A Futures Contract is a derivative product and is an agreement to buy or sell a commodity, currency or other instrument at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future (subject to the Early Settlement). They are either physically settled or cash settled. BitMEX offers several of its trading products in the form of a Futures Contracts with cash settlement.
Futures contracts do not require traders to post 100% of collateral as margin, because of this you can trade with leverage of up to 100x on some of BitMEX contracts. Margin on BitMEX is denominated in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, allowing traders to speculate on the future value of its products using only Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
BitMEX offers futures contracts that have inverse, quanto, and linear payouts. This document explains the key differences between these payouts, and some implications for traders.
The table below shows the futures contracts that are currently available for trading on BitMEX.
|Contract||Contract Specs||Expiry*||Index||Payout Type||Max Leverage||Multiplier|
|XBTZ22||XBTZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BXBT30M||Inverse Futures||100x||1 USD|
|XBTUSDTZ22||XBTUSDTZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BXBTT30M||Linear Futures||100x||0.000001 USDT|
|XBTF23||XBTF23 details||1/27/2023||.BXBT30M||Inverse Futures||100x||1 USD|
|XBTH23||XBTH23 details||3/31/2023||.BXBT30M||Inverse Futures||100x||1 USD|
|XBTUSDTH23||XBTUSDTH23 details||3/31/2023||.BXBTT30M||Linear Futures||100x||0.000001 USDT|
|XBTM23||XBTM23 details||6/30/2023||.BXBT30M||Inverse Futures||100x||1 USD|
|ADAZ22||ADAZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BADAXBT30M||Linear Futures||20x||0.01 XBT|
|ETHZ22||ETHZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BETHXBT30M||Linear Futures||50x||0.00001 XBT|
|ETHUSDZ22_ETH||ETHUSDZ22_ETH details||12/30/2022||.BETH30M||Inverse Futures||50x||1 USD|
|ETHUSDTZ22||ETHUSDTZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BETHT30M||Linear Futures||50x||0.00001 USDT|
|ETHUSDZ22||ETHUSDZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BETH30M||Quanto Futures||50x||0.000001 XBT|
|XRPZ22||XRPZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BXRPXBT30M||Linear Futures||20x||0.01 XBT|
|ETHPOWZ22||ETHPOWZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BETHPOWT30M||Linear Futures||2x||0.00001 USDT|
|APTUSDTZ22||APTUSDTZ22 details||12/30/2022||.BAPTT30M||Linear Futures||2x||0.001 USDT|
* - Subject to the Early Settlement
|Underlying||1/XBTUSD or USDXBT||XBTUSDT||LTCXBT||ETHUSD|
|Multiplier||$1||0.000001 USDT||0.00000001 XBT||0.000001 XBT|
|Margin & PNL Currency||XBT||USDT||XBT||XBT|
|XBT Value of 1 Contract||1/Price * $1||-||Multiplier * Price||Multiplier * Price|
|USDT Value of 1 Contract||-||Multiplier * Price||-||-|
|USD Value of 1 Contract||$1||.BUSDT * USDT Value||.BXBT * XBT Value||.BXBT * XBT Value|
|XBT PNL of 1 Contract||(1/EntryPrice - 1/ExitPrice) * $1||-||(ExitPrice - EntryPrice) * Multiplier||(ExitPrice - EntryPrice) * Multiplier|
|USDT PNL of 1 Contract||-||(ExitPrice - EntryPrice) * Multiplier||-||-|
A quanto is a type of derivative in which the underlying is denominated in one currency, but the instrument itself is settled in another currency at some fixed rate. Our Quanto Futures operate this way.
These contracts are designed to be easy to trade and understand, but keep in mind as you trade them that your underlying margin and PNL are in Bitcoin. You are still exposed to Bitcoin/USD price risk when trading Quanto Futures, even though the underlying and quote currencies are not Bitcoin.
A linear payout is the simplest to describe, and is used for many futures. The price of a linear contract is expressed as the price of the underlying against the base currency. For Linear Futures quoted against XBT, to help users understand the USD price of linear contracts, the dollar value is shown in grey in the Contract Details. This is calculated by multiplying the contract price by the .BXBT price.
An inverse contract is worth a fixed amount of the quote currency. In XBT futures’ case, each contract is worth $1 of Bitcoin at any price. XBT futures are inverse contracts because they are quoted as XBT/USD but the underlying is USD/XBT or 1 / (XBT/USD). They are quoted as an inverse to facilitate hedging US Dollar amounts while the spot market convention is to quote the number of US Dollars per Bitcoin.
This product is suitable for traders who need to lock in a USD value of Bitcoin. If you were due to receive $100,000 of Bitcoin in three months, you would sell 100,000 XBT futures contracts to lock in the Bitcoin value.
When trading futures contracts, a trader needs to be aware of several mechanics of the futures market. The key components a trader needs to be aware of are:
- Multiplier: How much is one contract worth? You can see this information under the Contract Specifications for each instrument.
- Position Marking: Futures contracts are marked according to the Fair Price Marking method. The mark price determines Unrealised PNL and liquidations.
- Initial and Maintenance Margin: These key margin levels determine how much leverage one can trade with and at what point liquidation occurs.
- Settlement: How and when the futures contract expires, or settles, is important for traders to understand. BitMEX employs an averaging over a period of time prior to settlement to avoid price manipulation. This time frame may vary from instrument to instrument and traders should read the individual contract specifications to see when is expiry and the individual settlement procedure.
- Basis: The basis refers to what premium or discount the futures contract trades at when compared to the underlying spot price and is usually quoted as an annualised %. Basis exists since futures contracts expire in the future and there is either a positive or negative time value element attached to that expiry uncertainty.
See the Futures Guide Examples for more information on:
- Month Codes