The Officers, under the supervision of the Board, manage the day-to-day operations of the Trust. One Trustee and all of the Officers of the Trust are directors, officers or employees of ProShare Advisors or Foreside Management Services, LLC. The other Trustees are Independent Trustees. The Trustees and some Officers are also directors and officers of some or all of the other funds in the Fund Complex. The Fund Complex includes all funds advised by ProShare Advisors and any funds that have an investment adviser that is an affiliated person of ProShare Advisors.
Each Fund may enter into swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities. On a typical long swap, the counterparty will generally agree to pay the Fund the amount, if any, by which the notional amount of the swap agreement would have increased in value had it been invested in the particular underlying assets (e.g., an ETF, or securities comprising a benchmark index), plus the dividends or interest that would have been received on those assets. The Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty a floating rate of interest on the notional amount of the swap agreement plus the amount, if any, by which the notional amount would have decreased in value had it been invested in such assets plus, in certain instances, commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. Therefore, the return to the Fund on such swap agreements should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends or interest on the assets less the interest paid by the Fund on the notional amount. As a trading technique, the Advisor may substitute physical securities with a swap agreement having investment characteristics substantially similar to the underlying securities. Some Funds may also enter into swap agreements that provide the opposite return of their benchmark or a security. Their operations are similar to that of the swaps disclosed above except that the counterparty pays interest to each Fund on the notional amount outstanding and that dividends or interest on the underlying instruments reduce the value of the swap, plus, in certain instances, each Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. These amounts are often netted with any unrealized gain or loss to determine the value of the swap.
In addition, the Advisor, its affiliates and principals may trade for their own accounts. Consequently, non-customer and proprietary trades may be executed and cleared through any prime broker or other broker utilized by clients. It is possible that officers or employees of the Advisor may buy or sell securities or other instruments that the Advisor has recommended to, or purchased for, its clients and may engage in transactions for their own accounts in a manner that is inconsistent with the Advisor’s recommendations to a client. Personal securities transactions by employees may raise potential conflicts of interest when such persons trade in a security that is owned by, or considered for purchase or sale for, a client. The Advisor has adopted policies and procedures designed to detect and prevent such conflicts of interest and, when they do arise, to ensure that it effects transactions for clients in a manner that is consistent with its fiduciary duty to its clients and in accordance with applicable law.
Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
• Investments by a Fund in options, futures, forward contracts, swap agreements and other derivative financial instruments are subject to numerous special and complex tax rules. These rules could affect the amount, timing or character of the distributions to shareholders by a Fund. In addition, because the application of these rules may be uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future Internal Revenue Service guidance with respect to these rules may affect whether a Fund has made sufficient distributions, and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements, to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid fund-level tax.
A key attribute of a futures market is how its contract’s prices vary by expiration date. The succession of futures prices over time is called the “term structure”. If supply is stable (no seasonality or shortages) then typically futures prices will increase with expirations further in the future. This term structure configuration is called “contango” and it accounts for the fact that carry costs (e.g., time value of money) and profit expectations increase with time. Unless there are big changes in interest rates or the way that Bitcoin exchanges work I expect the level of contango in the Bitcoin futures term structure to be small. Bitcoins don’t cost much to hodl (once you have your hardware wallet) and there’s no apparent seasonality. The chart below from VIX Central shows a typical Bitcoin term structure (click on chart to get current data):
3. Make loans to other persons, except that the acquisition of bonds, debentures or other corporate debt securities and investment in government obligations, commercial paper, pass-through instruments, certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances and repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts and any similar instruments shall not be deemed to be the making of a loan, and except, further, that the Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that the lending of portfolio securities may be made only in accordance with applicable law and the guidelines set forth in the Prospectus and this SAI, as they may be amended from time to time.
COVERED BONDS. The Funds may invest in covered bonds, which are debt securities issued by banks or other credit institutions that are backed by both the issuing institution and underlying pool of assets that compose the bond (a “cover pool”). The cover pool for a covered bond is typically composed of residential or commercial mortgage loans or loans to public sector institutions. A covered bond may lose value if the credit rating of the issuing bank or credit institution is downgraded or the quality of the assets in the cover pool deteriorates.
