Hey Will. Thanks for the helpful guide! I’ve just gotten into crypto and found this info extremely useful. Just a question regarding how you keep your alt coins safe. As far as I can tell, you can’t keep many of these alt coins on a Trezor hard wallet, so do you just use something like My Ether Wallet instead? Cheers mate! Here’s to a cracking 2018!!
A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.

Having said that, bitcoin price action remains fraught with wild and inexplicable gaps, like a $400 drop and rise in an hour in the late hours of July 30, according to Bloomberg.  This particular trade, and unwind seems to have affected bitcoin pricing globally and likely impacted trading of the U.S. listed contracts as well.  Volumes and open interest seemed to have increased around the time of this large trade unwind.  It could be a coincidence, though I suspect that some smart traders, aware of the situation, put short trades on in these future contracts to take advantage of the forced unwind.
That's why liquidity and volume are essential to a quality exchange. If you enter that contract at $400 and you see bitcoin spot price jumping to $500 but nobody is trading futures so you can't sell it to them, you get screwed. Luckily at this point in 2016 there are numerous options for trading futures that are liquid and settle on short time horizons. So you can typically trade contracts and get in and out of them with decent spreads and reasonable fees.
  •   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.
Fundamental securities analysis is not used by ProShare Advisors in seeking to correlate a Matching Fund’s investment returns with its index. Rather, ProShare Advisors primarily uses a passive or mathematical approach to determine the investments a Matching Fund makes and techniques it employs. While ProShare Advisors attempts to minimize any “tracking error,” certain factors tend to cause a Matching Fund’s investment results to vary from a perfect correlation to its index, as applicable. See “Special Considerations” below for additional details.
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.
Paul Krugman, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner does not like bitcoin, has repeated numerous times that it is a bubble that will not last[110] and links it to Tulip mania.[111] American business magnate Warren Buffett thinks that cryptocurrency will come to a bad ending.[112] In October 2017, BlackRock CEO Laurence D. Fink called bitcoin an 'index of money laundering'.[113] "Bitcoin just shows you how much demand for money laundering there is in the world," he said.

A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.

Municipal notes with maturities of three years or less are usually given note ratings (designated SP-1 or SP-2) to distinguish more clearly the credit quality of notes as compared to bonds. Notes rated SP-1 have a very strong or strong capacity to pay principal and interest. Those issues determined to possess overwhelming safety characteristics are given the designation of SP-1+. Notes rated SP-2 have a satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest.
Investments by a Fund in a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary, debt obligations issued or purchased at a discount and certain derivative instruments could cause the Fund to recognize taxable income in excess of the cash generated by such investments, potentially requiring the Fund to dispose of investments (including when otherwise disadvantageous to do so) in order to meet

•   Small-and Mid-Cap Company Investment Risk — The Fund may invest in stocks of small-and mid-cap companies. The risk of equity investing may be particularly acute for securities of issuers with smaller market capitalizations. Small-and mid-cap company stocks may trade at greater spreads or lower trading volumes, and may be less liquid than the stocks of larger companies. Small-and mid-cap companies may have limited product lines or resources, may be dependent upon a particular market niche and may have greater fluctuations in price than the stocks of larger companies. Further, stocks of small-and mid-sized companies could be more difficult to liquidate during market downturns compared to larger, more widely traded companies. In addition, small-and mid-cap companies may lack the financial and personnel resources to handle economic or industry-wide setbacks and, as a result, such setbacks could have a greater effect on small-and mid-cap security prices.


Created by Charlie Lee, a former Google engineer, Litecoin is an open-source payment network that operates on a global scale. It is not controlled by any centralized power, and it uses the “scrypt” as proof-of-work. It is similar to Bitcoin but has the advantage of offering a faster rate of generation and therefore faster transactions. This is one of the main reasons why its enthusiasts continue to invest or hold onto the coin even after finding out that its founder sold his stack.
•   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 ProShare 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.

