He told me that, although he has little to do with Renaissance’s day-to-day activities, he occasionally offers ideas. He said, “I gave them one three months ago”—a suggestion for simplifying the historical data behind one of the firm’s trading algorithms. Beyond saying that it didn’t work, he wouldn’t discuss the details—Renaissance’s methods are proprietary and secret—but he did share with me the key to his investing success: he “never overrode the model.” Once he settled on what should happen, he held tight until it did.
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.
When cash markets are not functioning well, cash and carry arbitrage (and its reverse) futures markets may make the underlying asset accessible to more people. It is possible that A is bullish on bitcoin, but does not wish to go through the hassles of creating a wallet and storing it safely. At the same time, B might be comfortable with bitcoin wallets, but might be unwilling to take bitcoin price risk. Then B can buy bitcoin spot and sell cash settled bitcoin futures to A; the result is that A obtains exposure to bitcoin without creating a bitcoin wallet, while B obtains a risk free investment (a synthetic T-bill). Similarly, suppose C wishes to bet against bitcoin, but does not have the ability to short it; while D has no views on bitcoin, but has sufficient access to the cash market to be able to short bitcoin. Then D can take a risk free position by shorting bitcoin in the cash market and buying bitcoin futures from C who obtains a previously unavailable short position.
Altcoins is the general term associated with the cryptocurrencies launched after Bitcoin’s success. At first, these were mere copies mimicking the original Bitcoin. Today, there are over 1,000 of these, and the list just keeps growing. Most crypto coins are launched following an ICO (Initial Coin Offering – a form of crowdfunding) in which the developers raise cash by offering a limited number of initial coins to finance technological development. So far, besides the list below, we can find names, such as Namecoin, Peercoin, Bytecoin, Deutsche eMark, Novacoin, Cryptogenic Bullion, Quark, DarkCoin and Mangocoinz (for smartphones).
Yields on U.S. government securities depend on a variety of factors, including the general conditions of the money and bond markets, the size of a particular offering, and the maturity of the obligation. Debt securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher yields and are generally subject to potentially greater capital appreciation and depreciation than obligations with shorter maturities and lower yields. The market value of U.S. government securities generally varies inversely with changes in market interest rates. An increase in interest rates, therefore, would generally reduce the market value of a Fund’s portfolio investments in U.S. government securities, while a decline in interest rates would generally increase the market value of a Fund’s portfolio investments in these securities.
A futures curve shows the forward expectation of an asset’s price. Future rates of an asset can be calculated by extrapolating price from the risk-free theoretical spot rate of the asset. For example, one might calculate the possible future rate of an asset for the short (<1 month), medium (1-3 months) and long term (>3 months). In other words, future curves represent the demand for a specific asset and therefore the expected price evolution for the asset projected into the future. The curve is constructed from a discrete set of data points for various maturities. Initially, futures curves were used for hedging purposes, but with the evolution of the investment management industry, futures curves have become basic investment instruments not only for traditional commodities but also for new emerging asset classes.
Let’s say Larry owns one bitcoin and the current price is $16,600, be believes the price is overdone to the upside for a short period of time. This is a fictional example, so don’t beat me up on the outlook, you can criticize Larry, but he’s made up too. Larry has a futures account and sees that he can sell short a January XBT Future at $17,600. He decides to do this and is now short 1 January XBT Future at $17,600.
Each Fund intends to use, on a regular basis, leveraged investment techniques in pursuing its investment objective. Leverage exists when a Fund achieves the right to a return on a capital base that exceeds the Fund’s assets. Utilization of leverage involves special risks and should be considered to be speculative. Specifically, leverage creates the potential for greater gains to Fund shareholders during favorable market conditions and the risk of magnified losses during adverse market conditions. Leverage is likely to cause higher volatility of the NAVs of these Funds’ Shares. Leverage may also involve the creation of a liability that does not entail any interest costs or the creation of a liability that requires the Fund to pay interest which would decrease the Fund’s total return to shareholders. If these Funds achieve their investment objectives, during adverse market conditions, shareholders should experience a loss greater than they would have incurred had these Funds not been leveraged.
Crypto Facilities and the CME Group have been calculating and publishing the Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) since November 2016. Such an official rate is a prerequisite of options trading in the traditional markets. The BRR is calculated based on the rates from the biggest exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit, and Kraken. More concretely, it is calculated based on all Bitcoin vs. USD trades on the participating exchanges between 3 and 4 p.m. London time. To calculate the BRR, the hour between 3 and 4 is divided into 12 intervals of 5 minutes. For each interval, the volume-weighted median of the Bitcoin price is calculated (statistically, the median, in contrast to the average, prevents single outliers from distorting the price). The BRR is then the average of these 12 median values. More details about the calculation of the BRR can be found in the BRR whitepaper.
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”).
Now, if that margin-call does not get filled and the price continues to fall, then I'm making profits on my contract but nobody is paying for it since the counterparty who got margin-called didn't get the liquidation order filled. So what happens is that at settlement time of the contract, that unfilled liquidation loss to the system will be deducted from the profits of ALL traders before they are distributed.
NYSs (or “direct shares”) are foreign stocks denominated in U.S. dollars and traded on American exchanges without being converted into ADRs. These stocks come from countries that do not restrict the trading of their stocks on other nations’ exchanges. Each Fund may also invest in ordinary shares of foreign issuers traded directly on U.S. exchanges.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, four of the 10 biggest proposed initial coin offerings have used Switzerland as a base, where they are frequently registered as non-profit foundations. The Swiss regulatory agency FINMA stated that it would take a “balanced approach“ to ICO projects and would allow “legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with national laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system.” In response to numerous requests by industry representatives, a legislative ICO working group began to issue legal guidelines in 2018, which are intended to remove uncertainty from cryptocurrency offerings and to establish sustainable business practices.
The most common way to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency derivatives today is through contract-for-difference (CFD) contracts. These CFD contracts are usually traded over the counter (OTC), meaning that they are not traded on exchanges but directly between participants. Due to the high volatility (exceeding 1.5-2x std from the mean) most of the OTC platforms do not provide leverage on bitcoin and other cryptos CFDs.