Introduction on trading cryptocurrency options

For the purpose of this guide we'll use BTC as a base currency, but the same rules apply to XMR.

What are cryptocurrency option contracts?

We support two types of option contracts: call and put options.A call option is an agreement that gives the option buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy a specified amount of cryptocurrency at a specified price within a specific time period.

To learn more, read the Wikipedia article about call options, or the Investopedia call option entry.A put option is an agreement giving the option buyer the right,but not the obligation, to sell a specified amount of cryptocurrency at a specified price within a specified time period.

To learn more, read the Wikipedia article about put options, or the Investopedia put option entry.

Option value

An option can be either in-the-money (ITM), out-of-the-money (OTM), or at-the-money (ATM).

An ITM option is one with an exercise price that is favorable relative to the market price:
  • For a call option, ITM means that the exercise price is lower than the current market price. The option holder has the opportunity to buy the coins below their current market price.
  • For a put option, ITM means that the exercise price is higher than the current market price. The option holder can sell the coins above their current market price.
Conversely, the opposite is true for the OTM options:
  • For a call option, OTM means that the exercise price is higher than the current market price. Exercising the option would mean buying the coins at above the market price, which isn't profitable.
  • For a put option, OTM means that the exercise price is lower than the current market price. Exercising the option would mean selling the coins at below the market price, which isn't profitable.
Finally, ATM means that an option's exercise price is equal to the market price.

An option that is ITM doesn't necessarily mean that the buyer is making a profit on the trade. The expense of buying the option and any relevant commissions or fees must also be considered.

To learn more, you can read thisarticle that goes into more detail about ITM and OTM options, and their implications.

Overview of the trading process

For this example of an AgoraDesk option trade we will be selling a Bitcoin call option contract. You need to have Bitcoin in your AgoraDesk wallet in order for customers to be able to open trade requests from your advertisements. Go to the wallet page and deposit at least 0.001 BTC for your selling ads to be visible. After you've made sure the coins are in your AgoraDesk wallet, you need to create an advertisement to sell a Bitcoin call option (called a call sell advertisement). When making the advertisement you choose a payment method, set your pricing, premium, expiry, your limits and write your terms of the trade as a free form message. When a buyer opens a trade with you, Bitcoin for the full amount of the contract is automatically taken from your wallet into escrow. You will receive email and/or Telegram notifications when someone replies to your advertisement. The first thing that happens when you sell a call option is that the buyer needs to pay you the premium in the amount displayed on the trade page. Give the buyer payment instructions and guide the buyer through paying the premium. If they fail to complete the payment within the payment window, you will be able to cancel the trade. Once the buyer has paid the premium and pressed the 'I have paid' button you will receive a notification that the premium has been paid. Make sure you have received the payment before pressing the 'Confirm payment' button. Never confirm the payment unless you are 100% sure you have received it - there have been scammers who try to trick sellers into prematurely confirming the payment. Once you've confirmed the payment, the option contract will activate. To your right you'll see a countdown timer that'll show you when the option expires. Should the option expire, you'll receive the underlying coins back and keep the premium. If the buyer decides to exercise the option, they'll receive a portion of the underlying equivalent to the difference between the notional value and the current market value of the underlying. The rest of the underlying will be returned to you. In some cases, the buyer might want to exercise the option with gross settlement, where they will have to make the payment for the full notional amount of the trade. The same rules apply here as with the premium payment - never release, until you've made absolutely sure that you've received the payment. Once you press the 'Release' button, your coins will be transferred to the buyer - which will conclude the trade.. The final step is to leave feedback for the buyer and encourage the buyer to do the same for you. Feedback is important in order to gain reputation and make more trades.

Getting started

Before you start trading you need to consider what payment methods you are going to provide and research the payment method so that you know how it works. When you first start trading we recommend you don't choose a high-risk payment method. Transfer with a specific bank can be a good starting payment method, especially if there are few traders active in your country.

Before you start trading

Before you start trading make sure you familiarize yourself with your local legislation and that your are in compliance with any relevant laws and that you have the necessary business licenses for the jurisdiction you’re trading in.

Legislation varies a lot from country to country and whether you're trading as an individual or as a business.

Research the payment method you're going to offer. Read through other traders' ads of the same payment method and make some trades with them. Try to identify possible problems before you start trading.

