“Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He further added, “As the world's largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
Unlike many commodity futures, Bitcoin futures are cash settled rather than physically settled. Cash settlement is a relatively new development in futures trading, first introduced in 1981 for Eurodollar futures, that addresses the problem of how to settle futures contracts on things that are difficult/impossible to deliver physicially—things like interest rates, large stock indexes (e.g., S&P 500), and volatility indexes (Cboe’s VIX). Futures physical settlement involves actual shipment/change of ownership of the underlying product to the contract holder but in practice, it’s rarely used (~2% of the time). Instead, most organizations that are using futures to hedge prices of future production/usage will make separate arrangements with suppliers/customers for physical delivery and just use the futures to protect against contrary price changes. In practice, the final settlement price of the contract can be used to provide the desired price protection regardless of whether the futures contract specifies physically delivery or cash-settlement.
I used to find it odd that these hypothetical AIs were supposed to be smart enough to solve problems that no human could, yet they were incapable of doing something most every adult has done: taking a step back and asking whether their current course of action is really a good idea. Then I realized that we are already surrounded by machines that demonstrate a complete lack of insight, we just call them corporations. Corporations don’t operate autonomously, of course, and the humans in charge of them are presumably capable of insight, but capitalism doesn’t reward them for using it. On the contrary, capitalism actively erodes this capacity in people by demanding that they replace their own judgment of what “good” means with “whatever the market decides.”
Some exchanges offer trading on margin. When such an option is available, Bitcoiners are allowed to borrow funds from peer liquidity providers to carry out trades. The term "liquidity provider" refers to those who are ready to deposit their bitcoins and/or dollars with the exchange for use by others for a certain pre-fixed duration, rate, and amount. For example, say a Bitcoiner wants to buy 20 Bitcoins, anticipating that its price would rise in future and thus hopes to profit by selling them at a later date. If the person does not have sufficient funds to buy the 20 bitcoins, the margin facility allows him to borrow the amount required (20 X the price of bitcoins in USD) from a liquidity provider. When the Bitcoiner chooses to close the position, he needs to repay the amount borrowed plus the interest accrued during this time period. Remember that the amount accrued (loan + interest) needs to be reimbursed regardless of profit or loss at the time of settlement.
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.
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.
The Advisor may give consideration to placing portfolio transactions with those brokers and dealers that also furnish research and other execution related services to the Fund or the Advisor. Such services may include, but are not limited to, any one or more of the following: information as to the availability of securities for purchase or sale; statistical or factual information or opinions pertaining to investment; information about market conditions generally; equipment that facilitates and improves trade execution; and appraisals or evaluations of portfolio securities.
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.
The Board has appointed a chief compliance officer (“CCO”) for the Trust (who is also the Chief Compliance Officer for the Advisor). The CCO reports directly to the Board and participates in the Board’s meetings. The Independent Trustees meet at least annually in executive session with the CCO, and the Funds’ CCO prepares and presents an annual written compliance report to the Board. The CCO also provides updates to the Board on the operation of the Trust’s compliance policies and procedures and on how these procedures are designed to mitigate risk. Finally, the CCO and/or other officers or employees of the Advisor report to the Board in the event that any material risk issues arise.
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.
The Funds may invest in bitcoin-based futures contracts, swap agreements, and options contracts, which are types of derivative contracts. A derivative refers to any financial instrument whose value is derived, at least in part, from the price of an underlying security, commodity, asset, rate, or index. The use of derivatives presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. Changes in the value of a derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying security, asset, rate or index. Gains or losses in a derivative may be magnified and may be much greater than the derivative’s original cost. Because bitcoin-based derivatives were only recently introduced, the degree to which bitcoin-based derivatives are likely to provide exposure to movements in the price of bitcoin is extremely uncertain. If market participants executing trades in bitcoin-based derivatives face constraints, including capital constraints, security risks, or high execution costs with respect to direct investments in bitcoin, the price at which bitcoin-based derivatives trade may fail to capture price movements in the underlying price of bitcoin. Moreover, it is not clear how changes to the Bitcoin Network and determinations by any relevant derivatives exchange with respect to such changes to the Bitcoin Network will affect the value of any positions in bitcoin-based derivatives. [[In December 2015, the SEC proposed a new rule to regulate the use of derivatives by registered investment companies, such as the Fund. Whether and when this proposed rule will be adopted and its potential effects on the Fund are unclear as of the date of this Prospectus.]]
