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.


•   Compounding Risk — In the course of managing the Fund’s investments, ProShare Advisors will need to periodically adjust the Fund’s holdings in order to maintain investment exposure approximately equivalent to the Fund’s assets. This process entails obtaining additional inverse exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing inverse exposure as the Fund experiences losses. The higher the volatility of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the more such rebalancing can adversely affect the Fund’s performance.
Louis M. Mayberg, President of ProShare Advisors from inception to April 2012 and ProFund Advisors LLC from April 1997 to April 2012. Mr. Mayberg co-founded National Capital Companies, L.L.C., an investment bank specializing in financial services companies mergers and acquisitions and equity underwritings in 1986, and managed its financial services hedge fund. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance from The George Washington University.

•   Interest Rate Risk — The Fund intends to invest a substantial portion of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities and is subject to interest rate risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that debt securities may fluctuate in value due to changes in interest rates. Commonly, investments subject to interest rate risk will decrease in value when interest rates rise and increase in value when interest rates decline. The value of securities with longer maturities may fluctuate more in response to interest rate changes than securities with shorter maturities. A wide variety of factors can cause interest rates to rise (e.g., central bank monetary policies, inflation rates, general economic conditions, etc.). This risk may be elevated under current economic conditions because interest rates are at historically low levels. Returns on investment in debt instruments may trail the returns on other investment options, including investments in equity securities.
Elaborating a bit on the concept of Cryptocurrency and the blockchain effect before we move onto the central theme. As put in words by Daniel Gasteiger on the topic ‘Blockchain Demystified’ at TEDxLausanne,‘A blockchain is nothing but a database, a database that is public, therefore not owned by anybody. Distributed hence not stored centrally on one computer but on many computers across the world. Constantly synchronized to keep the transactions up to date and secured overall by the art of cryptography to make it tamper proof and hacker proof. These four features make this technology exceptional.’ Daniel’s strong belief in the solidarity of the concept of Cryptocurrency motivated him to leave his full-fledged career of 20 years in financial services to focus on the concept of Blockchain. Looking to know more about how to formulate Cryptocurrency strategies? Read our blog on Cryptocurrencies Trading Strategy With Data Extraction Technique. 
The promoters of these products promise traders a way to beat the market by arbitraging prices between different exchanges. Don’t believe the hype. Bitcoin exchanges often have expensive withdrawal processes and hefty fees for trading bitcoin with fiat currencies, such as dollars or euros. Also, settlement of bitcoin trades can take hours. These factors will eliminate any profits from bitcoin arbitrage and may even lead to losses.

  •   Swap Agreements are agreements entered into primarily with major global financial institutions for a specified period ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the return (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments.


While “physical” delivery of Bitcoins as part of a futures contract would certainly be possible it raises regulatory and security issues in today’s environment where the cybercurrency exchanges are mostly unregulated, somewhat unreliable, and theft due to security hacks is distressingly common.  By selecting cash settlement the CME and Cboe completely avoid the transfer of custody issues and shift those problems to somebody else—namely the market makers and arbitrageur.
When a market price is not readily available, each Fund’s investments are valued at fair value in good faith under procedures established by, and under the general supervision and responsibility of, the Board. The use of a fair valuation method may be appropriate if, for example: (i) market quotations do not accurately reflect fair value of an investment; (ii) an investment’s value has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the exchange or market on which the investment is principally traded; (iii) a trading halt closes an exchange or market early; or (iv) other events result in an exchange or market delaying its normal close. This procedure incurs the unavoidable risk that the valuation may be higher or lower than the securities might actually command if the Funds sold them. See the SAI for more details.
It can often be confusing to traders who are using multiple futures exchanges with different contract types -- inverse and qunato, dailies or quarterlies, 5x or 100x -- so people wonder: what should I trade? Well, it depends on what your goals are. If you are trying to do a little hedge for a medium term, you would want to use a quarterlies expiration contract instead, because otherwise you'd have to reopen shorter-term contracts after they expire and settle. 
Distributions by the Fund to foreign shareholders other than Capital Gain Dividends, short-term capital gain dividends and interest-related dividends (e.g., dividends attributable to foreign-source dividend and interest income or to short-term capital gains or U.S. source interest income to which the exception from withholding described above does not apply) are generally subject to withholding of U.S. federal income tax at a rate of 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate).

