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Spot Trading vs. Futures Trading in Crypto: What’s the Difference?

By February 24, 2022May 10th, 20234 minute read

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the best place to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency assets like bitcoin and ethereum. As a cryptocurrency trader, you must be familiar with the concepts of Spot trading and Futures trading. Learning various crypto concepts and trading strategies can be a lifelong process. In the cryptocurrency market, spot and futures trading are critical ecosystems. Understanding the distinction between them is one of the first steps toward becoming a savvy crypto trader. 

What is Spot trading?

The process of purchasing and selling virtual currency such as Ethereum or Bitcoin for immediate delivery is referred to as crypto spot trading. This means that traders directly exchange cryptocurrencies by buying and selling them. You have direct ownership of cryptocurrencies in a cryptocurrency spot market as a trader, as well as legal rights such as staking or voting on major forks.

Spot exchanges act as intermediaries for users who want to bid on or seek a crypto asset. When the bid or offer is matched, the transaction is facilitated by the exchange. They are available 24/7, so you can spot trade at any time. 

Spot Market

The spot market is a market for trading financial instruments such as commodities, currencies, and securities for immediate delivery. Investors in the bitcoin spot market own, buy, and sell actual bitcoin. Basically, it is the underlying market in which bitcoins are traded.

What is Futures trading?

Trading contracts or agreements that represent the actual value of a specific cryptocurrency is known as crypto futures trading. When you purchase a crypto futures contract, you do not own the underlying cryptocurrency but rather agree to buy or sell specific crypto at a future date.

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In contrast to crypto spot trading, crypto futures trading does not provide you with benefits such as staking or voting. As you must be knowing, the crypto market is extremely volatile, and crypto futures contracts protect you from volatility and negative price movements on the asset in question. Futures contracts are also a proxy tool that allows the users to speculate on the potential value of a particular cryptocurrency.

That means you can profit from cryptocurrency volatility. To put it simply, if you believe the value of an asset will rise, you will purchase a futures contract to go long, and if you believe it will fall, you will sell to go short. As a result, the accuracy of your prediction determines your profit or loss.

Futures Market

Investors in the bitcoin derivatives market enter into an agreement or contract to buy bitcoin at a pre-decided time and price in the future. Investors in this market do not own actual bitcoins but rather trade on the speculative price of bitcoin. Bitcoin contracts, which can be futures, perpetual contracts, swaps, or options, derive their value from the price of bitcoin.

Difference Between Spot trading and Futures trading

Understanding the key differences between the spot and futures markets is critical to making a profitable trade. Once you understand their characteristics, you can easily identify the benefits and drawbacks of each of these financial opportunities.

Let’s learn about some of the key differences between spot trading and futures trading:

  • Leverage– Futures trading is highly capital-efficient due to leverage. You can open a 1 Bitcoin futures position for a fraction of its market value using a futures contract. In contrast, spot trading does not offer this form of leverage. A futures exchange’s sole purpose is to maintain a balance between buyers and sellers, with no restrictions on the amount of capital that can be speculated on.
  • Long or short flexibility– If you own cryptocurrencies on the spot market, you may benefit from capital appreciation as their value grows over time. On the other hand, futures contracts let you profit from both short- and long-term price fluctuations. Even if Bitcoin’s price decreases, you can profit from the decline as prices continue to fall. Futures contracts can also shield long-term investors and miners from unanticipated risks and price volatility.
  • Liquidity– The crypto futures markets offer ample liquidity, with monthly volumes in trillions of dollars. The Bitcoin futures market, for example, has a monthly turnover of $2 trillion, which exceeds Bitcoin spot market trading volumes. Its strong liquidity promotes price discovery and allows traders to transact in the market quickly and efficiently.
  • Spot trading vs. Futures trading prices– Buyers and sellers determine cryptocurrency prices through an economic process of supply and demand. The spot price is the price at which all transactions in the spot market are settled. In contrast, the futures price is calculated by adding the current spot price to the futures premium. The futures premium may be positive or negative. A positive premium means that the futures price is higher than the spot price; a negative premium means that the futures price is lower than the spot price. Future premiums may fluctuate due to changes in supply and demand.
  • Commodities– The debate over spot versus futures commodities is best understood based on your perspective on the commodity. If you want to trade price movements in commodities, the futures market is a much better option than the spot market. Trading in the spot market can be time-consuming and costly, and trading profits can be significantly reduced. With their more structured approach, lower costs, and higher leverage, Commodity futures can assist in executing a trade in a granular and smarter manner.
  • Counterparty Risks– You must be aware of the risks of trading cryptocurrency on the spot market or futures contracts through market exchange. The goal of every trader or investor is to minimize risk while maximizing gains. Counterparty risk is one of the scenarios you could find yourself in. That means the other party is not fulfilling their obligations. This could occur if the opposing party is either unable to meet the terms or unwilling to reciprocate.

