You may wonder: where do these contracts come from? We know on the spot market that bitcoins are being bought and sold for fiat, but how the heck are bitcoins being used to trade bitcoin futures contracts? Let's walk through a really simple example showing how an exchange functions when there's just a simple two traders who want to go long and short.
The validity of each cryptocurrency's coins is provided by a blockchain. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
Each Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions as fundamental policies that cannot be changed without a “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund. The phrase “majority of outstanding voting securities” is defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a duly-called meeting of shareholders, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented by proxy; or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. (All policies of a Fund not specifically identified in this Statement of Additional Information or its Prospectus as fundamental may be changed without a vote of the shareholders of the Fund.) For purposes of the following limitations, all percentage limitations apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment.
The Funds subject to the SEC “names rule” (Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act) have adopted non-fundamental investment policies obligating them to commit, under normal market conditions, at least 80% of their assets exposed to the types of securities suggested by their name and/or investments with similar economic characteristics. Such direct or inverse exposure may be obtained
Crypto derivatives were naturally discovered as an interesting addition to cryptocurrency exchanges first – probably as individual contracts between interested investors on these exchanges. Nowadays, there are already a couple of exchanges that offer crypto derivatives trading as a standard feature: BitMEX is the current market leader, according to The Merkle News; others are OKCoin, Crypto Facilities, Coinpit, and Deribit, as well as LedgerX (the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the US).
Each Fund may purchase illiquid securities, including securities that are not readily marketable and securities that are not registered (“restricted securities”) under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”), but which can be sold to qualified institutional buyers under Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. A Fund will not invest more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets in illiquid securities. The term “illiquid securities” for this purpose means securities that cannot be disposed of within seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the amount at which the Fund has valued the securities. Under the current guidelines of the staff of the SEC, illiquid securities also are considered to include, among other securities, purchased OTC options, certain cover for OTC options, repurchase agreements with maturities in excess of seven days, and certain securities whose disposition is restricted under the federal securities laws. The Fund may not be able to sell illiquid securities when the Advisor considers it desirable to do so or may have to sell such securities at a price that is lower than the price that could be obtained if the securities were more liquid. In addition, the sale of illiquid securities also may require more time and may result in higher dealer discounts and other selling expenses than the sale of securities that are not illiquid. Illiquid securities may be more difficult to value due to the unavailability of reliable market quotations for such securities, and investments in illiquid securities may have an adverse impact on NAV.
• Intellectual property rights claims may adversely affect the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Third parties may assert intellectual property rights claims relating to the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Regardless of the merit of any intellectual property or other legal action, any threatened action that reduces confidence in the Bitcoin Network’s long-term viability or the ability of end-users to hold and transfer bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin and adversely affect the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts held by the Fund.
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
Under Delaware law, the Trust is not required to hold an annual shareholders meeting if the 1940 Act does not require such a meeting. Generally, there will not be annual meetings of Trust shareholders. Trust shareholders may remove Trustees from office by votes cast at a meeting of Trust shareholders or by written consent. If requested by shareholders of at least 10% of the outstanding Shares of the Trust, the Trust will call a meeting of Funds’ shareholders for the purpose of voting upon the question of removal of a Trustee of the Trust and will assist in communications with other Trust shareholders.
As a shareholder on a Fund record date, you will earn a share of the investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, derived from a Fund’s direct security holdings and derivative instruments. You will receive such earnings as either an income dividend or a capital gains distribution. Each Fund intends to declare and distribute to its shareholders at least annually its net investment income, if any, as well as net realized capital gains, if any. Subject to Board approval, some or all of any net realized capital gains distribution may be declared payable in either additional shares of the respective Fund or in cash.
Note that you could just keep bitcoin on CryptoFacilities waiting to make the trade so you don't have to wait to move the bitcoin you bought over. This is called see-saw arbitrage model, where you keep funds on both exchanges to avoid having to wait. This is fine, but you can't ignore that there is extra capital being used in the play, so it affects your rate of return and capital utilisation. We will not use this method, we will do a full, complete, legitimate arbitrage process.