Use payment accounts only for BTC trading. Some payment providers will temporarily or permanently close your account if you receive unauthorized payments that are related to fraud. Using accounts only for BTC trading protects your personal finances.

Setting up an advertisement

The advertisement creation page is where you create new advertisements. There are some options when creating an advertisement which are required, and a lot of extra options which are optional but recommended to set. Using the extra options allows you to tune your advertisement to suit your trading strategy. You can find all of the advertisements that you have created from your dashboard. In the dashboard you can also find your open trades. Required options Location
Enter the country where you want your advertisement to appear. Payment method
Select the payment method you want to offer from the dropdown menu. Currency
Choose which currency you're selling for. For instance, if you're selling in France you should select EUR. You can use this list to find what your currency acronym is.
The price the option buyer pays for having the right to buy (call option) or the right to sell (put option) the coins at a specified price (exercise price). The premium is paid to the seller of the option on a per-coin basis. The premium isn't refundable.Expiry
The number of days after which an option expires. Minimum 1, maximum 365. A day is interpreted as exactly 24 hours, regardless of daylight savings switches. If a put option is in-the-money at the time of expiration, it will be exercised automatically. Market or fixed price
To price your advertisement you can enter a margin you want above the BTC market price. To do that, enter a percentage in the margin field after choosing the “Market price” option. You might also want to specify a fixed price that will not change until you manually change it. For this you need to choose the “Fixed price” option and enter the price value.

Min. / Max. transaction limit
The minimum transaction limit sets the smallest amount someone can buy. If you set it to five, and you have your currency set to EUR it means that the smallest trade amount someone can open a trade with you for will be for 5 EUR. The maximum transaction limit sets what the biggest trade amount that you want to accept is.

Terms of Trade
This is the text the buyer sees before he opens up a trade with you. It's a good idea to write instructions for the buyer on how you want the trade to proceed and if you have any specific instructions. If you require, for example, the buyer to submit a receipt as proof of payment before you release the BTC or if you need the buyer to provide an ID, this is the place to mention it. You can take a look at other traders' advertisements for the payment method you want to use to get an idea of what good terms of trade contain.

Extra options

Limit amounts to
You can restrict the advertisement to only being able to open trades for specific amounts. If you enter 20,30,60 into the box a potential trade partner could only open a trade for 20, 30 or 60 EUR.

Payment details
Enter here specific information relating to how the buyer should pay, this can be your bank account number or e-mail address (for e.g. PayPal).

Required minimum feedback score
The feedback minimum allows you to set a minimum required feedback score to have in order to open a trade using your advertisement.

First time limit (BTC)
This is a specific maximum transaction limit for new users. If a buyer with no previous trading history with you wants to open a trade with you, this is the largest amount they can open a trade for.

Payment window
The amount time the buyer has to complete the payment before the seller is able to cancel the trade.

Track maximum amount liquidity
Enabling tracking liquidity lowers the maximum limit of the advertisement by the amount that is currently held up in open trades.

Quick tips on identifying scammers

Fraudulent buyers are often in a hurry. The more a customer asks you to hurry/rush the more suspicious you should be, real customers always have patience.

Fraudulent buyers often suggest doing all or part of the transaction outside escrow and then do not complete their part of the transaction.

Be careful about photoshopped payment evidence, don't release BTC until you have confirmed that you have received the money. You are not obliged to release a trade until you can verify that you have received the buyer's payment.

Don't open any links that your trading partner is sending to you. If you must, use different browser than the one you are using.

Don't visit websites other than AgoraDesk with the browser that you're using to trade. Use a different browser for other websites.

Bookmark AgoraDesk in your browser and always use the bookmark when visiting the website. This helps you to avoid accidentally visiting phishing websites, they exist and can be very convincing.
If you're unsure about a user, you can always contact support for help.


Please read our terms of service.

AgoraDesk support handles disputes based on evidence supplied by trade participants and their reputation.

Disputes can be started after the payment is marked complete.

After the escrow has been released by the seller the trade is considered finished by AgoraDesk and cannot be disputed.

When a BTC seller is unresponsive, AgoraDesk will release the BTC to the buyer if the buyer can provide valid proof of payment.

If the buyer is unresponsive after starting a trade, the escrow will be released to the seller by the AgoraDesk support.

AgoraDesk wishes you happy trading!