Bitcoin is maintained on the decentralized, open source protocol of the peer-to-peer bitcoin computer network (the “Bitcoin Network”). No single entity owns or operates the Bitcoin Network. The infrastructure of the Bitcoin Network is collectively maintained by a decentralized user base. The Bitcoin Network is accessed through software, and software governs bitcoin’s creation, movement, and ownership. The value of bitcoin is determined in great part by the supply of (which is limited), and demand for, bitcoin in the global exchange markets for the trading of bitcoin (individually, “Bitcoin Exchanges” and collectively, the “Bitcoin Exchange Market”), market expectations for the adoption of bitcoin and the volume of private user-to-user transactions.
When Bitconnect was exposed as a 100% scam and was shut down, the price dropped vertically to almost zero. But then, it bounced back up by something like 15-30 percent, and it kept going up for a couple of days. This is caused, in my opinion, by the fact that bots and cavemen technical analysts, who never follow the news, look at the chart and think “this is a great time to buy”.
• A person who exchanges Creation Units for securities generally will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and any cash received. However, all or a portion of any loss a person realizes upon an exchange of Creation Units for securities will be disallowed by the Internal Revenue Service if such person purchases other substantially identical shares of the Fund within 30 days before or after the exchange. In such case, the basis of the newly purchased shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.
Set forth below is a general discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax issues concerning the Funds and the purchase, ownership, and disposition of a Fund’s Shares. This discussion does not purport to be complete or to deal with all aspects of federal income taxation that may be relevant to shareholders in light of their particular circumstances, nor to certain types of shareholders subject to special treatment under the federal income tax laws (for example, life insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, and IRAs and other retirement plans). This discussion is based upon present provisions of the Code, the regulations promulgated thereunder, and judicial and administrative ruling authorities, all of which are subject to change, which change may be retroactive. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors with regard to the federal tax consequences of the purchase, ownership, or disposition of a Fund’s Shares, as well as the tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, foreign country, or other taxing jurisdiction.
The Funds are exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and the shares of each Fund (“Shares”) are listed on NYSE Arca, The NASDAQ Stock Market or the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., (each, an “Exchange”). The Shares trade on the relevant Exchange at market prices that may differ to some degree from the Shares’ NAVs. Each Fund issues and redeems Shares on a continuous basis at NAV in large, specified numbers of Shares called “Creation Units.” Creation Units of the Funds are issued and redeemed in-kind for securities and an amount of cash or entirely in cash, in each case at the discretion of ProShare Advisors LLC (the “Advisor” or “ProShare Advisors”). Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares cannot be purchased from and are not redeemable securities of the Funds. Retail investors, therefore, generally will not be able to purchase or redeem the Shares directly. Rather, most retail investors will purchase and sell Shares in the secondary market with the assistance of a broker. Reference is made to the Prospectus for a discussion of the investment objectives and policies of each of the Funds. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. Portfolio management is provided to the Funds by ProShare Advisors, a Maryland limited liability company with offices at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, MD 20814.
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 distribution will be treated as paid on December 31 of a calendar year if it is declared by a Fund in October, November or December of that year with a record date in such a month and is paid by the Fund during January of the following year. Such distributions will be taxable to shareholders in the calendar year in which the distributions are declared, rather than the calendar year in which the distributions are received.
Cryptocurrencies have been compared to Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and economic bubbles, such as housing market bubbles. Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management stated in 2017 that digital currencies were "nothing but an unfounded fad (or perhaps even a pyramid scheme), based on a willingness to ascribe value to something that has little or none beyond what people will pay for it", and compared them to the tulip mania (1637), South Sea Bubble (1720), and dot-com bubble (1999).
Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Parent Funds and the Subsidiaries are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of a Parent Fund and/or its respective Subsidiary to operate as described in this SAI and could negatively affect a Parent Fund and its shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiaries. If Cayman Islands law changes such that a Subsidiary must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Parent Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns. See “Taxation” below for more information.
• Inverse Correlation Risk — Since a portion of the Fund’s assets are invested in short positions in bitcoin futures contracts, the Fund will likely decline in value when the price of bitcoin futures contracts goes up (unless such losses are offset by gains in the value of the Fund’s positions in other investments), a result that is the opposite from the results of taking long positions in bitcoin futures contracts.
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.
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
• Intellectual property claims. A proliferation of recent startups attempting to apply blockchain technology in different contexts means the possibility of conflicting intellectual property claims could be a risk to an issuer, its operations or its business. This could also pose a risk to blockchain platforms that permit transactions in digital securities.
On October 31, 2017, CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, had announced its intent to launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of 2017. “CME Group's Bitcoin futures will be available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform, and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort, effective on Sunday, December 17, 2017 for a trade date of December 18” as per CME’s officials statement.