• 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.
The Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.07%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this investment advisory 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.
Set forth below is a general discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax issues concerning the Funds and the purchase, ownership, and disposition of a Fund’s Shares. This discussion does not purport to be complete or to deal with all aspects of federal income taxation that may be relevant to shareholders in light of their particular circumstances, nor to certain types of shareholders subject to special treatment under the federal income tax laws (for example, life insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, and IRAs and other retirement plans). This discussion is based upon present provisions of the Code, the regulations promulgated thereunder, and judicial and administrative ruling authorities, all of which are subject to change, which change may be retroactive. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors with regard to the federal tax consequences of the purchase, ownership, or disposition of a Fund’s Shares, as well as the tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, foreign country, or other taxing jurisdiction.
• Developmental risk. Blockchain technology is not a product or service within an individually attributable revenue stream. Blockchain technology may never develop optimized transactional processes that lead to realized economic returns for any company in which the Fund invests. Blockchain Companies that are developing applications of blockchain technology applications may not in fact do so or may not be able to capitalize on those blockchain technologies. The development of new or competing platforms may cause consumers and investors to use alternatives to blockchains.
An Authorized Participant who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus the amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. An Authorized Participant who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate market value of any securities received plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The IRS, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons purchasing or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction.
• Theft, loss or destruction. Transacting on a blockchain depends in part specifically on the use of cryptographic keys that are required to access a user’s account (or “wallet”). The theft, loss or destruction of these keys impairs the value of ownership claims users have over the relevant assets being represented by the ledger (whether “smart contracts,” securities, currency or other digital assets). The theft, loss or destruction of private or public keys needed to transact on a blockchain could also adversely affect a blockchain company’s business or operations if it were dependent on the ledger.
For the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Hedge Replication ETF, the Merger ETF, the RAFI Long/Short, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF, the Short SmallCap600, the Short S&P500, the UltraShort Consumer Services, the UltraShort Financials, the UltraShort Health Care, the UltraShort Industrials, the UltraShort Semiconductors, the UltraShort Technology, the UltraShort Utilities, the UltraShort FTSE Europe, the UltraShort MSCI Brazil Capped, the UltraShort MSCI Japan, the Short 7-10 Year Treasury, the Ultra SmallCap600, the UltraPro MidCap400, the Ultra Basic Materials, the Ultra Consumer Goods, the Ultra Consumer Services, the Ultra Health Care, the Ultra Industrials, the Ultra Semiconductors, the Ultra Technology, the Ultra Telecommunications, the Ultra Utilities, the UltraPro Financial Select Sector, the Ultra MSCI EAFE, the Ultra MSCI Emerging Markets, the Ultra FTSE Europe, the Ultra FTSE China 50, the Ultra MSCI Japan, the Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, and the Ultra High Yield a Creation Unit is comprised of 25,000 Shares.
As noted above under “Distributions”, a Fund may declare a distribution from net realized capital gains to be payable in additional Fund shares or cash. Even if the Fund does not declare a distribution to be payable in Fund shares, brokers may make available to their customers who own shares the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and capital gains will automatically be reinvested in additional whole shares of the same Fund. Without this service, investors would have to take their distributions in cash. To determine whether the dividend reinvestment service is available and whether there is a commission or other charge for using this service, please consult your broker.
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.
The Bitcoin Network is currently maintained by Bitcoin Core and no single entity owns the Bitcoin Network (see “Description of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Network—The Bitcoin Network”). However, third parties may still 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 Bitcoin Instruments. Additionally, a meritorious intellectual property rights claim could prevent end-users from accessing the Bitcoin Network or holding or transferring their bitcoin, which could adversely affect the value of the Bitcoin Instruments. As a result, an intellectual property rights claim against Bitcoin Network participants could have a material adverse impact on the Funds.
While cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are managed through advanced encryption techniques, many governments have taken a cautious approach toward them, fearing their lack of central control and the effects they could have on financial security. Regulators in several countries have warned against cryptocurrency and some have taken concrete regulatory measures to dissuade users. Additionally, many banks do not offer services for cryptocurrencies and can refuse to offer services to virtual-currency companies. Gareth Murphy, a senior central banking officer has stated "widespread use [of cryptocurrency] would also make it more difficult for statistical agencies to gather data on economic activity, which are used by governments to steer the economy". He cautioned that virtual currencies pose a new challenge to central banks' control over the important functions of monetary and exchange rate policy. While traditional financial products have strong consumer protections in place, there is no intermediary with the power to limit consumer losses if bitcoins are lost or stolen. One of the features cryptocurrency lacks in comparison to credit cards, for example, is consumer protection against fraud, such as chargebacks.
The information in this Statement of Additional Information is not complete and may be changed. Shares of the Fund may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This Statement of Additional Information is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
• A new competing digital asset may pose a challenge to bitcoin’s current market dominance, resulting in a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin. It is possible that other digital currencies and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than Bitcoin. The rise of such currencies could lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin.
This means simply that you put down 1 bitcoin and you can trade 20 on OKCoin, or 100 bitcoin on BitMEX. The multiple refers to the initial margin you need to open the nominal position value. You simply set the margin aside as collateral, and if the position goes against you, the collateral will be used to exit your position into a liquidation, or margin call.
(c) distribute with respect to each taxable year at least 90% of the sum of its investment company taxable income (as that term is defined in the Code without regard to the deduction for dividends paid—generally, taxable ordinary income and the excess, if any, of net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses) and net tax-exempt interest income, for such year.
Other countries are not as accommodative of bitcoin. For example, the Chinese government on December 3, 2013 issued a notice that classified bitcoin as legal and “virtual commodities;” however, the same notice restricted the banking and payment industries from using bitcoin, creating uncertainty and limiting the ability of Bitcoin Exchanges to operate in the then-second largest bitcoin market. Then on September 15, 2017, the Chinese government and local financial regulators officially requested some Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges and digital asset trading platforms to shut down by the end of September 2017. In addition, the Central Bank of Bolivia banned the use of bitcoin as a means of payment in May 2014. Further, in July 2016, the Russian Ministry of Finance indicated it supports a proposed law that bans bitcoin domestically but allows for its use as a foreign currency. In September 2017 the head of the Russian central bank stated that it is categorically against regulating cryptocurrencies as money, as a means by which payment can be made for goods and services, and against equating them with foreign currency. Most recently, South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination released a wide variety of proposed regulations which range from the imposition of capital gains taxes on profits realized from cryptocurrency trading, to banning minors from registering on South Korean bitcoin exchanges, and even prohibiting financial institutions from investing in digital assets. These restrictive stances towards digital assets may reduce the rate of expansion of bitcoin use or even eliminate the use of bitcoin entirely in these geographies.
Each Fund may invest in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). Equity REITs invest primarily in real property, while mortgage REITs invest in construction, development and long-term mortgage loans. Their value may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property of the REIT, the creditworthiness of the issuer, property taxes, interest rates, and tax and regulatory requirements, such as those relating to the environment. REITs are dependent upon management skill, are not diversified and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers, self-liquidation and the possibility of failing to qualify for tax-free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain exempt status under the 1940 Act.
That includes institutional investors, who are increasingly interested in the benefits that crypto could offer their portfolios — to a degree that might have been unthinkable even six months ago. These investors, who have $130 trillion of assets under management worldwide, could have a huge impact on the crypto market, whose market cap remains under $300 billion.
• Active Management Risk — The performance of actively managed funds reflects, in part, the ability of ProShare Advisors to select investments and make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. ProShare Advisors’ judgments about the Fund’s investments may prove to be incorrect. If the investments selected and strategies employed by ProShare Advisors fail to produce the intended results, the Fund may not achieve its investment objective and could underperform other funds with a similar investment objective and/or strategies. The Fund does not seek to provide investment performance that would be opposite of a 30% investment in bitcoin futures contracts and a 70% investment in U.S. government securities.
The price of the futures contract can deviate from the underlying price of bitcoin on spot markets, which can vary based on sentiment. But in the end, at expiration of the contract, the contract MUST settle at the price of spot. So you need to watch the main spot market price movements because the futures contracts will track the movements underlying (sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, sometimes simultaneously). There are three Chinese exchanges worth following: OKCoin, Houbi, and BTCC; there are two Western exchanges worth following: Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Other exchanges that are currently less important but still worth keeping an eye on are: ItBit, Coinbase, OKCoin USD, BTC-e, and Kraken (which has the largest BTC/EUR orderbook as of December 2015).
