Bitcoin futures are a type of Bitcoin (BTC) trading that speculates on the upcoming price of the asset. Various BTC futures trading contracts exist with different expirations. Participants buy and sell Bitcoin futures contracts based on how they think Bitcoin’s price will perform in the future. Bitcoin futures contracts can be bought and sold before expiration. Once contracts expire, they are settled, and the holder receives the contracts’ worth in Bitcoin or cash, depending on the trading product and the going market rate for Bitcoin at the time. Cash-settled BTC futures pay out contract holders in cash, while physically settled Bitcoin futures pay out in BTC.
A number of crypto exchanges offer Bitcoin futures trading. Bitcoin futures also trade on mainstream markets through multiple avenues. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, or CME, offers cash-settled Bitcoin futures, in addition to Bitcoin options on those futures.