In the crypto trader jargon, quarterlies is short for quarterly futures.
Quarterly futures are a derivative contract that expires every three months.
Why are crypto quarterlies so popular
The popularity of the quarterly contract has dissipated over the recent years.
- For high net worth traders, the reason is that the cash and carry arbitrage opportunity is not what it used to be when the market was in its infancy.
- For the smaller traders, the main reason is that ever since BitMEX launched the perps, for many traders it is more convenient to trade that.
The popularity of quarterlies among smaller speculative traders was due to the reason that the quarterly contract behaves not too differently from the spot market as long as the expiration date is still far enough. Also, since it is a derivative contract, you can trade it with up to 20x leverage without paying any interest.
On the contrary, you have to pay interest if you want to use leverage on spot markets. (With perps it is more complicated, you either pay interest or collect it.)
All in all, for speculative positions, quarterlies still offer a cheap way to scale into a leveraged directional position and hold it for several weeks or months.
Where to trade quarterlies in 2020
Quarterlies are a staple derivative product that can be traded on most crypto derivative trading platforms.
Until 2017-2018 the hotspot for bitcoin futures specifically was a Chinese trading platform OKCoin. Quarterlies were the most popular derivative there. The platform used to be nicknamed OKCasino.