What is a Crypto Futures Exchange?
A crypto futures exchange is a specialised platform for trading cryptocurrency futures contracts. These contracts are financial derivatives that allow traders to speculate on the future price movements of cryptocurrencies, all without owning the underlying assets.
These contracts typically come with predetermined expiration dates and fixed prices (unless it’s a perpetual contract), enabling traders to profit from upward and downward movements in cryptocurrency prices.
Traders can flexibly take both long and short positions in crypto futures contracts. Going long means they expect the crypto’s price to rise, while going short means anticipating a price decrease. Taking short positions allows traders to profit from market downturns potentially. If you’re interested in shorting crypto, you can find more information in our list of the best exchanges for shorting crypto.
13 Best Crypto Futures Exchanges in 2023
Our team has meticulously assessed the top crypto futures exchanges catering to Australian traders. Our evaluation process involves a comprehensive examination of each platform, focusing on factors such as the range of crypto futures contracts available, managing AUD funds through domestic payment methods like PayID, Osko, and Bank Transfers, user interface and experience, transaction fees, and security measures.
eToro is the top choice for Australian investors venturing into futures trading. With diverse futures contracts covering 3,000 coins, stocks, ETFs, and more, eToro allows users to trade with leverage of up to 10x. Deposits in AUD can be made via bank transfers, credit or debit cards, and third-party payment services such as POLi.
eToro is recognised for its industry-leading fees and spreads, delivering exceptional value for money. As an ASIC-licensed platform, it prioritises security via measures like two-factor authentication, secure fund storage, and an insurance fund to shield users from unexpected market volatility.
OKX stands out brightly thanks to its substantial daily trading volume in futures and spot markets. Tailored to meet the specific needs of crypto futures traders worldwide, OKX boasts an impressive portfolio comprising over 150 crypto derivatives contracts and 400 spot markets. It simplifies buying, selling, and trading processes with attractive fees starting at just 0.1% for both maker and taker orders.
What sets OKX apart is its comprehensive suite of services, such as Crypto Staking, Futures Trading, an NFT Marketplace, and its unique blockchain, OKC Chain. Acknowledging the diverse requirements of its global user base, OKX integrates a wide range of deposit methods, including international bank transfers, universally recognised payment systems, and widely accepted debit and credit cards.
Binance holds a prominent global reputation as a leading platform catering to Bitcoin and crypto futures trading. This platform facilitates the trading of numerous cryptocurrencies with a leverage of up to 125x. Traders from across the globe can effortlessly create a Binance Futures account within minutes, accessing the most exceptional Bitcoin and crypto futures trading platform.
In addition to its extensive range of features, Binance prioritises its users’ security and liquidity needs, rendering it an excellent choice for institutional investors and retail traders alike. For more comprehensive insights, you can refer to our detailed Binance Review.
While it may not boast the same level of regulation as eToro, Bybit offers greater liquidity across a broader range of crypto assets. It offers futures contracts for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, and over 100 other cryptocurrencies, all with the added benefit of leverage of up to 25x. Deposits in AUD can be made via various channels, including bank transfers and cards.
Bybit stands out competitively in terms of fees, with maker and taker rates of -0.025% and 0.075%, respectively, incentivizing users to contribute liquidity. Security measures include two-factor authentication, cold storage, and an insurance fund to shield against market volatility. While slightly less regulated than eToro, Bybit remains a robust choice for Australian investors seeking high-leverage opportunities in the crypto space.
Bitget secures the fifth position on our list of the best crypto futures exchanges. Yet, it’s renowned for its substantial trading volume and liquidity, ensuring traders can access ample liquidity and competitive pricing. This heightened liquidity streamlines trade execution, minimising slippage and enabling efficient entry and exit from positions.
Bitget offers perpetual and quarterly futures contracts, allowing traders to select the most suitable one for their trading strategies. This versatility is highly rated since it caters to long-term investors and short-term crypto futures traders. The trading fee for crypto futures on Bitget stands at a competitive 0.06%.