If a beneficial owner of Fund Shares who or which is a foreign shareholder has a trade or business in the United States, and income from the Fund is effectively connected with the conduct by the beneficial owner of that trade or business, such income will be subject to U.S. federal net income taxation at regular income tax rates and, in the case of a foreign corporation, may also be subject to a branch profits tax.

The table below shows a performance example of a Short ProShares Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of an index. In the chart below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance.
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.
A Parent Fund’s recognition of any subpart F income from an investment in its Subsidiary will increase the Fund’s tax basis in such subsidiary. Distributions by a Subsidiary to a Parent Fund, including in redemption of its Subsidiary’s shares, will be tax free, to the extent of its Subsidiary’s previously undistributed subpart F income, and will correspondingly reduce the Fund’s tax basis in its Subsidiary, and any distributions in excess of the Fund’s tax basis in its Subsidiary will be treated as realized gain. Any losses with respect to the Fund’s shares of its Subsidiary will not be currently recognized. Subpart F income is generally treated as ordinary income, regardless of the character of a Subsidiary’s underlying income.
"We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts' price discovery process," CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo said in an official statement. "This includes potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages."
  •   Intellectual property claims. A proliferation of recent startups attempting to apply blockchain technology in different contexts means the possibility of conflicting intellectual property claims could be a risk to an issuer, its operations or its business. This could also pose a risk to blockchain platforms that permit transactions in digital securities.

The portfolio composition file (“PCF”) and the IOPV file, which contain equivalent portfolio holdings information, will be made available as frequently as daily to the Funds’ service providers to facilitate the provision of services to the Funds and to certain other entities (“Entities”) in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as contemplated by exemptive orders issued by the SEC and other legal and business requirements pursuant to which the Funds create and redeem Shares. Entities are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members and subscribers to various fee-based services, including large institutional investors (“Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem Creation Units and other institutional market participants that provide information services. Each business day, Fund portfolio holdings information will be provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or through other fee-based services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to the fee-based services, including Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading Shares of Funds in the secondary market.

In contrast, if you are “going short” on Bitcoin, you assume that Bitcoin prices will fall. Buying put options will enable you to sell Bitcoin at some point in the future at a price that is higher than the future price you expect. In analogy to the example above, if the current Bitcoin price is 5,000 USD and you expect it to fall to 2,000 USD in 6 months, then put options allowing you to sell Bitcoin for 5,000 USD in 5 months (when everyone else is selling for 2000 USD) are very valuable.