Transactions in options, futures, forward contracts, swaps and certain positions undertaken by the Funds may result in “straddles” for federal income tax purposes. The straddle rules may affect the character of gains (or losses) realized by a Fund, and losses realized by the Fund on positions that are part of a straddle may be deferred under the straddle rules, rather than being taken into account in calculating taxable income for the taxable year in which the losses are realized. In addition, certain carrying charges (including interest expense) associated with positions in a straddle may be required to be capitalized rather than deducted currently. Certain elections that a Fund may make with respect to its straddle positions may also affect the amount, character and timing of the recognition of gains or losses from the affected positions.
Portfolio managers are generally responsible for multiple investment company accounts. As described below, certain inherent conflicts of interest arise from the fact that a portfolio manager has responsibility for multiple accounts, including conflicts relating to the allocation of investment opportunities. Listed below for each portfolio manager are the number and type of accounts managed or overseen by such portfolio manager as of May 31, 2017.
• Government regulation could adversely impact the operation of the Bitcoin Network or the use of bitcoin. 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 and related issues. Although currently bitcoin is not regulated or is lightly regulated in most countries, including the United States, some countries have, and one or more countries may in the future, take regulatory actions that severely restrict the right to acquire, own, hold, sell or use bitcoin or to exchange bitcoin for fiat currency. Regulation in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions may restrict the use of bitcoin or otherwise materially impact the global demand for bitcoin. Regulation of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and other cryptocurrencies may have an impact the price of bitcoin. If Bitcoin Exchanges become subject to regulation, that may also impact trading in bitcoin as trading may be concentrated in a smaller number of regulated exchanges, which may impact price, volatility and trading volumes. Also, most Bitcoin Exchanges currently require bitcoin trading accounts to be fully funded, but if margin trading is introduced, there may be additional risks, including increased volumes, higher volatility and higher risk that the exchanges would suffer counterparty defaults. Finally, the Bitcoin Exchanges may be required to comply with tax and other reporting obligations that make it more costly to transact in bitcoin (which may have an impact on price, volatility, or the trading of bitcoin more generally).
A Bitcoin (spot or futures) exchange (like any online trading firm) charges its clients a fee to carry out trading activities. As exchanges face the risk of hacking and theft, it is wise not to trust an exchange with all your coins. You should split and keep part of them in other devices or cold storage. Now with bitcoin futures being offered by some of the most prominent marketplaces, investors, traders and speculators are all bound to benefit. These centralized marketplaces will facilitate trade based on a trader’s outlook for bitcoin prices, gain exposure to bitcoin prices or hedge their existing bitcoin positions. Overall, the launching of bitcoin futures by Cboe and CME will facilitate price discovery and price transparency, enable risk-management via a regulated bitcoin product and give a further push to bitcoin as an accepted asset class. (For more, see: The Risks Of Buying Bitcoins.)
DTC has advised the Trust as follows: it is a limited-purpose trust company organized under the laws of the State of New York, a member of the Federal Reserve System, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the New York Uniform Commercial Code and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the 1934 Act. DTC was created to hold securities of its participants (“DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the NYSE and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”). DTC agrees with and represents to DTC Participants that it will administer its book-entry system in accordance with its rules and by-laws and requirements of law. Beneficial ownership of Shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in Shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of Shares. The laws of some jurisdictions may require that certain purchasers of securities take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form. Such laws may impair the ability of certain investors to acquire beneficial interests in Shares.
However, many of these investors are still waiting to be convinced to take the leap into crypto. One thing that is still giving many institutional investors pause is the fact that trade management systems in the crypto world simply do not offer the sophistication they are used to in conventional trading. They’ve become accustomed to the support of reliable automated tools, and the prospect of working without those can be a serious roadblock.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have evolved from a playful experiment among technical experts to an established and growing branch of the global financial industry. This means that the times in which cryptocurrency traders and investors only concerned themselves with straightforward buying and selling are over. Derivatives are now entering the picture.