How FTX Handles PnL

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You can find your historical PnL at ftx.com/pnl.

 

Notes:

  1. There are many ways to calculate PnL, and different people have different preferences.  FTX chose one of these ways to calculate it, but you might prefer a different one. If so, feel free to ignore the PnL page.
  2. The PnL page does not impact anything; what matters are your balances and positions. If the PnL does not line up with your calculations but the balances and positions do, you are probably just using a different PnL metric than FTX. That's fine!
  3. Because the PnL page has no impact and different users have different preferences for how to calculate it, FTX will not provide support on reconciling the PnL page with your records.  Instead, FTX will provide support on ensuring that your balances and positions are correct; those are what matter.

The complexities of PnL

Take the following scenarios:

  1. A user deposits 1 BTC when it's trading at $19,000, waits until BTC is trading at $20,000, and then withdraws the BTC. The user never does any trades.
  2. A user deposits $19,000, buys 1 BTC with it, waits until BTC is trading at $20,000, sells the BTC for $20,000, and withdraws the $20,000.
  3. A user deposits 1 BTC, sells it for $19,000, and withdraws the $19,000, leaving their account empty. Later, BTC increases in price to $20,000.

In #2, it's pretty clear the user has +$1,000 of PnL. In case #1, it's tempting to ignore the deposits and withdrawals and say that they have 0 PnL because they never did any trades. But then what about #3? By the PnL metric where #1 has 0 PnL, #3 should probably have -$1,000 of PnL. But that's pretty weird; their account is accumulating negative PnL while completely empty!

 

The current state of PnLing on FTX

For now, FTX only offers PnLing of futures trading - spot trades, deposits, and withdrawals do not count towards your PnL as calculated by FTX. We hope to later offer a PnL calculation that will incorporate all transactions and all products and will update this documentation to reflect that, as well as explain what choices we made with respect to the complexities above.

To reiterate, there are many valid ways to calculate PnL and you are free to use whatever way you'd like. You can use the FTX PnL page as a reference if it's helpful, but your balances and positions are what matter in the end.

 

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