It is expected that each Subsidiary will neither be subject to taxation on its net income in the same manner as a corporation formed in the United States nor subject to branch profits tax on the income and gain derived from its activities in the United States. A foreign corporation will generally not be subject to such taxation unless it is engaged in or is treated as engaged in a U.S. trade or business. Each Subsidiary expects to operate in a manner such that it is not so engaged or so treated.
Each Fund may provide redemptions in portfolio securities or cash at the Advisor’s discretion. With respect to the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds, the Index Receipt Agent makes available through the NSCC immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange on each day that the Exchange is open for business the portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). These securities, at times, may not be identical to Deposit Securities which are applicable to a purchase of Creation Units. The Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeeming shareholder a portfolio of securities which differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities but does not differ in NAV.
The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its assets in a combination of bitcoin futures contracts and money market instruments. The Fund is designed to benefit when the price of bitcoin futures contracts increases. The Fund generally seeks to have 30% of the value of its portfolio invested in bitcoin futures contracts and 70% of the value of its portfolio invested in money market instruments. The Fund does not invest directly in bitcoin.
The Trust is a Delaware statutory trust and registered investment company. The Trust was organized on May 29, 2002, and has authorized capital of unlimited Shares of beneficial interest of no par value which may be issued in more than one class or series. Currently, the Trust consists of multiple separately managed series. The Board of Trustees may designate additional series of beneficial interest and classify Shares of a particular series into one or more classes of that series.
Traders A and B in the previous example are hedgers. However, futures contracts, once they exist, can also be bought and sold in their own right. This is where futures get interesting for speculators. Say that Speculator X believes the price of a ton of pork belly will rise to 1,200 USD in 3 months’ time, so buying the futures contract at 1,000 USD is a good deal. He can then sell the contract to bacon producers who want to buy pork bellies at 1,000 USD. The option to buy at a specified price in the future is known as a call option. The price of call options rise when traders assume that the price of the underlying asset will rise.
So far, these derivatives market have only been a niche occupied by crypto enthusiasts. That is until one of the newcomers, Crypto Facilities, and an incumbent in the derivatives market have joined forces: Crypto Facilities and the CME Group. The CME Group (controlling, for example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that has been around for more than a century) is a large-scale business that is officially regulated and audited by the US financial authorities. It settles its contracts in fiat money rather than cryptocurrency, thus enabling non-crypto experts to speculate on Bitcoin.
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.
In a permanent-growth cryptocurrency market, CryptoLux is permanently re-inventing and improving itself with clients from over 23 countries and a sold-out Initial Coin Offering. Our state-of-art trading platform is aiming at bringing simplicity in a world of ambiguity and uncertainty, by teaching our clients how to simply trade and gain considerable profits out of their Crypto investments.
In a possible lead-up to its plans on becoming an ATS, on March 26, 2018, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced it was adding support for ERC20 into all its trading platforms. ERC20 is the Ethereum technical standard that the majority of ICO tokens are based on. “This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” Coinbase said in a blog post.
The Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.07%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this investment advisory fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
Update 1st October 2018: The cryptocurrency market has been volatile as ever over the last 6 months. Unless you are a skilled trader, it is harder to make money in a bear market than in a bull market – and we have been in a bear market for some time now. Personally, I have stopped trading and I am now focussing on growing my portfolio passively using a cryptocurrency trading bot – you can find out more about this here. If you are new to crypto, read on!
• 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.
• 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.
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of ProShares Trust (the “Trust”), dated October 1, 2017, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF each as may be amended or supplemented, each of which incorporates this SAI by reference. A copy of the Prospectuses and a copy of the Annual Report to shareholders for the Funds that have completed a fiscal year are available, without charge, upon request to the address above, by telephone at the number above, or on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 are incorporated by reference into and are deemed part of this SAI. The principal U.S. national stock exchange on which all Funds (except those noted below) identified in this SAI are listed is NYSE Arca. The S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Merger ETF, K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF are listed on the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. The UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro QQQ®, the Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the Equities for Rising Rates ETF are listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market.
The Funds may make short sales “against the box,” i.e., when a security identical to or convertible or exchangeable into one owned by a Fund is borrowed and sold short. Whenever a Fund engages in short sales, it earmarks or segregates liquid securities or cash in an amount that, when combined with the amount of collateral deposited with the broker in connection with the short sale, equals the current market value of the security sold short. The earmarked or segregated assets are marked-to-market daily.
