The Best Crypto Derivatives Platforms
Check out our picks for the best futures, cfd, and options platforms in the market.
- Best Futures
- Best USA Futures
- Best Crypto CFDs
- Best Forex Broker
- Best Options
- Best Spot Margin
Number One Bitcoin Derivatives Exchange
BitMEX has developed a crypto derivative trading platform supporting leverages of up to 100:1. Highest trading volume in the market. Get an exclusive 10% fee discount.
- Bitmex has the best platform for the trading of crypto futures contracts in the market
- Short or long bitcoin with leverages up to 100:1
- Recently integrated options contracts which are slowly picking up steam
- Bitcoin Cash
- Maker: -.025%; Taker: .075%
- Crypto Only
- Crypto Only
Bitmex offers three different bitcoin/USD derivatives – the Perpetual Swap which tracks the spot market; a three-month futures; and a six month futures. The Perpetual Swap tracks an underlying index which is comprised of the weighted average across a few different exchanges;
a funding rate paid from longs to shorts, or vice versa, is automatically transferred every eight hours, used to ensure that the underlying index is being relatively closely followed. The Futures contracts work the same as any other futures, with the settlement price using the average price over a predetermined time frame.
Bitmex is the best out there for four main reasons. First, it has become the most liquid futures exchange out there, with a 24 hour turnover on perpetual swaps frequently about 200,000 XBT – an extraordinary figure considering that the spot market comes in at around 750k daily. Second, the fees are exceptionally low, with limit orders on the most liquid pairs actually receiving a fee rebate, meaning trades get paid to keep the order book deep. Third, although we would not recommend setting your leverage above 5X, you can customize exceptionally high leverages, up to 100X on the perpetual swap, and 50X on bitcoin and ethereum futures. And fourth, Bitmex offers high leverages, high volumes, and low fees across many of your favorite crypto assets, so you can speculate how you would like.
Note that Bitmex allows only bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. All trades are collateralized in bitcoin. This is a massive bonus for bitcoin holders, as it is incredibly easy to begin trading. Accounts require only an email, and your deposits are ready for trading after 1 confirmation, so you can usually start within 5 minutes or so.
Get 10% off your trades for the first six months.
Settled in USD
Tradestation offers access to both CME and CBOE futures contracts, with comparatively low margin requirements and fees.
- Both CBOE and CME contracts available
- Fantastic platform and low fees
- Margin requirements ok for a US bitcoin futures brokerage
- United States
- Bank Wire, ACH, Debit Card
This is a tough one. The launch of CME and CBOE bitcoin futures has led to a number of big name online exchanges integrating bitcoin futures into their offerings. This allows mainstream traders to get in on the bitcoin hype without having to buy the underlying asset, and many are able to use their existing stock brokers to do so. However, both CME and CBOE offer stingly margins of 40% and 35% respectively, and online brokers offer retail traders even higher margin requirements. The contracts are also quite large, with a CME contract representing five bitcoin, and CBOE’s contracts representing one bitcoin.
That being said, our vote goes to tradestation as offering the best combination of low fees, (relatively) decent margin rates, easier accessibility to bitcoin futures than the competition, a really great platform, and access to either the CME or CBOE exchanges, or both.
There is a bitcoin-only futures exchange called deribit that accepts US customers. It unfortunately has limited liquidity, which is why we can’t recommend it as the top US broker. Many US-based bitcoin holders that trade futures apparently use Bitmex through a VPN, though this is against their terms of service and is not recommended, both due to VPN latency concerns as well as risking account closure.
Best Crypto CFDs
AvaTrade offers leveraged trading of cryptocurrency CFDs across Metatrader and proprietary platforms.
- As far as CFDs go AVA offers pretty decent spreads on crypto
- Trade mini contracts of .1 bitcoin at a leverage up to 20:1
- Respected CFD broker has a 10 year+ track record
- Bitcoin Cash
- BTCUSD: 1%; EURUSD: .00015; GBPUSD: .0002; GOLD: .5; OIL: .03
- USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD
- Credit Card, Bank Wire, Paypal, Neteller, Skrill
In general, we are not the biggest fans of crypto CFD brokerages for two reasons: first, the fees are pretty high, generally around 2-3% over market on both sides of a trade; and second, because CFD brokerages are not transparent with their underlying index. However, CFD brokerages do offer a simple method of trading highly leveraged bitcoin derivatives which is an attractive proposition for those who do not want to actually buy bitcoin. (If you are able to buy bitcoin, then you should use bitmex).
