Market Spotlight – Bitcoin - A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure transactions, control creation, and verify transactions. The first such cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced in 2009. In 2017, the exchanges launched a Bitcoin futures contract. The CBOE contract launched on Sunday, December 10, while the CME contract launched on Monday, December 18.
Notwithstanding the guidelines set forth above, S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, S&P Midcap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, and DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF will not borrow money for investment purposes. Each of these Funds may borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including to meet redemption requests or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions, in an amount up to 10% of its respective net assets.
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The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to any Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its NAV is not reasonably practicable; (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC; or (5) for up to 14 calendar days for any of the Global Funds or Short or Ultra International ProShares Funds during an international local holiday, as described below in “Other Information”.
A dividend or Capital Gain Dividend with respect to shares of a Fund held by a tax-deferred or qualified plan, such as an IRA, retirement plan, or corporate pension or profit sharing plan, generally will not be taxable to the plan. Distributions from such plans will be taxable to individual participants under applicable tax rules without regard to the character of the income earned by the qualified plan. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the suitability of shares of a Fund as an investment through such plans and the precise effect of an investment on their particular situation.
Shares will be continuously offered for sale by the Trust through the Distributor only in Creation Units, as described below under “Purchase and Issuance of Creation Units.” Shares in less than Creation Units are not distributed by the Distributor. The Distributor also acts as agent for the Trust. The Distributor will deliver a Prospectus to persons purchasing Shares in Creation Units and will maintain records of both orders placed with it and confirmations of acceptance furnished by it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the 1934 Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. The Distributor has no role in determining the investment policies of the Funds or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Funds.
In a possible lead-up to its plans on becoming an ATS, on March 26, 2018, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced it was adding support for ERC20 into all its trading platforms. ERC20 is the Ethereum technical standard that the majority of ICO tokens are based on. “This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” Coinbase said in a blog post.
Each Fund, from time to time, in the ordinary course of business, may purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis (i.e., delivery and payment can take place between 30 and 120 days after the date of the transaction). These securities are subject to market fluctuations and no interest accrues to the purchaser during this period. At the time a Fund makes the commitment to purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis, the Fund will record the transaction and thereafter reflect the value of the securities, each day, in determining the Fund’s NAV. Each Fund will not purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis if, as a result, it determines that more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in illiquid securities. At the time of delivery of the securities, the value of the securities may be more or less than the purchase price.
Don’t FOMO. This is a spot that people most frequently lose money on. A dash of manipulation, two tablespoons of media hype, a cup of CME and CBOE announcements, and a generous handful of FOMO drove Bitcoin prices from $10,000 to $20,000 in December. Since that time, Bitcoin fell to a low of $9,000 and is currently sitting at around $11,000. It’s easy to look back and say, “if only I waited one month, then I could’ve bought at $9,000 instead of waiting for Bitcoin to hit $20,000 again for me to break even.” But the reality is, the combination of 1) being greedy, 2) investing blindly, and 3) FOMO were likely large contributors to the purchase at an all-time-high. Even in the crazy world of cryptocurrency, if a coin pumps that quickly, it will correct — it’s a matter of time. Speculative pumps are almost always followed by dips. While trying to jump onto a train going full speed sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie, I’m sure most of us can agree we would probably save some limbs if we just waited for it at the next stop.
Each of the Funds may enter into repurchase agreements with financial institutions in pursuit of its investment objectives, as “cover” for the investment techniques it employs, or for liquidity purposes. Under a repurchase agreement, a Fund purchases a debt security and simultaneously agrees to sell the security back to the seller at a mutually agreed-upon future price and date, normally one day or a few days later. The resale price is greater than the purchase price, reflecting an agreed-upon market interest rate during the purchaser’s holding period. While the maturities of the underlying securities in repurchase transactions may be more than one year, the term of each repurchase agreement will always be less than one year. The Funds follow certain procedures designed to minimize the risks inherent in such agreements. These procedures include effecting repurchase transactions generally with major global financial institutions. The creditworthiness of each of the firms that is a party to a repurchase agreement with the Funds will be monitored by the Advisor. In addition, the value of the collateral underlying the repurchase agreement will always be at least equal to the repurchase price, including any accrued interest earned on the repurchase agreement. In the event of a default or bankruptcy by a selling financial institution, a Fund will seek to liquidate such collateral which could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, the Fund could suffer a loss. A Fund also may experience difficulties and incur certain costs in exercising its rights to the collateral and may lose the interest the Fund expected to receive under the repurchase agreement. Repurchase agreements usually are for short periods, such as one week or less, but may be longer. It is the current policy of the Funds not to invest in repurchase agreements that do not mature within seven days if any such investment, together with any other illiquid assets held by the Fund, amounts to more than 15% of the Fund’s total net assets. The investments of each of the Funds in repurchase agreements at times may be substantial when, in the view of the Advisor, liquidity, investment, regulatory, or other considerations so warrant.
Typically exchanging is done through matching the buy and sell orders placed on the system of the exchange. The sell orders are made at an offer price (or ask) while the buy order (or bid) is made to buy bitcoins. It is similar to buying stocks online where you need to enter the desired price (or market price) for buy/sell along with the quantity. These orders enter the order book and are removed once the exchange transaction is complete.
In a futures market, if the price is $500/BTC, an investor needs to buy 50 futures contracts, each worth $10. If an investor wishes to open a positive position then he goes long with “buy" contracts, and if he decides to open a negative position, he goes short with “sell” contracts. An investor’s position can be either positive or negative for the same instrument. (For more, see: Bitcoin Mass Hysteria: The Disaster that Brought Down Mt. Gox.)
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.
The price of bitcoin on individual bitcoin exchanges, as well as the broader Bitcoin Exchange Market generally, has experienced periods of extreme volatility. This volatility is due in part to low liquidity and the changes exhibited by an early stage technological innovation. Speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the value of bitcoin may artificially inflate the price of bitcoin causing a negative impact on the performance of certain Funds which take a short position in bitcoin futures contracts. Conversely, government regulation and the perception of onerous regulatory actions may cause a drop in the price of bitcoin causing a negative impact on the performance of certain Funds which take a long position in bitcoin futures contracts. Developments related to the Bitcoin Network’s operations, Bitcoin Exchanges and the overall Bitcoin Exchange Market also contribute to the volatility in the price of bitcoin. These factors may continue to increase the volatility of the price of bitcoin which may have a negative impact on the performance of the Bitcoin Instruments and on the performance of the Funds.
As a result of compounding, for periods greater than one day, the use of leverage tends to cause the performance of a Fund to vary from its benchmark performance times the stated multiple or inverse multiple in the Fund’s investment objective, before accounting for fees and fund expenses. Compounding affects all investments, but has a more significant impact on geared funds. Four factors significantly affect how close daily compounded returns are to longer-term benchmark returns times the fund’s multiple: the length of the holding period, benchmark volatility, whether the multiple is positive or inverse, and its leverage level. Longer holding periods, higher benchmark volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each can lead to returns farther from the multiple times the benchmark return. As the tables below show, particularly during periods of higher benchmark volatility, compounding will cause longer term results to vary from the benchmark performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective. This effect becomes more pronounced as volatility increases.
Making money arbitraging bitcoin futures can be extremely simple. Futures contracts typically trade at a premium, and all you have to do, starting with USD, is buy bitcoin at Spot price and sell futures of the same amount at premium price. Then just wait until expiration to make your arb profit in bitcoin (which you can then put in USD). Whether it's a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any futures contract, as long as it's in a premium, you lock in the sale price and earn the arbitrage profit.