Summary: Engaging in crypto futures trading can be secure and uncomplicated when conducted on a platform that strictly adheres to regulatory standards. Traders have the flexibility to use diverse deposit options, like cryptocurrencies or traditional fiat, allowing them to confidently engage in buying, selling, and leveraging perpetual futures contracts within a well-governed framework.
Our seasoned experts have conducted an exhaustive analysis to present you with a curated list of the top five crypto futures trading platforms. These platforms stand out for their reliability and are tailored to various needs:
Best Crypto Futures Trading Platforms
After a rigorous evaluation of more than 15 platforms, our specialized team offers you a curated list of the top exchanges for trading crypto futures. To ensure a comprehensive and reliable analysis, we've focused on multiple essential factors. These include adherence to global regulatory frameworks, the diversity of cryptocurrencies supported, overall user experience, the extent of leverage options, the variety of both fiat and crypto deposit methods, and competitive fee structures.
Bybit is the premier choice for trading crypto futures, standing our for its award-winning user interface, liquidity, fee schedule, and platform security. Serving customers in more than 180 countries, Bybit facilitates multiple fiat deposit options, encompassing traditional bank transfers as well as credit, debit cards, and even PayPal. What sets it apart is its versatility in collateral options, offering both USDT and USDC to suit different stablecoin preferences.
A distinguishing feature is its extensive selection of over 770 cryptocurrencies for spot trading and more than 200 for derivatives trading. Fees are highly competitive, starting at just 0.01% for market makers and 0.06% for market takers. With the decline of Binance’s market share, Bybit has gained traction and is frequently recommended by notable crypto analysts on Twitter. This is reflected in its trading volume, which surpasses $4 billion in 24 hours.
- Fee Structure: Market makers pay 0.01%, and market takers are charged 0.06%, fluctuating spreads based on market conditions.
- Available Assets: Offers a wide range of 770+ cryptocurrencies in the spot market and over 200 in the derivatives segment.
- Deposit Methods: Includes options like Bank Transfers, Credit and Debit Cards, PayPal, and various localized methods such as SEPA and ACH.
- Leverage Options: Provides up to 25x leverage on perpetual futures contracts.
Taking a strong second place as a dependable option for crypto futures trading is Kraken, a platform known for its rigorous adherence to regulatory standards. Licensed by notable bodies like FinCEN, FINTRAC, and the UK’s FCA, it is a go-to option for traders in North America and the British Isles. Kraken has airtight security measures, plentiful liquidity, round-the-clock customer service, and an unyielding commitment to transparency and ethical conduct.
Kraken’s highly intuitive Pro interface facilitates trading of over 100 margin-enabled cryptocurrencies, while offering leverage up to 5x. This makes it a popular choice among institutional investors in Western countries, thanks to its stable funding structure, equitable rollover fees, a broad selection of crypto assets, and generous margin allowances. The fee schedule is straightforward: 0.01% to 0.02% to initiate a trade, and the same rate applies for every 4 hours the position remains open. For traders based in the US and Canada, meeting the Eligible Contract Participant (ECP) criteria is essential.
- Fee Structure: Makers are charged 0.01%, and takers 0.02%, with fixed rollover fees applied every 4 hours.
- Available Assets: Boasts over 200 spot markets and over 100 margin-enabled crypto markets.
- Deposit Methods: Offers a gamut of options like ACH, Interac e-Transfer, SEPA, as well as debit and credit cards.
- Leverage Options: Up to 5x leverage, complemented by ample margin limits.
Securing the third spot on our list, Binance is a robust alternative to Bybit and Kraken. Offering over 300 types of cryptocurrencies and operating in more than 150 countries, Binance stands out for its versatility. It's particularly attractive to institutional investors, thanks to its strong liquidity, especially in key assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
It's important to highlight that Binance's futures platform allows for leverage up to 20x, starting with fees of 0.02% for Maker Orders and 0.06% for Taker Orders. While the fees are slightly higher compared to Bybit, the range of offerings and depth in liquidity balances it out. Recent global regulatory scrutiny on Binance could be a point of caution for traders, particularly those who plan to store collateral on the platform.
- Fees: Maker Orders charged at 0.02% and Taker Orders at 0.06%.
- Available Assets: An extensive portfolio of 300+ cryptocurrencies.
- Deposit Methods: Diverse options such as bank transfers, crypto deposits, and credit and debit cards, along with WeChat Pay.
- Available Leverage: Leverage options go up to 20x on futures contracts.
