As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and in market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users, Bitcoin Exchanges and the Bitcoin Exchange Market. These regulatory efforts include, but are not limited to, the following.
R-1 (high) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality, and indicates an entity which possesses unquestioned ability to repay current liabilities as they fall due. Entities rated in this category normally maintain strong liquidity positions, conservative debt levels and profitability which is both stable and above average. Companies achieving an “R-1 (high)” rating are normally leaders in structurally sound industry segments with proven track records, sustainable positive future results and no substantial qualifying negative factors. Given the extremely tough definition which DBRS has established for an “R-1 (high)”, few entities are strong enough to achieve this rating.
The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the net investment income of certain individuals, trusts, and estates to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by a Fund of ordinary dividends and capital gain dividends as described above, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, redemption or exchange of Fund shares. Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of this additional tax on their investment in a 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.
The Funds may invest in shares of foreign corporations that are classified under the Code as passive foreign investment companies (“PFICs”). In general, a foreign corporation is classified as a PFIC if at least one-half of its assets constitute investment-type assets, or 75% or more of its gross income is investment-type income. Certain distributions from a PFIC, as well as gain from the sale of PFIC shares, are treated as “excess distributions.” Excess distributions are taxable as ordinary income even though, absent
Cryptocurrencies have been compared to Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and economic bubbles, such as housing market bubbles. Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management stated in 2017 that digital currencies were "nothing but an unfounded fad (or perhaps even a pyramid scheme), based on a willingness to ascribe value to something that has little or none beyond what people will pay for it", and compared them to the tulip mania (1637), South Sea Bubble (1720), and dot-com bubble (1999).
The Distribution and Service Plan and Distribution and Service Agreements will remain in effect for a period of one year and will continue in effect thereafter only if such continuance is specifically approved annually by a vote of the Trustees. All material amendments of the Distribution and Service Plan must also be approved by the Board. The Distribution and Service Plan may be terminated at any time by a majority of the Board or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares, as defined under the 1940 Act, of the affected Fund. The Distribution and Service Agreements may be terminated at any time, without payment of any penalty, by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares, as defined under the 1940 Act, of the affected Fund on not less than 60 days’ written notice to any other party to the Distribution and Service Agreements. The Distribution and Service Agreements shall terminate automatically if assigned. The Board has determined that, in its judgment, there is a reasonable likelihood that the Distribution and Service Plan will benefit the Funds and holders of Shares of the Funds. In the Board’s quarterly review of the Distribution and Service Plan and Distribution and Service Agreements, the Trustees will consider their continued appropriateness and the level of compensation and/or reimbursement provided therein.
In February 2014 the world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, declared bankruptcy. The company stated that it had lost nearly $473 million of their customers' bitcoins likely due to theft. This was equivalent to approximately 750,000 bitcoins, or about 7% of all the bitcoins in existence. The price of a bitcoin fell from a high of about $1,160 in December to under $400 in February.
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.
Inverse bitcoin contracts are usually denominated in USD terms. So if there's a contract value of $100 then each side -- LONG and SHORT -- puts down some portion of the contract value in margin. The contract is an agreement between traders to pay the other side an amount of bitcoin profit/loss as the price changes. Each contract has an expiration date, and some exchanges have periodic (daily or weekly) dates where the contract period's profits are "settled" even if the contract has not expired.
Certain debt securities may be treated as debt securities that were originally issued at a discount. Original issue discount can generally be defined as the difference between the price at which a security was issued and its stated redemption price at maturity. Original issue discount that accrues on a debt security in a given year generally is treated for federal income tax purposes as interest income that is included in a Fund’s income and, therefore, subject to the distribution requirements applicable to RICs, even though the Fund may not receive a corresponding amount of cash until a partial or full repayment or disposition of the debt security.
Distributions are taxable whether shareholders receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional shares. Distributions are also taxable to shareholders even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before a shareholder’s investment (and thus were included in the price the shareholder paid for the Fund shares). Investors should be careful to consider the tax implications of buying shares of a Fund just prior to a distribution. The price of shares purchased at this time will include the amount of the forthcoming distribution, but the distribution will generally be taxable.
• Small-and Mid-Cap Company Investment Risk — The Fund may invest in stocks of small-and mid-cap companies. The risk of equity investing may be particularly acute for securities of issuers with smaller market capitalizations. Small-and mid-cap company stocks may trade at greater spreads or lower trading volumes, and may be less liquid than the stocks of larger companies. Small-and mid-cap companies may have limited product lines or resources, may be dependent upon a particular market niche and may have greater fluctuations in price than the stocks of larger companies. Further, stocks of small-and mid-sized companies could be more difficult to liquidate during market downturns compared to larger, more widely traded companies. In addition, small-and mid-cap companies may lack the financial and personnel resources to handle economic or industry-wide setbacks and, as a result, such setbacks could have a greater effect on small-and mid-cap security prices.
Well since then bitcoin is up more than 50 percent; it reached a record of $19,511 early Monday, hours after CME launched its futures contract. "Bitcoin Climbs as Futures Debut Fails to Incite Attack by Shorts," is the Bloomberg headline about Sunday's start of trading on CME. On the other hand, bitcoin was actually down a bit on the first full day of CME trading yesterday, and fell further overnight; "Bitcoin Futures Prices Fall in CME Debut" is the Wall Street Journal headline about Monday's trading. It is of course still very early days for the futures, and it's still possible that the shorts will come in and drive the price down. I guess it's even possible bitcoin bulls and bears will both flock to the futures market and trade with each other to find an efficient and stable price that reflects bitcoin's fundamental value, whatever that is.
