There may be circumstances outside the control of the Advisor, Trust, Administrator (as defined below), transfer agent, Custodian (as defined below), any sub-custodian, Distributor (as defined below), and/or a Fund that make it, for all practical purposes, impossible to re-position such Fund and/or to process a purchase or redemption order. Examples of such circumstances include: natural disasters; public service disruptions or utility problems such as those caused by fires, floods, extreme weather conditions, and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy, and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the aforementioned parties, as well as the DTC, the NSCC, or any other participant in the purchase process; and similar extraordinary events. Accordingly, while the Advisor has implemented and tested a business continuity plan that transfers functions of any disrupted facility to another location and has effected a disaster recovery plan, circumstances, such as those above, may prevent a Fund from being operated in a manner consistent with its investment objective and/or principal investment strategies.
So far, these derivatives market have only been a niche occupied by crypto enthusiasts. That is until one of the newcomers, Crypto Facilities, and an incumbent in the derivatives market have joined forces: Crypto Facilities and the CME Group. The CME Group (controlling, for example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that has been around for more than a century) is a large-scale business that is officially regulated and audited by the US financial authorities. It settles its contracts in fiat money rather than cryptocurrency, thus enabling non-crypto experts to speculate on Bitcoin.
The biggest problem of the Blockchain is its reliance on miners. This is exactly why the cryptocurrency called IOTA (the Internet of Thigs Application) was created in 2016. IOTA also battles increasing transaction fees and network scalability. IOTA’s blockchain is called Tangle. It is a blockchain with no blocks and no chains. In this system, the users themselves are responsible for validating transactions. This means there’s no need for approval from miners; so users enjoy a fee-free transaction and an increased process speed.
Coinbase, headquartered in San Francisco, is an online bitcoin broking exchange which caters to US, Canada, Europe, UK, Australia, Singapore. Up to 150 US dollars and pounds can be bought on Coinbase on a daily basis. It charges a 3.99% on all the exchanges via credit or debit card. Coinbase offers very high limits. Limits depend on your account level, which is determined by how much information you have verified. Fully verified U.S. customers may buy up to $50,000 worth of bitcoin daily.
The CME considers a hard fork of the Bitcoin Blockchain where both forks continue to be actively mined and traded but may not be fungible with each other, as an unusual and extreme circumstance. As such, CME provides that Crypto Facilities Ltd. (CME’s administrator) shall be responsible for recommending the necessary actions and responses to ensure the relevance and integrity of the Bitcoin Pricing Products.
• The bitcoin exchanges on which bitcoin trades are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated and, therefore, may be more exposed to volatility, 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.
ProShare Advisors, pursuant to a separate Management Services Agreement, performs certain administrative services on behalf of the Funds, such as negotiating, coordinating and implementing the Trust’s contractual obligations with the Funds’ service providers; monitoring, overseeing and reviewing the performance of such service providers to ensure adherence to applicable contractual obligations; and preparing or coordinating reports and presentations to the Board of Trustees with respect to such service providers as requested or as deemed necessary. For these services, the Trust pays to ProShare Advisors a fee at the annual rate of 0.10% of average daily net assets for each of the Funds. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this management services fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
ProShare Advisors, located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, serves as the investment adviser to the fund and provides investment advice and management services to each Fund. ProShare Advisors oversees the investment and reinvestment of the assets in each Fund. Pursuant to the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust (entered into on behalf of each Fund), ProShare Advisors is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except interest expenses, taxes, brokerage and other transaction costs, compensation and expenses of the Independent Trustees, compensation and expenses of counsel to the Independent Trustees, compensation and expenses of the Trust’s chief compliance officer and his or her staff, future distribution fees or expenses, and extraordinary expenses. For its investment advisory and management services, ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund; ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund; ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund; and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund. A discussion regarding the basis for the Board approving the investment advisory and management agreement for each Fund will be included in the Trust’s semi-annual or annual report to shareholders that covers the period during which the approval occurred.
