Unlike many commodity futures, Bitcoin futures are cash settled rather than physically settled. Cash settlement is a relatively new development in futures trading, first introduced in 1981 for Eurodollar futures, that addresses the problem of how to settle futures contracts on things that are difficult/impossible to deliver physicially—things like interest rates, large stock indexes (e.g., S&P 500), and volatility indexes (Cboe’s VIX). Futures physical settlement involves actual shipment/change of ownership of the underlying product to the contract holder but in practice, it’s rarely used (~2% of the time). Instead, most organizations that are using futures to hedge prices of future production/usage will make separate arrangements with suppliers/customers for physical delivery and just use the futures to protect against contrary price changes. In practice, the final settlement price of the contract can be used to provide the desired price protection regardless of whether the futures contract specifies physically delivery or cash-settlement.
When you hear "margin", you may be thinking that you are borrowing money to trade bitcoin futures. This is not quite true. A key feature of these futures contracts is that the leverage comes from counterparties providing it to one another, not from the exchange lending funds and not from any bitcoin being lent from third parties. The contracts are simply like stocks with a market price, which represents the agreements between traders to take the opposing sides of where price of bitcoin will go, so no actual bitcoins are being exchanged per se, however the profit and loss between counterparties is very real!
The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of high volatility. As a result, the CFE and CME have established margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts at levels substantially higher than the margin requirements for more established futures contracts. The increased margin requirements may result in much higher upfront costs for the Funds. Market participants may be deterred from incorporating bitcoin futures contracts into their investment strategies due to these higher costs and other limitations created by the high margin requirements, such as the limit on their ability to use leverage to invest in bitcoin futures contracts. A reduction in the adoption of the bitcoin futures contracts will negatively impact the market for bitcoin futures contracts and could negatively impact the performance of the Funds. In addition, the continued volatility in the price of bitcoin may result in further increases to the margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts by the CFE and CME, as well as some FCMs imposing margin requirements on their customers in amounts that are steeper than the margin required by the exchanges.
Each Fund seeks performance that corresponds to the performance of an index. There is no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used to create any index will result in a Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. Any index may underperform more traditional indices. In turn, the Fund could lose value while other indices or measures of market performance increase in level or performance. In addition, each Fund may be subject to the risk that an index provider may not follow its stated methodology for determining the level of the index and/or achieve the index provider’s intended performance objective.
FOREIGN SOVEREIGN, SUB-SOVEREIGN, QUASI SOVEREIGN AND SUPRANATIONAL SECURITIES. The Funds may invest in fixed-rate debt securities issued by: non-U.S. governments (foreign sovereign bonds); local governments, entities or agencies of a non-U.S. country (foreign sub-sovereign bonds); corporations with significant government ownership (“Quasi-Sovereigns”); or two or more central governments or institutions (supranational bonds). These types of debt securities are typically
The Shares are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by BofA Merrill Lynch. Neither BofA Merrill Lynch nor any of Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, MSCI, Inc. or Frank Russell Company (the “Exchanges and Entities”) have passed on the legality or suitability of, or the accuracy or adequacy of descriptions and disclosures relating to, the Shares, nor do they make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Shares or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Shares particularly or the ability of the Index to track general hedge fund performance. BofA Merrill Lynch’s and the Exchanges and Entities’ only relationship to the Trust is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names of BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities and of the Index, which indices are determined, composed and calculated by BofA Merrill Lynch without regard to the Trust or the Shares. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities have no obligation to take the needs of the Trust or the owners of the Shares into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Index. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities are not responsible for and have not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Shares to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Shares are to be converted into or redeemed for cash or other assets. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities have no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Shares.
The tables below shows performance examples of an Ultra and UltraShort ProShares Fund that have investment objective to correspond to two times (2x) and two times the inverse (-2x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
Writer and hustler. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will has been on the road for nine years, travelling to far-flung lands on a budget. Today, he runs a number of online ventures. He is passionate about teaching others how to ditch their desks, hit the road and achieve real freedom by earning money online. Currently, Will is on a four year journey from the UK to Papua New Guinea; travelling through truly special countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Bhutan whilst running his businesses online.