Although shares of the fund are listed for trading on a stock exchange and may be listed or traded on other U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for the Fund’s shares will develop or be maintained. Trading in shares on an exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of an exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on an exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to exchange “circuit breaker” rules. Short selling of shares is also limited pursuant to SEC rules if the trading price of shares varies by more than 10% from the previous day’s closing price on the exchange. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged or that the shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange.
A futures curve shows the forward expectation of an asset’s price. Future rates of an asset can be calculated by extrapolating price from the risk-free theoretical spot rate of the asset. For example, one might calculate the possible future rate of an asset for the short (<1 month), medium (1-3 months) and long term (>3 months). In other words, future curves represent the demand for a specific asset and therefore the expected price evolution for the asset projected into the future. The curve is constructed from a discrete set of data points for various maturities. Initially, futures curves were used for hedging purposes, but with the evolution of the investment management industry, futures curves have become basic investment instruments not only for traditional commodities but also for new emerging asset classes.
Several factors may affect a Fund’s ability to achieve a high degree of correlation with its benchmark. Among these factors are: (i) a Fund’s fees and expenses, including brokerage (which may be increased by high portfolio turnover) and the costs associated with the use of derivatives; (ii) less than all of the securities underlying a Fund’s benchmark being held by the Fund and/or securities not included in its benchmark being held by a Fund; (iii) an imperfect correlation between the performance of instruments held by a Fund, such as futures contracts, and the performance of the underlying securities in a benchmark; (iv) bid-ask spreads (the effect of which may be increased by portfolio turnover); (v) holding instruments traded in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (vi) a Fund’s share prices being rounded to the nearest cent; (vii) changes to the benchmark that are not disseminated in advance; (viii) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with investment restrictions or policies or regulatory or tax law requirements;
R-1 (middle) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (middle)” is of superior credit quality and, in most cases, ratings in this category differ from “R-1 (high)” credits to only a small degree. Given the extremely tough definition which DBRS has for the “R-1 (high)” category (which few companies are able to achieve), entities rated “R-1 (middle)” are also considered strong credits which typically exemplify above average strength in key areas of consideration for debt protection.
The Funds may invest in a combination of forward currency contracts and U.S. dollar-denominated market instruments in an attempt to obtain an investment result that is substantially the same as a direct investment in a foreign currency-denominated instrument. This investment technique creates a “synthetic” position in the particular foreign currency instrument whose performance the manager is trying to duplicate. For example, investing in a combination of U.S. dollar-denominated instruments with “long” forward currency exchange contracts creates a position economically equivalent to investing in a money market instrument denominated in the foreign currency itself. Such combined positions are sometimes necessary when the money market in a particular foreign currency is small or relatively illiquid.
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
The equity markets are volatile, and the value of securities, swaps, futures, and other instruments correlated with the equity markets may fluctuate dramatically from day-to-day. Equity markets are subject to corporate, political, regulatory, market and economic developments, as well as developments that impact specific economic sectors, industries or segments of the market. Further, stocks in the Index may underperform other equity investments. Volatility in the markets and/or market developments may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to decrease.
While volatile movements take away the attractiveness of any asset, a certain amount of swing in price creates trading opportunities. This is something that many traders and speculators have been taking advantage of by buying the digital currency and then selling at a profit through an exchange. The whole process makes bitcoin exchanges an important part of the ecosystem since it facilitates the buying and selling of bitcoins, as well as futures trading.
Look, you and I are sophisticated, and we get that "bitcoin's price increase is deflationary and makes it a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin, because "bitcoin is a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin. (People keep making it though.) Bitcoin's value proposition -- much like that of gold -- is that it is an uncorrelated store of value, not that it is useful for buying a sandwich. But at the same time you have to watch out for business models that are based on the casual assumption that bitcoin works just like a currency. "Cryptocurrency-financed warehouse lending" has the word "cryptocurrency" in it, so it's worth billions of dollars, but I'm not sure it works as a business model.
Other forms of swap agreements that the Funds may enter into include: interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified level, or “floor”; and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.
The Funds may enter into swap agreements to gain exposure to an underlying asset without actually purchasing such asset, or to hedge a position including in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on a particular pre-determined investment or instrument. The gross return to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties is calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” e.g., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested in a “basket” of securities or an ETF representing a particular index or group of securities.
The Funds are exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and the shares of each Fund (“Shares”) are listed on NYSE Arca, The NASDAQ Stock Market or the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., (each, an “Exchange”). The Shares trade on the relevant Exchange at market prices that may differ to some degree from the Shares’ NAVs. Each Fund issues and redeems Shares on a continuous basis at NAV in large, specified numbers of Shares called “Creation Units.” Creation Units of the Funds are issued and redeemed in-kind for securities and an amount of cash or entirely in cash, in each case at the discretion of ProShare Advisors LLC (the “Advisor” or “ProShare Advisors”). Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares cannot be purchased from and are not redeemable securities of the Funds. Retail investors, therefore, generally will not be able to purchase or redeem the Shares directly. Rather, most retail investors will purchase and sell Shares in the secondary market with the assistance of a broker. Reference is made to the Prospectus for a discussion of the investment objectives and policies of each of the Funds. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. Portfolio management is provided to the Funds by ProShare Advisors, a Maryland limited liability company with offices at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, MD 20814.
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.
Now, what if the Bitcoin price is rising? For example, if 1 BTC is worth 5,500 USD, you don’t want to fulfill this contract any more and sell cheap for 5,000 USD. In order to still make things fair for both participants, the exchange (here CME) will make sure that you can sell for the current market price of 5,500 USD if you so wish, but they will compensate your contract partner for this. How? They will take the difference – 500 USD – out of your so-called margin account and give it to Mortimer. This kind of settlement is not only performed on the fulfilment date of the futures contract, but on every trading day, according to the current price of the asset.