Our vote goes to AVAFX as the best bitcoin and crypto CFD brokerage. AVAFX has been around for a long time and has a pretty solid track record. Their fees are also much lower than most of the competition – less than 1% in the bid/ask spread – and they offer a large number of crypto assets for trading.
In addition to the standard btcusd contract, multiple cryptos are available for trade on AVA’s downloadable MT4 platform. More importantly, they offer a bitcoin mini contract, the equivalent of .1 bitcoin. With Margin available from 5%, it takes a much smaller deposit to control a relatively meaningful amount of bitcoin. All the different pairs are also available on AvaGo, the new avatrade mobile app.
Best Forex CFDs
1Broker is an entirely anonymous bitcoin platform for trading mainstream forex and CFD markets. Register with an email and begin trading instantly.
- top spot to trade mainstream CFDs using bitcoin
- trade instantly using just an email
- US traders warmly welcomed
- BTCUSD: N/A ; EURUSD: .0001; GBPUSD: .0002; GOLD: .6; OIL: .06
- Crypto Only
- Crypto Only
1Broker abandoned it’s cryptocurrency CFDs, and now offers only mainstream instruments – forex, stock, commodity, and index CFDs for trade, collateralized and settled only in bitcoin. While bitcoin is used for trading, all non-Forex instruments are denominated in USD, whilst there are dozens of forex pairs covering all the important crosses, as well as many exotics. If you are looking to trade mainstream CFDs with your bitcoin, 1broker is your best spot.
1broker was really a trailblazer not only in being one of the first bitcoin CFD marketplaces, but also in demonstrating how bitcoin could be utilized for a truly fast and cheap method of trading online.
Fast, as in in takes only an email to register, and bitcoin deposits are instantly processed – it is no exaggeration to say you may start trading within 60 seconds from the moment you click “create account”. Withdrawals are just as simple, processed instantly and without any games. For mainstream Forex traders, this is something special.
Cheap, as in the spreads are extremely narrow, as good or better than most of the top mainstream Forex brokerages. 1Broker is generally cheap as well with their withdrawal charges, currently coming in under $5 equivalent.
And last, the product has been designed for a simple, intuitive trading experience, which allows for very fast execution and very little lag. And perhaps their most popular feature is the social trading aspect, which allows traders to automatically mimic the trades of successful traders and comment on the trades as they occur. Copied traders earn a percentage of the fees on all the traders that follow them, which can be a very interesting additional revenue stream.
Best Options – Deribit
Deribit is bitcoin's first and largest options trading platform, with a solid bitcoin futures and spot market offering as well. US traders welcome.
- If bitcoin options ever take off Deribit is well placed to be the market leader
- Has a small yet functioning Futures exchange as well
- US traders allowed
- Maker: -.02% Taker: .05%. Options .04%.
- Global, US Not Accepted
- Crypto Only
- Crypto Only
Perhaps the word “best” should be changed to “only”, as Deribit is winner of this category by default. We do hope to see a burgeoning options market, which many prefer as a hedge over futures, not to mention that beautiful category of investor/speculator, the option trader. At the moment, Deribit is the only spot that offers options at all. Deribit is a bitcoin-only product, and so your bitcoin options trading must be collateralized and exercised in bitcoin.
The platform is good, and there is a growing but still somewhat low volume of trading going on. The strikes are a bit too far apart but that would be expected until greater volumes are achieved. We would imagine that, for an experienced options trader, there is money to be made. Oh, and did we mention that Deribit does accepts US customers? It only takes an email to begin trading, so might as well check it out.
Best Spot Margin: Bitfinex
Bitfinex leads the pack in terms of liquidity, it offers margin accounts across numerous cryptocurrencies, the fees are low, and they even offer a lending market which can be used as an interesting hedge for bitcoin holders.
- 3:1 margin offered on all cryptocurrencies
- borrowers lend actual bitcoin from lenders who set the interest rate
- Bitfinex has more volume than any other bitcoin exchange
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
- Maker: 0.0-0.1%; Taker: 0.1-0.2%
- USD, EUR, GBP, JPY
- Bank Wire
While this is not actually a derivative, one need not resort to derivatives to secure leverage. There are a number of exchanges that offer 3:1 leverage on your spot bitcoin position, but none more popular, or offering margin on more crypto assets, than Bitfinex.
The volume is high, the trading fees are low, and the borrowing fees are sort of (maybe?) cheap. When you borrow funds, you are actually borrowing from a lender who prefers to earn interest on the rate of bitcoin at the time of lending. When the position is closed, the borrower must pay the lender the amount of bitcoin equal to the dollar value at the time of lending, plus the interest.
This is not actually a derivative, because the borrower actually controls real live bitcoin that has been borrowed from the lender.