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How to Buy Futures Contracts: Learn Trading Futures Contracts with a Step-by-Step Guide

Trading and Scalping
Purchasing futures contracts in the crypto market allows you to speculate on the future price of digital assets without the need to own them. CScalp explains how to buy futures contracts and invites you to visit our free futures trading course.

Attention! This article is for informational purposes only and does not contain recommendations or calls to action.


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How to buy futures contracts: A man is purchasing a futures contract on an iPad

How Do Futures Contracts Work

When trading futures, you're not dealing in actual cryptocurrencies, but in contracts that represent them. These contracts are standardized in terms of the quantity and quality of the asset. This standardization makes trading futures a more seamless experience, as it eliminates the need for specifics about the underlying crypto assets. It's essential to understand that by participating in futures trading, you're engaging in the form of an investment strategy that carries a significant level of risk, alongside its potential rewards.
To get started, you will need to open an account with an exchange that provides access to a futures platform where cryptocurrency contracts are traded. Ensure that the exchange is reputable and compatible with a professional trading terminal like CScalp. Once your account is set up, pass the KYC verification, make a deposit, and connect the exchange to CScalp before executing any trades.

Futures Contract Definition and Overview

A futures contract is a standardized, legally binding agreement of buying and selling a specific amount of a cryptocurrency, known as the underlying asset, at a predetermined price on a specified expiration date. Unlike the Spot market where you trade cryptocurrencies immediately, futures contracts allow you to lock in prices and trade at a future time, making them a derivative product (or futures product), as their value is derived from the worth of the underlying asset.

Differences Between Futures and Options Trading

While both futures and options are types of derivatives, they have differences. In a futures contract, you have the obligation to buy or sell the cryptocurrency at the agreed-upon price, regardless of the market price at expiration. Options give you the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the underlying asset, providing more flexibility at the potential cost of the option's premium.

Key Characteristics of Futures Contracts

  • Standardization: Futures contracts are standardized in terms of quantity, delivery time (delivery of the underlying asset), and settlement procedures, which facilitates their trading on exchanges.
  • Settlement: Most cryptocurrency futures involve cash settlement, meaning that you will settle the difference in cash rather than receiving or delivering the actual cryptocurrency.
  • Expiration Date: This is when the contract must be settled. It is crucial to keep track of the expiration date, as it affects your trading strategy and the outcome of your investment.
By understanding these aspects of cryptocurrency futures, you position yourself to participate in this advanced trading arena with greater assurance and competence.

Preparing for Futures Trading

Before you start trading cryptocurrency futures contracts, it's essential to get familiar with the exchange (brokerage) landscape, understand the procedures for setting up a trading account, and grasp the importance and implications of margin requirements.

Choosing a Futures Exchange and Trading Platform

When looking for an exchange to trade futures, ensure they are registered and comply with relevant financial regulatory authorities. This will protect your interests and provide a level of safety. Compare the fees, tools, resources, and leverage options offered to find the right fit for your trading needs. Your exchange should also be compatible with CScalp.
For an optimized trading experience, integrating CScalp with your preferred crypto trading exchange is a game-changer. This integration not only simplifies your trading processes but also enriches your market analysis capabilities. The connection between CScalp and various exchanges – including Binance, Bybit, OKX, and HTX – through API keys enables you to enjoy a professional trading platform, where efficiency and speed are paramount.

Setting Up a Trading Account

Once you've selected an exchange, setting up a trading account involves providing your personal and financial details. You need to:
  • Complete an application: Fill out the exchange's required documentation.
  • Verify your identity: Submit the necessary identification to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations.
  • Fund your account: Deposit the initial amount required by the exchange, which can vary based on the account type and the provided leverage.

Understanding Margin in Futures Trading

Trading cryptocurrency futures is done on margin, which allows you to control significant positions with a relatively small amount of capital. Be aware of two key types:
  • Initial Margin: This is the minimum equity percentage you need to open a position.
  • Maintenance Margin: The minimum amount of equity needed to keep the futures position open.
If your account falls below the maintenance margin, you'll receive a margin call, requiring you to deposit more funds or close out positions to cover the gap. Remember, using leverage can amplify both gains and losses, so it's important to use it wisely.

Analyzing and Using Futures Market

When you're buying futures contracts in the cryptocurrency market, it's crucial to conduct thorough research and understand market movements. Your ability to analyze price changes effectively can have a significant impact on your trading decisions.

Research and Analysis Methods

To navigate the cryptocurrency market, you need to have reliable research and analysis methods. Begin by examining market trends through technical analysis, which includes reviewing charts and using indicators such as moving averages and the Relative Strength Index (RSI). Fundamental analysis, meanwhile, involves evaluating the underlying factors that might influence the price of a cryptocurrency, like technological advancements, regulatory news, or changes in market sentiment.

Assessing Market Volatility

Cryptocurrency markets are known for their high volatility. To assess this, pay attention to the Volatility Index (VIX) for cryptocurrencies if available, or monitor the Average True Range (ATR). These tools give you a quantitative measure of how much the price moves within a certain period. It's crucial to understand that higher volatility can mean higher risk but also potential for higher rewards. Never forget to check the liquidity of the selected asset.