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (including through the Subsidiary, as defined below), or “turns over” its portfolio. A higher portfolio turnover rate for the Fund or the Subsidiary may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when the Fund’s shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the example above, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus. Thus, no portfolio turnover information is provided for this Fund.
It is also possible that other digital currencies, typically referred to as “alt-coins”, and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than Bitcoin. In particular, the digital asset “ethereum” has acquired a substantial share of the cryptocurrency market in recent months, which may be in part due to perceived institutional backing and/or potentially advantageous features not incorporated into bitcoin. There are other cryptocurrencies gaining momentum as the price of the bitcoin continues to rise and investors see the cheaper cryptocurrencies as attractive alternatives. The continued rise of these alt-coins can lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and may have an adverse impact on the performance of Bitcoin Instruments and the performance of the Funds.
The fund performance for a Geared ProShares Fund can be estimated given any set of assumptions for the factors described above. The tables on the next five pages illustrate the impact of two factors, benchmark volatility and benchmark performance, on a Geared Fund. Benchmark volatility is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in the returns of a benchmark and is calculated as the standard deviation of the natural logarithm of one plus the benchmark return (calculated daily), multiplied by the square root of the number of trading days per year (assumed to be 252). The tables show estimated Fund returns for a number of combinations of benchmark performance and benchmark volatility over a one-year period. Assumptions used in the tables include: (a) no dividends paid with respect to securities included in the underlying benchmark; (b) no Fund expenses; and (c) borrowing/lending rates (to obtain leverage or inverse exposure) of zero percent. If Fund expenses and/or actual borrowing lending rates were reflected, the Fund’s performance would be different than shown.
• Subsidiary Investment Risk — Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Fund to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Subsidiary is not registered under the 1940 Act and is not subject to all the investor protections of the 1940 Act. Thus, the Fund, as an investor in the Subsidiary, will not have all the protections offered to investors in registered investment companies.
Cryptocurrencies are far more volatile than stocks and bonds, and the industry evolves rapidly. An altcoin that is popular today may not exist a month or a year from now. In other words, traders should consider the possibility of losing everything when they start trading. For this reason, you should put only a very small portion of your portfolio in this sector.
The Bitcoin Network’s functionality relies on the Internet. A broadly accepted and widely adopted decentralized network is necessary for a fully-functional blockchain network, such as the Bitcoin Network. Features of the Bitcoin Network, such as decentralization, open source protocol, and reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, are essential to preserve the stability of the network and decrease the risk of fraud or cyber-attacks. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect a Fund. In addition to technical disruptions such as cyber-attacks, the potential elimination of the net neutrality regulations in the U.S. may have a negative impact on miners, Bitcoin Markets and the Bitcoin ecosystem. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Instruments in which the Funds invest.
These days, all of the BTC/USD contracts trading at active futures markets are inverse, as mentioned in the beginning of this guide. The only differences between the exchanges is how they trigger liquidations and the procedure for handling margin calls. They all use Bitcoin as the currency, of course, and you can use the table below for a basic feature comparison:
For each intervening holiday in the applicable foreign market that is not a holiday observed by the U.S. equity markets, the redemption settlement cycle will be extended by the number of days of such intervening holiday. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a foreign market, including due to regulatory action, may also prevent a Fund from delivering securities within the normal settlement period.
But… it's also possible that the institutional investors that are negative on bitcoin's prospects (and there's no shortage of those) may use the futures markets to put money behind their conviction. It's much easier to sell a futures contract with a lower-than-market price than it is to actually short bitcoin. These investors may well send signals to the actual bitcoin market that sends prices tumbling.
Neither ProShares Trust nor ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, or ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Interactive Data. Interactive Data makes no representations or warranties regarding ProShares Trust or, ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, or ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury or the ability of, ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, or ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury to track the applicable Index.
Market conditions should be considered favorable to a Fund when such conditions make it more likely that the value of an investment in that Fund will increase. Market conditions should be considered adverse to a Fund when such conditions make it more likely that the value of an investment in that Fund will decrease. For example, market conditions that cause the level of the S&P 500® to rise are considered “favorable” to the Ultra S&P500® and are considered “adverse” to the Short S&P500®.
