On September 17, 2015, the CFTC provided clarity regarding the regulatory treatment of bitcoin in the Coinflip civil enforcement case. There the CFTC determined that bitcoin and other virtual currencies are regulated as commodities under the CEA. Based on this determination, the CFTC applied CEA provisions and CFTC regulations that apply to a bitcoin derivatives trading platform. Also of significance, the CFTC took the position that bitcoin is not encompassed by the definition of currency under the CEA and CFTC regulations. The CFTC defined bitcoin and other “virtual currencies” as “a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value, but does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are distinct from ‘real’ currencies, which are the coin and paper money of the United States or another country that are designated as legal tender, circulate, and are customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.” On July 6, 2017, the CFTC granted LedgerX, LLC an order of registration as a Swap Execution Facility for digital assets and on July 24, 2017, the CFTC approved Ledger X, LLC as the first derivatives clearing organization for digital currency. On September 21, 2017, the CFTC filed a civil enforcement action in federal court against a New York corporation and its principal, charging them with fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in connection with a Ponzi scheme involving investments in bitcoin, which the CFTC asserted is a commodity subject to its jurisdiction.
On 21 November 2017, the Tether cryptocurrency announced they were hacked, losing $31 million in USDT from their primary wallet. The company has 'tagged' the stolen currency, hoping to 'lock' them in the hacker's wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a new core for its primary wallet in response to the attack in order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.
Jordan Kelley, founder of Robocoin, launched the first bitcoin ATM in the United States on 20 February 2014. The kiosk installed in Austin, Texas is similar to bank ATMs but has scanners to read government-issued identification such as a driver's license or a passport to confirm users' identities. By September 2017, 1,574 bitcoin ATMs had been installed around the world with an average fee of 9.05%. An average of 3 bitcoin ATMs were being installed per day in September 2017.
The validity of each cryptocurrency's coins is provided by a blockchain. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
Only invest what you can lose. During the recent crash in January 2018, hobby-investors got burned. Reports of frustration and losses came at the cost of broken monitors, smashed laptops, and heavy monetary losses. While the rules are in more particular order of importance, it’s safe to assume that this is the most important rule, the rule to rule the rules. As soon as your money is converted into cryptocurrency, consider it lost forever. There is absolutely no guarantee you can get it back. Losses don’t simply come from dips in the market; extraordinary factors such as hacks, bugs, and government regulation can mean you’ll never see any of your money again. If you are investing money you can’t afford to lose, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your current financial situation, because what you’re about to do is an act of desperation. This includes: using credit cards, taking out mortgages, applying for loans, or selling everything and traveling the world (as glamorous as that sounds).
“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.”
A Fund’s ability to invest in MLPs that are treated as qualified publicly traded partnerships (“QPTPs”) for federal income tax purposes is limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC, and if the Fund does not appropriately limit such investments or if such investments are recharacterized for U.S. tax purposes, the Fund’s status as a RIC may be jeopardized. Among other limitations, a Fund is permitted to have no more than 25% of the total value if its total assets invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or more voting stock interest, in QPTPs including MLPs. A Fund’s investments in MLPs potentially will result in distributions from that Fund (i) constituting returns of capital not included in a shareholder’s income but reducing the shareholder’s tax basis in his or her shares; (ii) attributable to gain recognized with respect to that is recharacterized as ordinary income and, therefore, not offset by capital losses; or (iii) taxable to such shareholder even though they represent appreciation realized by that Fund prior to the shareholder’s investment therein. That Fund’s investments in MLPs will also potentially cause it to recognize taxable income on its investments in in excess of the cash generated thereby, and therefore require the Fund to sell investments, including when not otherwise advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy the distribution requirements for treatment as a RIC and to eliminate a Fund-level tax.
There are two "types" of bitcoin -- Quanto and Inverse. Vast majority of bitcoin futures contracts are INVERSE, not Quanto. This means that the PNL is smoothed in USD terms, so that the contract value is maintained through price fluctuations. Put simply, it allows you to make a perfect USD-value hedge when you short with Bitcoin, which makes it ideal for speculators and hedgers. This means that if the BTC/USD value drops 1% you will earn more raw BTC than if it increases 1%. This is because when the price is falling, the USD value of the BTC is also falling, so the payout mathematically adjusts for this and increases as the price falls, compensating for the reduced USD value.
On 25 March 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes. This means bitcoin will be subject to capital gains tax. In a paper published by researchers from Oxford and Warwick, it was shown that bitcoin has some characteristics more like the precious metals market than traditional currencies, hence in agreement with the IRS decision even if based on different reasons.
These are fundraising mechanisms for newly launched cryptocurrencies. Investors in ICOs receive tokens in the new venture. Investors have poured billions of dollars into more than 1,000 ICOs over the past year. While many ICOs are legitimate, the vast majority have no real business plans or technology behind them. Many get launched with nothing more than a whitepaper by individuals with no technology or industry experience.
However, there could be a transition stage in which volatility could actually become worse. Large financial trading firms could enter the market to an extent that has not been seen yet, and because bitcoin is so difficult to value (as Warren Buffet put it: “You can’t value bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset.”), a lot of different forces will act on its price. Shorts will become more popular, and disagreements on pricing could manifest in the cryptocurrency markets in the form of extreme price jumps, more so than is already commonplace.
A Precautionary Note Regarding Unusual Circumstances — ProShares Trust can postpone payment of redemption proceeds for any period during which (1) [the Exchange] is closed other than customary weekend and holiday closings, (2) trading on [the Exchange] is restricted, (3) any emergency circumstances exist, as determined by the SEC, and (4) the SEC by order permits for the protection of shareholders of the Fund, as further described in the SAI.
participating in a distribution (as opposed to engaging in ordinary secondary market transactions), and thus dealing with the Fund’s shares as part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the Securities Act, will be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the Securities Act.
Futures markets create an immense amount of flexibility. They enable investors to readily bet on an asset or bet against it (go long or go short), and they are usually characterised by an immense amount of leverage. In the case of bitcoin, this means one can trade a high volume of coins while only paying for a fraction of them, essentially operating with borrowed money. Leverage is used to amplify profits on a small volume of assets, but it is a double-edged sword in that it also amplifies losses.
There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.