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.
Gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates that occur between the time a Fund accrues income or other receivables or accrues expenses or other liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and the time the Fund actually collects such receivables or pays such liabilities generally are treated as ordinary income or ordinary loss. Similarly, on disposition of some investments, including debt securities and certain forward contracts denominated in a foreign currency, gains or losses attributable to
Recent bitcoin futures contract announcements from CBOE, CME, and Nasdaq have generated tremendous interest in digital assets. Bitcoin futures have been highly anticipated as they will provide traditional financial institutions with one of the first opportunities to meaningfully participate in the digital asset space via a regulated investment framework. It is an opportunity for Wall Street to catch up with Main Street on bitcoin. With the impending launch of U.S.-listed bitcoin futures, investors may wonder what the bitcoin futures curve might look like. Using information from existing digital asset derivative trading platforms such as Bitmex, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC (all exchanges outside of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission purview), MVIS Research has constructed an approximate curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges. These are real trading platforms revealing real volume.
Each Fund intends to invest to a significant extent in bitcoin futures contracts. Each Fund expects to gain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts by investing a portion of its assets in a wholly-owned subsidiary of such Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (each, a “Subsidiary”). Each Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor. Unlike the Fund, a Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Each Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to bitcoin futures contracts in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Each Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in its corresponding Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to a Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of its underlying Subsidiary.
The Advisor, its principals, officers and employees (and members of their families) and affiliates may participate directly or indirectly as investors in the Advisor’s clients, such as the Funds. Thus the Advisor may recommend to clients the purchase or sale of securities in which it, or its officers, employees or related persons have a financial interest. The Advisor may give advice and take actions in the performance of its duties to its clients that differ from the advice given or the timing and nature of actions taken, with respect to other clients’ accounts and/or employees’ accounts that may invest in some of the same securities recommended to clients.
Creation Units of Shares may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor. Such Authorized Participant will agree pursuant to the terms of such Authorized Participant Agreement on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, as the case may be, to certain conditions, including that such Authorized Participant will make available an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Balancing Amount, defined below, and the Transaction Fee, described below in “Transaction Fees”. The Authorized Participant may require the investor to enter into an agreement with such Authorized Participant with respect to certain matters, including payment of the Balancing Amount. Investors who are not Authorized Participants must make appropriate arrangements with an Authorized Participant. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not be a DTC Participant or may not have executed an Authorized Participant Agreement, and that therefore orders to purchase Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant. As a result, purchase orders placed through an Authorized Participant may result in additional charges to such investor. The Trust does not expect to enter into an Authorized Participant Agreement with more than a small number of DTC Participants.
• ETN Risk — The Fund is likely to obtain substantial exposure to the price movements of bitcoin by holding ETNs that provide exposure to the price of bitcoin. ETNs are unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities of an issuer that are listed and traded on a U.S. stock exchange. An ETN’s returns are generally linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy minus applicable fees. ETNs do not provide principal protection and may or may not make periodic coupon payments. ETNs are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that the issuer cannot pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Additionally, the value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market (e.g., the commodities market), changes in interest rates or the issuer’s credit rating, and other economic, legal, political or geographic events. The value of an investment in an ETN may be impacted by fees associated with the ETN. Structural aspects of the ETNs may impact their market value. Trading by affiliates of an ETN sponsor may create conflicts of interest. The issuer of an ETN may be unable to meet its obligations. The potential impact of Bitcoin Network forks on the value of a bitcoin ETN is unclear. ETNs issued by special purpose vehicles may include greater risk. ETNs are subject to risks associated with the underlying asset.
Currently there are a several digital asset trading platforms that provide investors with forms of derivative products such as futures, so one could estimate and synthesize the discrete futures curve from the averages of various curves. MVIS research used BitMEX, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC as sources, to construct and approximate bitcoin futures curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges.
“One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can’t hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold,” said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp. With futures, “you don’t hold the physical bitcoin, which solves custody issues and counterparty risks with these less-regulated exchanges.”