Options give the holder of the option the right to buy (or to sell) a position in a security or in a contract to the writer of the option, at a certain price. There may be imperfect correlation, or even no correlation, between price movements of an options contract and price movements of investments underlying an options contract. Lack of correlation (or tracking) may be due to factors unrelated to the value of the investments being hedged, such as speculative or other pressures on the markets in which these instruments are traded. Consequently, the effectiveness of bitcoin options in providing exposure to the price movements of options will depend, in part, on the degree of correlation between price movements in the derivatives and price movements in underlying bitcoin markets. Exchanges can limit the number of positions that can be held or controlled by the Fund or the Sub-Adviser, thus limiting the ability to implement the Fund’s strategies. Options are also particularly subject to leverage risk and can be subject to liquidity risk.


In order to make sure that you actually have money in your margin account to settle the difference with Mortimer every day, you are required to put up an initial margin at the beginning of the contract. A lower sum, the so-called minimum margin or maintenance margin, is also defined by the broker. If the money in your margin account falls from the initial margin to the maintenance margin, it triggers a margin call: The broker requests you to fill up your margin account to at least the initial margin (of course, you may also put up more).

XBT futures is a cash-settled contract that settles to a single, tradeable auction price. In designing XBT futures, Cboe leveraged its significant product development expertise to design an instrument that allows participants to implement trading strategies in a manner to which they are accustomed. The single price settlement process gives participants the option of using XBT futures to hedge their exposure in underlying bitcoin or gain exposure to traded bitcoin prices without holding bitcoin.


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.
The introduction of futures didn't lead to a wave of hedge-fund money shorting bitcoin. It led to retail and institutional money going long bitcoin. We talked last week about the spread between Cboe's bitcoin futures price and the actual price of bitcoin, which was wider than $1,000 for a while. The spread has tightened considerably -- as of 8:15 a.m. today, the CME futures traded at $18,585, Cboe futures at $18,670, and spot bitcoin at about $18,245, for a spread of about 2 percent -- but it still exists. Why would you pay more for a synthetic bitcoin in a month than you would for an actual bitcoin today? The answer, presumably, is that the synthetic bitcoin is more valuable to you: You want bitcoin exposure, but you'd prefer to get it through a standardized contract on a regulated exchange that settles in dollars. 
Daily Position Limit Risk - Many U.S. futures exchanges 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 trading day. In addition, these exchanges have established limits on the maximum amount of futures positions that any person may hold or control on such exchanges. These limits may restrict the amount of assets the Fund is able to invest in bitcoin futures contracts or have a
As a result of compounding, for periods greater than one day, the use of leverage tends to cause the performance of a Fund to vary from its benchmark performance times the stated multiple or inverse multiple in the Fund’s investment objective, before accounting for fees and fund expenses. Compounding affects all investments, but has a more significant impact on geared funds. Four factors significantly affect how close daily compounded returns are to longer-term benchmark returns times the fund’s multiple: the length of the holding period, benchmark volatility, whether the multiple is positive or inverse, and its leverage level. Longer holding periods, higher benchmark volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each can lead to returns farther from the multiple times the benchmark return. As the tables below show, particularly during periods of higher benchmark volatility, compounding will cause longer term results to vary from the benchmark performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective. This effect becomes more pronounced as volatility increases.
Margin Call - when you run out of bitcoin on your account to cover the contract positions you have taken (your account value doesn't cover the Maintance Margin) you are officially rekt. Some exchanges like CryptoFacilities will merely notify you that you have to deposit more or reduce your positions to increase your margin. Others like BitMEX will liquidate you at this level where the exchange takes over your position to liquidate it into the market to prevent system loss.
During the market slump last week, there was some banter on Reddit that the crash was going to end Wednesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM EST when the markets closed the first Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE expired at $10,900 per Bitcoin. There was even a countdown posted by one Reddit user. While the price of Bitcoin did not rocket back up in the immediate aftermath, altcoins started to rebound hours after the futures contracts expired.
The moment you look at the amount of support Tron has been receiving lately, you immediately realize it’s not just yet another blockchain-based platform. Tron’s technology aims to deploy world’s largest FREE content entertainment system. The platform allows anyone to store and own data, and to freely publish their content. Its app “Peiwo” already gathers 10 million enthusiasts and is on the road to become the world’s first TRON-compatible entertainment app. This technology revolves around the following ideology:  All contributions on the network should be of equal quantitative value, the Internet should be decentralized, and data creators should have the absolute ownership of the data. It’s important to realise though that Tron has been pushed like hell by an ambitious marketing department… I have not yet decided if this is a cryptocurrency which will survive but, for a one year hold, it seems a safe bet.
If SupermegahedgefundX can offset any potential losses with futures trading, then maybe it will be more willing to buy bitcoin – although why it would allow its potential gains to be reduced with the same futures trade is beyond me. And, why hold the bitcoin when you can get similar profits with less initial outlay just by trading the synthetic derivatives?
 	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. The Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, the 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.