Elsewhere, here is the story of block.one, which "has raised about $700 million and counting" by selling EOS tokens that it says "do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features." Block.one is using the money to build "a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications," as its white paper explains, and the white paper also includes a disclaimer in bold capitals:
When you are getting started making actual trades, in general you should focus on making LIMIT ORDERS which will get FILLED by other traders. Not only will you pay lower fees this way, but you will also be making more composed trading setups because you aren't impatiently just market-buying or market-selling into the spread. So a general principle you should follow is to AVOID MARKET ORDERS WHEN YOU CAN! You will pay higher "taker" fees and you will be at the mercy of the spread which is a hidden fee.
Investment income and gains received by a Fund from foreign investments may be subject to foreign withholding and other taxes, which could decrease the Fund’s return on those investments. The effective rate of foreign taxes to which a Fund will be subject depends on the specific countries in which its assets will be invested and the extent of the assets invested in each such country and, therefore, cannot be determined in advance. If more than 50% of a Fund’s assets at year end consists of the securities of foreign corporations, the Fund may elect to permit shareholders to claim a credit or deduction on their income tax returns for their pro rata portions of qualified taxes paid by the Fund to foreign countries in respect of foreign securities that the Fund has held for at least the minimum period specified in the Code. In such a case, shareholders will include in gross income from foreign sources their pro rata shares of such taxes paid by the Fund. A shareholder’s ability to claim an offsetting foreign tax credit or deduction in respect of foreign taxes paid by the Fund is subject to certain limitations imposed by the Code, which may result in the shareholder’s not receiving a full credit or deduction (if any) for the amount of such taxes. Shareholders who do not itemize on their U.S. federal income tax returns may claim a credit (but not a deduction) for such foreign taxes. Even if a Fund were eligible to make such an election for a given year, it may determine not to do so. Shareholders that are not subject to U.S. federal income tax, and those who invest in a Fund through tax-advantaged accounts (including those who invest through individual retirement accounts or other tax-advantaged retirement plans), generally will receive no benefit from any tax credit or deduction passed through by the Fund.
Unlike many commodity futures, Bitcoin futures are cash settled rather than physically settled. Cash settlement is a relatively new development in futures trading, first introduced in 1981 for Eurodollar futures, that addresses the problem of how to settle futures contracts on things that are difficult/impossible to deliver physicially—things like interest rates, large stock indexes (e.g., S&P 500), and volatility indexes (Cboe’s VIX). Futures physical settlement involves actual shipment/change of ownership of the underlying product to the contract holder but in practice, it’s rarely used (~2% of the time). Instead, most organizations that are using futures to hedge prices of future production/usage will make separate arrangements with suppliers/customers for physical delivery and just use the futures to protect against contrary price changes. In practice, the final settlement price of the contract can be used to provide the desired price protection regardless of whether the futures contract specifies physically delivery or cash-settlement.
Cryptocurrencies are a potential tool to evade economic sanctions for example against Russia, Iran, or Venezuela. In April 2018, Russian and Iranian economic representatives met to discuss how to bypass the global SWIFT system through decentralized blockchain technology. Russia also secretly supported Venezuela with the creation of the petro (El Petro), a national cryptocurrency initiated by the Maduro government to obtain valuable oil revenues by circumventing US sanctions.
Certain U.S. government securities are issued or guaranteed by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government including, but not limited to, obligations of U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities, such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae” or “FNMA”), the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae” or “GNMA”), the Small Business Administration, the Federal Farm Credit Administration, Federal Home Loan Banks, Banks for Cooperatives (including the Central Bank for Cooperatives), Federal Land Banks, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Federal Financing Bank, the Student Loan Marketing Association, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation. Some obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies and instrumentalities, including, for example, GNMA pass-through certificates, are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Other obligations issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those securities issued by FNMA, are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the federal agency but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, while other obligations issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those of the Federal Home Loan Banks, are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. While the U.S. government provides financial support to such U.S. government-sponsored federal agencies and instrumentalities described above, no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will always do so, since the U.S. government is not so obligated by law. U.S. Treasury notes and bonds typically pay coupon interest semi-annually and repay the principal at maturity. All U.S. government securities are subject to credit risk.
Louis M. Mayberg, President of ProShare Advisors from inception to April 2012 and ProFund Advisors LLC from April 1997 to April 2012. Mr. Mayberg co-founded National Capital Companies, L.L.C., an investment bank specializing in financial services companies mergers and acquisitions and equity underwritings in 1986, and managed its financial services hedge fund. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance from The George Washington University.
Two members of the Silk Road Task Force—a multi-agency federal task force that carried out the U.S. investigation of Silk Road—seized bitcoins for their own use in the course of the investigation. DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV, who attempted to extort Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht ("Dread Pirate Roberts"), pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and extortion under color of official right, and was sentenced to 6.5 years in federal prison. U.S. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty to crimes relating to his diversion of $800,000 worth of bitcoins to his personal account during the investigation, and also separately pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with another cryptocurrency theft; he was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison.
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 Futures/Equity 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 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.
