Exploring the World of Cryptocurrency: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Perpetual Future

Author : Dency Emily | Published On : 12 Feb 2024


Perpetual futures contracts have emerged as a significant player in the realm of crypto derivatives, captivating traders' interest with their unique features and opportunities. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of perpetual futures, exploring their definition, distinctive features, working mechanisms, and the strategies traders employ to navigate this dynamic landscape.

What Are Perpetual Futures?

Perpetual futures contracts represent a category of derivative contracts empowering traders to speculate on the future price of an underlying asset, particularly prevalent in the cryptocurrency domain. Unlike traditional futures contracts, perpetual contracts lack a set expiration date, allowing traders to maintain positions indefinitely without the need for renewal or rollover.

Features of Perpetual Futures:

  1. Funding Rate: Perpetual futures contracts incorporate a funding rate mechanism to align contract prices with the market value of the underlying asset. This rate facilitates payments between long and short positions, ensuring convergence between contract and asset prices.

  2. No Expiry Date: A notable feature is the absence of an expiration date, offering an hourly auto-rollover feature. Traders can hold positions without the constraints of expiration, enhancing flexibility.

  3. Leverage: Perpetual contracts enable traders to employ leverage, amplifying their positions. While this presents profit opportunities, it also introduces heightened volatility, necessitating caution.

  4. Margin Requirements: Traders must adhere to initial margin and maintenance margin requirements. Falling below the maintenance margin prompts liquidation to mitigate potential losses.

  5. Liquidation: A critical aspect, liquidation occurs when a trader's equity breaches the maintenance margin. Given the volatility of leveraged positions, liquidation acts as a risk management measure.

How Perpetual Futures Work: Perpetual futures contracts employ a funding rate mechanism, recalculated every 8 hours. The funding process involves payments between long and short positions based on the relationship between contract and asset prices. Positive funding rates indicate a premium, while negative rates signify a discount, ensuring alignment with the actual asset value.

Differences from Traditional Futures: Perpetual futures contracts diverge from traditional counterparts in significant ways. While traditional futures have fixed expiration dates, perpetual contracts rely on funding rates to maintain alignment with asset prices. Additionally, perpetual contracts are predominant in the cryptocurrency sphere and operate outside traditional regulatory frameworks.

Guide to Trading Perpetual Futures: Trading perpetual futures involves opening an account with a cryptocurrency exchange offering these contracts, funding the account adequately, selecting the desired contract, and establishing positions. Understanding the contracts and associated risks is imperative before venturing into perpetual futures trading.

Strategies for Trading Perpetual Futures:

  1. Speculation: Traders assume long or short positions based on anticipated price movements, bearing the high-risk, high-reward nature of speculative trading.

  2. Arbitrage: Leveraging price disparities between perpetual futures and the spot market, arbitrage strategies aim to profit from market inefficiencies.

  3. Hedging: Traders utilize perpetual futures to protect existing positions, minimizing losses in the event of adverse market trends.

  4. Trend Trading: Identifying market trends through technical analysis, traders align positions with the prevailing trend and exit as trends reverse.

Advantages and Disadvantages: Advantages:

  • No expiration date, allowing indefinite position holding.
  • Cash settlements and leverage options enhance liquidity.
  • Effective hedging possibilities for risk reduction.


  • Potential for substantial losses alongside profit opportunities.
  • High counterparty risks in unregulated environments.
  • Not ideal for novice traders due to elevated risks.

Conclusion: Perpetual futures contracts offer a compelling avenue for traders, characterized by their unique features and opportunities. While the absence of an expiration date and leverage options provide flexibility and profit potential, traders must navigate the associated risks diligently. A comprehensive understanding of perpetual futures contracts is crucial for leveraging their benefits while mitigating potential downsides.