Currently, Bitcoin futures have very high margin requirements. The Cboe requires 40% of the notional amount for maintenance margin, the CME requires 43%. Your broker will likely require more than that. The culprit behind these high requirements is Bitcoin’s high volatility—until that calms down the exchanges will protect themselves by requiring a bunch of up-front money. If you don’t come up with the money for a margin call they want to close out your position without leaving a negative balance.
A Fund will be a personal holding company for federal income tax purposes if 50% or more of the Fund’s shares are owned, at any time during the last half of the Fund’s taxable year, directly or indirectly by five or fewer individuals. For this purpose, the term “individual” includes pension trusts, private foundations and certain other tax-exempt trusts. If a Fund becomes a personal holding company, it may be subject to a tax of 20% on all its investment income and on any net short-term gains not distributed to shareholders on or before the fifteenth day of the third month following the close of the Fund’s taxable year. In addition, the Fund’s status as a personal holding company may limit the ability of the Fund to distribute dividends with respect to a taxable year in a manner qualifying for the dividends-paid deduction subsequent to the end of the taxable year and will prevent the Fund from using tax equalization, which may result in the Fund paying a fund-level income tax. Each Fund intends to distribute all of its income and gain in timely manner such that it will not be subject to an income tax or an otherwise applicable personal holding company tax, but there can be no assurance that a Fund will be successful in doing so each year.
Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) launched trading in Cboe bitcoin futures at 5:00 p.m. Central Time on December 10 under the ticker symbol “XBT”. 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.3
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“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.” Such changes may influence the price of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Futures Contracts. In particular, it is possible that the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts subsequent to a “fork” may be linked to the price of bitcoin on only one of the resulting Bitcoin Networks, rather than the aggregate price of bitcoin on all resulting Bitcoin Networks. The CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) have announced different protocols for addressing forks.
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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.
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.
If I held the opinion that an asset was going to go one way, but then made the research and it turned out that I started thinking it might actually be headed the other way, I should feel no obligation to hold on to my original opinion, just because I didnt want to feel I’ve been initially wrong. This seems obvious but is much tougher in practice for inexperienced investors.
The Bitcoin Network’s functionality relies on the Internet. A broadly accepted and widely adopted decentralized network is necessary for a fully-functional blockchain network, such as the Bitcoin Network. Features of the Bitcoin Network, such as decentralization, open source protocol, and reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, are essential to preserve the stability of the network and decrease the risk of fraud or cyber-attacks. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect a Fund. 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 miners, Bitcoin Markets and the Bitcoin ecosystem. 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 Instruments in which the Funds invest.
Futures trading is not suitable for all investors and involves the risk of loss. The risk of loss in futures can be substantial. You should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your 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 information on this website is provided solely for general education and information purposes and therefore should not be considered complete, precise, or current. Many of the matters discussed are subject to detailed rules, regulations, and statutory provisions which should be referred to for additional detail and are subject to changes that may not be reflected in the website information. No statement within the website should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell a futures product or to provide investment advice. The inclusion of non-Cboe advertisements on the website should not be construed as an endorsement or an indication of the value of any product, service, or website. The Terms and Conditions govern use of this website and use of this website will be deemed acceptance of those Terms and Conditions.
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.
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5. Borrow money, except that the Fund (i) may borrow from banks (as defined in the 1940 Act) in amounts up to 331/3% of its total assets (including the amount borrowed), (ii) may, to the extent permitted by applicable law, borrow up to an additional 5% of its total assets for temporary purposes, (iii) may obtain such short-term credit as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of portfolio securities, (iv) may purchase securities on margin to the extent permitted by applicable law and (v) may enter into reverse repurchase agreements. The Fund may not pledge its assets other than to secure such borrowings or, to the extent permitted by the Fund’s investment policies as set forth in the Prospectus and SAI, as they may be amended from time to time, in connection with hedging transactions, short sales, when-issued and forward commitment transactions and similar investment strategies.
Important agents interacting with those prices are operating in one of three roles: individual speculator, market maker, or arbitrageur. A key role is market maker—a firm that has agreed to simultaneously act as both a buyer and seller for a specific security. When companies sign up for this role they agree to keep the bid/ask prices relatively close to each other—for example even if they aren’t keen on selling Bitcoins at the moment they can’t just set the ask price to an outrageous level. The agreed-upon maximum bid/ask ranges might be tied to market conditions (e.g., wider when deemed a “fast market”) and might allow time-outs but in general, the market maker agrees to act as a buffer between supply and demand.
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).