In this article, we will learn more about bitcoin futures (derivatives) platforms and how you can trade on them.

A futures contract is a financial instrument that is a standardized, exchange-traded contract that obligates two parties to trade the underlying asset at a fixed price on a fixed date in the future.

Typically, derivatives traded on a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange are open-ended swaps.

Essentially, open swaps are similar to futures contracts, but they have no expiration date. Funding and margin are two key elements of these contracts that determine a trader’s position. In general, contracts traded on futures exchanges such as BitMEX, Okex, etc. are open-ended contracts.

There are also regulated institutions and platforms, such as CME and Bakkt, that also offer traditional futures and options.

History of futures on crypto currencies

Trading in bitcoin derivatives began in 2011 with ICBIT, which offered arbitrage and limit orders on bitcoin.

Later, OKCoin (now Okex) offered bitcoin futures, which were deemed popular. Nevertheless, there has been a huge change in this area, thanks to the constant exchange that BitMEX offers.

At the time, the space was riddled with scammers, fake websites, and vulnerabilities that made it very difficult to trade in the space. Market manipulation is one of the most pressing problems preventing institutional money from accessing these contracts.

BitMEX, founded in 2014 by Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo and Samuel Reed, is the leading marketplace in this space and the most popular futures exchange since 2016. Their innovative open-ended contract was the first of its kind and has been replicated on many platforms.

The 17th. In December 2017, CBC launched the first institutional futures trading platform on the platform. The next day, the CME launched its derivatives platform. Incidentally, when the short selling tool became powerful, it also marked bitcoin’s ATH,

Since then, a number of cryptocurrency platforms and derivatives have been introduced (e.g. the introduction of option contracts). The most popular of these are Bakkta’s physically settled futures and options contracts. After long deliberations and regulatory delays, Bakkt was finally launched on the 23rd. September 2019 has begun.

Exchange of regulated derivatives

CME Bitcoin Futures is the leading institutional platform offering traditional bitcoin futures [BTC]. Contracts are negotiated on a monthly basis.

These contracts are paid in cash, which means that the profit or loss on the transaction is paid in US dollars.

CME rate for monthly bitcoin futures

The most important aspect of the review of futures markets is that of disputes and concessions. Contango implies that the forward price of asset prices increases over time. While the inverse varvation implies that the future prices of these assets have a downward trend.

Sometimes, when the market trend is strong or traders expect a big profit, the difference between futures prices is also significant.

How to negotiate the WWC?

The first step in trading futures contracts is to open an account with a licensed broker. Brokerage firms are known as Futures Commission Merchants (FCM) or Introducing Brokers (IB). They essentially form the link between the derivatives exchange and the individual traders, as the latter cannot trade directly on the exchange.

A list of brokers for CME can be found here. There are currently 328 brokers listed on the exchange. The choice of broker depends on the type of client, market specialization, products, country and language used.

How can I trade on other regulated platforms such as Bakkt and LedgerX?

Platforms like Bakkt, LedgerX and ErisX are following suit with their physically regulated exchanges. These contracts are similar to those on unregulated exchanges like BitMEX. Bakkt’s cold and hot purses are covered by a $125,000,000 insurance policy with one of the world’s largest syndicates.

These exchanges offer futures contracts that are physically settled, i.e. in bitcoins themselves. Bakkt also offers contracts listed on ICE Futures Singapore and cleared by ICE Clear Singapore, which are physically settled.

Bakkt contracts are offered by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operates a federally regulated futures market and clearinghouse. It is a single platform that also includes storage and payment solutions.

The minimum block size is 10 contracts. Opening hours: 8 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday to Friday.

Bakkt’s reward structure

LedgerX is another institutional trading and clearing platform approved by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Registration on platforms like Bakkt and LedgerX can be done directly on their online platform, unlike CME brokers.

LedgerX Futures Trading Fee

ErisX, Seed CX and Tassat are other regulated exchanges in the US markets that have been approved by the CFTC.

How can I trade on non-regulated markets?

There are other centralized exchanges that are not licensed by a regulator such as the CFTC, but are registered as independent entities. The most popular of these is BitMEX, registered in the Seychelles. These exchanges, including OKex and Huobi (based in Asia), are lightly regulated and must comply with FATF rules and a country’s tax rules.

The difference between spot and futures exchanges is that spot exchanges allow for the immediate buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. A futures market allows for margin trading, which is usually the case for cryptocurrencies themselves.

Using stable currency (mainly USDT) as the base pair in trading usually solves this problem by offsetting it with virtual money. Bitfinex, Poloniex and Binance are exchanges that offer USDT pairs for margin trading.

Many leading derivatives platforms do not require KYC or AML verification. These include BitMEX, ByBit, Deribit, Phemex, FTX, Coinflex, etc. Deposits and withdrawals are made in cryptocurrencies, mainly in the form of bitcoin, ethereum or XRP.

The usual steps for registering non-Chinese exchanges are as follows:

  • Enter your name and email address and set a password for your account.
  • Check your e-mail address
  • On the Deposit/Exchange tab, copy the correct deposit address for crypto currency
    – For an exchange that sells only derivatives, the amount deposited is allocated as margin for trading
    – For exchanges that have both a cash and a derivatives market, a separate space is allocated for margin trading.
    -The margin trading account must be activated by transferring funds from the scholarship/sponsoring account.
  • There are specific cryptocurrencies that cumulatively make up the balance of a margin account. For exchanges like Binance and Poloniex, there are many cryptocurrencies that can increase margins. While BitMEX, Deribit and Bybit only offer bitcoin payments.
  • Start trading on margin on different pairs with a leverage of 1 to 100x. So, a deposit of 1 BTC allows the user to bet up to 100 BTC of his margin.

In general, KYC only applies to exchanges that allow the direct purchase of cryptocurrencies via bank transfer or credit/debit card. Others generally have a small withdrawal limit up to which non-KYC balances can be withdrawn.

Remember, the more leverage you have, the greater the risk of liquidation. Traders need to be aware of the risk and percentage of margin they are willing to risk on each trade.

Liquidations occur when the price moves in the opposite direction of the bet until most of the margin has been absorbed. The liquidation amount varies between 0.5% and 20% of the balance of the margin account in different markets.

The most important aspect when looking at the derivatives exchange is the refinancing rate that traders periodically pay to hold their contracts. Traders should also become familiar with stop-loss and limit orders on exchange-traded derivatives that protect them from liquidation. Okex conducts a pre-test that requires an understanding of risk and other futures market functions.

The cost of trading on most of these exchanges is only 0.075% of the total order value for the brokers, but the producers are paid 0.025% to execute the trades.

Since 2017, the futures market has been driven primarily by the price of bitcoin [BTC]. Despite the steady growth of cash and real BTC holdings, the liquidity of the futures market causes huge swings in the price of crypto-currencies in the short to medium term. Accumulated open interest (OI) in exchange-traded derivatives is typically between $1.5 billion and $3 billion per day.

Futures contracts have also allowed miners to protect themselves from price fluctuations and lock in the price of the BTC they produce. Moreover, many of these exchanges, including CME, Bakkt, Okex, Binance, etc. also offer option contracts.

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