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Nov 23, 2023
Liquidation Engine for Derivatives Trading: A Guide for Beginners
by Orderly Network

Cryptocurrency derivatives trading has gained immense popularity in recent years, offering traders the opportunity to profit from the price movements of digital assets without owning them. However, the volatile nature of the crypto market poses risks, and understanding the concept of a liquidation engine is crucial for managing these risks effectively. This guide aims to provide beginners with insights into the liquidation engine in crypto derivatives trading, stating how it works and its core functions.

Understanding Crypto Derivatives

Crypto derivatives refer to financial contracts whose value is derived from an underlying cryptocurrency asset or a group of assets. These contracts enable investors to speculate on the price movements of cryptocurrencies without actually owning the underlying assets. Derivatives are popular in traditional financial markets, and the concept has been extended to the cryptocurrency space.

Traders can engage in several types of crypto derivatives, with the most common ones being futures contracts, options contracts, swaps, and perpetual contracts. See breakdown below;


Futures: Traders enter into agreements to buy or sell a specified amount of a crypto asset at a predetermined price in the future.

Options: The holder has the right to buy an asset at a set price within a determined timeframe. There is no obligation to buy.

Swaps: It involves the exchange of cash flow between two parties.

Perpetuals: These contracts are similar to futures contracts but have no timeframe on buy and sell.

Overall, crypto derivatives can be used for hedging, speculation, and portfolio management. However, they also come with risks, as they involve leverage. Leverage can often amplify gains and losses. Due to the relatively young and volatile nature of the cryptocurrency market, trading crypto derivatives requires a good understanding of market dynamics and risk management strategies.

What is a Liquidation Engine?

A liquidation engine is a risk management mechanism that cryptocurrency exchanges employ to prevent significant losses due to highly leveraged positions. In derivatives trading, users can amplify their exposure through leverage, but this also increases the risk of liquidation.

Hence, liquidation occurs when a trader’s margin balance falls below a certain threshold, thus triggering the automatic closure of their position by the exchange. The liquidation engine aims to protect both the trader and the exchange from potential losses caused by market fluctuations.

##Key Components of a Liquidation Engine All crypto trading liquidation engines are comprised of four key components. They are; margin level, margin call, automatic liquidation, and bankruptcy price. See the meaning of each component in the table below;


Importance of Liquidation Engine in Crypto Trading

A liquidation engine plays a crucial role in crypto derivatives trading by helping to manage and mitigate the risks associated with highly leveraged positions. As often common in crypto derivatives trading, users trade with leverage, which means they can control larger positions with a smaller amount of capital. While this can amplify potential profits, it also increases the risk of significant losses. The liquidation engine therefore prevents users from losing more money than they have in their trading accounts.

Additionally, the liquidation engine is crucial for maintaining the overall stability and integrity of the crypto derivatives market. Without effective risk management mechanisms, the market could experience cascading liquidations, leading to increased volatility and potentially triggering a chain reaction of further liquidations. Hence, the liquidation engine acts as a stabilizing force, preventing a domino effect of liquidations that could negatively impact both individual traders and the broader market. Overall, the presence of a reliable liquidation engine is essential for promoting responsible and sustainable trading practices in the crypto derivatives space.


Crypto derivatives trading is inherently risky for beginners. A liquidation engine therefore acts as a safety net, protecting traders from excessive losses and maintaining the stability of the trading platform. For beginners, understanding how this risk management tool operates is essential for developing a sound trading strategy and minimizing potential financial risks associated with derivatives trading. Always remember that while derivatives offer profit opportunities, they also require a disciplined and informed approach to risk management.

In follow-up articles, we will have further deep dives into liquidation engine, placing a spotlight on Orderly’s decentralized liquidations model and how it benefits traders and users.

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