Spot Market Trading

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 19, 2023

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What Is a Spot Market?

A spot market is a financial market in which assets are traded immediately. It has three components: a seller, a buyer, and an order book. Once a buying/selling order is filled, the transaction concludes right away.

Spot markets are available for an array of investment assets, including stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, and foreign currency (Forex). Forex markets include exchanging one money for another.

Although they may appear the same, there are a few key distinctions between these two types of markets.

To begin with, Forex (FX) is the world's largest financial market, with a market capitalization of $2.4 quadrillion. Various brokers, mediators, and organizations that collect fees during different stages of trading are involved in forex trading.

When you trade on a decentralized exchange (DEX), no third parties are usually involved in the transaction.

Bitcoin spot markets allow users to trade assets directly with each other in real time. Transactions are finalized immediately when the buyer and seller's orders match. Both over-the-counter and third-party exchanges offer spot market trading.

Third-party exchanges utilize intermediaries for regulating the transaction between buyers and sellers.

Spot prices for cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and often depend on investor sentiment. Understanding market mood may help traders make more informed decisions when trading bitcoin on the spot market.

What Is the Spot Market for Cryptocurrency Trading?

If you are looking to get into cryptocurrency trading, it's inevitable that your profitability will expand as more and more institutions begin to develop an interest in cryptocurrencies.

Before you begin, though, you should normally buy and sell some cryptocurrency first so that you know what you are doing.

A spot market differs from other markets because it doesn't require margin or leverage. For example, spot markets form when buyers and sellers come together to trade bitcoin.

The crucial distinction between spot markets and other types of trading is that settlement takes place immediately, so the trade is frequently wrapped up not long after making a bid and asking for an offer.

Spot trading can occur on centralized (CEX) and decentralized (DEX) exchanges. A CEX, or crypto exchange, uses the third party to oversee cryptocurrency transactions and guarantee that everything is copacetic before the seller hands over assets to the buyer.

Decentralized spot trading means that transactions are publicly recorded on a ledger without the intervention of a third party. You can use these techniques to buy, sell, or hold assets in your wallet.

The sections below provide a more in-depth look at bitcoin spot trading.

How to Spot Cryptocurrency Trading

It is crucial to comprehend that spot trading involves buying an asset at its current price and then holding onto it, hoping its value will appreciate. Though this is the fundamental concept behind spot trading, the reality is much more complicated.

A trader wants to buy Bitcoin (BTC) using Tether (USDT) instead of USD. The USDT is a stable coin that has gotten more popular because its value stays close to $1 US dollars. Depending on the market, one USD may only be worth tethers.

The BTC/USDT spot trading pair on Bybit's spot market changes in real-time, allowing users to study the price movements over the past 24 hours. You may use this market to convert USDT to BTC or BTC to USDT.

Note that with spot trading, you can only exchange assets you already own; margin and futures trading are the only ways to access leverage.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when spot trading:

Things to Remember When Spot Trading

A market order is when you buy or sell an item immediately at the best available price.

A limit order is a buyer and seller agreement to trade assets at a specific price.

A market order is filled on the spot when the trigger price reaches the most recent traded price. The limit order will be implemented after the order book receives it.

An ordering history is when you can easily refer to your transaction history and the types of orders you made. This will help you keep track of all executed order records, including completed and canceled orders.

Market orders are executed based on real-time executions, and you will be notified immediately if the order is completed. If your whole order is not completed, the portion won't be canceled.

Limit orders are not guaranteed since it is dependent on the seller agreeing to your purchase price.

Before you execute a buy or sell order, take into account that most exchanges charge a transaction fee per order placed. The fee amount varies based on whether you are classified as a maker or a taker.

The following are key factors in deciding if someone is a taker or a maker:

Makers: Use order book market depth to increase liquidity.

Takers: You are considered a taker if you make a market order that removes liquidity from the order book as a buyer.

The fee for using By bit varies depending on the platform you use. When utilizing by bit, takers must pay a fee of 0.0075 percent of the transaction. Makers receive a 0.0025 percent reimbursement, however.

It is important to remember that the spot price is different from the futures price. A cryptocurrency's spot price is what it currently costs if you want immediate delivery. Futures are typically filled after several months.

