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7 Best Crypto Contract Trading Platforms in 2024

18 mins
Updated by May Woods
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This guide explores the best crypto contract trading platforms on the market, showcasing and evaluating the features of each. We consider trading fees, liquidity, security features, and regulatory compliance, as these factors can all define and impact the trading experience. Here are the top options for traders in 2024.

Methodology

The best crypto contract trading platforms in 2024

1. OKX

Best for options trading
Availability
Worldwide, not U.S.
Fees
From 0.05%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
125x

2. Binance

Best for a wide range of contracts
Availability
Worldwide, not U.S.
Fees
From 0.05%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
125x

3. Bybit

Best for beginners
Availability
Worldwide, not U.S.
Fees
From 0.055%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
125x

4. Kraken

Best for advanced trading
Availability
Worldwide
Fees
From 0.05%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
50x

5. BYDFi

Best for perpetual swaps
Availability
Worldwide, not U.K.
Fees
From 0.05%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
200x

6. MEXC

Best for low fees
Availability
Worldwide, not U.S.
Fees
From 0.02%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
200x

7. BingX

Best for rewards
Availability
Worldwide, not U.S., U.K.
Fees
From 0.02%
Account minimum
$0
Max leverage
150x

How do the top crypto contract trading platforms compare?

PlatformBest for AvailabilityDerivatives feesMax leverage
CoinbaseBest for futures tradingU.S., Europe0% – 3.99%10x
OKXBest for option tradingWorldwide, not U.S.,From 0.05%125x
BinanceBest for a wide range of contractsWorldwide, not the U.S.From 0.05%125x
BybitBest for beginnersWorldwide, not U.S.From 0.055%125x
KrakenBest for advanced tradingWorldwideFrom 0.05%50x
BYDFiBest for perpetual swapsWorldwide, not U.K.From 0.05%200x
MEXCBest for low feesWorldwide, not U.S.From 0.02%200x
BingXBest for rewardsWorldwide, not the U.S.From 0.02%150x

What is contract trading in crypto?

In crypto contract trading, individuals agree to exchange the difference in the price of crypto between the time the contract opens and closes without owning the underlying asset. 

This method lets traders speculate on price movements, bet on prices going up or down, and potentially profit from these predictions. These contracts are typically leveraged, meaning traders can control large amounts of cryptocurrency with a relatively small amount of capital, which can increase both potential gains and risks.

How do long and short-term contract trading work?

In contract trading, “long” and “short” are terms used to describe the types of bets traders make on the future price movements of cryptocurrencies.

  • Long contract trading: When traders go long, they bet that the cryptocurrency’s price will increase. Essentially, people are buying expecting to sell at a higher price later. If the price goes up as anticipated, they profit based on the difference between the buying and selling prices.
  • Short contract trading: On the other hand, when a trader goes short, they bet that the cryptocurrency’s price will decrease. This involves selling the cryptocurrency first, even without owning it, with the plan to buy it later at a lower price. If the price falls as expected, the trader can buy it back at the lower price, return what they borrowed, and keep the difference as profit.

Both types of trading often use leverage, which means using borrowed money to increase potential returns. This can make both potential profits and losses significantly larger than in traditional trading.

How to choose the right crypto contract trading platform

crypto portfolio altcoin season cover

Choosing the right crypto contract trading platform involves considering various factors to ensure that the platform meets your trading needs and provides a secure, reliable environment. 

Here’s how to evaluate different platforms:

  1. Type of trading offered: Determine whether the platform supports the types of trading you are interested in, such as derivatives trading, leverage trading, futures contracts, or options contracts. Each type has its own risks and benefits.
  2. Trading fees: Check the fees associated with trading on the platform. This includes any fees for opening or closing positions and withdrawal fees. Lower fees can significantly impact your overall profitability.
  3. User interface: The platform should have an easy-to-navigate interface that suits beginners and experienced traders. A good interface can simplify the trading process and help you make decisions faster.
  4. Security features: Security is crucial in cryptocurrency trading. Look for platforms with strong security measures such as two-factor authentication, encryption, and cold storage of assets.
  5. Regulatory compliance: Ensure the platform complies with relevant regulations in its operating jurisdictions. This compliance is important for protecting your investments.
  6. Liquidity: High liquidity means that there are enough trading activities on the platform to allow you to execute trades quickly and at predictable prices. High trading volume is often a good indicator of liquidity.
  7. Availability of tokens: Consider what cryptocurrencies are available for trading. Some platforms offer a wide range of tokens, while others focus on more popular ones.
  8. Type of exchange: Decide between using centralized or decentralized exchanges. Centralized exchanges usually offer more liquidity and faster trades but require you to trust the platform with your funds.
  9. Customer support: Good customer support can be invaluable, especially if you encounter issues with your account or trades.

