish price as potential is funding. Traders are paying each other based on their open positions at certain hours. The deviation between the ageless condense price and the position monetary value decides who pays and who gets paid. therefore, when the fund rate is positive, traders who have long positions wage shorts, and when the support rate is negative, shorts pay longs. A worthy note for traders on Bybit, the financing payments are carried out every eight hours, and the ageless contracts are traded in USDT and other stablecoins. The cypto ceaseless futures market has grown quickly, but there is placid room for improvement in the trade book compared with conventional futures exchanges . Despite the large drop curtain in crypto prices in 2022, trade volume for ageless futures has slumped but they have not been affected as much. According to coinglass data, average futures volume still range around $ 50b – $ 200b. Crypto futures will continue to be an area with huge electric potential and will be enormously contested amongst the top exchanges vitamin a well as decentralized exchanges .

Commodity vs. Crypto Futures: Similarities & Differences 

Bitcoin futures plowshare many similarities with futures contracts from traditional fiscal markets. In fact, Bitcoin is considered a commodity by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission ( CFTC ), sol this shouldn ’ metric ton storm you .


Futures on both cryptocurrencies and commodities do not involve the underlie assets, but the price of those assets. Most of the time the derivatives and the underlie asset prices are about the lapp price. There are futures from both markets that parcel exchangeable components, including the termination date and settlement .


Some cryptocurrency futures, such as ageless contracts, are different from commodity futures because they don’t have any expiry time and colony. Plus, crypto futures are by and large more volatile than commodity futures, given that digital assets are direction more volatile. Another key difference is that many commodity futures are traded for practical reasons preferably than for meditation. For case, factories and transport services would be concerned in buying petroleum at current prices, but they would purchase anoint futures with future delivery.

Futures vs Options Differences

Both Bitcoin futures and Bitcoin options are available to be traded on Bybit vitamin a well. Futures contracts can be useful for inquisitive traders but have a veridical utility for individuals and organizations that deal with the actual implicit in assets, allowing them to hedge operational and business risks from unanticipated market movements and volatility. The most common example is that of Bitcoin miners. They generate gross from the Bitcoin they mine and sell, however the value of Bitcoin can fluctuate widely even though their costs are relatively fix and often paid in decree. If Bitcoin ‘s price declines significantly in the future, the miners ‘ ability to meet their fixed costs is adversely affect, potentially jeopardizing their operations. In order to manage this hazard, miners can turn to the futures grocery store and find future buyers for their Bitcoin at prices that will allow them to continue operating productively. Options contracts, on the other pass, are more desirable for speculation traders as it comes with express downside risks. Both Bitcoin futures and Bitcoin options are available to be traded on Bybit equally well .

The Benefits of Futures Trading 

Cryptocurrency futures have become very democratic and for excellent reasons. here are some advantages of crypto futures that you should consider :

  • Convenient. Trading futures is easy even for beginners than trading actual cryptocurrencies, which requires you to access a liquid market and have a secure digital wallet. In fact, this is why the trading volume in crypto futures is two to three times larger than spot trading volumes.
  • Higher potential profits. When trading crypto futures with leverage, the gains are typically more substantial. On Bybit, you can set the leverage up to 100x, meaning that you can enter a position worth $1,000 with only $10 as capital. However, you should know that the risks of loss are also higher when using leverage.
  • Flexible trading strategies. The implementation of trading strategies works much better with crypto futures than trading actual cryptocurrencies, especially when it comes to intra-day trading. Also, crypto futures allow you to go short without any blockers. Hence, there are more rooms for you to deploy different trading strategies to maximize profits.
  • No funding rate: One important diffference between futures compared to perpetutal futures is that futures do not have a funding rate, and prices are often in contango, meaning future prices are higher than the current spot prices. This creates an opportunity known as cash and carry arbitrage, which is a market-neutral strategy that combines a long position in the spot market and a short position in futures. On the day of the settlement the futures price converges with the spot market price, generating relatively riskless returns regardless of the market condition or volatility. 

Risks of Futures Trading

by and large speaking, some experts believe that the underlying crypto grocery store is not senesce enough for a futures market to exist. such critics claim that imbalance in Bitcoin might spread to early parts of the futures commercialize. however, so far, no significant incidents have been reported by crypto futures platforms, as most of them are not prone to hacking attacks, unlike regular crypto exchanges that storehouse clients ’ crypto holdings. For example, deal futures on Bybit is fluent and convenient. still, there are risks refer to market volatility, a 24/7 market, poor futures trading strategies adopted from traditional markets without any adjustments, and higher-than-recommended leverage, which is appealing for beginners .

What to Consider Before Trading Futures?

Futures trade is not entirely the same as regular trade, despite the similarities. here are several key aspects you should take into bill :

Leverage Trading

leverage is the crucial feature of margin deal, which is offered by most futures trading platforms today. By using leverage, traders can boost electric potential profits, but the risks are latitude to the leverage it involves. Though typically crypto exchanges offer up to 50x leverage, Bybit offers up to 100x leverage for their ageless contracts, while Binance offers up to 125x leverage. trade with high leverage may be electric potential gains for advance traders, but it is calm bad for the position to be liquidated. When trade futures, beginners should avoid betting on high leverage, but a minimal leverage level may do the magic trick. The selected leverage decides the margin required for trade. For model, if a trader opts for 10x leverage, the position will have 10 % of his funds, and the rest is borrowed. It ’ sulfur either from the exchange itself or from traders who are lending upon interest .

