Currently there are a several digital asset trading platforms that provide investors with forms of derivative products such as futures, so one could estimate and synthesize the discrete futures curve from the averages of various curves. MVIS research used BitMEX, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC as sources, to construct and approximate bitcoin futures curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges.
Exchanges simply take a fee to facilitate the orderbook where its clients (the counterparties) create and trade futures contract with each other. They also have to manage the system's risk so that traders don't get overleveraged or manipulate the market. Since counterparties are only putting margin down that is a % of the contract value, the exchange also has to handle liquidation procedures in case the value of the margin is exceeded by the loss on the notional market value of the contract. For instance, BitMEX offers 100x leverage, so if you want to enter a $10,000 position you need to put down $100 worth of bitcoin. If the price moves just 0.5% against your favor, BitMEX will take over your position and execute it into the market, so that the person on the other side of the contract can have someone else who pays for the profit. In the event that the liquidation doesn't get passed off to another trader, an Auto-Deleveraging/Termination can occur, or Socialize Loss in the contract builds (we will discuss these issues in more detail later).
How can this be? How can you have more futures contracts for gold than actual gold? Because you don't have to deliver a bar of gold when the contract matures. Many futures contracts settle on a "cash" basis – instead of physical delivery for the sale, the buyer receives the difference between the futures price (= the agreed-upon price) and the spot (= market) price.
The CME Bitcoin futures contracts will be cash-settled, meaning that you will receive USD on the expiration date if your speculation was successful and you have not sold the derivative before the expiration date. You will not receive Bitcoin – that would be a physical settlement, even though Bitcoin is not a physical asset. This is a crucial difference because it enables traders to trade in Bitcoin futures without having a cryptocurrency wallet. Every transaction is done in USD.Thus, it is easy for mainstream traders to take part in this market.
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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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.
Inverse bitcoin contracts are usually denominated in USD terms. So if there's a contract value of $100 then each side -- LONG and SHORT -- puts down some portion of the contract value in margin. The contract is an agreement between traders to pay the other side an amount of bitcoin profit/loss as the price changes. Each contract has an expiration date, and some exchanges have periodic (daily or weekly) dates where the contract period's profits are "settled" even if the contract has not expired.
Lawrence Pines is a Princeton University graduate with more than 25 years of experience as an equity and foreign exchange options trader for multinational banks and proprietary trading groups. Mr. Pines has traded on the NYSE, CBOE and Pacific Stock Exchange. In 2011, Mr. Pines started his own consulting firm through which he advises law firms and investment professionals on issues related to trading, and derivatives. Lawrence has served as an expert witness in a number of high profile trials in US Federal and international courts.
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Disclaimer: Unlike security options, CFE futures contracts (other than security futures) cannot be held in a securities account and are required to be held in a futures account. CFE security futures contracts may be held in either a futures account or a securities account. In order to assist those customers that wish to consider a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), Introducing Broker (IB), or clearing firm in order to trade CFE futures contracts, we have assembled the above list of FCMs, IBs, and clearing firms offering CFE futures products.
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Don’t invest blindy. There are people in this world who would sell a blind person a pair of glasses if they could make money. Those same people play in the cryptocurrency markets and use every opportunity to exploit less-informed investors. They’ll tell you what to buy or claim certain coins will moon, just to increase the prices so they can exit. Due to the highly speculative nature of the cryptocurrency markets today, a good investor will always do his or her own research in order to take full responsibility for the potential investment outcome. Information coming from even the best investor is, at best, great information, but never a promise, so you can still get burned.
• an investment company, or person that would be an investment company but for the exclusions provided by sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, having the same investment adviser or principal underwriter as the Trust or having an investment adviser or principal underwriter that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Advisor or principal underwriter of the Trust;
• Bitcoin and investments linked to bitcoin, including bitcoin futures contracts, can be highly volatile and may experience large losses. The price of bitcoin has experienced periods of extreme volatility and low liquidity. Speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the value of bitcoin may artificially inflate the price of bitcoin. The price of bitcoin recently has been at or near all-time highs. There can be no guarantee this will continue and the market for bitcoin, and therefore bitcoin futures contracts, may change suddenly and without warning.
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If this sounds confusing to you, then don't worry. In practice, these futures contracts are just like buying and selling spot market value. Just focus on the price of the contract and whether you are LONG or SHORT. If you're long and the futures price goes up, the BTC value of the contract goes up and you have bought an asset that is increasing in value.
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Basically, if you trade margin spot on a site like Kraken or Bitfinex, you will pay financing fees while you hold the position open. The same goes for CFD sites like WhaleClub or 1Broker. With bitcoin futures, you are able to trade margin without expending interest, because counterparties to the contract pay a fee to open and close the contract, and the exchange just manages the risk, so no money is really being lent!
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When you display any broker’s profile page on the CME list above, you will see on the right hand side this broker’s specialties (a list of industries and/or financial products). As of this articles publication (Nov. 24, 2017), only one broker has added Bitcoin to his list of specialties: Level Trading Field LLC. However, this does not mean that the other brokers won’t handle Bitcoin futures. We expect that more of them will adopt this specialty as soon as Bitcoin futures are on the market.