The Advisor, with the assistance of ISS, maintains for a period of at least five years a record of each proxy statement received and materials that were considered when the proxy was voted during the calendar year. Information on how the Funds voted proxies relating to portfolio securities for the 12-month (or shorter) period ended June 30 is available without charge, upon request, (1) by calling the Advisor at 888-776-3637, (2) on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com, and (3) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
In certain circumstances, the securities delivery cycles currently practicable for transferring portfolio securities to redeeming investors, coupled with foreign market holiday schedules, will require a delivery process longer than seven calendar days. The holidays applicable to various countries during such periods are listed below, as are instances where more than seven days will be needed to deliver redemption proceeds. Although certain holidays may occur on different dates in subsequent years, the number of days required to deliver redemption proceeds in any given year is not expected to exceed the maximum number of days listed below for each Fund. The proclamation of new holidays, the treatment by market participants of certain days as “informal holidays” (e.g., days on which no or limited securities transactions occur, as a result of substantially shortened trading hours), the elimination of existing holidays, or changes in local securities delivery practices, could affect the information set forth herein.
• Futures Position Limit Risk — Limits on the amount of futures any one entity can hold may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective if such limits are reached and exceptions to such limits are not granted. Currently the position limits for bitcoin futures contracts are much lower than they are for most other futures contracts.
Individual shares of the Fund will be listed for trading on [the Exchange] and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares, and other market factors. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether the Fund’s shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Differences between secondary market prices and NAV, the value of the Fund’s holdings, may be due largely to supply and demand forces in the secondary market, which may not be the same forces as those influencing prices for securities or financial instruments held by the Fund at a particular time. Given the fact that the Fund’s shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained.
Bitcoin (BTC) has been engaged in a predictable up and down pattern where it absolutely crashes at the beginning of any year and then sky-rockets as the year nears its end. Bitcoin held steady at around $19,000 in December 2017, and then sure enough – crashed big time to around $6,000 at the beginning of 2018. At the time of writing, March 8th 2018, the price of Bitcoin is relatively stable between $10,000 and $12,000. In my opinion, the price will run again soon.
Example: If the futures contract price is $400, then you can buy 0.5btc worth of this and if the price of bitcoin goes up to $450 the futures contract price will go up, and the value increases from 0.5 BTC and you can just sell for a profit. Trading a synthetic derivative rather than spot bitcoin allows you to use margin leverage to more easily buy and sell -- the contracts are just a facilitation of the value.
CCC – An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.
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.
Some Centra investors have their doubts, and a plaintiffs' law firm has brought a class action complaint against Centra demanding the investors' money back. The complaint is fun -- Centra had a “Blog/Media Bounty” program to "Reward Experienced Writers who write quality Reviews, Articles About the Centra Project and the ICO crowdsale" -- but not that fun, because the plaintiffs' lawyers don't actually need to prove that Centra was a scam. Their job is much easier: All they need to do is prove that the tokens Centra sold in its initial coin offering were securities. If they were securities, they were sold illegally: They were offered publicly without being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or being exempt from registration. And one remedy for the illegal sale of securities is that the buyers can demand their money back -- whether or not Centra is legitimate, whether or not it is actually using the money to build a cryptocurrency debit card, whether or not it made any misleading statements in the ICO.
Each Fund may invest in a wide range of fixed income securities, which may include foreign sovereign, sub-sovereign and supranational bonds, as well as any other obligations of any rating or maturity such as foreign and domestic investment grade corporate debt securities and lower-rated corporate debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”). Lower-rated or high yield debt securities include corporate high yield debt securities, zero-coupon securities, payment-in-kind securities, and STRIPS. Investment grade corporate bonds are those rated BBB or better by Standard & Poor’s Rating Group (“S&P”) or Baa or better by Moody’s Investor Services (“Moody’s”). Securities rated BBB by S&P are considered investment grade, but Moody’s considers securities rated Baa to have speculative characteristics. See Appendix A for a description of corporate bond ratings. The Funds may also invest in unrated securities.
ProShare Advisors is also responsible for the general management and administration of each Subsidiary, pursuant to separate investment advisory and management agreements. Under those advisory and management agreements, ProShare Advisors provides each Subsidiary with the same type of services under essentially the same terms (except at no cost to such Subsidiary) as are provided for its respective Parent Fund.