Gate.io takes the fourth spot on our list, offering a distinct competitive edge in trading long-tail altcoin futures. Although known for an extensive cryptocurrency portfolio, the platform is particularly recognized for this unique specialization. With a roster of over 1,400 cryptocurrencies accessible in more than 200 countries, the platform offers a variety of assets for spot and derivatives trading.
The platform does lag behind a bit when it comes to liquidity. That being said, it maintains a competitive fee structure, setting both Maker and Taker fees at a flat rate of 0.02%. This places Gate.io as a strong choice for traders looking for a comprehensive selection of crypto assets within a versatile trading ecosystem.
- Fees: Uniform 0.02% for both Maker and Taker Orders.
- Available Assets: Diverse selection featuring 1,400+ cryptocurrencies.
- Deposit Methods: Multiple pathways including bank transfers, cryptocurrency deposits, and credit or debit cards.
- Available Leverage: Offers futures contracts with leverage options reaching up to 100x.
Landing at number five is GMX, a decentralized perpetual exchange that's known for its direct trading capabilities via user wallets such as MetaMask. With a leverage capacity of up to 50x, the platform focuses on key cryptocurrency pairs like BTC, ETH, and AVAX. GMX has recorded an impressive $143.95 billion in lifetime on-chain trading volume and proudly serves a robust user base exceeding 322,000.
Another standout feature is its focus on risk mitigation, achieved through aggregated high-quality price feeds that lower the chances of liquidation. It offers a user-friendly swap interface and minimal trading spreads, making trading more cost-effective. Further enhancing its platform, GMX has a well-thought-out token ecosystem, which includes a utility and governance token that accumulates 30% of the platform's fees, supplementing liquidity provider tokens for V1 and V2 markets.
- Fees: Maker orders at 0.05% and Taker orders at 0.07%.
- Available Assets: Features a diverse range, with over 20 pairs like BTC, ETH, ARB, UNI, SOL, DOGE, LINK, AVAX, and others.
- Deposit Methods: Allows on-chain deposits via popular crypto wallets such as MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet.
- Available Leverage: Offers leverage capabilities of up to 50x for perpetual contracts.
What are Perpetual Futures Contracts in Crypto?
Perpetual futures contracts in cryptocurrency are a specialized form of derivatives trading that lets you buy or sell digital assets such as Bitcoin or Ethereum without a fixed expiration date. Unlike their traditional counterparts, these contracts automatically roll over, giving you the flexibility to keep your trading position open for as long as you wish.
A key feature of perpetual futures is the funding rate, which adjusts at set intervals to ensure the contract price stays in line with the underlying asset's current market price. When the two prices drift apart, the rate changes to incentivize either buying or selling, helping to keep the market balanced. All in all, perpetual futures offer a dynamic and flexible trading option, suitable for both short-term traders and long-term investors in the cryptocurrency space.
Understanding Maker vs. Taker Fees
If you're new to the world of crypto futures trading, understanding the fee structure can be pivotal. When you place a "Maker Order," you're essentially adding liquidity to the trading pool by setting a "Limit Order" that waits for another trader to match. Generally, this incurs a lower fee because you're enriching the exchange's order book.
On the other hand, a "Taker Order" involves directly buying or selling an asset by taking advantage of the best available liquidity. This approach is usually more expensive, often costing about double compared to a Maker Order. In addition to these primary fees, don't overlook other potential charges, such as inactivity fees or limitations on withdrawals, as these can also impact your overall trading costs.
Understanding Crypto Futures Funding Rates
Crypto futures funding is a critical mechanism in perpetual contracts that aligns the futures contract price with the underlying cryptocurrency's spot price. The mechanism employs a funding rate that can be either positive or negative. When the rate is positive, those holding long contracts will pay traders with short contracts. Conversely, when the rate is negative, the short contract holders pay those with long contracts.
The purpose of this funding rate is to stabilize the market, but it's important to note that it can significantly affect your profitability. This rate essentially acts as an additional fee that could add to your expenses or contribute to your gains, depending on your trading position and the current funding rate. To stay updated on live funding rates, check out aggregators like CoinGlass that show you the live rates across multiple platforms.
In conclusion, the crypto futures trading landscape offers a myriad of options for traders, but not all platforms are created equal. After extensive research and analysis, our team highlights Bybit, Kraken, and Binance as top choices, each excelling in areas like regulatory compliance, fee structures, and asset diversity.
For those eyeing alternative coins, Gate.io is the go-to platform, while GMX offers a decentralized and non-custodial trading environment. Regardless of your trading experience, our guide aims to serve as a reliable resource for selecting a platform that aligns with your needs. Remember, the platform you choose should not only offer the assets and leverage you desire but should also stand up to the highest standards of security and transparency.