“One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can’t hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold,” said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp. With futures, “you don’t hold the physical bitcoin, which solves custody issues and counterparty risks with these less-regulated exchanges.”
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A key attribute of a futures market is how its contract’s prices vary by expiration date. The succession of futures prices over time is called the “term structure”. If supply is stable (no seasonality or shortages) then typically futures prices will increase with expirations further in the future. This term structure configuration is called “contango” and it accounts for the fact that carry costs (e.g., time value of money) and profit expectations increase with time. Unless there are big changes in interest rates or the way that Bitcoin exchanges work I expect the level of contango in the Bitcoin futures term structure to be small. Bitcoins don’t cost much to hodl (once you have your hardware wallet) and there’s no apparent seasonality. The chart below from VIX Central shows a typical Bitcoin term structure (click on chart to get current data):
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If the price drops to $500, you earn 11.73 BTC on the position and have 20.06 BTC left, which at $500 per BTC is worth $10,000! This is a simple example just to show you, even if you're a small bitcoin holder, bitcoin futures are a valuable risk management tool. You could have performed this "hedge" at 50x leverage by putting down just 8.33/50= 0.17 BTC worth of margin!
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Some Centra investors have their doubts, and a plaintiffs' law firm has brought a class action complaint against Centra demanding the investors' money back. The complaint is fun -- Centra had a “Blog/Media Bounty” program to "Reward Experienced Writers who write quality Reviews, Articles About the Centra Project and the ICO crowdsale" -- but not that fun, because the plaintiffs' lawyers don't actually need to prove that Centra was a scam. Their job is much easier: All they need to do is prove that the tokens Centra sold in its initial coin offering were securities. If they were securities, they were sold illegally: They were offered publicly without being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or being exempt from registration. And one remedy for the illegal sale of securities is that the buyers can demand their money back -- whether or not Centra is legitimate, whether or not it is actually using the money to build a cryptocurrency debit card, whether or not it made any misleading statements in the ICO.
The market is so volatile that big movements up and down are pretty common and you can capitalise on this through swing trading. I recommend choosing a group of coins to be in and then sticking to swing trading in those coins rather than jumping constantly between different cryptocurrencies – it does help to have an understanding of what different coins do and how much volatility can be expected and you will gain that understanding with time. Good luck!