A Comprehensive Guide To Bitcoin Futures vs. Margin Trading, Spot Markets

By Joseph Katala
16 Min Read

The cryptocurrency market is made possible by Bitcoin. Hence, just like is the case for its many investment options and products, Bitcoins grow in demand over time. The advantages and disadvantages of exchanging Bitcoin for forward and reversely have some issues.

The financial deal is based on the commitment to buy and sell real Bitcoin currency in the future at an established price. Participants in a bitcoin’s futures market place bets on its value’s upward or downward direction. They are referred to as commodity futures, regulated by the CTFC.

If you want to learn more about crypto futures and other trading terms, you can read this piece on a beginners guide to crypto futures trading

What are Bitcoin Futures?

This involves buying (selling) actual BTC/USD for this specific amount during the allotted time specified in this contract.

For instance, some investors prefer what is known as the Bitcoin futures market, where they can buy or sell options related to the future value of a Bitcoin. It’s essentially a bet between two parties: Both these parties believe that the price of Bitcoin will go up, and the other assumes that this is unlikely. Moreover, if the spot’s price lands on the favorable side of the initial one, there is a cash payment.

Just like in some futures contracts that include currencies, stock indexes, and commodities, bitcoins have a similar nature for some things. Bitcoins as a currency would fall under commodity jurisdiction, but according to CFTC, it constitutes a form of payment for future bitcoins.

In the case of CME, you purchase, for one, bitcoin futures contracts. Some markets use cash settling regularly in their new monthly contracts. They do so annually for six months, comprising three months each quarter and a contract in December.

There is one bit per five in futures, which are settled by month ends, once each month.

What is a Futures Contract?

Two parties agree to purchase the commodity at a specified price per bushel on that day. The price or value of derivative instruments is based on the price or value of another asset.

At first, They were gold, oil, and edible commodities. The contacts shielded the producers from the economic hazard because the parties agreed on preset payment rates for each.

For instance, one such example is for an aircraft company that takes future positions in the oil prices as it is one of its main interests.

In the long run, it is assumed that the price of the main asset will decrease, and as a result of this reduction on average for a short time, we anticipate reduced prices.

Consequently, no coin-away transfers take place between parties in futures markets. Additionally, it enables the buyers to purchase additional plots on even non-cash days.

In particular, futures contracts give more assurance and certainty to their operations to crypto miners who receive an inconsistent cash flow from unpredictable bitcoin prices. In addition, they help professional and retail traders to hedge out positive positions in their trading system.

The Basics of Futures Contracts

First, lets explain a forward or a futures contract in simple terms. For hedging purposes, such as selling (or taking a negative delivery) an offsetting purchase or selling out an agreement against delivery in futures markets. Deposited margins provide support for trading such parties due to that fact.

When the market grows, the margin moves from the buyers’ to the sellers’ side. This happens due to the “fairest price” of the contract that is exchanged automatically and regularly.

For instance, a user pays ten dollars in Binance futures after lending the money to $100. The investor may buy ten times worth of BTC futures with a value of 1000. Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that, unlike the real Bitcoins, the futures cannot be withdrawn and moved to the standard Binance exchange.

If, in such a case, an investor orders an amount of 0.114 BTC valued at $1000, then the initial margin in that position will be $49.87. The collateral requirement rises when the market starts falling in the fair price for bitcoins.

Margins can be expected from buyers and sellers, but their ranges will depend upon the state of the market. There’s something to keep in mind, however: Perpetual contracts bear hidden expenses arising due to this. The date for many crypto futures contracts remains to be determined; therefore, it is a mystery how long an investor would be holding their investment position.

Reasons for Price Fluctuation Between Spot and Futures Markets

Price fluctuation between spot and futures markets is a phenomenon that has intrigued and challenged investors, traders, and financial analysts for decades. These two market segments serve distinct purposes within the world of finance, yet their interplay can significantly impact asset prices and market dynamics. Understanding the reasons behind price fluctuations between these markets is crucial for anyone looking to make informed investment decisions or manage risk effectively.

The spot market represents the here and now, where assets are bought or sold for immediate delivery and payment. In contrast, the futures market is a forward-looking arena where contracts for the future delivery of assets are traded. This distinction in timing, along with a myriad of other factors, can lead to price disparities between the two markets.

Here’s a breakdown of the key reasons:

Settlement Timing

Trading on the spot market is for your sale, and this settles such transactions instantly. On the other hand, selling futures contracts provides no immediate cash settlement but only delayed ones. However, such an order delay may give rise to differences between what sellers should receive at unstable market conditions (for instance, deflation).

Margin Calculation

The derivative exchanges set margins independently without interrelation with contract pricing. These are spot indices (FAIR PRICE), whereby their summation is obtained by averaging the current market prices.

Manipulation Prevention

Fair price indexes enable dodging by those persons and institutions willing to inflate or raise the futures contract price. It shows how actual fair value obtained using current market prices can be compared to the reference price developed per fair value. Sometimes, however, such positions may be far enough to close them on grounds of market integrity.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

Other supply-demand dynamics can affect the pricing differentials between spot and futures markets. Spot ownership is typically seen as a more appropriate indicator since it shows that an instantaneous transfer of possession occurs to mirror the prevailing market occurrences in real time.