You may wonder: where do these contracts come from? We know on the spot market that bitcoins are being bought and sold for fiat, but how the heck are bitcoins being used to trade bitcoin futures contracts? Let's walk through a really simple example showing how an exchange functions when there's just a simple two traders who want to go long and short.
Most swap agreements entered into by a Fund (but generally not CDS) calculate and settle the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis” with a single payment. Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). Other swap agreements, such as CDS, may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of the reference entity.
Institutional markets for restricted securities have developed as a result of the promulgation of Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, which provides a safe harbor from 1933 Act registration requirements for qualifying sales to institutional investors. When Rule 144A securities present an attractive investment opportunity and otherwise meet selection criteria, a Fund may make such investments. Whether or not such securities are illiquid depends on the market that exists for the particular security. The staff of the SEC has taken the position that the liquidity of Rule 144A restricted securities is a question of fact for a board of trustees to determine, such determination to be based on a consideration of the readily-available trading markets and the review of any contractual restrictions.
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.
Basically, if you trade margin spot on a site like Kraken or Bitfinex, you will pay financing fees while you hold the position open. The same goes for CFD sites like WhaleClub or 1Broker. With bitcoin futures, you are able to trade margin without expending interest, because counterparties to the contract pay a fee to open and close the contract, and the exchange just manages the risk, so no money is really being lent!
The policy for each Fund regarding purchases and sales of securities is that primary consideration will be given to obtaining the most favorable prices and efficient executions of transactions. Consistent with this policy, when securities transactions are effected on a stock exchange, the policy is to pay commissions that are considered fair and reasonable without necessarily determining that the lowest possible commissions are paid in all circumstances. The Advisor believes that a requirement always to seek the lowest possible commission cost could impede effective portfolio management and preclude the Fund and the Advisor from obtaining a high quality of brokerage and execution services. In seeking to determine the reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid in any transaction, the Advisor relies upon its experience and knowledge regarding commissions generally charged by various brokers and on its judgment in evaluating the brokerage and execution services received from the broker. Such determinations are necessarily subjective and imprecise, as in most cases an exact dollar value for those services is not ascertainable. In addition to commission rates, when selecting a broker for a particular transaction, the Advisor considers but is not limited to the following efficiency factors: the broker’s availability, willingness to commit capital, reputation and integrity, facilities reliability, access to research, execution capacity and responsiveness.
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.
For each of the following Funds that hold Non-U.S. Investments: the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF; the Global Listed Private Equity ETF; the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF; the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers; the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF; and the Merger ETF (each a “Global Fund” and collectively the “Global Funds”), when a purchase order is placed, the Distributor will inform the Advisor and the Custodian. The Custodian shall cause local sub-custodians of the applicable Global Fund to maintain an account into which the Authorized Participant shall deliver, on behalf of itself or the party on whose behalf it is acting, the Deposit Securities “free of payment,” with any appropriate adjustments as advised by the Trust, in accordance with the terms and conditions applicable to such account in such jurisdiction. If applicable, the sub-custodian(s) will confirm to the Custodian that the required Deposit Securities have been delivered and the Custodian will notify the Advisor and Distributor. The Authorized Participant must also make available to the Custodian no later than 12:00 noon Eastern Time (or earlier in the event that the relevant Exchange or the relevant bond markets close early) by the second Business Day after the order is deemed received through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system, immediately available or same day funds in U.S. dollars estimated by the Trust to be sufficient to pay the Balancing Amount next determined after acceptance of the purchase order, together with any applicable Transaction Fees. For Global Funds, the Index Receipt Agent will not make available through the NSCC on each Business Day, the list of the names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security to be included in the current Portfolio Deposit.
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.
To assist the Advisor in its responsibility for voting proxies and the overall proxy voting process, the Advisor has retained Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) as an expert in the proxy voting and corporate governance area. ISS is a subsidiary of Vestar Capital Partners VI, L.P., a leading U.S. middle market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. The services provided by ISS include in-depth research, global issuer analysis and voting recommendations as well as vote execution, reporting and record keeping. ISS issues quarterly reports for the Advisor to review to assure proxies are being voted properly. The Advisor and ISS also perform spot checks intra-quarter to match the voting activity with available shareholder meeting information. ISS’s management meets on a regular basis to discuss its approach to new developments and amendments to existing policies. Information on such developments or amendments in turn is provided to the Proxy Committee. The Proxy Committee reviews and, as necessary, may amend periodically the Guidelines to address new or revised proxy voting policies or procedures.