The Key Differences Between Spot and Futures Trading

Spot Trading vs Futures Trading

Before starting to trade, it is important to understand the key differences between spot trading and futures trading. As asset values can be volatile, spot market transactions are instantaneous.

Futures trading differs from other types of trading because both parties have to agree on a price that will be set in a contract until the trade is finished later. When the contract expires on the chosen day, the buyer and seller come to an agreement.

The price of an asset traded in the spot market is volatile and changes rapidly, while the futures market is less affected by these fluctuations. The difference in delivery dates between a future and a spot transaction can be months apart.

Futures contracts often take longer to complete transport trades.

Other notable features include:

Margin and leverage: With futures contracts, traders can open a position with less money upfront and still make a larger profit.

The fees you pay to trade cryptocurrencies vary depending on the exchange.

Spot settlement means the order is paid immediately, while futures contracts have an end date, and no trading can happen until the contract is physical or cash-settled.

Only buyers and sellers are involved in spot trading. In some future transactions, an intermediary may be used.

Futures contracts can be used for risk management, like hedging against price movements.

Where Is the Best Place to Invest Your Money in Crypto?

Before you start spot trading crypto, you must decide where the trade will go down. This could be an over-the-counter or peer-to-peer trade, which might happen on a centralized or decentralized exchange.

In greater detail, let's explore the following:

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Or Peer-To-Peer (P2P)

Whether spot trading is over-the-counter (OTC) or peer-to-peer (P2P), there are advantages.

Over-the-counter trade, or off-exchange trading, is a type of transaction that occurs directly between two parties. A market maker or broker/dealer coordinates the transaction with a buyer until it is properly completed.

OTC trading (in contrast to cryptocurrency exchanges) often fails to fulfill your orders because there is insufficient buyer demand or accessible order books.

P2P exchanges let people buy and sell cryptocurrency using a bartering system. After the buyer signs up for a P2P platform and enters all of their desired trade parameters, they can select from different offers based on the offer's restrictions, payment methods, and pricing.

The transaction is completed as soon as the buyer accepts an offer.

In general, OTC trading usually entails larger transactions that are more private than P2P deals.

Exchanges to Invest Your Money

Centralized Exchanges CEXs

Centralized exchanges utilize a middleman to connect buyers and sellers. Usually, the exchange has control over the assets being exchanged.

Every large centralized exchange allows traders to trade with fiat currency pairs, so you can start trading immediately by adding cryptocurrency or cash into your account.

Centralized exchanges are responsible for ensuring security, client protection, anti-money laundering (AML), and know-your-customer (KYC) measures are in place.

Trading on centralized exchanges often incurs transaction fees, regardless of market conditions. CEXs profit from both trading activity and total transaction volume.

Decentralized Exchanges DEXs

A decentralized exchange (DEX) functions similarly to a centralized exchange (CEX), except it does not require an intermediary. DEXs are designed to let traders complete transactions without depending on another party, hence the name "trustless."

DEX uses blockchain technology to allow traders to transact directly from their wallets using smart contracts. Smart contracts are self-executing and offer anonymity and binding, meaning that trades will be carried out according to the rules set forth.

With a decentralized transaction, the funds go directly into your account instead of being held by one central entity.

Advantages of Spot Markets

Advantages of Spot Markets

The difference between trading cryptos on the spot and futures markets is that the former relies solely upon transparent prices determined by supply and demand. The latter, however, often employs a great deal of reference pricing.

If you opt to trade in the spot market, it means that you own the asset outright, and trading is quick and transparent. For example, if you enter $1,000 into a spot market, your risks are calculated based on the current prices and your entry point.

Contrastingly, margin trading has more risks and potential for greater returns; however, you could lose your entire initial investment.

Another vital advantage of spot trading is that you can start and conclude a transaction at any time, which isn't possible with margin trading or derivatives.

Spot trading is perfect for beginners who want to buy and keep their assets instead of gambling about them being liquidated because of big changes.


Overall, spot market cryptocurrency trading could be a great way to earn some bitcoins affordably. When you need speedy results, the immediate response of a spot market transaction may be crucial.

However, futures trading makes you wait for your earnings and risks losing your original investment.

Spot Market Trading FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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