The proof-of-stake is a method of securing a cryptocurrency network and achieving distributed consensus through requesting users to show ownership of a certain amount of currency. It is different from proof-of-work systems that run difficult hashing algorithms to validate electronic transactions. The scheme is largely dependent on the coin, and there's currently no standard form of it. Some cryptocurrencies use a combined proof-of-work/proof-of-stake scheme.
R-1 (low) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (low)” is of good credit quality. The overall strength and outlook for key liquidity, debt and profitability ratios is not normally as favorable as with higher rating categories, but these considerations are still respectable. Any qualifying negative factors which exist are considered manageable, and the entity is normally of sufficient size to have some influence in its industry.
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.
• Credit Risk — The Fund could lose money if the issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income instrument or a counterparty to a derivatives transaction or other transaction is, or is perceived to be, unable or unwilling to pay interest, repay principal on time, or defaults. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning as a result of issuer defaults or actual or perceived changes in the credit ratings of the Fund’s portfolio investments or to an issuer’s financial strength.
The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of high volatility. As a result, the CFE and CME have established margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts at levels substantially higher than the margin requirements for more established futures contracts. The increased margin requirements may result in much higher upfront costs for the Funds. Market participants may be deterred from incorporating bitcoin futures contracts into their investment strategies due to these higher costs and other limitations created by the high margin requirements, such as the limit on their ability to use leverage to invest in bitcoin futures contracts. A reduction in the adoption of the bitcoin futures contracts will negatively impact the market for bitcoin futures contracts and could negatively impact the performance of the Funds. In addition, the continued volatility in the price of bitcoin may result in further increases to the margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts by the CFE and CME, as well as some FCMs imposing margin requirements on their customers in amounts that are steeper than the margin required by the exchanges.
The e-coin that is considered Ethereum’s biggest competitor. The EOS blockchain gained its fame because of the way it effectively records and secures transactions. It is similar to the Ethereum blockchain but faster, more scalable, and allows users to build decentralized applications more efficiently. Market analysts are promoting the currency as ‘The Most Powerful Infrastructure for Decentralized Applications’ and expect the coin to be dumped and pumped, which could provide some interesting short-term opportunities.
Bitcoin futures promise more flexibility for investors and potentially a more stable price. Yet, there is a chance that volatility could increase in the interim and while strategies like shorting and using leverage hold a lot of potential when used within the right infrastructure, they can be detrimental to smaller investors and, in the worst case scenario, could derail the market in dangerous ways.
• Bitcoin and investments linked to bitcoin, including bitcoin futures contracts, can be highly volatile and may experience large losses. The price of bitcoin has experienced periods of extreme volatility and low liquidity. Speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the value of bitcoin may artificially inflate the price of bitcoin. The price of bitcoin recently has been at or near all-time highs. There can be no guarantee this will continue and the market for bitcoin, and therefore bitcoin futures contracts, may change suddenly and without warning.
ProShare Advisors, pursuant to a separate Management Services Agreement, performs certain administrative services on behalf of the Funds, such as negotiating, coordinating and implementing the Trust’s contractual obligations with the Funds’ service providers; monitoring, overseeing and reviewing the performance of such service providers to ensure adherence to applicable contractual obligations; and preparing or coordinating reports and presentations to the Board of Trustees with respect to such service providers as requested or as deemed necessary. For these services, the Trust pays to ProShare Advisors a fee at the annual rate of 0.10% of average daily net assets for each of the Funds. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this management services 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.
Each of ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, and ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury is based in whole, or in part, on the ICE U.S. 7-10 Year Bond Index, or ICE U.S. 20+ Year Bond Index, as applicable, owned by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. or its affiliates and is used by LICENSEE with permission under license by Interactive Data Pricing and Reference Data, LLC, an affiliate of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“Interactive Data”). ICE U.S. 7-10 Year Bond Index™ and ICE U.S. 20+ Year Bond Index™ (collectively, the “Indices”) are trademarks of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and its affiliates and used under license.
The Shares are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by BofA Merrill Lynch. Neither BofA Merrill Lynch nor any of Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, MSCI, Inc. or Frank Russell Company (the “Exchanges and Entities”) have passed on the legality or suitability of, or the accuracy or adequacy of descriptions and disclosures relating to, the Shares, nor do they make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Shares or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Shares particularly or the ability of the Index to track general hedge fund performance. BofA Merrill Lynch’s and the Exchanges and Entities’ only relationship to the Trust is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names of BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities and of the Index, which indices are determined, composed and calculated by BofA Merrill Lynch without regard to the Trust or the Shares. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities have no obligation to take the needs of the Trust or the owners of the Shares into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Index. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities are not responsible for and have not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Shares to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Shares are to be converted into or redeemed for cash or other assets. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities have no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Shares.
