In traditional financial markets, derivatives are used as speculation objects as well as insurance against losses. The latter is known as hedging. One popular variety of derivatives used for hedging are called futures. A future is a contract between two parties in which one party agrees to pay the other a predetermined amount of money for an underlying asset at a specific point in time.
Knowing their estimated costs and profit requirements the arbitrageur determines a minimum difference they need between the futures’ prices and the spot price before they will enter the market. They then monitor the price difference between Bitcoin futures and the Bitcoin exchanges and if large enough they act to profit on that gap. For example, if a specific Bitcoin future (e.g., February contract) is trading sufficiently higher than the current Bitcoin exchange price they will short that Bitcoin future and hedge their position by buying Bitcoins on the exchange. At that point, if they have achieved trade prices within their targets, they have locked in a guaranteed profit. They will hold those positions until contract expiration (or until they can cover their short futures and sell Bitcoins at a profit).
Cryptocurrency is also used in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road. The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.
Yes but ... in cryptocurrencies? If you had borrowed 100 bitcoins to finance your working capital needs a year ago, you'd have financed about $79,000 worth of working capital. If you had to pay back 112 bitcoins today, that would come to a bit over $2 million, a dollar interest rate of over 2,400 percent. (If you'd borrowed ether you'd be paying over 12,000 percent.) Unless your working capital was bitcoin, you will not be able to pay back that loan. The lesson here is: Probably don't borrow an asset caught in a massive speculative frenzy to fund your working capital needs.
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.
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“One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can’t hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold,” said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp. With futures, “you don’t hold the physical bitcoin, which solves custody issues and counterparty risks with these less-regulated exchanges.”
The most common way to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency derivatives today is through contract-for-difference (CFD) contracts. These CFD contracts are usually traded over the counter (OTC), meaning that they are not traded on exchanges but directly between participants. Due to the high volatility (exceeding 1.5-2x std from the mean) most of the OTC platforms do not provide leverage on bitcoin and other cryptos CFDs.
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• Counterparty Risk —The Fund bears the risk that the counterparty to derivative transaction, such as a futures contract, defaults or otherwise fails to honor its obligations. If a counterparty defaults, the Fund will lose money and the value of an investment in the Fund may decrease. The Fund may engage in futures transactions with a limited number of counterparties, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to counterparty risk. The effect of the volatility of bitcoin pricing or other aspects of trading in bitcoin futures on futures clearinghouses for bitcoin futures is currently unknown, and may result in increased counterparty risk.
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.
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For instance, last year, an ETF was rejected. This resulted in the boost of altcoins. Here, Kelly says that we saw Bitcoin outperform and altcoins prices go flat. Cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum [ETH] and XRP [XRP] have been flat due to all the money flowing into Bitcoin. In case of an ETF rejection or even delay, a heavy amount of money will flow out of Bitcoin and into the others.
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(a) derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from (i) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to, gains from options, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and (ii) net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” as described below (the income described in this subparagraph (a), “Qualifying Income”);
Note that any losses on the bitcoin position is offset by the short position in the Jan XBT Futures contract. Because Jan XBT was trading at a $1,000 premium to spot bitcoin, the profit for this trade is equal to that difference. Now, keep in mind if bitcoin doubles between now and January 17 settlement the maximum profit is $1000. Larry is giving up some upside to assure a return of $1000.
Currently the front month future is the January contract which at last check could be sold for $17,600. This contract settles in a cash transfer based on the 4:00 pm eastern bitcoin auction price on Wednesday January 17, 2018 established by Gemini who is partnering with Cboe Global Markets. The bitcoin price at Gemini is close to $16,600 so I will use that for the underlying bitcoin price in this example.
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When cash markets are not functioning well, cash and carry arbitrage (and its reverse) futures markets may make the underlying asset accessible to more people. It is possible that A is bullish on bitcoin, but does not wish to go through the hassles of creating a wallet and storing it safely. At the same time, B might be comfortable with bitcoin wallets, but might be unwilling to take bitcoin price risk. Then B can buy bitcoin spot and sell cash settled bitcoin futures to A; the result is that A obtains exposure to bitcoin without creating a bitcoin wallet, while B obtains a risk free investment (a synthetic T-bill). Similarly, suppose C wishes to bet against bitcoin, but does not have the ability to short it; while D has no views on bitcoin, but has sufficient access to the cash market to be able to short bitcoin. Then D can take a risk free position by shorting bitcoin in the cash market and buying bitcoin futures from C who obtains a previously unavailable short position.
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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.
Another huge pain point for institutional investors is portfolio management. Investors face major difficulties in tracking their real time and historical P&L (profits & loss). Our PMS (Portfolio Management System) allows users to see real-time and historical P&L over any time interval, as well as perform real-time monitoring of positions across exchanges and wallets.
Mortgage-backed securities issued by private issuers, whether or not such obligations are subject to guarantees by the private issuer, may entail greater risk than obligations directly or indirectly guaranteed by the U.S. government. The average life of a mortgage-backed security is likely to be substantially shorter than the original maturity of the mortgage pools underlying the securities. Prepayments of principal by mortgagors and mortgage foreclosures will usually result in the return of the greater part of principal invested far in advance of the maturity of the mortgages in the pool.
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.
Poloniex is an asset exchange based in the US. Trading on Poloniex is secure and allows traders to explore new and trendy coins which are up for speculation. It offers high volume margin trading and lending service for major crypto assets. Reportedly, the largest user base for trading on this site comes from Russia (6.06%) and US (24.84%). A differentiating factor about the site is that it does not support fiat currency.
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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
• Equity and Market Risk — 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 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.
Trustees, is of an adequate size to oversee the operations of the Trust, and that, in light of the small size of the Board, a complex Board leadership structure is not necessary or desirable. The relatively small size of the Board facilitates ready communication among the Board members, and between the Board and management, both at Board meetings and between meetings, further leading to the determination that a complex board structure is unnecessary. In view of the small size of the Board, the Board has concluded that designating one of the three Independent Trustees as the “lead Independent Trustee” would not be likely to meaningfully enhance the effectiveness of the Board. The Board reviews its leadership structure periodically and believes that its structure is appropriate to enable the Board to exercise its oversight of the Funds.
Crypto Facilities and the CME Group have been calculating and publishing the Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) since November 2016. Such an official rate is a prerequisite of options trading in the traditional markets. The BRR is calculated based on the rates from the biggest exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit, and Kraken. More concretely, it is calculated based on all Bitcoin vs. USD trades on the participating exchanges between 3 and 4 p.m. London time. To calculate the BRR, the hour between 3 and 4 is divided into 12 intervals of 5 minutes. For each interval, the volume-weighted median of the Bitcoin price is calculated (statistically, the median, in contrast to the average, prevents single outliers from distorting the price). The BRR is then the average of these 12 median values. More details about the calculation of the BRR can be found in the BRR whitepaper.