Evaluating Price Movements

When evaluating price movements, track the historical performance of the cryptocurrency you are interested in. Notice patterns of price swings and price changes – do they correlate with specific events or announcements? Utilizing candlestick charts can help you visualize these movements and make sense of the price action. Keep abreast of news that could precipitate sudden price movements, as the crypto markets can react swiftly to new information.

The Crypto Futures Trading Strategy

When trading futures, you have to understand the intricacies of order placement, position management, and the associated costs. These components determine your trading experience and potential success.

Order Types and Placing Trades

To execute trades in the cryptocurrency futures market, you can utilize various order types. Market orders are executed instantly at the current market price. Limit orders allow you to set a specific price for buying or selling, executing when the market reaches your price. Stop orders act as triggers for either a market or limit order if the price reaches a predetermined level. The process involves:
  • Selecting the appropriate order type
  • Determining the price and size of the contract
  • Reviewing and placing the trade

Managing Futures Positions

Once your trade is active, managing your position is crucial for mitigating risk and securing profits. You should monitor the market for fluctuations in the price of the cryptocurrency asset. Tactics include:
  • Setting Stop-Loss orders to minimize potential losses
  • Employing Take-Profit orders to realize gains
  • Adjusting orders to reflect changing market analysis

Understanding Fees and Commissions

Each trade incurs fees and commissions which can impact your profitability. These costs may vary by platform or by the size and frequency of your transactions. Key aspects include:
  • Trading fees typically consist of a percentage of the contract value
  • The commission is usually charged on a per-trade basis
  • By reviewing the fee structure beforehand, you can make more informed trading decisions
Try CScalp, the free trading terminal, by leaving your email in the form above. This professional tool automatically calculates fees you have to pay to the exchange while your position is open, making it possible to make profitable trades without making complex calculations.

Risk Management In Trading Futures

In trading futures contracts, especially within the realm of cryptocurrencies, risk management is paramount to protecting your capital. Key strategies center on identifying risks and utilizing tools like stop orders to mitigate potential losses.

Identifying and Mitigating Risks

The first step in your risk management plan should be identifying the risks associated with cryptocurrency futures. Cryptocurrency markets are known for their volatility, so the risks can be substantial. One key risk is market risk, which refers to the possibility of the market moving against your position. To mitigate this, you should:
  • Understand Volatility: Cryptocurrency markets can be highly volatile, causing rapid price changes.
  • Calculate Initial Margin Requirements: Ensuring you meet the initial margin requirements for your position will help manage leverage risk.

Use of Stop Orders

Stop orders can be essential for managing risk in cryptocurrency futures trading. These orders help to limit loss by automatically closing a position at a predetermined price. When placing stop orders, consider the following:
  • Set Stop-Loss Orders: Determine a price level that, if reached, will trigger an exit from your position to prevent further loss.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly revisit your stop orders to adjust them according to market changes, maintaining an effective risk management strategy.
Remember that CScalp has implemented an automatic Stop-Loss feature that you can use to protect your assets.

Commodities, Forex, and Stock Futures

Your exploration into the world of futures contracts can expand with commodity futures and the complexities of financial futures.

Types of Commodity Futures

Commodity futures allow you to buy or sell commodities like oil, natural gas, gold, and corn at a future date, using standardized contracts. These instruments can be categorized based on their type:
  • Energy: Crude oil, heating oil, and natural gas.
  • Metals: Gold, silver, copper.
  • Agricultural: Corn, soybeans, wheat, and coffee.
For example, if you are trading in oil futures, you are entering into a contract to purchase oil at a predetermined price on a specified future date. The value of your contract will fluctuate with market prices.

Understanding Stock and Financial Futures

Financial futures are contracts that speculate on the future value of indices or financial instruments, including treasury futures, currency futures, interest rate futures, and cryptocurrencies.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About How to Buy Futures Contracts

When it comes to trading futures contracts for cryptocurrencies, there are specific queries you might encounter. The following are succinct answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

What Is the Initial Capital Requirement to Start Trading in Futures with Leverage?

Your initial capital requirement for trading cryptocurrency futures will vary by the exchange. Minimum deposit amounts can differ, but some platforms allow you to start with just $5, while others might require more.

What Steps Should a Beginner Take to Start Trading Futures Contracts on a Crypto Exchange?

As a beginner, you should first educate yourself on the basics of cryptocurrency futures and the underlying assets. You need to open an account with a reputable crypto futures exchange, verify your identity, deposit funds, and connect the trading platform with CScalp. Then you can start trading by selecting the appropriate futures contracts.

Can an Individual Trader or Investor Purchase Futures Contracts Without a Broker?

Yes, you can purchase cryptocurrency futures contracts directly through a futures exchange without needing a traditional broker. Crypto exchanges act as their own brokerages for these transactions.

What Are Some Common Strategies to Employ While Trading Futures?

Some common strategies include going long if you anticipate an increase in the cryptocurrency's price, or opening a short position if you expect it to fall. We suggest you learn more about the futures trading strategies in CScalp's free futures trading course.

How Do Futures Contracts Function in the Market?

Cryptocurrency futures contracts function by allowing traders or investors to speculate on the future price of a digital asset. They are agreements to buy or sell a specific amount of cryptocurrency at a predetermined price on a set future date.

What Limitations Exist on the Number of Futures Contracts One Can Trade?

The number of cryptocurrency futures contracts you can trade is typically limited by the exchange's position limits and your account's margin requirements. These limits are put in place to manage risk and ensure market stability.