In May 2018 Bitcoin Gold (and two other cryptocurrencies) were hit by a successful 51% hashing attack by an unknown actor, in which exchanges lost estimated $18m.[90] In June 2018, Korean exchange Coinrail was hacked, losing US$37 million worth of altcoin. Fear surrounding the hack was blamed for a $42 billion cryptocurrency market selloff.[91] On 9 July 2018 the exchange Bancor had $23.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen.[92]
Each of the Exchanges has established limitations governing the maximum number of call or put options on the same index which may be bought or written (sold) by a single investor, whether acting alone or in concert with others (regardless of whether such options are written on the same or different Exchanges or are held or written on one or more accounts or through one or more brokers). Under these limitations, option positions of all investment companies advised by the same investment adviser are combined for purposes of these limits. Pursuant to these limitations, an Exchange may order the liquidation of positions and may impose other sanctions or restrictions. These position limits may restrict the number of listed options which a Fund may buy or sell; however, the Advisor intends to comply with all limitations.

A tax-exempt shareholder may also recognize UBTI if a Fund recognizes “excess inclusion income” (as described above) derived from direct or indirect investments in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs if the amount of such income recognized by the Fund exceeds the Fund’s investment company taxable income (after taking into account deductions for dividends paid by the Fund). In addition, special tax consequences apply to charitable remainder trusts (“CRTs”) that invest in RICs that invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs. Under legislation enacted in December 2006, a CRT (as defined in section 664 of the Code) that realizes any UBTI for a taxable year must pay an excise tax annually of an amount equal to such UBTI. Under IRS guidance issued in October 2006, a CRT will not recognize UBTI as a result of investing in a Fund that recognizes “excess inclusion income.” Rather, if at any time during any taxable year a CRT (or one of certain other tax-exempt shareholders, such as the United States, a state or political subdivision, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, and certain energy
In determining its net capital gain, including in connection with determining the amount available to support a Capital Gain Dividend (as defined below), its taxable income and its earnings and profits, a RIC generally may elect to treat part or all of late-year ordinary loss (generally, its net ordinary loss attributable to the portion of the taxable year after December 31) as if incurred in the succeeding taxable year.
ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Fund Shares through DTC to the Custodian by no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time of the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. Authorized Participants should be aware that the deadline for such transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system may be significantly earlier than the close of business on the primary listing exchange. Those making redemption requests should ascertain the deadline applicable to transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution affecting the transfer of Fund Shares. The Balancing Amount, if any, must be transferred in U.S. dollars directly to the Custodian through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Custodian no later than 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. If the Custodian does not receive both the required Fund Shares and the Balancing Amount, if any, by 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively, on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date, such order will be deemed not in proper form and cancelled.
•   Valuation Risk — In certain circumstances, portfolio holdings may be valued using techniques other than market quotations. The value established for a portfolio holding may be different from what would be produced through the use of another methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their value from one day to the next than would be the case if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund could sell a portfolio holding for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund would incur a loss because a portfolio holding is sold at a discount to its established value.
For each intervening holiday in the applicable foreign market that is not a holiday observed by the U.S. equity markets, the redemption settlement cycle will be extended by the number of days of such intervening holiday. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a foreign market, including due to regulatory action, may also prevent a Fund from delivering securities within the normal settlement period.
R-1 (high) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality, and indicates an entity which possesses unquestioned ability to repay current liabilities as they fall due. Entities rated in this category normally maintain strong liquidity positions, conservative debt levels and profitability which is both stable and above average. Companies achieving an “R-1 (high)” rating are normally leaders in structurally sound industry segments with proven track records, sustainable positive future results and no substantial qualifying negative factors. Given the extremely tough definition which DBRS has established for an “R-1 (high)”, few entities are strong enough to achieve this rating.
On 21 November 2017, the Tether cryptocurrency announced they were hacked, losing $31 million in USDT from their primary wallet.[89] The company has 'tagged' the stolen currency, hoping to 'lock' them in the hacker's wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a new core for its primary wallet in response to the attack in order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.
The CME considers a hard fork of the Bitcoin Blockchain where both forks continue to be actively mined and traded but may not be fungible with each other, as an unusual and extreme circumstance. As such, CME provides that Crypto Facilities Ltd. (CME’s administrator) shall be responsible for recommending the necessary actions and responses to ensure the relevance and integrity of the Bitcoin Pricing Products.
The Trust’s website has information about the premiums and discounts for each Fund. Premiums or discounts are the differences between the NAV and market price of a Fund on a given day, generally at the time NAV is calculated. A premium is the amount that a Fund is trading above the NAV. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the NAV.