Speculating and hedging bitcoin with futures has never been easier. Spot has lower leverage which means you have to risk more of your capital with exchanges. Margin fees are very expensive on Bitfinex and Kraken when you are borrowing funds and paying up to 0.1% per day to be in a position. Futures contracts on the other hand have no holding fees associated. You pay a fee to enter the contract, and you pay a fee to exit the contract. Your profit or loss comes from the change in the price you pay.
fluctuations in the value of the foreign currency between the acquisition and disposition of the position also are treated as ordinary income or loss. In certain circumstances, a Fund may elect to treat foreign currency gain or loss attributable to a forward contract, a futures contract or an option as capital gain or loss. Furthermore, foreign currency gain or loss arising from certain types of section 1256 contracts is treated as capital gain or loss, although a Fund may elect to treat foreign currency gain or loss from such contracts as ordinary in character. These gains and losses, referred to under the Code as “section 988” gains or losses, increase or decrease the amount of a Fund’s investment company taxable income available (and required) to be distributed to its shareholders as ordinary income. If a Fund’s section 988 losses exceed other investment company taxable income during a taxable year, the Fund would not be able to make any ordinary dividend distributions, or distributions made before the losses were realized would be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders, rather than as ordinary dividends, thereby reducing each shareholder’s basis in his or her Fund Shares.
Like all investments, investing in any of the Funds entails risks. The risk factors most likely to have a significant impact on a Fund’s portfolio are called “principal risks.” The principal risks of each Fund are described in the applicable Fund’s Summary Prospectus and additional information regarding certain of these principal risks, as well as information related to other potential risks to which a particular Fund may be subjected, is provided below. Some risks apply to all of the Funds, while others are specific to the investment strategies of certain Funds, as indicated below. Each Fund may be subject to other risks in addition to those identified as principal risks.
• Intellectual property rights claims may adversely affect the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Third parties may assert intellectual property rights claims relating to the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Regardless of the merit of any intellectual property or other legal action, any threatened action that reduces confidence in the Bitcoin Network’s long-term viability or the ability of end-users to hold and transfer bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin and adversely affect the price of the bitcoin futures contracts held by the Fund.
Cryptocurrency is also used in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road. The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.
The CME Group contract (symbol "BTC") began trading on December 18, 2017, building off of the success of the BRR and demand for a regulated trading venue for the digital asset market. The contract is cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are listed on and subject to the rules of CME.2
The portfolio composition file (“PCF”) and the IOPV file, which contain equivalent portfolio holdings information, will be made available as frequently as daily to the Funds’ service providers to facilitate the provision of services to the Funds and to certain other entities (“Entities”) in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as contemplated by exemptive orders issued by the SEC and other legal and business requirements pursuant to which the Funds create and redeem Shares. Entities are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members and subscribers to various fee-based services, including large institutional investors (“Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem Creation Units and other institutional market participants that provide information services. Each business day, Fund portfolio holdings information will be provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or through other fee-based services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to the fee-based services, including Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading Shares of Funds in the secondary market.
eToro is a social trading and multi-asset brokerage platform with offices in Cyprus, Israel and the United Kingdom. The platform allows users to watch trading strategies of others and copy them. The company’s products OpenBook and WebTraders allow traders to learn from each other. The features are user-friendly and simple to use while the fees depend on market dynamics.
The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck, and these opinions may change at any time and from time to time. Non-VanEck proprietary information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Historical performance is not indicative of future results. Current data may differ from data quoted. Any graphs shown herein are for illustrative purposes only. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of VanEck.
• Risks Associated with Bitcoin – The Fund is exposed to risks associated with bitcoin. Investing in or gaining exposure to Bitcoin may provide the Fund with increased risk. Various global factors may negatively impact the Fund’s performance including legal, regulatory, political, social, regional and economic events. These risks, which could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the trading price of Fund shares, include the following:
CCC/CC/C – Very highly speculative credit quality. In danger of defaulting on financial obligations. There is little difference between these three categories, although CC and C ratings are normally applied to obligations that are seen as highly likely to default, or subordinated to obligations rated in the CCC to B range. Obligations in respect of which default has not technically taken place but is considered inevitable may be rated in the C category.
Any distribution of income that is attributable to (i) income received by a Fund in lieu of dividends with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction or (ii) dividend income received by a Fund on securities it temporarily purchased from a counterparty pursuant to a repurchase agreement that is treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a loan by the Fund, will not constitute qualified dividend income to individual shareholders and will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate shareholders.
