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):
I’m an elderly gentleman, closing in on 68 years of age. My son introduced me to Crypto in late 2012. After doing a lot of researching Btc I felt strongly that It had a lot of growth and potential ahead of it. So my son and I built my 1st rig and I started mining in January 2013, pulled $5,000 from my IRA and bought Btc at $13.44 and have never looked back since. The sweetest sound that I’ve ever heard was the clink of my 1st mined Bitcoin way back when. That was as satisfying a note as there ever was on any musical scale. Nothing but happy days ahead since. Don’t get me wrong, there have been bumps in this Crypto highway, the demise of the Silk Road, Mt Gox, DAO hack to name a few but as a HOLDer (holding on for the long duration) not a HODLer (hanging on for dear life) and not day trading, has rewarded me with quite a decent profit. It just takes a lot of patience (Sisu) and doing your research with due diligence. I have since invested in Ethereum (Dec 2015), Monero (Jan 2016) and lately Omisego (July 2017) all purchased from some of my profits from Btc to go along with my newly acquired free Bch and recently free Omg. I’m currently operating 3 rigs equipped with 6 gpus each. 2 mining Eth and 1 Monero for now, all of which will be re-evaluated after Metropolis kicks in to see which direction I go from here. So I ‘m back to doing more research in order to help with my next moves but I’ll always be a strong believer in Ethereum which is where I’ve made my money so far. HOLDing on to the rest for now. Btc $5,000-10,000, Eth $2,500- 5,000, Monero $200-400, Omg $100-1,000 no one ever really knows but MY research says yes and so far MY research has not proven me wrong. Bought Btc at $13.44, Eth at .80, Monero at .48, Omg at .43 Bch for free. No where to go but up for me. Just biding my time. It’s taken me over 4 and a half years to get here but I’ve made over $4,000,000 so far with just my original investment plus the cost of my rigs and I’m still sitting on a lot more. Taking a position and HOLDing is where the real profit is and it isn’t going to happen overnight. So if you want aggravation and ulcers go ahead and day trade, try and beat the Market I wish you luck but the real money comes with Research, HOLDing and Patience. Hope this advice helps because in the long run what it all comes down to, its just Eths, You and Me hopefully making the right decisions.
You could imagine the spread going the other way, though. If everyone really was clamoring to short bitcoin, and if the futures offered a more convenient way to do it than the bitcoin exchanges, then you'd expect the short sellers to pay a premium to short via futures. Instead of selling a bitcoin at $18,000 today, they'd be willing to sell a synthetic bitcoin for $17,500, paying the spread to an arbitrageur who was willing to do the actual shorting for them. But the fact that the spread is mostly positive, and that bitcoin's price has been mostly going up, suggests that the demand has mostly been for synthetic long positions, not short.
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