Bybit is the best overall crypto futures trading platform when applying our rating methodology. This is because their platform ticks all of the boxes when it comes to having the best user experience, deepest liquidity, lowest fees and best overall security. They are also one of the few exchanges that does not require identity verification, meaning you can sign up with an email & password only.
Their exchange offers over 400 crypto assets to trade with up to 125x leverage with fees starting at 0.01% for maker orders and 0.02% for taker orders. Since the collapse of notable exchange FTX, Bybit has become the number 1 destination for popular traders on Crypto Twitter and is now the largest in futures trading volume.
Binance is a great second choice to Bybit that has a very similar offering in terms of available assets and overall user experience. Some notable disadvantages compared to Bybit is that they do require full user identity verification, which can take up to one week depending on the jurisdiction you are creating your account from.
Their exchange currently offers over 300 trading pairs and up to 25x leverage on perpetual futures trading contracts The fees on Binance are slightly more expensive with maker orders starting at 0.02% per trade.
BitMEX is an institutional-grade futures trading platform that prides itself on performance, regulation adherence and transparency. Their derivatives (future) trading platform currently offers over 30 different trading pairs with a Maker Fee of 0.01% and a Taker Fee of 0.03% for all trades. They require full KYC and verification as an institutional trading platform.
One downside to BitMEX is that their user interface is very outdated and can be difficult to navigate even for experience crypto traders. That said, they are an overall safe option and are based in Hong Kong.
Phemex is a relatively new crypto exchange that was founded in 2019 by Jack Tao and a team of former JPMorgan executives. Based in Singapore, the exchange offers a wide variety of trading features including futures contracts, options and more for over 200 crypto assets with low fees starting at 0.02%.
One downside to Phemex is that they are a relatively new and unknown team. While the exchange does seem safe, we advise doing extra diligence before using this platform especially after seeing the events that unfolded with the FTX saga.
5. OKX Futures
OKX is an up-and-coming crypto futures trading platform that has been gaining traction throughout 2022. Currently offering 50+ crypto assets and up to 50x leverage, OKX provides a great alternative to Binance with similar fees at 0.03% for maker orders and 0.05% for taker orders.
The main downside to the platform is that it does require user identity verification and can take up to a week to complete. This makes them an ideal option for professional investors but not as great for casual traders.
Crypto Futures Trading Fees: Maker vs Taker Orders
If you are new to trading cryptocurrency futures, there are few things you need to know about how the fee structure works before you get started. Firstly, a 'Maker Order' means that you provide liquidity to the exchange by setting a 'Limit Order' and having it filled by a counter-party. This is the cheaper way to trade because you are helping the exchange provide depth on their order books.
A 'Taker Order' is the opposite, where you instantly fill a buy or sell by 'Taking' the best liquidity on the order book. This is the more expensive option to trade, and will generally cost 2x more than a Maker Order. You should also take into consideration any additional fees such as dormant account fees or withdrawal limits that may apply.
Why is Crypto Futures Trading so popular?
Crypto futures trading has become popular for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that it allows traders to speculate on the price of cryptocurrencies without actually having to own the underlying assets. This allows traders to take advantage of potential price movements without the risks associated with owning the underlying assets.
Additionally, crypto futures contracts are typically traded on regulated exchanges, which adds an extra layer of security and reliability to the market. Finally, crypto futures can be traded with leverage, which allows traders to potentially amplify their returns.
Is Futures Trading Risky?
Futures trading is inherently risky and should only be done by experienced traders with sufficient capital. It is important to understand the mechanics behind margin trading, liquidation prices and other features that come with leveraging your investments before you get started.
In addition, there are always risks associated with using a particular exchange such as hacks, government regulations and other unforeseen events. If you are thinking of getting started with crypto futures trading, we recommend that you start small and never leverage more than what you can afford to lose. The cryptocurrency market is volatile and unpredictable so always use caution when entering into this space.
In order to asses which futures exchange is the best for crypto futures traders, we took into account 10 key data points based on a survey of what investors considered to be the most important variables. The 10 data points were equally weighted to determine which futures trading platform was the overall best.
The data points that were used to form the basis of this review included security, regulation, fees, liquidity, latency, available assets, proof of reserves, usability, mobile app functionality and overall platform features. We also conduct extensive background checks into each platform to ensure that they are safe for traders and adhere to all applicable regulations.