If Bitcoin futures prices get too high relative to spot arbitragers are natural sellers and if the futures prices get too low they are natural buyers. Their buying and selling actions naturally counteract price distortions between markets. If they’re somehow prevented from acting (e.g., if shorting Bitcoin was forbidden) then the futures market would likely become decoupled from the underlying spot price—not a good thing.
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Start small. Get familiar with the platform you're using before you make any significant trades. BitMEX offers a sandbox using Testnet coins. OKCoin and BitVC do not offer a demo version, but you can start small with 1 contract and test how Open Long, Open Short, Close Long, Close Short and different order types work. If you contact CryptoFacilities you can also get access to a demo platform to use.
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There are also purely technical elements to consider. For example, technological advancement in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin result in high up-front costs to miners in the form of specialized hardware and software. Cryptocurrency transactions are normally irreversible after a number of blocks confirm the transaction. Additionally, cryptocurrency can be permanently lost from local storage due to malware or data loss. This can also happen through the destruction of the physical media, effectively removing lost cryptocurrencies forever from their markets.
Futures markets create an immense amount of flexibility. They enable investors to readily bet on an asset or bet against it (go long or go short), and they are usually characterised by an immense amount of leverage. In the case of bitcoin, this means one can trade a high volume of coins while only paying for a fraction of them, essentially operating with borrowed money. Leverage is used to amplify profits on a small volume of assets, but it is a double-edged sword in that it also amplifies losses.
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Ethereum (ETH) is more than just a currency – it’s like one giant computer housing many computers around the globe. Ethereum can respond to sophisticated requests. Its ability to store revolutionary computer programs, known as smart contracts, gives Ethereum an edge over Bitcoin and has attracted attention from banks around the world. This, among other factors, has led to a jump of almost 10,000% in 2017!
Note that you could just keep bitcoin on CryptoFacilities waiting to make the trade so you don't have to wait to move the bitcoin you bought over. This is called see-saw arbitrage model, where you keep funds on both exchanges to avoid having to wait. This is fine, but you can't ignore that there is extra capital being used in the play, so it affects your rate of return and capital utilisation. We will not use this method, we will do a full, complete, legitimate arbitrage process.