The first timestamping scheme invented was the proof-of-work scheme. The most widely used proof-of-work schemes are based on SHA-256 and scrypt. The latter now dominates over the world of cryptocurrencies, with at least 480 confirmed implementations. Some other hashing algorithms that are used for proof-of-work include CryptoNight, Blake, SHA-3, and X11.
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On October 31, 2017, CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, had announced its intent to launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of 2017. “CME Group's Bitcoin futures will be available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform, and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort, effective on Sunday, December 17, 2017 for a trade date of December 18” as per CME’s officials statement.
When the Fund has an open futures contract position, it is subject to daily variation margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. Futures markets are highly volatile and the use of or exposure to futures contracts may increase volatility of the Fund’s NAV. Futures contracts are also subject to liquidity risk.
Each Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions as fundamental policies that cannot be changed without a “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund. The phrase “majority of outstanding voting securities” is defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a duly-called meeting of shareholders, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented by proxy; or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. (All policies of a Fund not specifically identified in this Statement of Additional Information or its Prospectus as fundamental may be changed without a vote of the shareholders of the Fund.) For purposes of the following limitations, all percentage limitations apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment.
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.
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.
Taking their prices from bitcoin futures, the swaps will not handle bitcoin directly. Seeing as Morgan Stanley is a regulated and established financial institution, tying the product to futures contracts is a safer bet than basing them on bitcoin’s spot price, as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Exchange offer fully-regulated bitcoin futures from which Morgan Stanley can pool pricing data.
The existence of market makers (e.g., Virtu Financial) refutes a common assertion about futures—that there‘s always a loser for every winner, that it’s a zero-sum game. It’s true that derivatives like stock options and futures are created in matched pairs—a long and a short contract. If two speculators own those two contracts the profits on one side are offset by losses on the other but market makers are not speculators. In general, they’re not betting on the direction of the market. They act as intermediaries, selling to buyers at the higher ask price and buying from sellers at the lower bid price— collecting the difference.
Transaction fees for cryptocurrency depend mainly on the supply of network capacity at the time, versus the demand from the currency holder for a faster transaction. The currency holder can choose a specific transaction fee, while network entities process transactions in order of highest offered fee to lowest. Cryptocurrency exchanges can simplify the process for currency holders by offering priority alternatives and thereby determine which fee will likely cause the transaction to be processed in the requested time.
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.
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. While the potential to earn more is increased with the amount of money you invest into a coin, the potential to lose more is also magnified. Another way to think about it is to look at the cryptocurrency market as a whole; if you believe that this is just the beginning, then more than likely the entire market cap of cryptocurrencies will increase. What are the chances that this market cap increase will be entirely driven by one coin vs. being driven by many coins? The best way to safely capture the overall growth of cryptocurrency is to diversify and reap the benefits of growth from multiple coins. Also, fun fact — Between January 2016 and January 2018, Corgicoin has increased by 60,000x, and Verge has increased by 13,000x. During the same period, Bitcoin has increased by 34x. While you would have gotten impressive gains from Bitcoin, expanding into other coins could have landed you potentially larger ones.
• Ownership of bitcoin is pseudonymous and the supply of accessible bitcoins is unknown. There is no registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible, that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin from selling its bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Fund.
RUSSELL DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE RUSSELL INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN AND RUSSELL SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN. RUSSELL MAKES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY PROSHARES TRUST, INVESTORS, FUND SHAREHOLDERS, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE RUSSELL INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. RUSSELL MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE RUSSELL INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL RUSSELL HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Let's not even go into the paradigm shift that this development implies. The growth of a bitcoin futures market positions it even more as a commodity than a currency (in the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates futures markets). And even more as an investment asset than a technology that has the potential to change the plumbing of finance.