Created by Charlie Lee, a former Google engineer, Litecoin is an open-source payment network that operates on a global scale. It is not controlled by any centralized power, and it uses the “scrypt” as proof-of-work. It is similar to Bitcoin but has the advantage of offering a faster rate of generation and therefore faster transactions. This is one of the main reasons why its enthusiasts continue to invest or hold onto the coin even after finding out that its founder sold his stack.
Subject to the general supervision by the Board, the Advisor is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities and derivatives for each of the Funds and the selection of brokers and dealers to effect transactions. Purchases from dealers serving as market makers may include a dealer’s mark-up or reflect a dealer’s mark-down. Purchases and sales of U.S. government securities are normally transacted through issuers, underwriters or major dealers in U.S. government securities acting as principals. Such transactions, along with other fixed income securities transactions, are made on a net basis and do not typically involve payment of brokerage commissions. The cost of securities purchased from an underwriter usually includes a commission paid by the issuer to the underwriters; transactions with dealers normally reflect the spread between bid and asked prices; and transactions involving baskets of equity securities typically include brokerage commissions. As an alternative to directly purchasing securities, the Advisor may find efficiencies and cost savings by purchasing futures or using other derivative instruments like total return swaps or forward contracts. The Advisor may also choose to cross -trade securities between clients to save costs where allowed under applicable law.
Each Fund may purchase or sell futures contracts and options thereon as a substitute for a comparable market position in the underlying securities or to satisfy regulatory requirements. A physical-settlement futures contract generally obligates the seller to deliver (and the purchaser to take delivery of) a specified asset on the expiration date of the contract. A cash-settled futures contract obligates the seller to deliver (and the purchaser to accept) an amount of cash equal to a specific dollar amount (the contract multiplier) multiplied by the difference between the final settlement price of a specific futures contract and the price at which the agreement is made. No physical delivery of the underlying asset is made. The Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF will each invest in cash-settled futures contracts where commodities are the underlying asset. The Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF intend to achieve this exposure through investment in the ProShares Cayman Portfolio I, the ProShares Cayman Crude Oil Portfolio, the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio and ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, respectively, which may invest in futures contracts and options thereon.
• Lack of liquid markets, and possible manipulation of blockchain-based assets. Digital assets that are represented and trade on a blockchain may not necessarily benefit from viable trading markets. Stock exchanges have listing requirements and vet issuers, and perhaps users. These conditions may not necessarily be replicated on a blockchain, depending on the platform’s controls and other policies. The more lenient a blockchain is about vetting issuers of digital assets or users that transact on the platform, the higher the potential risk for fraud or the manipulation of digital assets. These factors may decrease liquidity or volume, or increase volatility of digital securities or other assets trading on a blockchain.
U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts may aid institutional investor participation and enable hedging while also potentially helping digital assets develop into an asset class of their own. Currently digital assets trade on platforms that lack proper execution mechanisms, governance, and standard financial industry practices. Futures contracts push trading volume towards regulated exchanges with proper governance, controls and state of the art execution mechanisms. Futures contracts also remove the arduous requirement for investors to custody “physical” bitcoin, which is a major obstacle. In some ways, bitcoin futures are an early attempt to integrate digital assets into the mainframe financial system. With such integration, regulators might also gain a greater understanding of and steadier grasp on digital assets. This may enable the creation of more explicit guidance and regulation around the space. While it is early innings for digital assets, U.S.-listed bitcoin futures may pave the way for a potentially safer, more reliable, and better governed digital asset space and regulated investment vehicles.
Institutional-tier offerings such as those detailed above are seen as much-needed catalysts to stimulate the flow of institutional money into the market, offering heavyweight financial players a less-risky way to buy into assets like bitcoin. For the same reason, custody services like those offered by Coinbase, BitGo and others are necessary for safely storing and managing these investments as well.
One of the biggest issues for institutional investors is the fragmented nature of the market, requiring them to operate on several exchanges. Often, this forces them to come up with customized ways to deal with the limitations of each exchange — a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. Not only that, but this can lead to liquidity and slippage problems, as even small trades can consume liquidity and cause prices to slip.
Each Fund may engage in transactions in index options listed on national securities exchanges or traded in the OTC market as an investment vehicle for the purpose of realizing the Fund’s investment objective. The exercising holder of an index option receives, instead of the asset, cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and the exercise price of the option. Some index options are based on a broad market index such as the Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) 500® Index, the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (“NYSE”) Composite Index or on a narrower index such as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Over-the-Counter Index. Options currently are traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the NYSE Amex Options and other exchanges (collectively, “Exchanges”). Purchased OTC options and the cover for written OTC options will be subject to the relevant Fund’s 15% limitation on investment in illiquid securities. See “Illiquid Securities” below. When required by law, a Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the value of the Fund’s total assets committed to the consummation of such options. Obligations under options so covered will not be considered senior securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
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.