A Fund’s current obligations under most swap agreements (total return swaps, equity/index swaps, interest rate swaps) will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by segregating or earmarking cash or other assets determined to be liquid, but typically no payments will be made until the settlement date. In connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “buyer”, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid by the Advisor, with a value at least equal to the Fund’s maximum potential exposure under the swap (e.g., any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by the Fund to any clearinghouse counterparty). In connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “seller”, however, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid by the Advisor, with a value at least equal to the full notional amount of the swap (minus any variation margin or amounts owed to the Fund under an offsetting cleared transaction). This segregation or earmarking is intended to ensure that a Fund has assets available to satisfy its potential obligations with respect to the transaction. Each Fund reserves the right to modify its asset segregation policies in the future, including modifications to comply with any changes in the positions articulated by the SEC or its staff regarding asset segregation. Swap agreements that cannot be terminated in the ordinary course of business within seven days at approximately the amount a Fund has valued the asset may be considered to be illiquid for purposes of the Fund’s illiquid investment limitations.
After the Transfer Agent has deemed an order for redemption outside the Clearing Process received, the Transfer Agent will initiate procedures to transfer the requisite Fund Securities and the Balancing Amount (minus a redemption Transaction Fee or additional charges for requested cash redemptions), which are expected to be delivered within two Business Days, and the Cash Redemption Amount (by the second Business Day (T+2) following the transmittal date on which such redemption order is deemed received by the Transfer Agent).
• 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).
Although certain securities exchanges attempt to provide continuously liquid markets in which holders and writers of options can close out their positions at any time prior to the expiration of the option, no assurance can be given that a market will exist at all times for all outstanding options purchased or sold by a Fund. If an options market were to become unavailable, the Fund would be unable to realize its profits or limit its losses until the Fund could exercise options it holds, and the Fund would remain obligated until options it wrote were exercised or expired. Reasons for the absence of liquid secondary market on an exchange include the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the OCC may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options) and those options would cease to exist, although outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.
Portfolio holdings information may not be provided prior to its public availability (“Non-Standard Disclosure”) in other circumstances except where appropriate confidentiality arrangements limiting the use of such information are in effect. Non-Standard Disclosure may be authorized by the Trust’s CCO or, in his absence, any other authorized officer of the Trust if he determines that such disclosure is in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, no conflict exists between the interests of the Fund’s shareholders and those of the Advisor or Distributor and such disclosure serves a legitimate business purpose, and measures discussed in the previous paragraph regarding confidentiality are satisfied. The lag time between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed shall be determined by the officer authorizing the disclosure. The CCO is responsible for ensuring that portfolio holdings disclosures are made in accordance with this Policy.
As of February 2018, the Chinese Government halted trading of virtual currency, banned initial coin offerings and shut down mining. Some Chinese miners have since relocated to Canada. One company is operating data centers for mining operations at Canadian oil and gas field sites, due to low gas prices. In June 2018, Hydro Quebec proposed to the provincial government to allocate 500 MW to crypto companies for mining. According to a February 2018 report from Fortune, Iceland has become a haven for cryptocurrency miners in part because of its cheap electricity. Prices are contained because nearly all of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources, prompting more mining companies to consider opening operations in Iceland. The region’s energy company says bitcoin mining is becoming so popular that the country will likely use more electricity to mine coins than power homes in 2018. In October 2018 Russia will become home to one of the largest legal mining operations in the world, located in Siberia. More than 1.5 million Russians are engaged in home mining. Russia’s energy resources and climate provide some of the best conditions for crypto mining.
Ann then goes on BFE and she wants to short on bitcoin at market price. She sees that only the January 9 contract has any orders. She could put a limit order in the orderbook if she wanted. However, she sees Bob's bid in the orderbook and decides to fill it, and uses her 0.2btc as margin to collateralize this position. She has just opened a position worth 1 bitcoin that has 5x leverage, and so has Bob.
Now, if that margin-call does not get filled and the price continues to fall, then I'm making profits on my contract but nobody is paying for it since the counterparty who got margin-called didn't get the liquidation order filled. So what happens is that at settlement time of the contract, that unfilled liquidation loss to the system will be deducted from the profits of ALL traders before they are distributed.
The tax rules are uncertain with respect to the treatment of income or gains arising in respect of commodity-linked exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and certain commodity-linked structured notes; also, the timing and character of income or gains arising from ETNs can be uncertain. An adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect a Fund’s ability to qualify for treatment as a regulated investment company and to avoid a Fund-level tax.
Provide a list or diagram of all persons directly or indirectly controlled by or under common control with the Registrant. For any person controlled by another person, disclose the percentage of voting securities owned by the immediately controlling person or other basis of that person’s control. For each company, also provide the state or other sovereign power under the laws of which the company is organized.
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.