U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts may aid institutional investor participation and enable hedging while also potentially helping digital assets develop into an asset class of their own. Currently digital assets trade on platforms that lack proper execution mechanisms, governance, and standard financial industry practices. Futures contracts push trading volume towards regulated exchanges with proper governance, controls and state of the art execution mechanisms. Futures contracts also remove the arduous requirement for investors to custody “physical” bitcoin, which is a major obstacle. In some ways, bitcoin futures are an early attempt to integrate digital assets into the mainframe financial system. With such integration, regulators might also gain a greater understanding of and steadier grasp on digital assets. This may enable the creation of more explicit guidance and regulation around the space. While it is early innings for digital assets, U.S.-listed bitcoin futures may pave the way for a potentially safer, more reliable, and better governed digital asset space and regulated investment vehicles.
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
The Trust and the fund have obtained an exemptive order from the SEC allowing a registered investment company to invest in the Fund’s shares beyond the limits of Section 12(d)(1) subject to certain conditions, including that a registered investment company enters into a Participation Agreement with the Trust regarding the terms of the investment. Any investment company considering purchasing shares of the Fund in amounts that would cause it to exceed the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) should contact the Trust.
Coinbase, headquartered in San Francisco, is an online bitcoin broking exchange which caters to US, Canada, Europe, UK, Australia, Singapore. Up to 150 US dollars and pounds can be bought on Coinbase on a daily basis. It charges a 3.99% on all the exchanges via credit or debit card. Coinbase offers very high limits. Limits depend on your account level, which is determined by how much information you have verified. Fully verified U.S. customers may buy up to $50,000 worth of bitcoin daily.
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):

ProShare Advisors, from its own resources, including profits from advisory fees received from the Funds, also may make payments to broker-dealers and other financial institutions for their services and expenses incurred in connection with the distribution and promotion of the Funds’ Shares. In this regard, the Advisor or an affiliate of the Advisor, may directly or indirectly make cash payments to certain broker-dealers for participating in activities that are designed to make registered representatives and other professionals more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Funds, or for other activities, such as participation in marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and
A Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. A Fund will realize a gain if the price of the security declines in price between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss will be increased, by the amount of the premium, dividends or interest a Fund may be required to pay, if any, in connection with a short sale.
Upon a sale, exchange or other disposition of shares of a Fund, a shareholder will generally realize a taxable gain or loss depending upon his or her basis in the shares. A gain or loss will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands, and generally will be long-term or short-term capital gain or loss depending upon the shareholder’s holding period for the shares. Any loss realized on a sale, exchange or other disposition will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced (including through reinvestment of dividends) within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the shares are disposed of. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on the disposition of a Fund’s Shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated for tax purposes as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions of Capital Gain Dividends received or treated as having been received by the shareholder with respect to such shares.

Distributions are taxable whether shareholders receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional shares. Distributions are also taxable to shareholders even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before a shareholder’s investment (and thus were included in the price the shareholder paid for the Fund shares). Investors should be careful to consider the tax implications of buying shares of a Fund just prior to a distribution. The price of shares purchased at this time will include the amount of the forthcoming distribution, but the distribution will generally be taxable.
Alexander Ilyasov, ProShare Advisors: Senior Portfolio Manager since October 2013 and Portfolio Manager from November 2009 through September 2013. ProFund Advisors LLC: Senior Portfolio Manager since October 2013 and Portfolio Manager from November 2009 through September 2013. Ryan Dofflemeyer, ProShare Advisors: Portfolio Manager since January 2011, and a registered associated person and an NFA associate member of ProShares Capital Management LLC since October 2010.
The Funds may be eligible to elect alternative tax treatment with respect to PFIC shares. Under an election that currently is available in some circumstances, a Fund generally would be required to include in its gross income its share of the earnings of a PFIC on a current basis, regardless of whether distributions were received from the PFIC in a given year. If this election were made, the special rules, discussed above, relating to the taxation of excess distributions, would not apply. Another election would involve marking to market a Fund’s PFIC shares at the end of each taxable year, with the result that unrealized gains would be treated and reported as though they were realized as ordinary income on the last day of the taxable year. Any mark-to-market losses and any loss from an actual disposition of PFIC shares would be deductible by the Fund as ordinary losses to the extent of any net mark-to-market gains included in income in prior years. Making either of these two elections may require a Fund to liquidate other investments (including when it is not advantageous to do so) to meet its distribution requirements, which also may accelerate the recognition of gain and affect the Fund’s total return. Dividends paid by PFICs will not be eligible to be treated as “qualified dividend income.” Because it is not always possible to identify a foreign corporation as a PFIC, the Fund may incur the tax and interest charges described above in some instances.
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.
No, the successful trader is not me. I’ve gotten lucky a few times and I’m still refining and trying out strategies; on the other hand, I’m part of communities of people who trade on a daily basis to grow their portfolios, and while some of the results can be attributed to luck, a majority of it is based on fundamentals, good habits, and experience.
XBT futures are cash-settled contracts based on the Gemini's auction price for bitcoin, denominated in U.S. dollars. Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) is a digital asset exchange and custodian founded in 2014 that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as bitcoin, and is subject to fiduciary obligations, capital reserve requirements, and banking compliance standards of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

  (b) A majority of the Disinterested Trustees acting on the matter (provided that a majority of the Disinterested Trustees then in office act on the matter) or independent legal counsel in a written opinion shall determine, based upon a review of the readily available facts (as opposed to the facts available upon a full trial), that there is reason to believe that the recipient ultimately will be found entitled to indemnification.