KuCoin is the preferred choice for Australian traders searching for a no-KYC futures platform. It provides an array of futures contracts for over 50 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, all offering leverage of up to 100x. However, KuCoin does not directly accept AUD deposits; users must deposit cryptocurrency or make crypto purchases on the platform using a credit card.
KuCoin maintains highly competitive trading fees, commencing at 0.02% for makers and 0.06% for takers. The platform is fortified with robust security measures, including dynamic multifactor authentication and a bank-level disaster-proof deployment system.
Securing the fourth spot on our rankings, Gate.io stands out prominently thanks to its no-KYC futures trading feature. This feature appeals to traders who highly value their privacy, as it allows them to engage in transactions without needing to submit identity documents such as passports or driver’s licences.
Gate.io is esteemed for providing access to a diverse selection of over 1,400 cryptocurrencies, available for both spot and derivatives trading, and this accessibility extends to traders in over 200 countries. The platform maintains a competitive fee structure, charging a flat 0.02% fee for both maker and taker orders. While it may not excel in every aspect, Gate.io is especially suitable for those prioritising a private and versatile trading environment.
Kraken distinguishes itself through its strict adherence to regulatory compliance. Holding licences from reputable authorities such as FinCEN, FINTRAC, and the FCA, Kraken emerges as a robust choice for traders in the US, Canada, and the UK. Kraken provides secure trading, abundant liquidity, round-the-clock customer support, and a consistent commitment to transparency and ethical standards.
The platform facilitates trading for over 100 margin-enabled crypto assets, offering leverage of up to 5x. Institutional investors in Western countries particularly favour it due to its stable funding options, reasonable rollover fees, diverse crypto-asset offerings, and generous margin limits. Kraken’s fee structure is transparent, with rates ranging from 0.01% to 0.02% for opening a position and the same rate applying for every 4-hour interval that the position remains open.
DYDX is a decentralised finance platform operating on the Ethereum blockchain. It offers various financial services, including margin trading, lending, borrowing, and trading various cryptocurrencies. Notably, it prioritises transparency, security, and user-friendliness, all underpinned by a decentralised governance model.
Users actively participate in steering the platform’s direction and growth. DYDX’s use of smart contracts and blockchain technology ensures transactional security, transparency, and resistance to tampering. With the highest liquidity available for top crypto pairs like BTC, ETH, AVAX, NEAR, LUNA, ONE, and more, DYDX solidifies its position on our list.
Phemex, introduced in 2019, has rapidly amassed a user base exceeding 5 million. Their exchange boasts impressive liquidity across over 150 crypto pairs, allowing for leverage of up to 100x on their highly secure and high-performance centralised trading platform. Phemex stands out for its reputation of offering low fees, tight spreads, and a feature-rich exchange encompassing staking, spot trading, options, and more.
Phemex also provides the advantage of a registration and trading process that does not necessitate verification or KYC. This means you can easily create an account using just an email address and password and proceed to deposit stablecoins or other digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum to initiate your trading activities.
GMX is a decentralised perpetual exchange known for enabling direct trading from user wallets like MetaMask, offering leverage of up to 50x. Tailored for trading key cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, and AVAX, GMX boasts an impressive lifetime on-chain trading volume of $143.95 billion and maintains a substantial user base of over 322,000 traders.
Beyond its core trading features, GMX enhances its platform with a robust token ecosystem. The GMX utility and governance token, which receives 30% of the platform’s generated fees, complements liquidity provider tokens for both V1 and V2 markets. The exchange operates seamlessly on the Arbitrum and Avalanche networks, augmenting its versatility and appeal.
MEXC offers both perpetual and traditional futures contracts, catering to the diverse needs of various traders. Perpetual contracts allow for trading without expiry dates, while conventional futures contracts provide opportunities for longer-term positions. The platform imposes a modest 0.01% taker fee for crypto futures trading.
