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Futures trading can be a lucrative opportunity for investors, but it comes with its own set of complexities. One such complexity is the funding rate, which plays a crucial role in maintaining market stability and ensuring the futures contract’s price stays in line with the underlying asset. Understanding the funding rate is essential for any trader looking to navigate the world of futures trading successfully.

► Funding rates are used in perpetual futures contracts because these contracts are designed to track the underlying asset’s price indefinitely. Unlike traditional futures contracts that have a fixed expiration date, perpetual futures contracts have no fixed expiration and are designed to trade indefinitely. One may have noticed certain figures and an 8-hour timer running while browsing the cryptocurrency futures trading tab on online exchanges. Something like this:-

► In futures trading, the funding rate is the periodic fee that is paid between long and short traders to maintain the price of the contract in line with the underlying asset. To prevent price discrepancies between the futures contract and the underlying asset, a funding rate is applied to the contract periodically, usually every 8 hours.

► The funding rate is calculated based on the difference between the current price of the futures contract and the price of the underlying asset(on spot).

Funding Rate = (Price of Contract - Price of Underlying Asset) / Price of Underlying Asset x Funding Interval

If the futures contract is trading above the underlying asset’s price, long traders pay the funding rate to short traders, and vice versa if the futures contract is trading below the underlying asset’s price. Technically, this explains why the same asset typically has a different price on the spot and futures markets. The neutral funding rate is 0.01%.

► Positive and Negative Funding Rates: For example; The funding rate for the CFX/USDT pair in the screenshot above is 0.0312%, which is positive funding and indicates that there are more open long positions in the market than open short positions. In such a case, at each countdown refresh of 8 hours, long traders pay a set fee to short traders, and this fee is subtracted from the open margin of that long order.

Negative Funding Rate below 0.01%

The negative funding rate of -0.0689% on APE/USDT indicates that there are more open short positions for this pair on the market right now. In this situation, the short traders will pay the long traders a specific fee at each 8-hour countdown refresh.

Caution is advised when trading a futures contract with a high funding rate, as it can result in volatile prices and significant fees at the end of the countdown. Conversely, holding a long position on an asset with a highly negative funding rate can result in a favorable interest margin after the countdown reset.

► Market Sentiment: The data shown in the chart below indicates how funding rates and market sentiment are related. A positive correlation suggests that the funding rate tends to increase as market sentiment becomes more bullish, while a negative correlation indicates the opposite. For example, as the price of Bitcoin falls, the funding rate becomes negative (shown in red), indicating bearish sentiment. However, as the price of Bitcoin rises, the funding rate becomes positive (shown in green), indicating that shorts are being closed or liquidated and more traders are taking long positions with a bullish sentiment.

Funding rate correlation with market sentiment

Funding fee tab

Funding fee tab in your futures order history will show you the funding fee you’re being paid or paying for your open positions.

In conclusion, funding rates play an important role in futures trading, helping to ensure that the market price of a futures contract stays close to its underlying asset’s spot price. While they offer benefits such as predictability, liquidity, and price stability, traders must also be aware of the potential disadvantages, including complexity, unforeseen events, and increased trading costs. By understanding the mechanics of futures trading and carefully weighing the pros and cons of using funding rates in their strategies, traders can effectively leverage funding rates to improve their futures trading performance. Ultimately, the use of funding rates should be considered as just one of many tools in a trader’s arsenal, and used judiciously as part of a well-rounded trading strategy.

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