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.
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If a beneficial owner of Fund Shares who or which is a foreign shareholder has a trade or business in the United States, and income from the Fund is effectively connected with the conduct by the beneficial owner of that trade or business, such income will be subject to U.S. federal net income taxation at regular income tax rates and, in the case of a foreign corporation, may also be subject to a branch profits tax.
EDIT: #10 Bonus (Suggested by @kerstenwirth ) — always check the ticker symbol. Ticker symbols are not universal, and may vary from exchange to exchange in rare cases. Those cases, though, can come back to bite you. For example, Bitcoin Cash trades on some exchanges as BCH, while it trades on others as BCC. BCC is also the ticker symbol for BitConnect, which was recently outted as a Ponzi Scheme. If you bought BCC under the impression was Bitcoin Cash, you would’ve lost a lot of money.
Various government agencies, departments, and courts have classified bitcoin differently. China Central Bank banned the handling of bitcoins by financial institutions in China in early 2014. In Russia, though cryptocurrencies are legal, it is illegal to actually purchase goods with any currency other than the Russian ruble. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.
that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of mortgage assets. The Funds will only invest in SMBS whose mortgage assets are U.S. government obligations. A common type of SMBS will be structured so that one class receives some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class receives most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, each Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities. The market value of any class that consists primarily or entirely of principal payments generally is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
The Trustees, their birth date, term of office and length of time served, principal business occupations during the past five years and the number of portfolios in the Fund Complex overseen and other directorships, if any, held by each Trustee, are shown below. Unless noted otherwise, the addresses of each Trustee is: c/o ProShares Trust, 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, MD 20814.
The rules regarding the extent to which such subpart F inclusions will be treated as “qualifying income” for purposes of the 90% gross income requirement described above are unclear and currently under consideration. In the absence of further guidance, each Parent Fund will seek to ensure that it satisfies the 90% gross income requirement, including but not limited to by ensuring that its Subsidiary timely distributes to it an amount equal to the Subsidiary’s subpart F income by the end of the Subsidiary’s taxable year. In order to make such distributions, the Subsidiary may be required to sell investments, including at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. If a Parent Fund were to fail to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment in any taxable year, it would be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gains, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. In addition, the Parent Fund could be required to pay substantial taxes, penalties and interest, and to make substantial distributions, in order to re-qualify for such special treatment.
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.
In cryptocurrency networks, mining is a validation of transactions. For this effort, successful miners obtain new cryptocurrency as a reward. The reward decreases transaction fees by creating a complementary incentive to contribute to the processing power of the network. The rate of generating hashes, which validate any transaction, has been increased by the use of specialized machines such as FPGAs and ASICs running complex hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and Scrypt. This arms race for cheaper-yet-efficient machines has been on since the day the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was introduced in 2009. With more people venturing into the world of virtual currency, generating hashes for this validation has become far more complex over the years, with miners having to invest large sums of money on employing multiple high performance ASICs. Thus the value of the currency obtained for finding a hash often does not justify the amount of money spent on setting up the machines, the cooling facilities to overcome the enormous amount of heat they produce, and the electricity required to run them.
Litecoin (LTC) is similar to Bitcoin in many of its characteristics and is also one of the more veteran cryptocurrencies out there. However, there are two main differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin: Speed and amount. While it takes 10 minutes to create a Bitcoin block, Litecoin demands roughly 2.5 minutes to create a block – meaning 4 times the speed. Moreover, Litecoin attracts many users, as it can produce 4 times the quantity of Bitcoin! However, as Litecoin uses highly complex cryptography, often mining it is more complicated than other cryptocurrencies.
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.
It is important to note, however, that leverage means that your potential losses may also be much higher. If pork belly prices fall, call options lose value in a much higher proportion than the pork bellies themselves. In the above example, if the price of pork bellies falls from 1,000 to 900 USD (by 10%), the price of call options may fall from 10.5 USD to almost zero, resulting in a near-total loss of your funds instead of a small loss of just 10%.