When a Fund purchases or sells a futures contract, or buys or sells an option thereon, the Fund “covers” its position. To cover its position, a Fund may enter into an offsetting position, earmark or segregate with its custodian bank or on the official books and records of the Fund cash or liquid instruments (marked-to-market on a daily basis) that, when added to any amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant as margin, are equal to the market value of the futures contract or otherwise “cover” its position. When required by law, a Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the value of the Fund’s total assets committed to the consummation of such futures contracts. Obligations under futures contracts so covered will not be considered senior securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
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.

  8. Except for the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, concentrate (i.e., hold more than 25% of its assets in the stocks of a single industry or group of industries) its investments in issuers of one or more particular industries, except that a Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its index concentrates in the stocks of such particular industry or industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities) and tax-free securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions (and repurchase agreements collateralized by government securities) are not considered to be issued by members of any industry. For purposes of determining whether the Funds are concentrated in an industry or group of industries, each Fund may concentrate its investment in the securities of companies engaged in a single industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent as its benchmark and in accordance with its investment objective and policies as disclosed in the Prospectus and SAI.
If a Fund purchases in the secondary market a debt security that has a fixed maturity date of more than one year from its date of issuance at a price lower than the stated redemption price of such debt security (or, in the case of a debt security issued with “original issue discount” (described below), a price below the debt security’s “revised issue price”), the excess of the stated redemption price over the purchase price is “market discount.” If the amount of market discount is more than a de minimis amount, a portion of such market discount must be included as ordinary income (not capital gain) by a Fund in each taxable year in which the Fund owns an interest in such debt security and receives a principal payment on it. In particular, the Fund will be required to allocate that principal payment first to the portion of the market discount on the debt security that has accrued but has not previously been includable in income. In general, the amount of market discount that must be included for each period is equal to the lesser of (i) the amount of market discount accruing during such period (plus any accrued market discount for prior periods not previously taken into account) or (ii) the amount of the principal payment with respect to such period. Generally, market discount accrues on a daily basis for each day the debt security is held by a Fund at a constant rate over the time remaining to the debt security’s maturity or, at the election of the Fund, at a constant yield to maturity which takes into account the semi-annual compounding of interest. Gain realized on the disposition of a market discount obligation must be recognized as ordinary interest income (not capital gain) to the extent of the accrued market discount.
Each Fund may invest in money market instruments, which short-term cash instruments that have a remaining maturity of 397 days or less and exhibit high credit profiles, or cash or cash equivalents such as other high credit quality, short-term fixed income or similar securities, including (i) money market funds, (ii) U.S. Treasury Bills, which are U.S. government securities that have initial maturities of one year or less, and are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and (iii) Repurchase Agreements, which are contracts in which a seller of securities, usually U.S. government securities or other money market instruments, agrees to buy them back at a specified time and price. Repurchase agreements are primarily used by the Funds as a short-term investment vehicle for cash positions.
Because only a few regulations implementing the straddle rules have been promulgated, the consequences of such transactions to the Funds are not entirely clear. The straddle rules may increase the amount of short-term capital gain realized by a Fund, which is taxed as ordinary income when distributed to shareholders. Because application of the straddle rules may affect the character of gains or losses, defer losses and/or accelerate the recognition of gains or losses from the affected straddle positions, the amount which must be distributed to shareholders as ordinary income or long-term capital gain may be increased or decreased substantially as compared to a Fund that did not engage in such transactions.

I under-performed the market in 2017. A crypto market that went up several hundred percent and having read 24 books on finance and trading throughout the process, these were my biggest takeaways. Remember, these are notes I wrote to myself, so they may not work for your trading style. This version was summarized exclusively for CryptoMarket360 – a full version is hyperlinked at the bottom.


Each Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions as fundamental policies that cannot be changed without a “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund. The phrase “majority of outstanding voting securities” is defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a duly-called meeting of shareholders, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented by proxy; or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. (All policies of a Fund not specifically identified in this Statement of Additional Information or its Prospectus as fundamental may be changed without a vote of the shareholders of the Fund.) For purposes of the following limitations, all percentage limitations apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment.

If a shareholder is eligible for the benefits of a tax treaty, any effectively connected income or gain will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net basis only if it is also attributable to a permanent establishment maintained by the shareholder in the United States. More generally, foreign shareholders who are residents in a country with an income tax treaty with the United States may obtain different tax results than those described herein, and are urged to consult their tax advisors.