However, as far as commodity market payments are realized with a short delay, the price depends on expected changes in demand and supply levels. Price variation in spot and futures markets is usually due to futures market traders who speculate about future prices.

Interest Rates and Financing Costs

The second main cause of this phenomenon is interest rates and loan payments. For example, traders who wish to trade in futures may need to secure loans for margin payments.

Futures’ prices depend on the cost of borrowing and its current market interest rates. Alternatively, financing a futures position could turn out quite costly if the gap between prices at the current and future spots increases to an extent.

Futures vs. Margin Trading, Spot Markets

In futures trade, all the deals are carried out by two partners of equal value and with matching mellows.

It keeps the balance in the market so that there are no short and long positions. This differs from margin trading, where traders must borrow funds and increase their contract positions.

However, settlement in spot trading occurs hand in hand with its occurrence. Put on buying a cryptocurrency. It means sellers receive fiat currencies, assets, and stablecoins. However, the participants in the futures contract must make a margin, and there is no exchange of assets at the beginning.

Moreover, it is imperative to understand that another marketplace for futures trades differs from the primary trading command book. Accordingly, the future price can range differently from what a cash spot price stands for. For example, when trading, you could be utilizing futures on Binance, and prices in its spot market will still vary from futures.

The other kind of dealing is future trade, which involves standardized contracts for payments on specific dates only. The trader notices these tiny differences and sees how every trading strategy exhibits its peculiarities.

Here is a detailed article from DroomDroom that explains Key Differences Between Crypto and Traditional Futures

Futures Trading Versus Spot Trading

Generally, spot trading is better than futures in some aspects. Here are the key benefits:


Traders, for instance, have more power and a bigger position in an inexpensive future market trade than their control of a commodity product. A leveled trader makes a high profit compared to an unleveled trader. For instance, if the market favors the trader, he multiplies this gain by that multiple. Nonetheless, if a firm assumes additional debt, it will also amplify every large loss.


For instance, a futures contract protects businesses against price fluctuations for the underlying commodity. An example could be an airline buying crude oil futures if it anticipates fuel price increases.

24/7 Trading

Spot deals have specific working hours, while the futures markets are an all-day long job.


Those involved in speculation should be in futures markets to profit from the fluctuating market rates. This enables traders to choose between taking longs or shorts, depending on different opinions about a specific trade scenario and market trends.


Examples of assets include commodities, foreign currencies, bond futures, and stock options, among others. This type of diversification allows traders to form portfolios that reduce multiple risk vulnerabilities.


They are very liquid and transparent when it comes to traceability. On the other hand, regarding market prices, openness and a high volume of such transactions reduce the possibility of market manipulation.

Tax Benefits

In some areas, futures are often less heavily taxed than spots. However, it would be important to get the views of a good, experienced tax advisor on such an issue in your city.

Nevertheless, one must note that more risks, such as large losses attributable to margin and price fluctuation, accompany futures trading. Futures is an instrument in which traders must have an articulated strategy, a risk management approach, and a thorough comprehension of the underlying market.

However, it should be remembered that other risks come with futures trading, like larger losses on margin accounts due to market price volatility.

In addition, one must remember that other risks are associated with futures trading, including loss of assets in case of liquid. Trading futures requires an expressed strategy, a good understanding of the risks, and sound knowledge of the underlying market.

If you want to understand more about spot trading in crypto, this comprehensive guide covers all aspects of this innovative technology

Which Is Best for You?

Your choice of what you trade between Bitcoin-Direct or Bitcoin-Future is guided by your trading objectives, risk appetite, experience level, and preferred mode of trading methodology. Here are some considerations:

Spot Trading: Spot trading is preferred where one intends to hold and use it. It is straightforward.

Futures Trading: For leveragers, traders, speculators, and hedgers. Prices are volatile, and therefore, leverage entails significant risk, but on the other side, there is a lot of flexibility.

Finally, the last best choice will be subjective, considering what you are ready to do in light of the future predictions for digital currency trading. Novices may prefer spot trading, while the experts should consider futures as a distinct strategy. While your preferred option should be carefully considered and risk management applied as appropriate, please note that bitcoin trading is not easy in the real world.


First, bitcoin trading could involve spot trades and futures trades as well. This, in turn, depends upon an investor’s objectives, wants, risk preferences, and expected rates of returns.

This trading involves purchasing or disposing of genuine Bitcoins with positive impacts for both Bitcoin holders and the investor.

However, bitcoin futures enable individuals to control a large stake using minimal funds. It operates 24 hours daily, offering an opportunity to bet on price movements and place hedges. It consists of more margin, price, and leverage.

Read ” Pro Crypto Futures Traders” and find out more onThe Top 5 Strategies. 

The trader uses this depending on their objectives, experience, and orientation. Hence, it makes sense if you want to buy the favorable bitcoin that you will use anywhere, then it’s appropriate to go with spot trading. Thus, experienced traders or those trading on a strict strategy may view futures contracts as opportunities for profit-making, mitigating risk, and portfolio diversification.

J.Katala is a writer with a strong background in both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, Katala has a unique understanding of these rapidly evolving crypto industries. Writing for both technical and non-technical audiences, he contributes informative and engaging content for websites, whitepapers, and thought leadership pieces. His current passions is observing industry news and developments and consistently producing timely, relevant content.