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Crypto Glossary/Perpetual Futures

Perpetual Futures

Discover crypto perpetual futures, their functionality, and key differences from traditional futures in this insightful guide.


Welcome to this comprehensive guide discussing perpetual futures in the world of cryptocurrency. We will delve into the fundamentals of crypto perpetual futures, including their functionality and differences from traditional futures. This guide is designed to remain accurate and informative over time, with reader engagement and comprehension at the forefront of our approach. Let's start by examining the primary keywords: What are perpetual futures?

Crypto Perpetual Futures

Crypto perpetual futures are financial instruments that allow investors to speculate on the future price of an underlying asset, such as Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, without the obligation to own the asset. Unlike traditional futures contracts, perpetual futures contracts do not have an expiration date, allowing traders to hold their positions indefinitely.

Functionality of Perpetual Futures

Perpetual futures function similarly to traditional futures but with a few key differences. The following elements make up the functionality of perpetual futures:

  • No Expiration Date: As mentioned earlier, one of the primary distinctions between perpetual futures and traditional futures is the lack of an expiration date. This allows traders to hold their positions indefinitely, offering increased flexibility.
  • Funding Rate: To maintain a stable price between the perpetual futures contract and the underlying asset, a mechanism known as the funding rate is implemented. The funding rate is an interest rate paid between long and short position holders. If the funding rate is positive, long position holders pay short position holders, and vice versa.
  • Margin and Leverage: Traders can use margin to trade perpetual futures, which allows them to control a larger position than their available capital. Leverage is the ratio of the trader's position to the margin. For example, a 10:1 leverage means the trader controls a position worth 10 times their margin.
  • Price Marking: To prevent manipulation and ensure a fair market, the mark price is used to determine the liquidation and margin requirements of perpetual futures contracts. The mark price is usually calculated as a weighted average of various spot prices and the index price.

Bitcoin Perpetual Futures

Bitcoin perpetual futures are the most popular type of crypto perpetual futures contracts. They enable traders to speculate on the future price of Bitcoin without owning the cryptocurrency. The functionality of Bitcoin perpetual futures is similar to other crypto perpetual futures, with the funding rate, margin, leverage, and price marking playing essential roles.

Perpetual Futures vs Futures

Now that we have discussed the basics of perpetual futures, let's explore some of the critical differences between perpetual futures and traditional futures contracts:

  • Expiration Date: The most significant difference is the lack of an expiration date in perpetual futures. Traditional futures have a predetermined expiration date, after which the contract is settled. Perpetual futures, however, can be held indefinitely.
  • Settlement: Traditional futures are settled in cash or through physical delivery of the underlying asset upon contract expiration. Perpetual futures, on the other hand, have no expiration, which means that the positions are settled continuously through the funding rate mechanism.
  • Underlying Asset: Traditional futures contracts are available for a wide range of assets, including commodities, stocks, and indices. Perpetual futures, however, are predominantly used in the cryptocurrency market.


In this guide, we explored the world of crypto perpetual futures, understanding their functionality and how they differ from traditional futures contracts. By learning about the critical elements, such as the funding rate, margin, leverage, and price marking, readers can confidently navigate the world of perpetual futures and make informed trading decisions. Additionally, our FAQs section addressed some common questions and concerns related to trading perpetual futures, offering valuable insights for traders looking to enter this market.

As with any form of trading, it's crucial to understand the risks involved, conduct thorough research, and develop a solid trading strategy to minimize potential losses. Familiarize yourself with the chosen trading platform, its tools, and fee structure to ensure a seamless trading experience. With the right approach, perpetual futures can offer traders increased flexibility and opportunities in the ever-evolving cryptocurrency market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In this section, we will address some frequently asked questions related to crypto perpetual futures that were not covered in the main article.

What are the risks associated with trading perpetual futures?

Trading perpetual futures, like any form of trading, involves risks. Some of the risks include:

  • Market volatility: Cryptocurrency markets can be highly volatile, leading to rapid fluctuations in the price of the underlying asset.
  • Leverage: Using leverage can amplify both gains and losses. High leverage can lead to substantial losses if the market moves against your position.
  • Liquidation: If the market price reaches your liquidation price, your position will be closed automatically to prevent further losses.
  • Funding rate fluctuations: The funding rate is subject to change, which can impact the profitability of holding a position.

How can I start trading crypto perpetual futures?

To start trading crypto perpetual futures, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a reputable cryptocurrency exchange or trading platform that offers perpetual futures trading.
  2. Create an account and complete the required identity verification process.
  3. Deposit funds into your account, either in cryptocurrency or fiat currency, depending on the platform's requirements.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the platform's trading interface and tools.
  5. Start trading by opening long or short positions on the perpetual futures contract of your choice.

Can I trade perpetual futures for other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin?

Yes, many cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms offer perpetual futures contracts for various cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin. Some popular cryptocurrencies with perpetual futures contracts include Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Chainlink (LINK), among others.

Are perpetual futures available for assets other than cryptocurrencies?

While perpetual futures are predominantly used in the cryptocurrency market, some platforms have started offering perpetual futures contracts for other assets, such as commodities, indices, and stocks. However, these offerings are less common and may be subject to different regulations and restrictions.

What are the fees associated with trading perpetual futures?

Trading fees for perpetual futures may vary depending on the platform and the size of your trade. Some common fees include:

  • Maker and taker fees: These fees are charged when placing a trade, depending on whether you are adding liquidity (maker) or removing liquidity (taker) from the order book.
  • Funding rate: As discussed in the main article, the funding rate is the interest paid between long and short position holders.
  • Withdrawal fees: Some platforms charge fees for withdrawing funds from your account.
    It's essential to research and understand the fee structure of the platform you choose to trade on before starting.
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