Crypto spot trading is a great place for beginners. On the other hand, Crypto futures trading necessitates extensive knowledge and risk management strategies to avoid significant losses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pi Cryptocurrency Safe?

Pi Network (PI) is the newest digital token to catch the cryptocurrency community's interest, even before it has wholly debuted. Some users see it as a chance to get engaged in a cryptocurrency from the beginning and profit in the future, similar to how early Bitcoin adopters made huge profits by mining and keeping the coin. Other users have compared Pi to a worthless multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme.

How To Invest In Cryptocurrency In India?

There are two ways of investing in cryptocurrency, mining and via exchanges. Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying and adding transactions between users to the blockchain public ledger. Purchasing cryptocurrency in India is a straightforward procedure where investors simply participate by registering with a crypto exchange such as WazirX. After registering for an account, citizens can trade multiple cryptocurrencies, store cryptocurrency in wallets, and more.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency secured by encryption, due to which chances of activities such as counterfeiting and double-spending taking place get close to impossible. Cryptocurrencies get created on blockchain technology ( a distributed ledger enforced by a distributed network of computers). Cryptocurrencies are unique in that they do not get issued by any central authority. The term "cryptocurrency" comes from the encryption techniques used to keep digital currencies and the network safe.

Is Crypto Legal In India?

Cryptocurrencies are legal in India, and anyone can purchase, sell, and exchange them. It is currently uncontrolled, as India lacks a regulatory structure to oversee its operations. Per the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, companies must now record their crypto trading/investments within the financial year. In cases where a person receiving the gains is an Indian tax resident, or the cryptocurrency is regarded as domiciled in India, cryptocurrency transactions have been taxable in India

How Safe Are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies can be safe, but your crypto wallets can be hacked if proper security steps are not performed.There are also dangers and uncertainties associated with investments, and we cannot declare any virtual currency investment risk-free. Buying and selling cryptocurrencies does not have to be dangerous if the trader is well-versed in the market and treats his coins with care.

Can I Invest In Cryptocurrency?

Yes, with exchanges like WazirX, you may invest in cryptocurrency in India. To begin, go to the WazirX website and register. After that, you will receive a verification email. The link received by verification mail will only be available for a few seconds, so make sure you click it as quickly as possible. This will successfully verify your email address. The following step is to set up security, so choose the best solution for you. After you've set up the security, you'll be given the option of continuing with or without completing the KYC process.

How Cryptocurrency Works?

Cryptocurrencies use cryptography technology to keep transactions and their units (tokens) secure. Cryptocurrency works via a technology called the blockchain. A blockchain is a decentralized technology that handles and records transactions across numerous computers. The security of this technology is part of its value.

What Is Virtual Currency?

Virtual currency is a type of uncontrolled digital currency that can only be used online. It is exclusively stored and transacted using designated software, mobile or computer applications, or unique digital wallets, and all transactions are conducted through secure, dedicated networks. Because digital currency is just currency issued by a bank in digital form, virtual currency is not the same as a digital currency. Virtual currency, unlike ordinary money, is based on a trust structure and cannot be issued by a central bank or other banking regulatory organization.

Are Cryptocurrencies Legal In India?

In India, cryptocurrency is legal, and anyone can buy, sell, and trade it. Because India lacks a regulatory system to regulate its operations, it is presently uncontrolled. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, companies must now document their crypto trading/investments inside the financial year.

Are Cryptocurrencies A Good Investment?

Cryptocurrency has the potential to make you extremely wealthy, and the potential to cause you to lose your money. Crypto assets, like any other investment, come with many risks and potential rewards. Fundamentally, cryptocurrency is an excellent investment, particularly if you want to gain direct exposure to the demand for digital currency.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is not a legal tender and is currently unregulated. Kindly ensure that you undertake sufficient risk assessment when trading cryptocurrencies as they are often subject to high price volatility. The information provided in this section doesn't represent any investment advice or WazirX's official position. WazirX reserves the right in its sole discretion to amend or change this blog post at any time and for any reasons without prior notice.
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