Two members of the Silk Road Task Force—a multi-agency federal task force that carried out the U.S. investigation of Silk Road—seized bitcoins for their own use in the course of the investigation. DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV, who attempted to extort Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht ("Dread Pirate Roberts"), pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and extortion under color of official right, and was sentenced to 6.5 years in federal prison. U.S. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty to crimes relating to his diversion of $800,000 worth of bitcoins to his personal account during the investigation, and also separately pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with another cryptocurrency theft; he was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison.
Note that the market value of the contract fluctuates before settlement. You are not forced to hold the contract to expiration. As the spot market moves, the traded futures contract price also moves. There is a live orderbook of traders placing buy and sell orders and you are able to realize your profit or loss prior to expiration, just as if you were buying and selling a stock.
Like all investments, investing in any of the Funds entails risks. The risk factors most likely to have a significant impact on a Fund’s portfolio are called “principal risks.” The principal risks of each Fund are described in the applicable Fund’s Summary Prospectus and additional information regarding certain of these principal risks, as well as information related to other potential risks to which a particular Fund may be subjected, is provided below. Some risks apply to all of the Funds, while others are specific to the investment strategies of certain Funds, as indicated below. Each Fund may be subject to other risks in addition to those identified as principal risks.
For purposes of this SAI, the word “invest” refers to a Fund directly and indirectly investing in securities or other instruments. Similarly, when used in this SAI, the word “investment” refers to a Fund’s direct and indirect investments in securities and other instruments. For example, the Funds typically invest indirectly in securities or instruments by using financial instruments with economic exposure similar to those securities or instruments.
• Risks Associated with Bitcoin – The Fund is exposed to risks associated with bitcoin. Investing in or gaining exposure to Bitcoin may provide the Fund with increased risk. Various global factors may negatively impact the Fund’s performance including legal, regulatory, political, social, regional and economic events. These risks, which could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the trading price of Fund shares, include the following:
The regulation of bitcoin, digital assets and related products and services continues to evolve. The inconsistent and sometimes conflicting regulatory landscape may make it more difficult for bitcoin businesses to provide services, which may impede the growth of the bitcoin economy and have an adverse effect on consumer adoption of bitcoin. There is a possibility of future regulatory change altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Funds or the ability of the Funds to continue to operate. Additionally, to the extent that bitcoin itself is determined to be a security, commodity future or other regulated asset, or to the extent that a United States or foreign government or quasi-governmental agency exerts regulatory authority over the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin trading or ownership in bitcoin, the price of bitcoin and the value of the Bitcoin Instruments may be adversely affected, which may have an adverse effect on the value of your investment in the Funds. In sum, bitcoin regulation takes many different forms and will, therefore, impact bitcoin and its usage in a variety of manners. The European Union has recently agreed to rules designed to reduce anonymity of bitcoin transactions, which may impact the supply and demand for bitcoin and bitcoin futures contracts.
The Trust, the Advisor and the Distributor each have adopted a consolidated code of ethics (the “COE”), under Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act, which is reasonably designed to ensure that all acts, practices and courses of business engaged in by personnel of the Trust, the Advisor and the Distributor reflect high standards of conduct and comply with the requirements of the federal securities laws. There can be no assurance that the COE will be effective in preventing deceptive, manipulative or fraudulent activities. The COE permits personnel subject to it to invest in securities, including securities that may be held or purchased by a Fund; however, such transactions are reported on a regular basis. The Advisor’s personnel that are Access Persons, as the term is defined in the COE, subject to the COE are also required to report transactions in registered open-end investment companies advised or sub-advised by the Advisor. The COE is on file with the SEC and is available to the public.
The CME Group contract (symbol “BTC”) began trading on December 18, 2017, building off of the success of the BRR and demand for a regulated trading venue for the digital asset market. The contract is cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are listed on and subject to the rules of CME.2
Traders do NOT need to wait until settlement in order to get out of position and profit from the trade. Bob or Ann can pass off their side of the future contract to someone else. So Bob, who is long, can sell the contract at a different price to Sally, who wants to hold the long side of the contract where Ann is short. So if Sally puts a bid order in the January 9 futures orderbook at $410, then Bob can sell his contract to Sally, earning a nice 2.5% return nominally, or 12.5% (5x) return on the 0.2 BTC initial margin used. In this sense, the contracts are just like trading spot!