In the normal course of business, a Fund enters into standardized contracts created by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (“ISDA agreements”) with certain counterparties for derivative transactions. These agreements contain, among other conditions, events of default and termination events, and various covenants and representations. Certain of the Fund’s ISDA agreements contain provisions that require the Fund to maintain a pre-determined level of net assets, and/or provide limits regarding the decline of the Fund’s NAV over specific periods of time, which may or may not be exclusive of redemptions. If the Fund were to trigger such provisions and have open derivative positions, at that time counterparties to the ISDA agreements could elect to terminate such ISDA agreements and request immediate payment in an amount equal to the net liability positions, if any, under the relevant ISDA agreement. Pursuant to the terms of its ISDA agreements, the Fund will have already collateralized its liability under such agreements, in some cases only in excess of certain threshold amounts. With uncleared swaps, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. Thus, a Fund will typically only enter into uncleared swap agreements with major, global financial institutions that meet the Fund’s standard of creditworthiness. The Funds seek to mitigate risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, in an amount approximately equal to what the counterparty owes the Fund subject to certain minimum thresholds, although the Funds may not always be successful. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to the risks described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.
As noted above under “Distributions”, a Fund may declare a distribution from net realized capital gains to be payable in additional Fund shares or cash. Even if the Fund does not declare a distribution to be payable in Fund shares, brokers may make available to their customers who own shares the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and capital gains will automatically be reinvested in additional whole shares of the same Fund. Without this service, investors would have to take their distributions in cash. To determine whether the dividend reinvestment service is available and whether there is a commission or other charge for using this service, please consult your broker.
The audited Financial Statements, for each Fund that commenced operations prior to May 31, 2017, and the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, as independent registered public accounting firm, for the fiscal year ended May 31,2017, that appear in the Annual Report to shareholders dated May 31, 2017, are hereby incorporated by reference in this SAI. The Annual Report to shareholders is delivered with this SAI to shareholders requesting this SAI.
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.
In pure financial theory, the value of a futures contract is based on a "no arbitrage condition" from the interest rates in each asset. We have Bitcoin and US Dollar. Bitcoin interest rates tend to be less than US Dollar interest rates, so when you want to replicate the future value of bitcoin in US dollars, you have to borrow USD at, say, 5%, and invest in Bitcoin at 1% return. This requires a premium on the futures exchange to be able to hedge that trade. 
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.[60] 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.[61]
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (including through the Subsidiary, as defined below) or “turns over” its portfolio. A higher portfolio turnover rate for the Fund or the Subsidiary may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when the Fund’s shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the example above, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus. Thus, no portfolio turnover information is provided for this Fund.
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.
In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) will constitute unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) to entities (including a qualified pension plan, an individual retirement account, a 401(k) plan, a Keogh plan or other tax-exempt entity) subject to tax on UBTI, thereby potentially requiring such an entity that is allocated excess inclusion income, and otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, to file a return and pay tax on such income, and (iii) in the case of a foreign shareholder (defined below), will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. A shareholder will be subject to income tax on such inclusions without reference to any exemption therefrom otherwise available under the Code.
For hedging purposes, the Funds may invest in forward currency contracts to hedge either specific transactions (transaction hedging) or portfolio positions (position hedging). Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of forward currency contracts with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Funds in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. Position hedging is the sale of a forward currency contract on a particular currency with respect to portfolio positions denominated or quoted in that currency.
As a general matter, the Short ProShares Funds, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF and the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF respond differently in response to market conditions than the Matching ProShares Funds, the Ultra ProShares Funds, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF or the Crude Oil Strategy ETF. The terms “favorable market conditions” and “adverse market conditions,” as used in this SAI, are Fund-specific.
"We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts' price discovery process," CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo said in an official statement. "This includes potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages."
In addition, the securities of some foreign governments, companies and markets are less liquid, and may be more volatile, than comparable securities of domestic governments, companies and markets. Some foreign investments may be subject to brokerage commissions and fees that are higher than those applicable to U.S. investments. A Fund also may be affected by different settlement practices or delayed settlements in some foreign markets. Moreover, some foreign jurisdictions regulate and limit U.S. investments in the securities of certain issuers.
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.

If a beneficial owner of Fund Shares who or which is a foreign shareholder has a trade or business in the United States, and income from the Fund is effectively connected with the conduct by the beneficial owner of that trade or business, such income will be subject to U.S. federal net income taxation at regular income tax rates and, in the case of a foreign corporation, may also be subject to a branch profits tax.
  •   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;
Last night, Cboe XBTSM Bitcoin Futures commenced trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange.  The launch was smooth, although our website experienced some issues due to an overwhelming number of hits looking for the trading data.  Now that the futures are up and running, it may be time for a brief explanation of how an owner of bitcoins may use futures to hedge their position. 
uncleared swaps. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, a Fund could suffer significant losses on these contracts and the value of an investor’s investment in the Fund may decline. OTC swaps of the type that may be utilized by the Fund are less liquid than futures contracts because they are not traded on an exchange, do not have uniform terms and conditions, and are generally entered into based upon the creditworthiness of the parties and the availability of credit support, such as collateral, and in general, are not transferable without the consent of the counterparty.
  •   Swap Agreements are agreements entered into primarily with major global financial institutions for a specified period ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the return (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments.
  •   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;
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).
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