Here you will learn more broad concepts regarding daytrading bitcoin and futures in general. Even if you are not an active trader, there's a lot to learn about markets and how they're structured in this guide. Some of the early sections may be a little too easy for those of you who already are traders, so just navigate through to the part that is most relevant to you if you want to hit a more advanced topic in the guide.
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.
A large investor tends to have portfolios that are diversified enough that they can stomach deviations from expected price movements even with leverage. But smaller investors have smaller accounts, and that is where leverage can be fatal. This is because amplified losses can grow larger than the account balance and cause the need for a margin call when facing the prospect of going into severe debt.
The regulation of bitcoin, digital assets and related products and services continues to evolve. The inconsistent and sometimes conflicting regulatory landscape may make it more difficult for bitcoin businesses to provide services, which may impede the growth of the bitcoin economy and have an adverse effect on consumer adoption of bitcoin. There is a possibility of future regulatory change altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Funds or the ability of the Funds to continue to operate. Additionally, to the extent that bitcoin itself is determined to be a security, commodity future or other regulated asset, or to the extent that a United States or foreign government or quasi-governmental agency exerts regulatory authority over the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin trading or ownership in bitcoin, the price of bitcoin and the value of the Bitcoin Instruments may be adversely affected, which may have an adverse effect on the value of your investment in the Funds. In sum, bitcoin regulation takes many different forms and will, therefore, impact bitcoin and its usage in a variety of manners. The European Union has recently agreed to rules designed to reduce anonymity of bitcoin transactions, which may impact the supply and demand for bitcoin and bitcoin futures contracts.
Upon entering into a futures contract, each Fund will be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents in the range of approximately 5% to 10% of the contract amount for equity index futures and in the range of approximately 1% to 3% of the contract amount for treasury futures (these amounts are subject to change by the exchange on which the contract is traded). This amount, known as “initial margin,” is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the futures contract, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the index underlying the futures contract fluctuates, making the long and short positions in the futures contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” At any time prior to expiration of a futures contract, a Fund may elect to close its position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate the Fund’s existing position in the contract.
The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts are imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures and the market value of the underlying assets, and the possibility of an illiquid market for a futures contract. Although each Fund intends to sell futures contracts only if there is an active market for such contracts, no assurance can be given that a liquid market will exist for any particular contract at any particular time. Many futures exchanges and boards of trade limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified periods during the day. Futures contract prices could move to the limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and potentially subjecting a Fund to substantial losses. If trading is not possible, or if a Fund determines not to close a futures position in anticipation of adverse price movements, the Fund will be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin. The risk that the Fund will be unable to close out a futures position will be minimized by entering into such transactions on a national exchange with an active and liquid secondary market. In addition, although the counterparty to a futures contract is often a clearing organization, backed by a group of financial institutions, there may be instances in which the counterparty could fail to perform its obligations, causing significant losses to a Fund.
The Custodian is responsible for safeguarding the Funds’ cash and securities, receiving and delivering securities, collecting the Funds’ interest and dividends, and performing certain administrative duties, all as directed by authorized persons. The Custodian is also responsible for the appointment and oversight of any sub-custodian banks and for providing reports regarding such sub-custodian banks and clearing agencies.
“Qualified dividend income” received by an individual is taxed at the rates applicable to net capital gain. In order for some portion of the dividends received by a Fund shareholder to be qualified dividend income, the Fund must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to some portion of the dividend-paying stocks in its portfolio and the shareholder must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to the Fund’s Shares. A dividend will not be treated as qualified dividend income (at either the Fund or shareholder level) (1) if the dividend is received with respect to any share of stock held for fewer than 61 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (or, in the case of certain preferred stock, 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date), (2) to the extent that the recipient is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property, (3) if the recipient elects to have the dividend income treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest, or (4) if the dividend is received from a foreign corporation that is (a) not eligible for the benefits of a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States (with the exception of dividends paid on stock of such a foreign corporation that is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States) or (b) treated as a passive foreign investment company. In general, distributions of investment income reported by a Fund as derived from qualified dividend income will be treated as qualified dividend income in the hands of a shareholder taxed as an individual, provided the shareholder meets the holding period and other requirements described above with respect to the Fund’s Shares.