Investments in common units of MLPs involve risks that differ from investments in common stock. Holders of common units of MLPs have the rights typically provided to limited partners in limited partnerships and, thus, may have limited control and limited voting rights as compared to holders of a corporation’s common shares. Holders of common units may be subject to conflicts of interest with the MLP’s general partner, including those arising from incentive distribution payments. MLPs may also have limited financial resources and units may be subject to cash flow and dilution risk. In addition, investments held by MLPs may be relatively illiquid, limiting the MLPs’ ability to vary their portfolios promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions. Accordingly, MLPs may be subject to more erratic price movements because of the underlying assets they hold. Further, a Fund’s investment in MLPs subjects the Fund to the risks associated with the specific industry or industries in which the MLPs invest.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of each period. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your approximate costs would be:
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”).
Collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) are debt obligations collateralized by mortgage loans or mortgage pass-through securities (collateral collectively hereinafter referred to as “Mortgage Assets”). Multi-class pass-through securities are interests in a trust composed of Mortgage Assets and all references in this section to CMOs include multi-class pass-through securities. Principal prepayments on the Mortgage Assets may cause the CMOs to be retired substantially earlier than their stated maturities or final distribution dates, resulting in a loss of all or part of the premium if any has been paid. Interest is paid or accrues on all classes of the CMOs on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis. The principal and interest payments on the Mortgage Assets may be allocated among the various classes of CMOs in several ways. Typically, payments of principal, including any prepayments, on the underlying mortgages are applied to the classes in the order of their respective stated maturities or final distribution dates, so that no payment of principal is made on CMOs of a class until all CMOs of other classes having earlier stated maturities or final distribution dates have been paid in full.
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.
Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market seems to rise and fall simultaneously with the altcoins. Is a systemic issue that causes this harmonious rise and fall of prices on the exchanges? The answer is a little fuzzy, but there are several factors at play. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as the universal trading currency, which leads to many investors buying and selling Bitcoin to buy and sell altcoins. When bitcoin starts a bull run, many of the altcoins fall, as investors jump on the Bitcoin train and vice versa. It’s also systemic because most exchanges require Bitcoin rather than fiat currency to transact. It is easy to invest fiat currency in the market and then leave there as an investor trades it; moving it from one currency to another and not cashing it back to fiat currency. Furthermore, When the Bitcoin price falls or rises against the fiat currency, all the altcoins will usually follow. This is because all altcoin prices are based on their Bitcoin exchange rate, not their fiat currency exchange rate. The value of an altcoin in fiat currency is the value of the altcoin in Bitcoin and then Bitcoin’s value in that fiat currency. It is Bitcoin that strongly affects pricing.

In general, dividends of net investment income received by corporate shareholders of a Fund may qualify for the 70% dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations to the extent of the amount of eligible dividends received by the Fund from domestic corporations for the taxable year. A dividend received by a Fund will not be treated as a dividend eligible for the dividends-received deduction (1) if it has been received with respect to any share of stock that the Fund has held for less than 46 days (91 days in the case of certain preferred stock) during the 91-day period beginning on the date which is 45 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date in the case of certain preferred stock) or (2) to the extent that the Fund is under an obligation (pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. Moreover, the dividends received deduction may otherwise be disallowed or reduced (1) if the corporate shareholder fails to satisfy the foregoing requirements with respect to its shares of the Fund or (2) by application of various provisions of the Code (for instance, the dividends-received deduction is reduced in the case of a dividend received on debt-financed portfolio stock (generally, stock acquired with borrowed funds)). The corporate alternative minimum tax may disallow the dividends received deduction in certain circumstances.

I have worked with the CME in the past on product development (specifically CDS futures) and from my experience, they would not have missed anything this simple.  In fact, while I am not a huge fan of the concept of Bitcoin futures, as currently implemented, I do not expect any errors in the operation of the CME or CBOE futures contract.  I am sure that regulators will be questioning them on the back of the OKEX, as they should, and I am also quite positive the exchanges here will pass with flying colors.

The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Trust on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent Shares and sells some or all of the Shares comprising such Creation Units directly to its customers; or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for Shares. A determination of whether a person is an underwriter for the purposes of the 1933 Act depends upon all the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities. Thus, the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead a person to be deemed an underwriter. Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are effecting transactions in Shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of Shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result

The Funds may invest in both sponsored and unsponsored depositary receipts. Certain depositary receipts, typically those designated as “unsponsored,” require the holders thereof to bear most of the costs of such facilities, while issuers of “sponsored” facilities normally pay more of the costs thereof. The depository of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited securities or to pass through the voting rights to facility holders with respect to the deposited securities, whereas the depository of a sponsored facility typically distributes shareholder communications and passes through the voting rights.
Distributions of investment income are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains are determined by how long a Fund owned the investments that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her shares. In general, a Fund will recognize long-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for more than one year, and short-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for one year or less. Tax rules can alter a Fund’s holding period in investments and thereby affect the tax treatment of gain or loss on such investments. Distributions of net capital gain – the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards – that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable to shareholders as long-term capital gains includible in net capital gain and taxable to individuals at reduced rates. Distributions of net short-term capital gain (as reduced by any net long-term capital loss for the taxable year) will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
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!

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”).
impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect the price of bitcoin. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests. In addition to technical disruptions such as cyber-attacks, the potential elimination of the net neutrality regulations in the U.S. may have a negative impact on bitcoin and the Bitcoin ecosystem.
There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.
×