One notable advantage of MEXC is its advanced trading engine. This engine is adept at managing high trading volumes with minimal latency, ensuring swift order execution and mitigating the risk of slippage. This feature sets MEXC apart, providing traders with a level of trading experience that many similar platforms simply cannot match.
Huobi Global boasts a diverse offering. It supports 500+ digital assets and operates in more than 100 countries. Founded in 2013 by Leon Li, a former computer engineer at Oracle, Huobi Global has grown into a prominent player in the crypto industry.
Within its Huobi Futures division, investors and traders can explore three distinct product categories: USDT-margined contracts, coin-margined contracts, and options. USDT-margined contracts are quoted and settled in USDT, whereas coin-margined contracts derive their value from the underlying cryptocurrency.
How to Select a Crypto Futures Trading Platform
If you’re considering delving into crypto futures trading, it’s crucial to assess various features and factors when selecting the right platform:
- Advanced Trading Apps: Look for platforms featuring sophisticated trading apps with a strategic focus. The apps can provide valuable trading signals, including distinct market entry and exit points. Besides, they should incorporate technical indicators and offer comprehensive charting features. The ideal platform strikes a balance, delivering extensive information without overwhelming the user interface.
- Commission Rates: Commission rates can vary significantly between platforms. Review its fee schedule carefully before committing to a crypto futures trading platform. Remember that sometimes, you may indirectly be the product if a service is free.
- Order Types: Order types are critical to an expert trading strategy. They instruct your crypto exchange on how and when to execute your orders at the most favourable prices. Nearly all brokers offer this essential feature, so consider an alternative if your chosen trading platform lacks comprehensive order types.
- Intermediary reliability: A reliable intermediary is essential since futures often involve borrowing for investment. The futures market heavily relies on clearinghouses due to the leveraged nature of its financial products. Ensuring the reliability of the clearinghouse is vital for the security of your investments.
- Margin and Leverage: Margin enables you to execute larger or more advanced trades by committing less capital than the total transaction cost. Some trading platforms offer substantial leverage, even up to 500x. Understanding your chosen platform’s margin and leverage offerings is essential to make informed trading decisions.
Best Crypto Futures Exchange FAQs
How to start trading futures?
Starting futures trading is similar to opening a margin account for stocks. Choose a broker, open a futures trading account, sign a margin agreement, get account approval, and deposit funds.
Can you trade crypto futures in Australia?
Yes, crypto futures trading is allowed in Australia, regulated by the ASIC. Ensure platforms have the necessary licensing for secure and regulated trading.
How to trade crypto futures?
On user-friendly platforms like Bybit, you must sign up with email and password, deposit funds (bank transfer, card, or crypto), select the market, input trade details, and execute.
How much money do you need to trade futures?
Aim for at least $10,000 in your account, more for holding positions overnight to mitigate risks from market volatility. Margin rates vary by the market.
Is crypto futures trading profitable?
Profitability in crypto futures trading depends on accurate predictions, practical strategies, and the amount of leverage used.
Does Coinbase have futures trading?
Yes, Coinbase offers futures contracts, including nano bitcoin and nano ether contracts, settled monthly.
Crypto Futures Exchanges: Final Thoughts
Crypto futures trading provides an innovative and dynamic way to participate in the evolving world of cryptocurrencies. Selecting the right trading platform plays a pivotal role in this journey. This review has explored the best crypto futures exchanges for Australian traders, considering factors such as the range of futures contracts, deposit options, transaction fees, security measures, and compliance with AUSTRAC and ASIC regulations.
The platforms – eToro, OKX, Binance, Bybit, and KuCoin- have unique features and benefits, offering varying degrees of regulation, asset diversity, leverage, and security. While regulatory norms should guide your choice, your specific needs as a trader ultimately determine your decision. As with all investments, always remain informed about regulation changes and market trends.