The Funds may enter into swap agreements to gain exposure to an underlying asset without actually purchasing such asset, or to hedge a position including in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on a particular pre-determined investment or instrument. The gross return to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties is calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” e.g., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested in a “basket” of securities or an ETF representing a particular index or group of securities.
• If a Fund qualifies for treatment as a regulated investment company, it is not subject to federal income tax on net investment income and net realized capital gains that the Fund timely distributes to its shareholders. If a Fund were to fail to so qualify, and were ineligible to or otherwise did not cure such failure, its taxable income and gains would be subject to tax at the Fund level, and distributions from earnings and profits would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
The Funds are exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and the shares of each Fund (“Shares”) are listed on NYSE Arca, The NASDAQ Stock Market or the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., (each, an “Exchange”). The Shares trade on the relevant Exchange at market prices that may differ to some degree from the Shares’ NAVs. Each Fund issues and redeems Shares on a continuous basis at NAV in large, specified numbers of Shares called “Creation Units.” Creation Units of the Funds are issued and redeemed in-kind for securities and an amount of cash or entirely in cash, in each case at the discretion of ProShare Advisors LLC (the “Advisor” or “ProShare Advisors”). Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares cannot be purchased from and are not redeemable securities of the Funds. Retail investors, therefore, generally will not be able to purchase or redeem the Shares directly. Rather, most retail investors will purchase and sell Shares in the secondary market with the assistance of a broker. Reference is made to the Prospectus for a discussion of the investment objectives and policies of each of the Funds. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. Portfolio management is provided to the Funds by ProShare Advisors, a Maryland limited liability company with offices at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Swap agreements are generally traded in OTC markets and have only recently become subject to regulation by the CFTC. CFTC rules, however, do not cover all types of swap agreements. Investors, therefore, may not receive the protection of CFTC regulation or the statutory scheme of the Commodity Exchange Act in connection with a Fund’s swap agreements. The lack of regulation in these markets could expose investors to significant losses under certain circumstances, including in the event of trading abuses or financial failure by participants. Unlike in futures contracts, the counterparty to uncleared OTC swap agreements is generally a single bank or other financial institution, rather than a clearing organization backed by a group of financial institutions. As a result, the Fund is subject to increased counterparty risk with respect to the amount it expects to receive from counterparties to
• A decline in the adoption of bitcoin could have a negative effect on the price of bitcoin and bitcoin-related investments. Bitcoin’s adoption has been on a generally continuous climb since bitcoin first gained mass media attention in 2013. However, there can be no guarantees this growth will continue. Further, adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment has been limited when compared with the increase in the price of bitcoin, indicating that the majority of bitcoin’s use is for investment and speculative purposes. A lack of acceptance of bitcoin as a means of payment could negatively impact the price of the Bitcoin Futures contracts in which the Fund invests.
Those who believe in Cryptocurrency claim it to be the next big thing in the history of mankind. The mere fact that Cryptocurrency is beyond the control of any government body gets it a lot of eyeballs. Imagine a universal currency beyond the control of liquidity, inflation and government subsidy. This would mean that the commercial activity of economies working on Cryptocurrency shall be privatized absolutely.
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.
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.
The tables below shows performance examples of an Ultra and UltraShort ProShares Fund that have investment objective to correspond to two times (2x) and two times the inverse (-2x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
Investors in the ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF should understand the consequences of the “short” strategy employed by the Fund, which is subject to, among others, compounding and market volatility risk. The Fund may adjust its short exposure as frequently as daily basis which entails obtaining additional short exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing short exposure as the Fund experiences losses. As a result, the Fund’s performance may be more vulnerable to the effects of compounding than funds that do not seek to provide short investment exposure. During periods of high volatility, this risk may be exacerbated and the Fund may have losses as a result of such adjustments.