Bitcoin futures contracts are a new type of futures contract that began trading in December 2017. Unlike the established futures markets for traditional physical commodities, the market for bitcoin futures contracts is in the developmental stage and has very limited volume, trading and operational history. Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are a new and developing asset class subject to both developmental and regulatory uncertainty. As such, bitcoin futures contracts and the market for bitcoin futures contracts may be riskier, less liquid, more volatile and more vulnerable to economic, market, industry, regulatory and other changes than more established futures contracts and futures markets. There is no assurance that a liquid market will emerge or be sustained for bitcoin futures contracts. The liquidity of the market for bitcoin futures contracts will depend on, among other things, the supply and demand for bitcoin futures contracts, the adoption of bitcoin and the commercial and speculative interest in the market for bitcoin futures contracts and the potential ability to hedge against the price of bitcoin with exchange-traded bitcoin futures contracts. Additionally, if market participants executing trades in bitcoin futures contracts face constraints, including capital constraints, security risks, or high execution costs, the price of bitcoin futures contracts may fail to capture price movements in the underlying price of bitcoin.
• Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are 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 shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming directly with the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, trading spreads and the resulting premium or discount on the Fund’s shares may widen and the Fund’s shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting.
Leverage (All Funds, except the Matching ProShares Funds, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF the Short (-1x) ProShares Funds and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF)
• The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the “net investment income” of certain individuals, trusts and estates to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by a Fund of ordinary dividends and capital gain dividends, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, redemption or exchange of Fund shares. Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of this additional tax on their investment in a Fund.
Darknet markets present challenges in regard to legality. Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency used in dark markets are not clearly or legally classified in almost all parts of the world. In the U.S., bitcoins are labelled as "virtual assets". This type of ambiguous classification puts pressure on law enforcement agencies around the world to adapt to the shifting drug trade of dark markets.
The Bitcoin Network and bitcoin, as an asset, currently hold a “first-to-market” advantage, often referred to as a “network effect,” over other digital assets. This first-to-market advantage has resulted in the Bitcoin Network evolving into the most well developed network of any digital asset. The Bitcoin Network enjoys the largest user base of any digital asset and, more importantly, the largest combined mining power in use to secure the Bitcoin Blockchain. Having a large mining network enhances user confidence regarding the security of the Bitcoin Blockchain and long-term stability of the Bitcoin Network. Despite the marked network effect advantage of the Bitcoin Network over other digital assets, it is possible that real or perceived shortcomings in the Bitcoin Network, technological, regulatory or other developments could result in a decline in popularity and acceptance of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Network.
Each of the Exchanges has established limitations governing the maximum number of call or put options on the same index which may be bought or written (sold) by a single investor, whether acting alone or in concert with others (regardless of whether such options are written on the same or different Exchanges or are held or written on one or more accounts or through one or more brokers). Under these limitations, option positions of all investment companies advised by the same investment adviser are combined for purposes of these limits. Pursuant to these limitations, an Exchange may order the liquidation of positions and may impose other sanctions or restrictions. These position limits may restrict the number of listed options which a Fund may buy or sell; however, the Advisor intends to comply with all limitations.
The table below shows a performance example of a Short ProShares Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of an index. In the chart below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance.
Pursuant to an investment advisory and management agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust on behalf of each Unitary Fee Fund, each Unitary Fee Fund pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets as follows: 0.27% for S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF; 0.27% for S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF; 0.27% for S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF; 0.27% for S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF; 0.35% for Equities for Rising Rates ETF; 0.30% for Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged; 0.35% for S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF; 0.40% for S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF; 0.40% for the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF; 0.45% for Large Cap Core Plus; 0.45% for DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF; 0.50% for MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF; 0.50% for High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged; 0.55% for MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF; 0.60% for MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF; 0.65% for Crude Oil Strategy ETF; 0.65% for Decline of the Retail Store ETF; 0.65% for Long Online/Short Stores ETF; 0.75% for Managed Futures Strategy ETF; 0. % for the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF; 0. % for the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF; 0. % for the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF; and 0. % for the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have evolved from a playful experiment among technical experts to an established and growing branch of the global financial industry. This means that the times in which cryptocurrency traders and investors only concerned themselves with straightforward buying and selling are over. Derivatives are now entering the picture.