Futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced higher than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “contango.” Conversely, futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced lower than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “backwardation.” Contango and backwardation have different impacts on ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF (each, a “Bitcoin Fund”) and ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF (the “Short Bitcoin Fund”).
THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN PREPARED BY A FUTURESONLINE BROKER WHO PROVIDES RESEARCH MARKET COMMENTARY AND TRADE RECOMMENDATIONS AS PART OF HIS OR HER SOLICITATION FOR ACCOUNTS AND SOLICITATION FOR TRADES. FUTURESONLINE, ITS PRINCIPALS, BROKERS AND EMPLOYEES MAY TRADE IN DERIVATIVES FOR THEIR OWN ACCOUNTS OR FOR THE ACCOUNTS OF OTHERS. DUE TO VARIOUS FACTORS (SUCH AS RISK TOLERANCE, MARGIN REQUIREMENTS, TRADING OBJECTIVES, SHORT TERM VS. LONG TERM STRATEGIES, TECHNICAL VS. FUNDAMENTAL MARKET ANALYSIS, AND OTHER FACTORS) SUCH TRADING MAY RESULT IN THE INITIATION OR LIQUIDATION OF POSITIONS THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM OR CONTRARY TO THE OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED THEREIN.
You can find additional information about the Funds in the current Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated October 1, 2017, as may be amended from time to time, which has been filed electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and is incorporated by reference into, and is legally a part of, this Prospectus. A copy of the SAI is available, free of charge, online at ProShares.com. You may also receive a free copy of the SAI or make inquiries to ProShares by writing us at the address set forth above or calling us toll-free at the telephone number set forth above.
It bears repeating -- when trading futures on leverage, you are not "borrowing" the money, so you don't have to pay a financing rate on your positions. Even though you are 100x exposed, you don't have to pay 100x financing (unless you're trading the perpetual swap, which is not a futures contract, but has similar characteristics). Since bitcoin futures do tend to trade at a premium, you are in a way paying an implied interest rate in the contract, because if you want to go long, you have to pay above spot, so you pay the interest up front in the contract, in a way.
Distributions of investment income are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains are determined by how long a Fund owned the investments that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her shares. In general, a Fund will recognize long-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for more than one year, and short-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for one year or less. Tax rules can alter a Fund’s holding period in investments and thereby affect the tax treatment of gain or loss on such investments. Distributions of net capital gain – the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards – that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable to shareholders as long-term capital gains includible in net capital gain and taxable to individuals at reduced rates. Distributions of net short-term capital gain (as reduced by any net long-term capital loss for the taxable year) will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
Mass adoption of bitcoin will also require an accommodating regulatory environment. A lack of expansion in usage of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Blockchain could adversely affect the market for bitcoin and may have a negative impact on the performance of the Bitcoin Instruments and the performance of the Funds. Even if growth in bitcoin adoption continues in the near or medium-term, there is no assurance that bitcoin usage, or the market for Bitcoin Instruments, will continue to grow over the long-term. A contraction in use of bitcoin may result in increased volatility or a reduction in the price of bitcoin, as well as increased volatility or a reduction in the price of Bitcoin Derivatives, which could adversely impact the value of an investment in a Fund. Conversely, a rapid expansion in the use of bitcoin may result in rapid appreciation in the price of bitcoin, which could adversely impact the value of a Fund which takes a short position in bitcoin futures contracts.
On October 31, 2017, CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, had announced its intent to launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of 2017. “CME Group's Bitcoin futures will be available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform, and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort, effective on Sunday, December 17, 2017 for a trade date of December 18” as per CME’s officials statement.
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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):
• an investment company, or person that would be an investment company but for the exclusions provided by sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, having the same investment adviser or principal underwriter as the Trust or having an investment adviser or principal underwriter that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Advisor or principal underwriter of the Trust;
If the Fund holds the foregoing kinds of securities, it may be required to pay out as an income distribution each year an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash interest the Fund actually received. Such distributions may be made from the cash assets of the Fund or, if necessary, by disposition of portfolio securities including at a time when it may not be advantageous to do so. These dispositions may cause the Fund to realize higher amounts of short-term capital gains (generally taxed to shareholders at ordinary income tax rates) and, in the event the Fund realizes net capital gains from such transactions, its shareholders may receive a larger Capital Gain Dividend than if the Fund had not held such securities.
Investments in common units of MLPs involve risks that differ from investments in common stock. Holders of common units of MLPs have the rights typically provided to limited partners in limited partnerships and, thus, may have limited control and limited voting rights as compared to holders of a corporation’s common shares. Holders of common units may be subject to conflicts of interest with the MLP’s general partner, including those arising from incentive distribution payments. MLPs may also have limited financial resources and units may be subject to cash flow and dilution risk. In addition, investments held by MLPs may be relatively illiquid, limiting the MLPs’ ability to vary their portfolios promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions. Accordingly, MLPs may be subject to more erratic price movements because of the underlying assets they hold. Further, a Fund’s investment in MLPs subjects the Fund to the risks associated with the specific industry or industries in which the MLPs invest.