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.
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.
Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
Currently, Bitcoin futures have very high margin requirements. The Cboe requires 40% of the notional amount for maintenance margin, the CME requires 43%. Your broker will likely require more than that. The culprit behind these high requirements is Bitcoin’s high volatility—until that calms down the exchanges will protect themselves by requiring a bunch of up-front money. If you don’t come up with the money for a margin call they want to close out your position without leaving a negative balance.
The market is so volatile that big movements up and down are pretty common and you can capitalise on this through swing trading. I recommend choosing a group of coins to be in and then sticking to swing trading in those coins rather than jumping constantly between different cryptocurrencies – it does help to have an understanding of what different coins do and how much volatility can be expected and you will gain that understanding with time. Good luck!
Futures contracts derive their value from an asset and more or less follow the movements of the underlying commodity, in our case: bitcoin. They ultimately settle at price of the commodity in the future on a particular exchange, or an index that represents a basket of prices at different exchanges. So if you have a weekly future's contract and you don't want to sell out of it on the market, then it will expire at the price at a specific time when Friday comes and if you want to maintain your position you must re-open on the new contract period. In the weekly example, if a contract is issued at April 14, 2017, it dies on April 21, 2017. If you buy the contract at a price of $1,100 and you don't sell it for the whole week, and the price ends on April 21 at $1,200, then you profit.
There are many groups on Facebook where you can find likeminded folks who will happily talk crypto all day but the problem is that 99% of these groups are filled with people who have only a very basic understanding of cryptocurrency and the knowledge available here is not particularly strong. I have recently left almost every single group on Facebook as, in my opinion, they are largely filled with FUD.
If you want to do scalping, then shorter-term expiree contracts that settle really soon would be fine. Keep in mind, the normal state of futures markets is "contango", which means that longer dated contracts will have a premium to the current spot rate, to reflect the interest rate differential and time preference. This means you will see Weeklies maybe with a $1-2 preium and Quarterlies (assuming they expire months from now) with a $5-8 premium. As an example we have Quarterlies contracts right now at OKCoin that settle on December 25. So we're just starting December now, that means that even though these are "Quarterlies" contracts by classification, they are expiring not 3 months from now, but 1 month from now. Don't mix up the settlement expiration date with the naming convention.
Commodity Swaps. Commodity swaps are used either as substitutes for owning a specific physical commodities or as a means of obtaining non-leveraged exposure in markets where a specific commodity is not available. Commodity swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to commodities by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
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Each Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements as part of its investment strategy, which may be viewed as a form of borrowing. Reverse repurchase agreements involve sales by a Fund of portfolio assets for cash concurrently with an agreement by the Fund to repurchase those same assets at a later date at a fixed price. Generally, the effect of such a transaction is that a Fund can recover all or most of the cash invested in the portfolio securities involved during the term of the reverse repurchase agreement, while a Fund will be able to keep the interest income associated with those portfolio securities. Such transactions are advantageous only if the interest cost to a Fund of the reverse repurchase transaction is less than the cost of obtaining the cash otherwise. Opportunities to achieve this advantage may not always be available, and a Fund intends to use the reverse repurchase technique only when it will be to the Fund’s advantage to do so. A Fund will segregate with its custodian bank cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the Fund’s obligations with respect to reverse repurchase agreements.
These developments are expected to not only further rally the price of Bitcoin, but also open the doors for more traditional investment opportunities based on cryptocurrencies, such as a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). ETFs are currently very popular investment products for beginning and advanced investors because they charge low fees and usually have low volatility. Because high volatility is one of the factors preventing conventional investors from entering the crypto market, products such as these could offer them the best of both worlds.