Advantages and Disadvantages of Trading Spot vs Future Trading

Published October 19, 2023

Trading in financial markets offers many strategies and instruments, with two primary methods that traders often engage in are spot and futures market. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for trading different trading objectives with risk tolerance. In this article, we will focus on key characteristics, benefits and drawbacks of trading futures as compared to spot markets.

Basics of Spot Market

Spot markets are where assets are bought and sold for immediate delivery and payment. In the context of trading, spot price is the current market price at which the asset is bought and sold. Spot trading typically involves the physical delivery of assets, in the case of cryptocurrencies, the actual ownership of the asset is a digital coin or token.

Advantages of Spot Trading


Spot trading is a straightforward as well as ideal approach for beginners as this involves the immediate exchange of assets against cash or other assets.


When you buy anything in the spot market, you settle on the spot too. This means that the ownership of that thing is now your property.

Immediate Settlement

Transactions in spot markets are settled instantly, providing certainty regarding the executed trade.

Physical Delivery

In some cases, like commodities, spot markets facilitate physical delivery of the asset, allowing hedging as well as real world use.

Disadvantages of Spot Trading

Limited Leverage

Spot trading usually does not offer significant leverage, making it less attractive to traders who are seeking to amplify gains and risk management through hedging.

Higher Capital Requirements

For gaining exposure to a sizable position is by typically a substantial amount of capital in spot trading.

No Shorting

Spot trading usually allows one to profit from price increases but not from price declines (shorting), while limiting the trading strategies.

Basics of Future Markets

Future markets on the other hand are where contracts are traded that obligate the buyer to purchase and sell a specified quantity of an asset at a predetermined time and future time as well as price. These contracts are high in standardized forms and often used to speculate and hedge.

Advantages of Futures Trading


Future trading offers significant leverage, allowing traders to control larger positions with smaller amounts of capital. This can magnify the profits and losses.

Short Selling

Futures contracts enable traders to profit from falling prices, which can serve as a powerful risk management tool or a speculative strategy.


Futures markets are commonly used for hedging purposes. This enables market participants to protect themselves against adverse price movements in the underlying asset.

Lower Capital Requirement

Due to leverage provided, futures trading often requires less initial capital compared to spot trading for controlling equivalent sized position.


Futures markets cover a wide range of asset classes, including commodities, stocks, interest rates and allowing more opportunities for diversification.

Disadvantages of Future Trading

Higher Risk

While leverage can amplify gains, it also significantly increases the risk of substantial losses. It is essential to manage the risk diligently.

Contract Expiry

Futures markets have expiration dates, requiring traders to either close out their positions or roll them over into a new contract that can be cumbersome and costly.


Futures contracts are highly standardized, thus barring the flexibility of adjustment of contract terms to suit specific needs.

Margin Calls

Due to the inherent leverage, futures traders can receive margin calls if their positions move against them, necessitating additional capital.

Comparing the Advantages and Disadvantages

Now let us compare the advantages and disadvantages of trading in future markets versus spot markets to gain a clearer picture of which suits specific trading objectives and preferences.


Futures markets provide significant leverage, allowing traders to control larger positions with lesser capital. In spot markets we offer limited leverage making it less attractive for those seeking amplified gains and risk management through leverage.

Short Selling

In the future market, traders also profit from falling asset prices, offering greater flexibility in trading strategies. Typically, only allow traders to profit from rising asset prices, limiting the range of strategies available.


In future markets, hedging is commonly used as it helps to maintain market participation and protection against adverse price movements. In the spot market, there are complex strategies involved against effective hedging.

Capital Requirements

In the future market, there is lesser need for capital as the exchange itself provides necessary funds. In the spot market, one needs to have adequate funds to buy assets.


The futures market covers a broad spectrum of asset classes, offering various diversifications, and opportunities. Whereas in the spot market, diversification may require investing in multiple asset classes, which can be less efficient.


In future, use of leverage induces the potential for losses, hence a need to place risk management. Whereas in spot there are lesser chances of losses. It is safer as compared to futures.

Settlement and Expiration

In future markets, contracts have an expiration date. This usually happens in the case of traditional futures contracts, but in the case of crypto, there is no expiration date, and the funds keep on rolling forever.


In short, the choice between trading in the futures market and spot market is a choice that is strongly dependent on the risk appetite of the trader. Futures markets offer significant opportunities to earn even when the prices of the assets are tumbling. However, in the case of less experience, one can have advantages in spot trading. As it is less risky and provides ownership of the assets.


BITFLEX is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that offers traders a secure, easy-to-use, and convenient way to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies.  Our platform has been designed with investors of all levels in mind, whether they are just starting out or experienced traders. We offer various features and tools to help users make the best trading decisions possible, including advanced charting and analytics, real-time market data, and various customizable trading interfaces. At BITFLEX, we are dedicated to empowering our users and helping them reach their financial goals.

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