Benefits of contract trading in cryptocurrency

Contract trading in cryptocurrency offers several benefits that make it an attractive option for many traders:

  1. Access to derivatives: Contract trading platforms typically offer access to futures and options contracts. These financial instruments enable more complex trading strategies that can be tailored to manage risk and enhance potential returns.
  2. Profit from market movements: Contract trading enables traders to profit from rising and falling markets. Traders can make gains regardless of the overall market direction by going long (buying) or short (selling).
  3. High liquidity: Popular contract trading platforms usually have high liquidity, meaning that large trading volumes can be executed quickly and at stable prices. This is crucial for traders who need to enter or exit positions quickly.
  4. Regulatory compliance: Many crypto contract trading platforms adhere to regulatory standards, which can provide a level of security and trust. Compliance helps protect traders’ investments and ensures fair trading practices.
  5. Diversification: Through contracts, traders can access a variety of cryptocurrencies without needing to hold the actual tokens. This allows for easier diversification of a trading portfolio, which can help manage risk.
  6. Enhanced trading tools and features: Contract trading platforms often offer advanced trading tools and features, including comprehensive charting packages, automated trading systems, and detailed market analysis. These tools can help traders make informed decisions and execute more effective trading strategies.

Overall, the main benefit of contract trading in cryptocurrency is that it can provide sophisticated mechanisms for traders looking to exploit market inefficiencies, hedge, or increase exposure to markets with a relatively small capital outlay.

Risk of contract trading in cryptocurrency

Arkham, Nansen, ARKM

Contract trading in cryptocurrency, while offering potential benefits, also carries several risks:

  1. Leverage risks: While leverage can magnify profits, it also increases the potential for significant losses. Small price movements can lead to rapid losses, possibly exceeding the initial investment. 
  2. Market volatility: Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile. Rapid price changes can occur unexpectedly, which can be amplified in contract trading, leading to substantial losses.
  3. Liquidity risk: During periods of extreme market turbulence, even large platforms may face liquidity issues, making it difficult to enter or exit positions at desired prices.
  4. Regulatory changes: The regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies is still in its infancy. Sudden changes in laws or regulations can affect the legality and operation of trading platforms, impacting market conditions and trader positions.
  5. Complexity of derivatives: Trading derivatives like futures and options contracts can be complex and may not be suitable for all traders, particularly those with limited experience. For example, to trade Bitcoin futures effectively, one must understand market trends and have access to real-time data and analytics.
  6. Counterparty risk: In contract trading, there’s always a risk that the other party in the contract may fail to meet their obligations. This is particularly a concern on less regulated platforms.
  7. Security risks: Despite security improvements, trading platforms can still be vulnerable to hacks and security breaches, potentially leading to the loss of funds.
  8. Overnight fees: Holding positions open over time can incur costs, known as rollover or swap fees, which can eat into profits or increase losses.

Crypto contracts trading vs. traditional options trading

Crypto contract trading and traditional options trading share some fundamental similarities. However, they also have distinct differences catering to different traders and investment strategies. 

Similarities

  • Both are derivative instruments, meaning their value is derived from the price of an underlying asset, which could be stocked in the case of traditional options and cryptocurrencies for crypto contracts.
  • Both allow traders to hedge or mitigate risk in their investment portfolios.
  • Traders can speculate on price movements to profit from rising or falling markets.
  • Both types of trading can offer leverage, allowing traders to control large amounts of the underlying asset with a relatively small capital outlay.

Differences

  • Underlying assets: Traditional options are tied to various assets, including stocks, commodities, and indices, while crypto contracts are specifically related to cryptocurrencies.
  • Market hours: Traditional options trading is generally limited to the hours of major stock exchanges, typically Monday through Friday during business hours. Crypto contract trading, on the other hand, occurs 24/7, offering round-the-clock trading opportunities.
  • Regulatory environment: Financial authorities heavily regulate traditional options trading, such as the U.S. SEC or FCA in the U.K., providing a layer of security and investor protection. Crypto contract trading operates in a less regulated space, which can offer more freedom but also increased risk.
  • Volatility: Cryptocurrencies are generally more volatile than most traditional assets, which can lead to larger and more rapid price swings. This means potentially higher returns but also greater risk.
  • Accessibility: Crypto contract trading is typically more accessible globally, often requiring just an internet connection and minimal identification. Traditional options markets may have more barriers to entry, such as brokerage accounts, higher capital requirements, and jurisdictional restrictions.

Crypto contracts trading vs. traditional options trading

AspectCrypto contracts tradingTraditional options trading
Underlying assetsCryptocurrencies onlyStocks, commodities, indices, etc.
Market hours24/7, including weekends and holidaysLimited to stock exchange hours, typically Monday to Friday
Regulatory environmentGenerally less regulated, varying by countryHeavily regulated by financial authorities like the SEC or FCA
VolatilityTypically higher due to the nature of cryptocurrenciesGenerally lower, dependent on the underlying asset
AccessibilityHigh global accessibility, minimal barriers to entryRequires brokerage accounts, subject to more regulatory checks
ComplexitySimpler with fewer types, but growing in variety and complexityA wide range of complex strategies are possible
SettlementUsually, cash or digital currency settlementOften involves the possibility of delivery of the actual asset
Trading hoursContinuous trading opportunitiesRestricted to specific times and days
LeverageOften highly leveragedLeverage available varies with product and broker
Risk managementHedging is possible but generally riskierBroad options for hedging and risk management

What are the advantages of using crypto contract trading platforms?

