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The first U.S. bitcoin futures are here. Bitcoin futures opened for trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) on December 10, 2017. This is one of the biggest milestones for bitcoin since it emerged in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Bitcoin futures will bring much-needed transparency, greater liquidity and efficient price discovery to the ecosystem. Cboe will be soon joined by CME Group as it prepares to launch bitcoin futures contracts on December 18, 2017.
However, there could be a transition stage in which volatility could actually become worse. Large financial trading firms could enter the market to an extent that has not been seen yet, and because bitcoin is so difficult to value (as Warren Buffet put it: “You can’t value bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset.”), a lot of different forces will act on its price. Shorts will become more popular, and disagreements on pricing could manifest in the cryptocurrency markets in the form of extreme price jumps, more so than is already commonplace.
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Each Fund may invest directly in foreign currencies or hold financial instruments that provide exposure to foreign currencies, including “hard currencies,” or may invest in securities that trade in, or receive revenues in, foreign currencies. “Hard currencies” are currencies in which investors have confidence and are typically currencies of economically and politically stable industrialized nations. To the extent that a Fund invests in such currencies, that Fund will be subject to the risk that those currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar. Currency rates in foreign countries may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Fund assets that are denominated in foreign currencies may be devalued against the U.S. dollar, resulting in a loss. Additionally, recent issues associated with the euro may have adverse effects on non-U.S. investments generally and on currency markets. A U.S. dollar investment in Depositary Receipts or ordinary shares of foreign issuers traded on U.S. exchanges may be affected differently by currency fluctuations than would an investment made in a foreign currency on a foreign exchange in shares of the same issuer. Foreign currencies are also subject to risks caused by inflation, interest rates, budget deficits and low savings rates, political factors and government control.
Futures contracts derive their value from an asset and more or less follow the movements of the underlying commodity, in our case: bitcoin. They ultimately settle at price of the commodity in the future on a particular exchange, or an index that represents a basket of prices at different exchanges. So if you have a weekly future's contract and you don't want to sell out of it on the market, then it will expire at the price at a specific time when Friday comes and if you want to maintain your position you must re-open on the new contract period. In the weekly example, if a contract is issued at April 14, 2017, it dies on April 21, 2017. If you buy the contract at a price of $1,100 and you don't sell it for the whole week, and the price ends on April 21 at $1,200, then you profit.
risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such a default occurs, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s right as a creditor. The counterparty risk for cleared swaps is generally lower than for uncleared over-the-counter swaps because generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared swap agreement and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations. However, there can be no assurance that the clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to a Fund. Upon entering into a cleared swap, a Fund may be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents in the range of approximately 3% to 6% of the notional amount for CDS on high yield debt issuers and 1% to 5% for CDS on investment grade debt issuers (this amount is subject to change by the clearing organization that clears the trade). This amount, known as “initial margin,” is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the cleared swap and is returned to a Fund upon termination of the swap, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the swap fluctuates, making the long and short position in the swap contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” The premium (discount) payments are built into the daily price of the swap and thus are amortized through the variation margin. The variation margin payment also includes the daily portion of the periodic payment stream.
• A new competing digital asset may pose a challenge to bitcoin’s current market dominance, resulting in a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin. It is possible that other digital currencies and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than bitcoin. The rise of such currencies could lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin.
By now you may ask yourself, “If I think that the price of an asset is going to rise, why should I buy a call option and not the asset itself?” The answer is this: Options give you leverage. That means that with a limited amount of capital, you can profit much more by buying options than assets – but also lose much more. This is because a small difference in the price of the underlying asset immediately leads to a substantial change in the price of the derivative. For example, when pork belly prices rise from 1,000 USD to 1,100 USD (an increase of 10%), call options for 1,000 USD suddenly become much more valuable – their prices may rise from 10.5 USD to 105 USD. Thus, if you have invested all of your capital in pork bellies, you will win 10% – if you have invested in pork belly call options, you will pocket a 1,000% profit.