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 Board oversight of the Trust and the Funds extends to the Trust’s risk management processes. The Board and its Audit Committee consider risk management issues as part of their responsibilities throughout the year at regular and special meetings. The Advisor and other service providers prepare regular reports for Board and Audit Committee meetings that address a variety of risk-related matters, and the Board as a whole or the Audit Committee may also receive special written reports or presentations on a variety of risk issues at the request of the Board or the Audit Committee. For example, the portfolio managers of the Funds meet regularly with the Board to discuss portfolio performance, including investment risk, counterparty risk and the impact on the Funds of investments in particular securities or derivatives. As noted above, given the relatively small size of the Board, the Board determined it is not necessary to adopt a complex leadership structure in order for the Board to effectively exercise its risk oversight function.
The Funds may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and unit investment trusts (UITs), to the extent that such an investment would be consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act or any exemptive order issued by the SEC. If a Fund invests in, and thus, is a shareholder of, another investment company, the Fund’s shareholders will indirectly bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory fees, in addition to both the management fees payable directly by the Fund to the Fund’s own investment adviser and the other expenses that the Fund bears directly in connection with the Fund’s own operations.
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.
that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of mortgage assets. The Funds will only invest in SMBS whose mortgage assets are U.S. government obligations. A common type of SMBS will be structured so that one class receives some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class receives most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, each Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities. The market value of any class that consists primarily or entirely of principal payments generally is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
• Bitcoin and investments linked to bitcoin, including bitcoin futures contracts, can be highly volatile and may experience large losses. The price of bitcoin has experienced periods of extreme volatility and low liquidity. Speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the value of bitcoin may artificially inflate the price of bitcoin. The price of bitcoin recently has been at or near all-time highs. There can be no guarantee this will continue and the market for bitcoin, and therefore bitcoin futures contracts, may change suddenly and without warning.
The digital investment expert and CEO of BKCM LLC, Brian Kelly believes that the Bitcoin rally has started and the market is at the initial stage of a long bull run. The reason for this is told to be the Bitcoin ETF, which rumored to come in the month of August. Of late, this has been the talk of the Bitcoin town and impacted the market on a huge level.
During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017, the Advisor recouped $161,605 from UltraPro S&P 500 Fund pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement and the Expense Limitation Agreement between the Advisor and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund. During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2016, the Advisor recouped $155,882 from the UltraPro S&P 500 Fund pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement and the Expense Limitation Agreement between the Advisor and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund. During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2015, the Advisor recouped $259,539 from the UltraPro S&P 500 Fund pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement and the Expense Limitation Agreement between the Advisor and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund.
ProShares Ultra, Short and UltraShort FTSE China 50 and ProShares Ultra and UltraShort FTSE Developed Europe are not in any way sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by FTSE International Limited (“FTSE”) or by the London Stock Exchange Group Companies (“LSEG”) (together the “Licensor Parties”) and none of the Licensor Parties make any claim, prediction, warranty or representation whatsoever, expressly or impliedly, either as to the (i) results to be obtained from the use of the FTSE China 50 Index
Corporate debt securities carry both credit risk and interest rate risk. Credit risk is the risk that a Fund could lose money if the issuer of a corporate debt security is unable to pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Some corporate debt securities that are rated below investment-grade are generally considered speculative because they present a greater risk of loss, including default, than higher quality debt securities. The credit risk of a particular issuer’s debt security may vary based on its priority for repayment. For example, higher ranking (senior) debt securities have a higher priority than lower ranking (subordinated) securities. This means that the issuer might not make payments on subordinated securities while continuing to make payments on senior securities. In addition, in the event of bankruptcy, holders of higher-ranking senior securities may receive amounts otherwise payable to the holders of more junior securities. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of certain corporate debt securities will tend to fall when interest rates rise. In general, corporate debt securities with longer terms tend to fall more in value when interest rates rise than corporate debt securities with shorter terms.
Cryptocurrencies are far more volatile than stocks and bonds, and the industry evolves rapidly. An altcoin that is popular today may not exist a month or a year from now. In other words, traders should consider the possibility of losing everything when they start trading. For this reason, you should put only a very small portion of your portfolio in this sector.
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.
DTC may determine to discontinue providing its service with respect to Shares at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action either to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost or, if such a replacement is unavailable, to issue and deliver printed certificates representing ownership of Shares, unless the Trust makes other arrangements with respect thereto satisfactory to the Exchange. In addition, certain brokers may make a dividend reinvestment service available to their clients. Brokers offering such services may require investors to adhere to specific procedures and timetables in order to participate. Investors interested in such a service should contact their broker for availability and other necessary details.
• Credit Risk — The Fund could lose money if the issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income instrument or a counterparty to a derivatives transaction or other transaction is, or is perceived to be, unable or unwilling to pay interest, repay principal on time, or defaults. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning as a result of issuer defaults or actual or perceived changes in the credit ratings of the Fund’s portfolio investments or to an issuer’s financial strength.
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.
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):