Crypto options trading is a significant part of the digital asset market, offering traders the opportunity to speculate on price movements without the need to own the underlying asset. This article delves into the complex world of crypto options, highlighting key concepts and strategies.

Crypto options are a form of derivative contracts, that is financial instruments which derive their value from an underlying asset, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Traders can buy or sell these contracts, betting on the future price of the asset. It’s a high-stakes game, with the potential for significant returns, but also substantial risk.

# Option Contract Parameters

An option contract has several key parameters. The ‘strike price’ is the price at which the underlying asset can be bought (for call options) or sold (for put options). The ‘expiry date’ is when the option contract becomes invalid. The ‘premium’ is the price paid to buy the option. Understanding these parameters is crucial for successful options trading.

# Calls Versus Puts

In the world of options trading, two primary types of contracts exist: call options and put options. These contracts give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price within a specific timeframe. The key difference between the two lies in the direction in which the holder expects the price of the underlying asset to move.

**Call Options**

A call option gives the holder the right to buy an underlying asset at a specified price, known as the strike price, before the contract’s expiration date. Traders buy call options when they anticipate that the price of the underlying asset will increase. If the asset’s price rises above the strike price, the trader can exercise the option to buy the asset at the lower strike price and then sell it at the current market price for a profit. If the asset’s price does not exceed the strike price before the option expires, the trader will typically let the option expire worthless, losing only the premium paid for the contract.

**Put Options**

Conversely, a put option gives the holder the right to sell an underlying asset at a specified price before the contract’s expiration date. Traders buy put options when they expect the price of the underlying asset to decrease. If the asset’s price falls below the strike price, the trader can exercise the option to sell the asset at the higher strike price. If the asset’s price does not fall below the strike price before the option expires, the trader will typically let the option expire worthless, again losing only the premium paid for the contract.

In summary, call options are used when traders are bullish on an asset, expecting its price to rise, while put options are used when traders are bearish, anticipating a price decline.

# European vs American Options

Options can be classified as European or American. European options can only be exercised at the expiry date, while American options can be exercised any time before expiry. This flexibility makes American options more expensive than their European counterparts.

# Cash-Settled vs Physically-Settled Options

Options can also be cash-settled or physically-settled. In cash-settled options, the profit or loss is paid in cash at expiry. In physically-settled options, the underlying asset is delivered. Most crypto options, like those on Deribit, are cash-settled, simplifying the settlement process.

# Understanding Premiums

The premium is the cost of buying an option. It’s determined by several factors, including the underlying asset’s price, the strike price, the time to expiry, and the asset’s volatility. The more volatile the asset, the higher the premium, as the risk is greater. Some options platforms allow the contract sellers to set their own price, whereas others use the Black-Scholes formula as the basis for automatically calculating premiums.

# Contract Multipliers

In crypto options trading, contract multipliers are used to determine the contract’s size. For example, a Bitcoin options contract on Deribit has a multiplier of 0.01, meaning each contract represents 0.01 BTC. This allows traders to trade large amounts of Bitcoin with a smaller capital outlay.

# Navigating Strategies

There are numerous strategies in options trading, each with its own risk and reward profile. These include long calls, long puts, covered calls, protective puts, and various spread strategies. Each strategy involves a different combination of buying and selling call and put options to achieve a specific risk/reward profile.

Here are some examples of common strategies used by options traders:

**Long Call**: This is the most basic of all options strategies and involves buying a call option. Traders use this strategy when they expect the price of the underlying asset to rise significantly before the option’s expiry. The profit potential is unlimited, while the loss is limited to the premium paid for the option.

**Long Put**: This strategy involves buying a put option. It’s used when traders expect the price of the underlying asset to fall significantly before the option’s expiry. Like the long call, the profit is theoretically unlimited (up to the strike price), while the loss is limited to the premium paid.

**Covered Call**: In this strategy, a trader sells a call option while owning an equivalent amount of the underlying asset. This strategy is used when the trader expects a moderate rise or fall in the price of the underlying asset. The trader earns the premium from selling the call but may miss out on potential profits if the asset’s price rises above the strike price.

**Straddle**: This strategy involves buying a call and a put option with the same strike price and expiry date. It’s used when the trader expects a significant move in the price of the underlying asset but is unsure of the direction. The profit is unlimited, while the loss is limited to the total premium paid.

**Strangle**: This strategy is similar to a straddle but involves buying a call and a put option with different strike prices but the same expiry date. It’s used when the trader expects a significant move in the price of the underlying asset but is unsure of the direction and wants to reduce the premium paid. The profit is unlimited, while the loss is limited to the total premium paid.

**Iron Condor**: This strategy involves selling a call spread and a put spread on the same underlying asset and expiry date. It’s used when the trader expects the price of the underlying asset to remain stable. The profit and loss are both limited.

**Butterfly Spread**: This strategy involves buying a call at a lower strike price, selling two calls at a middle strike price, and buying another call at a higher strike price, all with the same expiry date. It’s used when the trader expects the price of the underlying asset to remain near the middle strike price. The profit and loss are both limited.

# The Greeks

In options trading, ‘the Greeks’ refer to measures of risk. They include Delta (sensitivity of an option’s price to changes in the underlying asset’s price), Gamma (rate of change of Delta), Theta (sensitivity of an option’s price to time decay), and Vega (sensitivity of an option’s price to changes in the underlying asset’s volatility). Understanding the Greeks is crucial for managing risk in options trading.

# Implied Volatility

Implied volatility is a key concept in options trading. It’s a measure of the market’s expected future volatility of the underlying asset. The higher the implied volatility, the higher the option premium, as the risk is greater.

# A less complex (and cheaper) alternative

While trading crypto options can be a profitable venture, it can also be complex and risky. For those who are looking for a simpler, more cost-efficient, and easier-to-manage alternative, Bumper offers a unique solution.

Bumper is a novel and innovative DeFi protocol designed to make risk management in crypto markets more efficient and fair. It offers a unique solution to the persistent challenge of downside volatility in the crypto space, providing a simple, fair, price-efficient, and sustainable risk market which is autonomous and accessible to everyone.

# Bumper’s simpler method of risk management

Unlike traditional methods of managing risk in crypto markets, such as diversification, hedging with financial instruments such as options, stop-loss orders, and holding stablecoins, Bumper simplifies the process of crypto hedging by offering a two-sided pooled risk market. On one side, protection takers ‘bumper’ their crypto, setting a floor price and a term length, and activating their protection. If the price of their crypto finishes its term above the floor, they get their original asset back. If it ends up below the floor, they claim the value of the floor in stablecoins.

On the other side of the market, liquidity providers earn yield from the premiums paid by the protection takers. They commit their stablecoins to a pool, which is used to provide liquidity for the protection takers who finish below the floor. In return for assuming some of the risk, liquidity providers have the potential to earn a generous yield collected from premiums paid by protection takers.

Bumper’s unique design has the potential to disrupt traditional options desks and pave the way for a more fair and transparent hedging market in the world of crypto. It offers a more flexible and price-efficient hedging solution, allowing crypto holders to hedge against downside risk without losing out on upside gains, while simultaneously providing liquidity providers with an attractive yield.

In essence, Bumper offers a simpler, more cost-efficient, and easier-to-manage alternative to trading crypto options. It’s a game-changer for those who want to protect their investments or earn a yield in the crypto market.