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7 Risks of Crypto Futures Trading for Beginners

Written by Charles

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Last Updated on June 6, 2024

Are you thinking about jumping into crypto trading? It’s exciting but risky, especially if you’re starting.

Trading crypto futures is one way to guess where digital currencies will go next, and it could lead to big wins.

But it’s also full of risks. If you’re new, getting these risks down pat is super important.

We will walk you through the seven significant risks you’ll run into with crypto futures trading.

We’ll talk about everything from the tricky bits of using borrowed money to the wild ups and downs of the crypto world so you can start trading confidently.

#1. Leverage Risks

leverage trading

When you engage in crypto futures trading, Leverage plays a pivotal role. It enables you to control prominent positions with relatively little capital.

Your collateral is used to borrow funds, magnifying your potential returns. For example, with a 10x leverage, a $1,000 investment controls a $10,000 position.

However, Leverage is a double-edged sword. While the prospect of amplified gains is alluring, it’s crucial to understand that losses are equally magnified.

A minor price movement against your position can lead to significant losses, potentially exceeding your initial collateral. Additionally, the crypto market is notoriously volatile, which can lead to rapid fluctuations in asset prices.

Here is a simplified breakdown of potential outcomes with Leverage:

  • With 10x Leverage:
    • A 1% price increase can result in a 10% profit.
    • Conversely, a 1% decrease can lead to a 10% loss.

Risks of Excessive Leverage:

  • Heightened risk of liquidation: If the market moves against your position by a certain percentage, your position may be closed to prevent further losses, resulting in the loss of your collateral.
  • Increased interest costs: Borrowing funds usually incur interest, which can accumulate over time and reduce profitability.
  • Market volatility: The rapid and unpredictable price changes expected in cryptocurrency can quickly turn leveraged trades sour.

As a beginner, it’s vital to calibrate your Leverage use prudently. Start with lower Leverage to navigate the risks and build your understanding of how Leverage impacts your trading outcomes.

#2. Price Volatility and Slippage

When you enter the world of crypto futures trading, understanding the inherent risks, such as price volatility and slippage, is crucial.

Cryptocurrency markets are known for their rapid and unpredictable price movements. This volatility can present opportunities for significant profits and substantial risks for losses.

In futures trading, volatility intensifies as contracts involve speculation on future prices. If the market swings unfavorably, it could lead to margin calls or forced liquidations of your positions.

Slippage is another critical element to consider.

It occurs when there’s a difference between the expected price of a trade and the price at which the trade is executed. Reasons include market volatility, low liquidity, or delayed transaction times. Here’s how slippage affects trades:

  • Positive Slippage: Your transaction is executed at a better price than expected.
  • Negative Slippage: Your transaction is executed at a worse price than expected.

To manage these risks:

  1. Be aware of market sentiment and news that could trigger volatility.
  2. Use limit orders to define the maximum price you’re willing to pay or the minimum price you’re willing to accept.
  3. Consider the size of your trades; larger trades can be more susceptible to slippage.

Remember, slippage can’t always be avoided, but understanding its mechanics helps manage risks effectively during trading.

#3. Margin Call Risks

When trading crypto futures, understanding margin calls is vital.

A margin call occurs when your account balance exceeds the maintenance margin requirement. To continue holding the position, you’re required to deposit more funds.

Implications of Margin Calls:

  • Liquidation Risk: If you can’t meet the margin call, your position may be liquidated at a loss.
  • Additional Funds: You need quick access to capital to add to your account.
  • Market Volatility: Sudden market shifts can trigger margin calls unexpectedly, often when it’s least convenient for you.

Strategies to Avoid Margin Calls:

  • Monitor your positions actively to react to market changes.
  • Use stop-loss orders to limit potential losses.
  • Maintain a cash reserve to handle margin requirements without liquidating positions at an unfavorable time.

Remember, trading on margin amplifies both gains and losses. As a beginner, approach cautiously, ensuring you have a clear risk management strategy to mitigate the risks associated with margin calls.

#4. Market Liquidity Risks

You must know market liquidity risks when engaging in crypto futures trading.

Liquidity refers to the ease with which an asset can be bought or sold in the market without impacting its price. In a less liquid market, there might be a significant spread between the bid and ask prices, and your orders may not be filled at your desired price point.

Challenges of Low Liquidity in Crypto Assets:

  • Price Slippage: Thinly traded markets can experience price slippage, meaning a trade could execute at a significantly different price than expected if a large order consumes all available opposite offers.
  • Order Fulfillment: Orders, huge ones, may be partially filled or take a long time to execute, potentially leading to missed opportunities or the need to adjust strategies.

Risks Associated with Entering and Exiting Positions:

  • Impact on Entry/Exit: Insufficient liquidity might hamper your ability to enter or exit positions swiftly. This can be particularly risky if you’re trying to exit a position to prevent losses or take profits.
  • Volatility Spikes: Crypto assets can be prone to sudden volatility spikes, which may be exacerbated in illiquid markets, increasing the risk of market gapping.

In summary, staying informed about the liquidity of the futures market you’re trading in is crucial.

Always check the depth of the market, understand the typical volume traded, and exercise caution with large orders to mitigate these inherent risks.

#5. Regulatory Risks

In the rapidly changing realm of cryptocurrency, regulatory risks are a significant consideration for beginners engaging in crypto futures trading.

Regulations can differ widely across different countries and jurisdictions. As such, you must stay informed about the regulatory environment in the regions where you trade.