Liquidity Assessment

Traders and investors look close into a modern asset ’ second liquidity to determine market integrity, transaction focal ratio, marketplace fluidity, and by and large, to assess an asset ’ second stability— all in which to allow traders to exchange their asset for cash quickly without besides a lot monetary value slippage. When trade futures, there are three main metrics to determine liquidity. It includes asset, exchange, and grocery store fluidity. A trader should always consider if there are enough buyers, sellers, makers and takers, and the overall state of an asset and marketplace. generally, most futures crypto markets ’ liquidity is higher than on spot exchanges, as most futures contracts are in cash liquidation. thus, there is no need for Bitcoin at all, except in Bitcoin futures with physical manner of speaking. Thanks to sufficient liquidity, the risk of price slippage is much lower. But the fundamentals should always be carried out to mitigate risks .


trade crypto futures is an excellent method to hedge against traditional assets or against the hypothesis of a sharp decline in the cryptocurrency itself. institutional investors would prefer Bitcoin futures as a hedging joyride. deal Bitcoin futures don ’ metric ton debunk you to the extreme BTC price losses in the touch commercialize, given that the futures contract has a bias price for the death date .


Besides hedge, crypto futures allow you to diversify your capital. It is no confidential that diversification is one of the best money management techniques available to traders and investors. You can open multiple positions in Bitcoin ( BTC ), Ethereum ( ETH ), Chainlink ( LINK ), and many early tokens to create a well-diversified portfolio made up of futures contracts. In this direction, you can mitigate the gamble of being exposed to a individual asset that can by chance decline in price .

Market Volatility

One of the most important things to know about trading cryptocurrencies and their respective futures is the high excitability. While this is by and large presented as a risk, it besides comes with more opportunities. That is particularly for short-run traders who prefer to speculate on the promptly price movements. Cryptocurrencies still represent a belittled market compared to forex or stocks. sol, digital assets are prone to angry fluctuations influenced by whales or diverse events affecting the diligence .

Expiration Date

Suppose you trade regular cryptocurrency futures settled in cash. In that case, you should pay attention to the termination date because this is when you will receive your cash or stablecoin funds upon settlement of the contract. however, you can sell your open futures contract at any point before the passing date. And frankincense, record profit or loss depending on the change in the blemish price .

How to Trade Crypto Futures?

trade cryptocurrency futures is no unlike from early trade forms, and the difficulty tied depends on the leverage you pick. You should follow most of the valid rules when trading the spot markets or other derivatives, be it CFDs or options. Most of the rules have to do with risk management and finding the best submission and passing points. here are the main steps to successfully start your crypto futures trading journey :

  • Set aside some funds – one of the most critical risk management recommendations is you should never invest more than you are ready to lose. And never borrow to trade unless we’re speaking about the technical borrowing used in margin trading.  
  • Dedicate time – you shouldn’t treat your crypto futures trading as a hobby if you plan to turn it into a lucrative activity. Make sure to dedicate time to learn futures trading, find the right entry points, and monitor your open positions.
  • Trade on a demo account – you can start trading with virtual funds on a demo account. It usually mimics the spot price of Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency before going to futures. Try to trade on Bybit’s demo account for free here. 
  • Choose a futures trading platform – reputation is a key when selecting a crypto exchange. So, if you are a beginner, start trading on a reputable exchange, and you should always start small.

Trading ceaseless contracts will require you to automatically pay a rate or get paid. But, depending on whether the narrow ’ south price is higher or lower than the spotlight price. besides, if you use leverage, you should check the position margin, which is fluctuating with the price. If it drops below a certain threshold, your position will be liquidated, and you will incur a loss .

Who Should Trade Futures?

Everyone concerned in cryptocurrency deal might start by trade futures. This fiscal instrument is specially desirable for those who want to get exposure to cryptocurrency. But, without actually holding it in digital wallets and bothering about its security. besides, crypto futures enable different strategies and operations that can not be implemented in spot markets with the same achiever. And that includes short-selling and scalp .

How Profitable Is Crypto Futures Trading?

Crypto futures trading can be very profitable if proper risk management is implemented. For even traders, this bodily process can be more profitable than Bitcoin mine, given that the latter requires expensive equipment. however, this is the best-case scenario. As with any form of trade, there are considerable risks that should not be ignored .

The Final Note

Both institutional and retail traders prefer cryptocurrency futures thanks to their convenience and lower risk of hacking attacks than the spot market.

Crypto futures are hush more popular than crypto options, which represent another type of derivatives. In an option condense, the buyer of the option has the right but not the obligation to buy the underlying asset in the subject of a shout option or sell it in the case of a put option option at a predetermine price within a certain menstruation. Both derivatives enable traders to hedge against volatility hazard and experience new trading forms that can end up more profitable than regular trade .

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