A bitcoin exchange operates somewhat similarly to online stock trading brokers, where customers deposit their fiat currency (or bitcoins) to carry out trades. However, not all bitcoin exchanges offer such services. Some exchanges are more like wallets and thus provide limited trading options or storage of currency (both digital and fiat) for trading. The bigger and more elaborate exchanges offer trades between different cryptocurrencies, as well as between digital and fiat currencies. The number of currencies supported by an exchange varies from one exchange to another. (For more, see: Why Is Bitcoin’s Value So Volatile.)


MSCI ® is a registered trademark of Morgan Stanley & Company, Inc. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Morgan Stanley or any affiliate of Morgan Stanley. Neither Morgan Stanley, any of its affiliates nor any other party involved in making or compiling the MSCI Indexes makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Funds or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Funds particularly or the ability of the MSCI Indexes to track general stock market performance. Morgan Stanley is the licensor of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names of MSCI and of the MSCI Indexes, which are determined, composed and calculated by Morgan Stanley without regard to the Funds. Morgan Stanley has no obligation to take the needs of the Funds into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the MSCI Indexes. Morgan Stanley is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the prices and amount of Shares of the Funds or the timing of the issuance or sale of such Shares. Neither Morgan Stanley, any of its affiliates nor any other party involved in making or compiling the MSCI Indexes has any obligation or liability to owners of the Funds in connection with the administration of the Funds, or the marketing or trading of Shares of the Funds. Although Morgan Stanley obtains information for inclusion in or for use in the calculation of the MSCI Indexes from sources which Morgan Stanley considers reliable, neither Morgan Stanley, any of its affiliates nor any other party involved in making or compiling the MSCI Indexes guarantees the accuracy and or the completeness of the MSCI Indexes or any data included therein. Neither Morgan Stanley, any of its affiliates nor any other party involved in making or compiling the MSCI Indexes makes any warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Funds,
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.
No Independent Trustee (or an immediate family member thereof) had any direct or indirect interest, the value of which exceeded $120,000, in the Advisor, the principal underwriter of the Trust, or any entity controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Advisor or the principal underwriter of the Trust (not including registered investment companies) during the two most recently completed calendar years.

It’s reasonable to assume that a product named a future is attempting to predict the future. For Bitcoin futures, this is definitely not what they deliver. The core utility of the futures markets is not predicting the future prices of their product but rather the secure delivery of a product at a known price, quality, and date. If there’s product seasonality (e.g., specific harvest times) or foreseeable shortages/abundances then future’s prices may reflect that but neither of these factors applies to Bitcoin.
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