While “physical” delivery of Bitcoins as part of a futures contract would certainly be possible it raises regulatory and security issues in today’s environment where the cybercurrency exchanges are mostly unregulated, somewhat unreliable, and theft due to security hacks is distressingly common. By selecting cash settlement the CME and Cboe completely avoid the transfer of custody issues and shift those problems to somebody else—namely the market makers and arbitrageur.
• If a Fund qualifies for treatment as a regulated investment company, it is not subject to federal income tax on net investment income and net realized capital gains that the Fund timely distributes to its shareholders. If a Fund were to fail to so qualify, and were ineligible to or otherwise did not cure such failure, its taxable income and gains would be subject to tax at the Fund level, and distributions from earnings and profits would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
Institutional markets for restricted securities have developed as a result of the promulgation of Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, which provides a safe harbor from 1933 Act registration requirements for qualifying sales to institutional investors. When Rule 144A securities present an attractive investment opportunity and otherwise meet selection criteria, a Fund may make such investments. Whether or not such securities are illiquid depends on the market that exists for the particular security. The staff of the SEC has taken the position that the liquidity of Rule 144A restricted securities is a question of fact for a board of trustees to determine, such determination to be based on a consideration of the readily-available trading markets and the review of any contractual restrictions.
When a Fund purchases or sells a futures contract, or buys or sells an option thereon, the Fund “covers” its position. To cover its position, a Fund may enter into an offsetting position, earmark or segregate with its custodian bank or on the official books and records of the Fund cash or liquid instruments (marked-to-market on a daily basis) that, when added to any amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant as margin, are equal to the market value of the futures contract or otherwise “cover” its position. When required by law, a Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the value of the Fund’s total assets committed to the consummation of such futures contracts. Obligations under futures contracts so covered will not be considered senior securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
Some Centra investors have their doubts, and a plaintiffs' law firm has brought a class action complaint against Centra demanding the investors' money back. The complaint is fun -- Centra had a “Blog/Media Bounty” program to "Reward Experienced Writers who write quality Reviews, Articles About the Centra Project and the ICO crowdsale" -- but not that fun, because the plaintiffs' lawyers don't actually need to prove that Centra was a scam. Their job is much easier: All they need to do is prove that the tokens Centra sold in its initial coin offering were securities. If they were securities, they were sold illegally: They were offered publicly without being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or being exempt from registration. And one remedy for the illegal sale of securities is that the buyers can demand their money back -- whether or not Centra is legitimate, whether or not it is actually using the money to build a cryptocurrency debit card, whether or not it made any misleading statements in the ICO.
• The bitcoin exchanges on which bitcoin trades are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated and, therefore, may be more exposed to fraud and security breaches than established, regulated exchanges for other products. Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks. Fraudulent activity can increase volatility and have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin, the general acceptance of bitcoin as an investment or means of currency and could have a negative impact on the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests and the value of the Fund.
As we have seen above, a futures contract has an expiration date. This is the date on which you can purchase the ton of pork bellies for 1,000 USD – this is called a physical settlement. Alternatively, futures contracts can be settled with cash as well. In these contracts, you receive the difference between the current price of the underlying asset and the price in your contract as cash.
One traditional attraction of trading futures is the ability to use relatively small amounts of money to potentially achieve outsized returns. In many futures markets the margin, the amount of money that your broker requires up-front before executing the trade can be quite small compared to the ultimate value of the contract. For example, as of 22-Dec-2017, each E-mini S&P 500 contract was worth $134K ($50*S&P 500 index value)—this “list price” of the contract is called its notional value. The CME only requires you to maintain a minimum margin of $4.5K (3.4% of notional) to control this contract (brokers often require additional margin). Margin requirements this low are only possible because the volatility of the S&P 500 is well understood and your margin account balance is adjusted at the end of every trading day to account for the winnings or losses of the day. If your account balance falls below the margin minimum of $4.5K you’ll need to quickly add money to your account or your position will be summarily closed out by your broker. On the plus side, if you’ve predicted the S&P’s direction correctly your profits will be that same as if you completely owned the underlying stocks in the index. A +1% daily move in the S&P500 would yield $1340 in profit even though you only have $4500 invested— a 29% return—this multiplier effect is called leverage.
Ultimately, the big and yet unanswered question will continue to loom: is bitcoin indeed the millennials’ gold, as strategist Tom Lee suggests, and therefore has real and measurable value, or is it simply used for speculation as investors like Jack Bogle and Warren Buffet have implied? The answer that important investors will come up with for that question should have a significant impact on the price movement of bitcoin, and it is completely uncertain what it will look like.
Now, if that margin-call does not get filled and the price continues to fall, then I'm making profits on my contract but nobody is paying for it since the counterparty who got margin-called didn't get the liquidation order filled. So what happens is that at settlement time of the contract, that unfilled liquidation loss to the system will be deducted from the profits of ALL traders before they are distributed.
Disclaimer: Trading carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to invest you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.
Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
!! WARNING !!! Note that on CryptoFacilities each contract is denominated by 1 BTC. So if you bought a fraction of BTC you can NOT perform a perfect hedge of the value. If you round the BTC you bought with start capital down, you will have slight overexposure LONG with the left-over BTC. If you round up and short an extra contract, you will have slight overexposure SHORT.