  • Impact on Contracts: Sudden regulatory changes can directly influence the legality and enforcement of futures contracts. For instance, banning crypto activities in a particular region could render contracts unenforceable.
  • Compliance Requirements: Stay abreast of compliance mandates that could affect your trading activities. Being unaware of, or non-compliant with, new regulations can lead to legal repercussions or fines.

Here’s a concise look at regulatory factors you should monitor:

  • Legal Developments: Watch for news regarding legal battles or discussions within governmental bodies.
  • Market Accessibility: Regulations can limit access to specific markets or types of futures contracts.
  • Tax Obligations: Consider how regulatory changes could alter your tax liabilities related to your futures trading profits or losses.

Adaptability: The ability to quickly adapt your trading strategy to comply with new regulations is critical to mitigating risks associated with regulatory changes. Consider the creation of contingency plans to accommodate potential regulatory disruptions.

Monitoring regulatory announcements and engaging with platforms that prioritize regulatory compliance can be beneficial in navigating these risks.

Remember, the structure of the crypto futures market can transform overnight with new legislation, so vigilance is paramount in this dynamic trading landscape.

#6. Psychological Factors Affecting Trading Decisions

In crypto futures trading, your success hinges on market knowledge and how well you manage the trading psychology. Some psychological factors can significantly skew your trading decisions, leading to risks often underestimated.

Emotional Decision Making

When you trade, emotions like fear and greed can cloud your judgment. Fear can lead to panic selling when the market dips, while greed might compel you to make impulsive trades during surges, hoping for quick profits.

  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): You may experience FOMO, compelling you to enter trades based on hype rather than strategic decision-making.
  • Euphoria: Winning streaks may lead to euphoria, causing you to ignore potential risks.

Recognizing these emotions is the first step in preventing them from undermining your trading strategy.

Overconfidence and Market Predictions

Overconfidence can lead you to believe that you can consistently predict market movements, which is rarely possible due to the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies.

  • Incorrect market timing because of a few previous successes can lead to significant losses.
  • Overestimating your ability to predict the market might cause you to overlook actual market indicators and trends.

Being mindful of overconfidence may help balance your approach to trading, fostering more sound decision-making based on data rather than intuition.

#7. Operational Risks

In crypto futures trading, operational risks involve your platforms’ stability and security features. Understanding risks associated with exchange security and technical complications is crucial to safeguard your investments.

Exchange Security

Exchange security pertains to the protective measures and protocols exchanges implement to shield your digital assets from unauthorized access and cyber threats. Here are some factors that influence the security of an exchange:

  • Security Protocols: Look for exchanges with robust security features such as two-factor authentication (2FA), cold storage for funds, and end-to-end encryption.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Prefer exchanges that adhere to regulatory standards, implying they follow prescribed security guidelines and reporting.
  • Insurance Fund: Check if the exchange has an insurance fund, which can be a safety net in case of a security breach.

Technical Glitches and Downtime

Technical glitches and downtime refer to the various technical issues that can occur on a trading platform, potentially affecting trading activities. Aspects to consider include:

  • System Reliability: Opt for platforms with a track record of uptime and reliable order execution.
  • Customer Support: Efficient customer support is essential for resolving technical issues swiftly.
  • Redundancy Plans: Inquire about the exchange’s backup systems and contingency strategies to ensure continuous access during technical outages.

#8. Counterparty Risks

You are inevitably exposed to counterparty risks when engaging in crypto futures trading.

This refers to the possibility that the party opposite your trade, such as an exchange or other trader, may fail to fulfill their contractual obligations, which can lead to financial loss for you.

Why Counterparty Risks Occur:

  • Default: The counterparty may become insolvent or lack the financial resources to honor the contract.
  • Operational Failures: Hacking incidents or technical glitches can impede a counterparty’s ability to settle the contract.
  • Legal Issues: Legal actions against your counterparty can freeze assets or disrupt their operations.

Potential Impacts:

  • Financial Loss: You could lose the capital set aside for the trade.
  • Market Position: Your open positions may be involuntarily closed at unfavorable prices.

Mitigation Strategies:

  • Due Diligence: Research the counterparties to assess their reliability.
  • Diversification: Spread your investments across various platforms to reduce exposure.
  • Collateral Quality: Ensure collateral posted by counterparties is high quality and liquid.

By comprehending these risks and taking steps to mitigate them, you can make more informed decisions in crypto futures trading. Always remember to trade with caution and consider the trustworthiness of your counterparties.


In navigating the realm of crypto futures trading, awareness and risk management are crucial. Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Educate Yourself: Before you start trading, ensure you understand the market and the complex nature of futures contracts. Knowledge is your first line of defense.
  • Start Small: Trading small volumes can help you get a feel for the market without exposing yourself to excessive risk.
  • Set Goals: Determine what you aim to achieve and establish clear strategies for entry and exit positions.
  • Risk Management: Utilize stop losses and take profit orders to safeguard your investments.
  • Diversify: Do not put all your capital into a single trade. Spreading your investments can mitigate potential losses.
  • Develop Resilience: Trading is as much a psychological endeavor as it is strategic. Prepare yourself to handle the volatility and the emotional stress that comes with it.

By adhering to these principles, you position yourself to trade responsibly within the volatile crypto futures markets. Remember, protecting your capital should always be your primary concern, coupled with the pursuit of optimized opportunities for gains.

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