Crypto contract trading platforms offer several advantages that can be appealing to both novice and experienced traders:

  • Accessibility: Crypto trading platforms are generally accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This global access allows traders from various regions to participate without the need for traditional brokerage accounts.
  • Market hours: Unlike traditional financial markets that have set trading hours, crypto markets operate 24/7. 
  • Leverage: Many crypto contract trading platforms offer leverage, which allows traders to multiply their exposure to market movements without needing the full amount of capital normally required to own the asset outright. This can significantly increase potential profits (though it also increases risk).
  • Diversity of instruments: These platforms often provide a variety of trading instruments, including futures, options, and perpetual futures contracts. This range allows traders to employ different strategies and hedge their positions.
  • Speed of transactions: Crypto trading platforms typically offer fast transaction speeds, reducing the time it takes to enter and exit positions, which is crucial in a volatile market.
  • Latest technology: Many crypto trading platforms are at the forefront of implementing the latest technology, which can offer traders more advanced tools and features for analysis, automated trading, and copy trading. Futures copy trading allows less experienced traders to mirror the positions of seasoned professionals, making it easier to enter complex markets.
  • Lower barriers to entry: Crypto platforms often have lower entry requirements compared to traditional finance, making it easier for smaller investors to start trading.

While these advantages make crypto contract trading attractive, traders need to consider the associated risks and ensure they understand the market before participating.

An anecdote of crypto contract trading going wrong:

How do I invest in crypto contracts?

Investing in crypto contracts involves several straightforward steps. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

Step 1: Educate yourself

Before investing, learn about different types of crypto contracts, such as futures, options, and perpetual swaps. Understand the terms, mechanics, and risks associated with each.

Step 2: Choose a reliable trading platform

Selecting the right crypto futures trading platforms is essential for accessing various instruments and leverage options. Consider security features, regulatory compliance, trading fees, and customer support.

Step 3: Create and verify your account

remote work guide

Register for an account on your chosen platform. You will likely need to verify your identity with documents such as a passport or driver’s license, depending on the platform’s requirements and your region’s regulations.

Step 4: Deposit funds

Once your account is set up, deposit funds. Most platforms accept cryptocurrency deposits, and some also support fiat currencies like USD or EUR. Choose your preferred method and follow the instructions to make a deposit.

Step 5: Start with a trading plan

Develop a trading plan. Decide how much you want to invest, set your profit targets and loss limits, and how you will manage risks, especially since crypto contracts can involve leverage.

Step 6: Choose your contracts

Select the type of contracts you want to trade. Each contract has specific characteristics and terms, such as expiration dates for futures and strike prices for options. Learning how to trade Bitcoin options can significantly enhance your ability to manage risk and capitalize on market volatility.

Step 7: Place your trades

Use a trading interface to place your trades. You can choose from various order types, such as market orders (buy/sell immediately at current prices) or limit orders (set a specific price at which you want to buy or sell).

Step 8: Monitor and manage your positions

software developer blockchain web3 crypto

Once you have opened positions, monitor the market closely. Use tools like stop-loss orders to manage risk. Moreover, be prepared to adjust your positions based on market movements and news.

Step 9: Close your positions

Decide when to exit your trades. Depending on the contract type, you can close your positions by executing a trade in the opposite direction or letting your options or futures expire.

Step 10: Withdraw or reinvest profits

After closing your positions, you can choose to withdraw your profits or reinvest them into new contracts. Check the withdrawal procedures and limits on your platform. Following these steps will help you start investing in crypto contracts. Remember, it’s important to continually educate yourself and stay updated with market trends and news to make informed decisions.

Looking to expand beyond the spot markets but not sure where to start? Here’s how to trade Bitcoin futures and options like a pro.

Choose the best crypto contract trading platform for you

Choosing the right crypto contract trading platform is essential. Whether your focus is on derivatives or leverage trading, the ideal platform should offer competitive trading fees, a user-friendly interface, and top-end features. Remember that contract trading is high-risk, and you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.

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Iulia Vasile
Iulia Vasile is a seasoned professional in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, working full-time in the field since 2017. With a background in computer engineering, she has the unique ability to write about complicated topics, including DeFi, NFTs, trading, and AI, in a way that is easy to understand. Iulia learned multiple programming languages while completing her Software Engineering degree in Bucharest at Politehnica University. Iulia brings her expertise and personal...
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