The purpose of this thesis is to explore the dynamics of the fast-growing international financial markets and to study in particular the risks associated with the different kinds of financial instruments. The Barrings Bank Crisis, Proctor and Gamble, Gibson Greetings cases against Bankers Trust, and the Orange County Bankruptcy has prompted regulatory authorities to focus on the risks involved in the derivatives markets. In this paper, the first chapter explains the basic working of the different kinds of derivative instruments especially concentrating on Swaps, Futures, and Options. The second chapter goes on to explain, the risks involved in the uses of these instruments, various hedging techniques used to control these risk exposures. The third chapter explores the reason for certain huge derivative losses (by analyzing the cases above mentioned) and the fourth and the final chapter goes into the recent regulation imposed on the derivative markets.