A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.
YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER SUCH TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES. YOU SHOULD READ THE "RISK DISCLOSURE" WEBPAGE ACCESSED AT WWW.FUTURESONLINE.COM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOMEPAGE. FUTURESONLINE IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH NOR DOES IT ENDORSE ANY TRADING SYSTEM, NEWSLETTER OR OTHER SIMILAR SERVICE. FUTURESONLINE DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR VERIFY ANY PERFORMANCE CLAIMS MADE BY SUCH SYSTEMS OR SERVICES.
The policy for each Fund regarding purchases and sales of securities is that primary consideration will be given to obtaining the most favorable prices and efficient executions of transactions. Consistent with this policy, when securities transactions are effected on a stock exchange, the policy is to pay commissions that are considered fair and reasonable without necessarily determining that the lowest possible commissions are paid in all circumstances. The Advisor believes that a requirement always to seek the lowest possible commission cost could impede effective portfolio management and preclude the Fund and the Advisor from obtaining a high quality of brokerage and execution services. In seeking to determine the reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid in any transaction, the Advisor relies upon its experience and knowledge regarding commissions generally charged by various brokers and on its judgment in evaluating the brokerage and execution services received from the broker. Such determinations are necessarily subjective and imprecise, as in most cases an exact dollar value for those services is not ascertainable. In addition to commission rates, when selecting a broker for a particular transaction, the Advisor considers but is not limited to the following efficiency factors: the broker’s availability, willingness to commit capital, reputation and integrity, facilities reliability, access to research, execution capacity and responsiveness.
ADRs represent the right to receive securities of foreign issuers deposited in a domestic bank or a correspondent bank. ADRs are an alternative to purchasing the underlying securities in their national markets and currencies. For many foreign securities, U.S. dollar-denominated ADRs, which are traded in the United States on exchanges or over-the-counter (“OTC”), are issued by domestic banks. In general, there is a large, liquid market in the United States for many ADRs. Investments in ADRs have certain advantages over direct investment in the underlying foreign securities because: (i) ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated investments that are easily transferable and for which market quotations are readily available, and (ii) issuers whose securities are represented by ADRs are generally subject to auditing, accounting and financial reporting standards similar to those applied to domestic issuers. ADRs do not eliminate all risk inherent in investing in the securities of foreign issuers. By investing in ADRs rather than directly in the stock of foreign issuers outside the U.S., however, the Funds may avoid certain risks related to investing in foreign securities on non-U.S. markets.
The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck, and these opinions may change at any time and from time to time. Non-VanEck proprietary information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Historical performance is not indicative of future results. Current data may differ from data quoted. Any graphs shown herein are for illustrative purposes only. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of VanEck.
Unlike many commodity futures, Bitcoin futures are cash settled rather than physically settled. Cash settlement is a relatively new development in futures trading, first introduced in 1981 for Eurodollar futures, that addresses the problem of how to settle futures contracts on things that are difficult/impossible to deliver physicially—things like interest rates, large stock indexes (e.g., S&P 500), and volatility indexes (Cboe’s VIX). Futures physical settlement involves actual shipment/change of ownership of the underlying product to the contract holder but in practice, it’s rarely used (~2% of the time). Instead, most organizations that are using futures to hedge prices of future production/usage will make separate arrangements with suppliers/customers for physical delivery and just use the futures to protect against contrary price changes. In practice, the final settlement price of the contract can be used to provide the desired price protection regardless of whether the futures contract specifies physically delivery or cash-settlement.
Making money arbitraging bitcoin futures can be extremely simple. Futures contracts typically trade at a premium, and all you have to do, starting with USD, is buy bitcoin at Spot price and sell futures of the same amount at premium price. Then just wait until expiration to make your arb profit in bitcoin (which you can then put in USD). Whether it's a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any futures contract, as long as it's in a premium, you lock in the sale price and earn the arbitrage profit.