These are NOT linked to or related in any way, to the futures contracts that trade on the CME or CBOE. Not every article I have read makes this clear. So the bright side of this story is that the contracts listed and traded on U.S. exchanges were not involved. That is encouraging from both a regulatory aspect and for the future potential growth of cryptocurrency linked products in the U.S.
Furthermore, each Fund, except the Matching ProShares Funds, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF has an investment objective to match the performance, a multiple (2x or 3x), the inverse (-1x) or a multiple of the inverse (-2x or -3x) of the performance of a benchmark on a single day. A “single day” is measured from the time the Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Fund’s next NAV calculation. These Funds are subject to the correlation risks described above. In addition, while a close correlation of any Fund to its benchmark may be achieved on any single day, over time, the cumulative percentage increase or decrease in the NAV of the shares of a Fund may diverge, in some cases significantly, from the cumulative percentage decrease or increase in the benchmark due to a compounding effect as further described in the Prospectus and below.
An initial coin offering (ICO) is a controversial means of raising funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. An ICO may be used by startups with the intention of avoiding regulation. However, securities regulators in many jurisdictions, including in the U.S., and Canada have indicated that if a coin or token is an "investment contract" (e.g., under the Howey test, i.e., an investment of money with a reasonable expectation of profit based significantly on the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others), it is a security and is subject to securities regulation. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency (usually in the form of "tokens") is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, often bitcoin or ether.
• Compounding Risk — In the course of managing the Fund’s investments, ProShare Advisors will need to periodically adjust the Fund’s holdings in order to maintain investment exposure approximately equivalent to the Fund’s assets. This process entails obtaining additional inverse exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing inverse exposure as the Fund experiences losses. The higher the volatility of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the more such rebalancing can adversely affect the Fund’s performance.
If a Fund that writes an option wishes to terminate the Fund’s obligation, the Fund may effect a “closing purchase transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written by the Fund. The effect of the purchase is that the writer’s position will be canceled by the OCC. However, a writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after the writer has been notified of the exercise of an option. Likewise, a Fund which is the holder of an option may liquidate its position by effecting a “closing sale transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased by the Fund. There is no guarantee that either a closing purchase or a closing sale transaction can be effected. If any call or put option is not exercised or sold, the option will become worthless on its expiration date. A Fund will realize a gain (or a loss) on a closing purchase transaction with respect to a call or a put option previously written by the Fund if the premium, plus commission costs, paid by the Fund to purchase the call or put option to close the transaction is less (or greater) than the premium, less commission costs, received by the Fund on the sale of the call or the put option. The Fund also will realize a gain if a call or put option which the Fund has written lapses unexercised, because the Fund would retain the premium.
The above futures curve shows that in the short term (< 1month) bitcoin-USD futures prices tend to be at or higher than the respective spot prices, with the highest premium to spot reached for futures maturing in approximately 9 days. In the mid term (1-3 months), bitcoin futures prices increase rapidly with mid prices at a premium of approximately 2% compared to the spot price. In the long term (>3months), premiums are positive and prices increase with a relatively stable velocity. Long term prices are at a slightly higher level compared to mid-term maturities. The absolute difference between long-term and short-term premium is positive, revealing an overall positive view about bitcoin among investors for the future. To summarize, this curve reflects modest investor optimism in the short term, due to a possibly high level of volatility around the launch of U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts, and an increasingly positive view on bitcoin-USD rates in the medium and long term. In the distant future (>3months) the curve may reflect a belief that the long-term true value of bitcoin will be at a higher level than today, possibly due to increased institutional participation and the maturation of digital assets as a potential asset class.
• 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.
Transaction fees payable to the Trust are imposed to compensate the Trust for the transfer and other transaction costs of a Fund associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units of Shares. A fixed Transaction Fee is applicable to each creation or redemption transaction, regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased or redeemed. In addition, a variable Transaction Fee equal to a percentage of the value of each Creation Unit purchased or redeemed may be applicable to a creation or redemption transaction. Purchasers of Creation Units of the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds for cash may also be required to pay an additional charge to compensate the relevant Fund for brokerage, market impact or other expenses. Where the Trust permits an in-kind purchaser to substitute cash in lieu of depositing a portion of the Deposit Securities, the purchaser will be assessed an additional charge for cash purchases. The maximum Transaction Fee on purchases and redemptions will be 2.00% of the NAV of any Creation Unit, except that for the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, a Transaction Fee up to 3.00% will be charged on the cash used in lieu of depositing all or a portion of the Deposit Securities or the cash portion of any redemption transaction. The Transaction Fees charged to each Fund are presented in the Authorized Participant Handbook.