If Bitcoin futures prices get too high relative to spot arbitragers are natural sellers and if the futures prices get too low they are natural buyers. Their buying and selling actions naturally counteract price distortions between markets. If they’re somehow prevented from acting (e.g., if shorting Bitcoin was forbidden) then the futures market would likely become decoupled from the underlying spot price—not a good thing.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is the second fork from Bitcoin (i.e. the second version to stem from Bitcoin’s source code). It retains Bitcoin’s transaction history, meaning that if you owned Bitcoin before the fork, you now own the equal amount of Bitcoin Gold. This cryptocurrency aims to introduce an alternative mining algorithm that is less susceptible to ASIC-based optimization, therefore allowing users to earn more with their computer cycles.
• Active Management Risk — The performance of actively managed funds reflects, in part, the ability of ProShare Advisors to select investments and make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. ProShare Advisors’ judgments about the Fund’s investments may prove to be incorrect. If the investments selected and strategies employed by ProShares Advisors fail to produce the intended results, the Fund may not achieve its investment objective and could underperform other funds with a similar investment objective and/or strategies.
Like any futures contract, trading in XBT futures is not suitable for all investors and involves the risk of loss. The risk of loss in XBT futures can be substantial. Market participants should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable in light of their own circumstances and financial resources. For additional information regarding futures trading risks, see the Risk Disclosure Statement set forth in CFTC Regulation 1.55(b).
The global regulatory landscape for bitcoin and other digital assets has been inconsistent and continues to evolve. Some countries have taken an accommodating approach to the regulation of digital assets while others have banned their use. There are various accommodative approaches a country may take. Sweden and Australia treat bitcoin as a currency, while Canada and Taiwan have labeled bitcoin as a digital or virtual currency, distinct from fiat currency. Norway categorizes bitcoin as a form of virtual asset or commodity. The United Kingdom treats bitcoin as private money and determined that the value added tax will not apply to bitcoin sales, but it can be charged on the commission instead. In April 2017, legislation took effect in Japan that treats bitcoin and other digital assets as included in the definition of currency. In July 2016, the European Commission released a draft directive that proposed applying counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations to virtual currencies, and, in September 2016, the European Banking authority advised the European Commission to institute new regulation specific to virtual currencies, with amendments to existing regulation as a stopgap measure. Regulatory bodies in some countries such as India and Switzerland have declined to exercise regulatory authority when afforded the opportunity.
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.
The Bitcoin protocol was built using open source software by a small group of individuals who developed what is known today as “Bitcoin Core.” The open source nature of the Bitcoin protocol permits any developer to review the underlying code and suggest changes to it via “Bitcoin Improvement Proposals”, or “BIPs.” If accepted by a sufficient number of miners, BIPs may result in substantial changes to the Bitcoin Network, including changes that result in “forks” (as described herein). The Bitcoin Network has already experienced two major forks after developers attempted to increase transaction capacity. Blocks mined on these new “forked” networks now diverge from blocks mined on the original Bitcoin Network maintained by Bitcoin Core, resulting in the creation of two new blockchains whose digital assets are referred to as “bitcoin cash.” and “bitcoin gold.” Bitcoin, bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold now operate as separate, independent networks. Multiple BIPs still exist, many of which are aimed at increasing the transaction capacity of the Bitcoin Network, and it is possible that one or more of these BIPs could result in further network “forks.” Such changes may
• Intellectual property rights claims may adversely affect the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Third parties may assert intellectual property rights claims relating to the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Regardless of the merit of any intellectual property or other legal action, any threatened action that reduces confidence in the Bitcoin Network’s long-term viability or the ability of end-users to hold and transfer bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin and adversely affect the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts held by the Fund.
The first U.S. bitcoin futures are here. Bitcoin futures opened for trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) on December 10, 2017. This is one of the biggest milestones for bitcoin since it emerged in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Bitcoin futures will bring much-needed transparency, greater liquidity and efficient price discovery to the ecosystem. Cboe will be soon joined by CME Group as it prepares to launch bitcoin futures contracts on December 18, 2017.
• In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, a Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from “qualifying income,” meet certain asset diversification tests at the end of each taxable quarter, and meet annual distribution requirements. A Fund’s pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. A Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, a Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its shareholders, and were ineligible to or were not to cure such failure, the Fund would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax on all its income at the fund level. The resulting taxes could substantially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of income available for distribution. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions. Please see the Statement of Additional Information for more information.
Amounts not distributed on a timely basis in accordance with a prescribed formula are subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax at the Fund level. To avoid the tax, each Fund must distribute during each calendar year an amount generally equal to the sum of (1) at least 98% of its ordinary income (not taking into account any capital gains or losses) for the calendar year, (2) at least 98.2% of its capital gains in excess of its capital losses (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for a one-year period generally ending on October 31
The Trust has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The Board of Trustees must approve all material amendments to this policy. A complete schedule of each Fund’s portfolio holdings as of the end of each fiscal quarter will be filed with the SEC (and publicly available) within 60 days of the end of the first and third fiscal quarters and within 70 days of the end of the second and fourth fiscal quarters. In addition, each Fund’s portfolio holdings will be publicly disseminated each day the Funds are open for business via the Funds’ website at www.ProShares.com.
At that point, you can begin trading. You can submit market or limit orders. The orders will be filled as soon as your buy/sell order can be matched to a corresponding one. Most exchanges only offer this limited structure for placing orders. However, a growing number of exchanges now allow more complex orders, including the option to go long/short on a stock and to employ leverage.
The Funds may invest in foreign issuers, securities traded principally in securities markets outside the United States, U.S.-traded securities of foreign issuers and/or securities denominated in foreign currencies (together “foreign securities”). Also, each Fund may seek exposure to foreign securities by investing in Depositary Receipts (discussed below). Foreign securities may involve special risks due to foreign economic, political and legal developments, including unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates, exchange control regulation (including currency blockage), expropriation or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, taxation of income earned in foreign nations, withholding of portions of interest and dividends in certain countries and the possible difficulty of obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities. Default in foreign government securities, political or social instability or diplomatic developments could affect investments in securities of issuers in foreign nations. In addition, in many countries there is less publicly available information about issuers than is available in reports about issuers in the United States. Foreign companies are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, and auditing practices and requirements may differ from those applicable to U.S. companies. Further, the growing interconnectivity of global economies and financial markets has increased the possibilities that conditions in any one country or region could have an adverse impact on issuers of securities in a different country or region.
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):
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).
Crypto derivatives were naturally discovered as an interesting addition to cryptocurrency exchanges first – probably as individual contracts between interested investors on these exchanges. Nowadays, there are already a couple of exchanges that offer crypto derivatives trading as a standard feature: BitMEX is the current market leader, according to The Merkle News; others are OKCoin, Crypto Facilities, Coinpit, and Deribit, as well as LedgerX (the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the US).