Credit Default Swaps (“CDS”): In the case of a CDS, the agreement will reference one or more debt securities or reference entities. The protection “buyer” in a credit default contract is generally obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract until a credit event, such as a default, on a reference entity has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer: a) the full notional value of the swap; or b) the difference between the notional value of the defaulted reference entity and the recovery price/rate for the defaulted reference entity. CDS are designed to reflect changes in credit quality, including events of default. The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF will normally be a “buyer” of CDS (also referred to as a buyer of protection or a seller of risk). The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF will primarily invest in centrally cleared, index-based CDS that provide credit exposure through a single trade to a basket of reference entities. The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF may also invest in single-name CDS. Single-name CDS provide exposure to a single reference entity and are not centrally cleared.
Disclaimer: Trading carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to invest you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.
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.
In the event that a Fund invests in an Underlying RIC that is not publicly offered within the meaning of the Code, the Fund’s redemption of shares of such Underlying RIC may cause the Fund to be treated as receiving a dividend taxable as ordinary income on the full amount of the redemption instead of being treated as realizing capital gain (or loss) on the redemption of the shares of the Underlying RIC.
In general, the Code defines (1) “short-term capital gain dividends” as distributions of net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses and (2) “interest-related dividends” as distributions from U.S. source interest income of types similar to those not subject to U.S. federal income tax if earned directly by an individual foreign shareholder, in each case to the extent such distributions are properly reported as such by a Fund in a written notice to shareholders.
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.
For purposes of the diversification test described in subparagraph (b) above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. Also, for purposes of the diversification test in (b) above, the identification of the issuer (or, in some cases, issuers) of a particular Fund investment can depend on the terms and conditions of that investment. In some cases, identification of the issuer (or issuers) is uncertain under current law, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to issuer identification for a particular type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to meet the diversification test in (b) above.
The Board has determined that its leadership structure is appropriate in light of the characteristics of the Trust and each of the Funds. These characteristics include, among other things, the fact that all Funds are organized under one Trust; all Funds are exchange-traded funds; all Funds have common service providers; and that the majority of Funds are geared funds, with similar principal investment strategies. As a result, the Board addresses governance and management issues that are often common to all or most of the Funds. In light of these characteristics, the Board has determined that a four-member Board, including three Independent
The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities required for a Portfolio Deposit for each Fund changes as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by ProShare Advisors with a view to the investment objective of the applicable Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the securities constituting the relevant securities index, as applicable. The adjustments described above will reflect changes, known to ProShare Advisors on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Portfolio Deposit, in the composition of the subject index being tracked by the relevant Fund, as applicable, or resulting from stock splits and other corporate actions. In addition, the Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of an amount of cash (i.e., a “cash in lieu” amount) to be added to the Balancing Amount to replace any Deposit Security which may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or for other similar reasons. A Transaction Fee may be assessed on any “cash in lieu” amounts, as further described below under “Transaction Fees”. For the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, a minimum of 70% of the Deposit Securities must be delivered, unless such purchase is made on a cash-only basis.
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 Bitcoin Futures/Equity 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.
Traders A and B in the previous example are hedgers. However, futures contracts, once they exist, can also be bought and sold in their own right. This is where futures get interesting for speculators. Say that Speculator X believes the price of a ton of pork belly will rise to 1,200 USD in 3 months’ time, so buying the futures contract at 1,000 USD is a good deal. He can then sell the contract to bacon producers who want to buy pork bellies at 1,000 USD. The option to buy at a specified price in the future is known as a call option. The price of call options rise when traders assume that the price of the underlying asset will rise.