• In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, a Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from “qualifying income,” meet certain asset diversification tests at the end of each taxable quarter, and meet annual distribution requirements. A Fund’s pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. A Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, a Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its shareholders, and were ineligible to or were not to cure such failure, the Fund would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax on all its income at the fund level. The resulting taxes could substantially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of income available for distribution. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions. Please see the Statement of Additional Information for more information.
Standard & Poor’s® and S&P® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) and Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”). The Indexes are a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates, and have been licensed for use by ProShares. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, Dow Jones, S&P, any of their third party licensors, or any of their respective affiliates (collectively, “S&P Dow Jones Indices”). S&P Dow Jones Indices does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Funds or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Funds particularly or the ability of the Indexes to track general market performance. S&P Dow Jones Indices’ only relationship to ProShares with respect to the Indexes is the licensing of the Indexes and certain trademarks, service marks and/or trade names of S&P Dow Jones Indices. The Indexes are determined, composed and calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices without regard to ProShares or the Funds. S&P Dow Jones Indices have no obligation to take the needs of ProShares or the owners of the Funds into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Indexes. S&P Dow Jones Indices are not responsible for and have not participated in the determination of the prices, and amount of the Funds or the timing of the issuance or sale of the Funds or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Funds are to be converted into cash or redeemed, as the case may be. S&P Dow Jones Indices have no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Funds. There is no assurance that investment products based on the Indexes will accurately track index performance or provide positive investment returns. S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and its subsidiaries are not investment advisers. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by S&P Dow Jones Indices to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Parent Funds and the Subsidiaries are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of a Parent Fund and/or its respective Subsidiary to operate as described in this SAI and could negatively affect a Parent Fund and its shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiaries. If Cayman Islands law changes such that a Subsidiary must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Parent Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns. See “Taxation” below for more information.
• Interest Rate Risk — The Fund intends to invest a substantial portion of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities and is subject to interest rate risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that debt securities may fluctuate in value due to changes in interest rates. Commonly, investments subject to interest rate risk will decrease in value when interest rates rise and increase in value when interest rates decline. The value of securities with longer maturities may fluctuate more in response to interest rate changes than securities with shorter maturities. A wide variety of factors can cause interest rates to rise (e.g., central bank monetary policies, inflation rates, general economic conditions, etc.). This risk may be elevated under current economic conditions because interest rates are at historically low levels. Returns on investment in debt instruments may trail the returns on other investment options, including investments in equity securities.
• Intellectual property rights claims may adversely affect the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Third parties may assert intellectual property rights claims relating to the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Regardless of the merit of any intellectual property or other legal action, any threatened action that reduces confidence in the Bitcoin Network’s long-term viability or the ability of end-users to hold and transfer bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin and adversely affect the price of the bitcoin futures contracts held by the Fund.
Many expect bitcoin futures to stabilise the markets because big institutional investors will be able to trade bitcoin using all the flexibility present in sophisticated trading markets, with effective risk management and hedging strategies. Since the CME plans to set price limits on the trading range of bitcoin futures, the price of the coin is expected to become more stable. That is the optimistic outlook. It is reasonable to assume that if futures markets will indeed take off the way they are expected to, the market will eventually gravitate towards a less volatile state.
• Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are listed for trading on the [ ] Exchange and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares and other market factors. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming directly with the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, trading spreads and the resulting premium or discount on the Fund’s shares may widen and the Fund’s shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting.
I have worked with the CME in the past on product development (specifically CDS futures) and from my experience, they would not have missed anything this simple. In fact, while I am not a huge fan of the concept of Bitcoin futures, as currently implemented, I do not expect any errors in the operation of the CME or CBOE futures contract. I am sure that regulators will be questioning them on the back of the OKEX, as they should, and I am also quite positive the exchanges here will pass with flying colors.
Now there is an open interest in the futures contract created. The simple act of two traders with no open interest, one making a limit order which then gets filled by the other, is what creates this position. The exchange then holds the 0.2 BTC margin of each party and the Profit and Loss (PNL) of the contract seesaws between counterparties based on market movements. If the exchange is liquid and rational, then the market price of the contract will change as the spot market moves. So if bitcoin price starts going up, futures traders will bid the price up.
A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.