The introduction of futures didn't lead to a wave of hedge-fund money shorting bitcoin. It led to retail and institutional money going long bitcoin. We talked last week about the spread between Cboe's bitcoin futures price and the actual price of bitcoin, which was wider than $1,000 for a while. The spread has tightened considerably -- as of 8:15 a.m. today, the CME futures traded at $18,585, Cboe futures at $18,670, and spot bitcoin at about $18,245, for a spread of about 2 percent -- but it still exists. Why would you pay more for a synthetic bitcoin in a month than you would for an actual bitcoin today? The answer, presumably, is that the synthetic bitcoin is more valuable to you: You want bitcoin exposure, but you'd prefer to get it through a standardized contract on a regulated exchange that settles in dollars.
An Authorized Participant who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus the amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. An Authorized Participant who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate market value of any securities received plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The IRS, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons purchasing or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction.
The ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF contains portfolio investments that are primarily listed on foreign markets. To the extent the Fund’s portfolio investments trade in foreign markets on days when the Fund is not open for business or when the primary exchange for its shares is not open, the value of the Fund’s assets may vary on days when shareholders may not be able to purchase or sell Fund shares and Authorized Participants may not be able to create or redeem Creation Units. Also, certain portfolio investments may not be traded on days the Fund is open for business.
Subject to the general supervision by the Board, the Advisor is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities and derivatives for each of the Funds and the selection of brokers and dealers to effect transactions. Purchases from dealers serving as market makers may include a dealer’s mark-up or reflect a dealer’s mark-down. Purchases and sales of U.S. government securities are normally transacted through issuers, underwriters or major dealers in U.S. government securities acting as principals. Such transactions, along with other fixed income securities transactions, are made on a net basis and do not typically involve payment of brokerage commissions. The cost of securities purchased from an underwriter usually includes a commission paid by the issuer to the underwriters; transactions with dealers normally reflect the spread between bid and asked prices; and transactions involving baskets of equity securities typically include brokerage commissions. As an alternative to directly purchasing securities, the Advisor may find efficiencies and cost savings by purchasing futures or using other derivative instruments like total return swaps or forward contracts. The Advisor may also choose to cross -trade securities between clients to save costs where allowed under applicable law.
As of September 16, 2017, the Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned outstanding shares that entitled them to give voting instructions with respect to less than one percent of the shares of any series of the Trust; except that Mr. Michael L. Sapir owned more than 25% of the outstanding shares of ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF and ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF.
Each Fund may invest in money market instruments, which short-term cash instruments that have a remaining maturity of 397 days or less and exhibit high credit profiles, or cash or cash equivalents such as other high credit quality, short-term fixed income or similar securities, including (i) money market funds, (ii) U.S. Treasury Bills, which are U.S. government securities that have initial maturities of one year or less, and are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and (iii) Repurchase Agreements, which are contracts in which a seller of securities, usually U.S. government securities or other money market instruments, agrees to buy them back at a specified time and price. Repurchase agreements are primarily used by the Funds as a short-term investment vehicle for cash positions.
COVERED BONDS. The Funds may invest in covered bonds, which are debt securities issued by banks or other credit institutions that are backed by both the issuing institution and underlying pool of assets that compose the bond (a “cover pool”). The cover pool for a covered bond is typically composed of residential or commercial mortgage loans or loans to public sector institutions. A covered bond may lose value if the credit rating of the issuing bank or credit institution is downgraded or the quality of the assets in the cover pool deteriorates.
He told me that, although he has little to do with Renaissance’s day-to-day activities, he occasionally offers ideas. He said, “I gave them one three months ago”—a suggestion for simplifying the historical data behind one of the firm’s trading algorithms. Beyond saying that it didn’t work, he wouldn’t discuss the details—Renaissance’s methods are proprietary and secret—but he did share with me the key to his investing success: he “never overrode the model.” Once he settled on what should happen, he held tight until it did.
The promoters of these products promise traders a way to beat the market by arbitraging prices between different exchanges. Don’t believe the hype. Bitcoin exchanges often have expensive withdrawal processes and hefty fees for trading bitcoin with fiat currencies, such as dollars or euros. Also, settlement of bitcoin trades can take hours. These factors will eliminate any profits from bitcoin arbitrage and may even lead to losses.
New altcoins often make unsubstantiated claims about their products. Recently the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against two ICOs it says were sold on the basis of fraudulent claims. China has banned the sale of ICOs, and many individuals familiar with fraud, including the famed Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, have described ICOs as the biggest scam ever.
reduce the amount of the Fund’s borrowings to the extent necessary to meet this 300% coverage requirement. Maintenance of this percentage limitation may result in the sale of portfolio securities at a time when investment considerations would not favor such sale. In addition to the foregoing, the Funds are authorized to borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes in amounts not in excess of 5% of the value of each Fund’s total assets. This borrowing is not subject to the foregoing 300% asset coverage requirement. The Funds are authorized to pledge portfolio securities as ProShare Advisors deems appropriate in connection with any borrowings.
The tax treatment of certain contracts (including regulated futures contracts and non-equity options) entered into by the Fund will be governed by Section 1256 of the Code (“Section 1256 contracts”). Gains (or losses) on these contracts generally are considered to be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although foreign currency gains or losses arising from certain Section 1256 contracts may be treated as ordinary in character (see “Foreign Currency Transactions” below). Also, section 1256 contracts held by a Fund at the end of each taxable year (and for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates prescribed in the Code) are “marked-to-market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gains or losses are treated as ordinary or 60/40 gains or losses, as appropriate.
D – An obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless Standard & Poor’s believes that such payments will be made within five business days in the absence of a stated grace period or within the earlier of the stated grace period or 30 calendar days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation’s rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.
That's why liquidity and volume are essential to a quality exchange. If you enter that contract at $400 and you see bitcoin spot price jumping to $500 but nobody is trading futures so you can't sell it to them, you get screwed. Luckily at this point in 2016 there are numerous options for trading futures that are liquid and settle on short time horizons. So you can typically trade contracts and get in and out of them with decent spreads and reasonable fees.
uncleared swaps. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, a Fund could suffer significant losses on these contracts and the value of an investor’s investment in the Fund may decline. OTC swaps of the type that may be utilized by the Fund are less liquid than futures contracts because they are not traded on an exchange, do not have uniform terms and conditions, and are generally entered into based upon the creditworthiness of the parties and the availability of credit support, such as collateral, and in general, are not transferable without the consent of the counterparty.
When a new crypto is launched, its founders announce how many coins will be mined. Once the quota is reached, no further coins can be produced. The first digital coin introduced was Bitcoin, which remains today the benchmark for all other digital coins. Among other currencies that have made their way into the cryptocurrency hall-of-fame we have: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, and a number of derived currencies, including Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
Mass adoption of bitcoin will also require an accommodating regulatory environment. A lack of expansion in usage of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Blockchain could adversely affect the market for bitcoin and may have a negative impact on the performance of the Bitcoin Instruments and the performance of the Funds. Even if growth in bitcoin adoption continues in the near or medium-term, there is no assurance that bitcoin usage, or the market for Bitcoin Instruments, will continue to grow over the long-term. A contraction in use of bitcoin may result in increased volatility or a reduction in the price of bitcoin, as well as increased volatility or a reduction in the price of Bitcoin Derivatives, which could adversely impact the value of an investment in a Fund. Conversely, a rapid expansion in the use of bitcoin may result in rapid appreciation in the price of bitcoin, which could adversely impact the value of a Fund which takes a short position in bitcoin futures contracts.
There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.