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.
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.
When the Advisor determines that the price of a security is not readily available or deems the price unreliable, it may, in good faith, establish a fair value for that security in accordance with procedures established by and under the general supervision and responsibility of the Trust’s Board of Trustees. The use of a fair valuation method may be appropriate if, for example, market quotations do not accurately reflect fair value for an investment, an investment’s value has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the exchange or market on which the investment is principally traded (for example, a foreign exchange or market), a trading halt closes an exchange or market early, or other events result in an exchange or market delaying its normal close.
And this is where the BRR comes in. The BRR is the reference rate that is relevant for futures contracts and options in Bitcoin. When a futures contract or call option expires on a certain day, the owner will receive the difference between the BRR and the Bitcoin price in the contract as cash (if the BRR is higher than the price in the contract, of course). The BRTI, in contrast, is a real-time statistic that is not binding for any contracts; it tells you for what price you can currently (in this second) buy or sell Bitcoin on the markets.
You can find additional information about the Funds in the current Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated October 1, 2017, as may be amended from time to time, which has been filed electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and is incorporated by reference into, and is legally a part of, this Prospectus. A copy of the SAI is available, free of charge, online at ProShares.com. You may also receive a free copy of the SAI or make inquiries to ProShares by writing us at the address set forth above or calling us toll-free at the telephone number set forth above.
If you are “going long” on Bitcoin, you assume that Bitcoin prices will go up. And if you expect Bitcoin prices to go up, you are interested in buying call options – options that enable you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price in the future. For example, if the current Bitcoin price is 5,000 USD and you expect it to rise to 8,000 USD 6 months from now, you would certainly pay good money for a call option that allows you to purchase Bitcoin for 5000 USD in 6 months, when everyone else is buying for 8,000 USD.
The price of bitcoin on individual bitcoin exchanges, as well as the broader Bitcoin Exchange Market generally, has experienced periods of extreme volatility. This volatility is due in part to low liquidity and the changes exhibited by an early stage technological innovation. 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 causing a negative impact on the performance of certain Funds which take a short position in bitcoin futures contracts. Conversely, government regulation and the perception of onerous regulatory actions may cause a drop in the price of bitcoin causing a negative impact on the performance of certain Funds which take a long position in bitcoin futures contracts. Developments related to the Bitcoin Network’s operations, Bitcoin Exchanges and the overall Bitcoin Exchange Market also contribute to the volatility in the price of bitcoin. These factors may continue to increase the volatility of the price of bitcoin which may have a negative impact on the performance of the Bitcoin Instruments and on the performance of the Funds.
With BitVC and OKCoin you can hold simultaneous long and short positions on the same contract. In BitMEX you can not. Technically it makes no sense to hold opposite simultaneous positions because it just cancels each other out. You may as well just close the position instead. There are some who still prefer, for psychological reasons, to use this and wrongly call it a "hedge", but really you're better off saving the trading fees and just getting out of a position if your outlook on a trade has changed.
Shares will be continuously offered for sale by the Trust through the Distributor only in Creation Units, as described below under “Purchase and Issuance of Creation Units.” Shares in less than Creation Units are not distributed by the Distributor. The Distributor also acts as agent for the Trust. The Distributor will deliver a Prospectus to persons purchasing Shares in Creation Units and will maintain records of both orders placed with it and confirmations of acceptance furnished by it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the 1934 Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. The Distributor has no role in determining the investment policies of the Funds or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Funds.
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.
application of the PFIC rules, certain excess distributions might have been classified as capital gains. In general, under the PFIC rules, an excess distribution is treated as having been realized ratably over the period during which the Fund held the PFIC shares. If a Fund receives an excess distribution with respect to PFIC stock, the Fund will itself be subject to tax on the portion of an excess distribution that is allocated to prior taxable years without the ability to reduce such tax by making distributions to Fund shareholders, and an interest factor will be added to the tax as if the tax had been payable in such prior taxable years.
Certain of a Fund’s investments in derivative instruments and foreign currency-denominated instruments, and any of a Fund’s transactions in foreign currencies and hedging activities, are likely to produce a difference between its book income and its taxable income. If such a difference arises, and a Fund’s book income is less than its taxable income, the Fund could be required to make distributions exceeding book income to qualify as a RIC that is accorded special tax treatment. In the alternative, if a Fund’s book income exceeds its taxable income (including realized capital gains), the distribution (if any) of such excess generally will be treated as (i) a dividend to the extent of the Fund’s remaining earnings and profits (including earnings and profits arising from tax-exempt income), (ii) thereafter, as a return of capital to the extent of the recipient’s basis in its shares, and (iii) thereafter as gain from the sale or exchange of a capital asset.
For each intervening holiday in the applicable foreign market that is not a holiday observed by the U.S. equity markets, the redemption settlement cycle will be extended by the number of days of such intervening holiday. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a foreign market, including due to regulatory action, may also prevent a Fund from delivering securities within the normal settlement period.
The Board is currently composed of four Trustees, including three Independent Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Funds, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (each an “Independent Trustee”). In addition to four regularly scheduled meetings per year, the Board holds executive sessions (with and without employees of the Advisor), special meetings, and/or informal conference calls relating to specific matters that may require discussion or action prior to its next regular meeting. The Independent Trustees have retained “independent legal counsel” as the term is defined in the 1940 Act.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, One Beacon Street, 19th Floor, Boston, MA 02108, acts as Administrator to the Funds pursuant to an administration agreement dated June 16, 2006, as amended from time to time. The Administrator provides the Funds with all required general administrative services, including, without limitation, office space, equipment, and personnel; clerical and general back office services; bookkeeping and internal accounting; the determination of NAVs; and the preparation and filing of all financial reports, and all other materials, except registration statements and proxy statements, required to be filed or furnished by the Funds under federal and state securities laws. Citi Fund Services Ohio, Inc. (“Citi”), located at 4400 Easton Commons, Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43219, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Citibank N.A., provides regulatory administration services to the Trust (altogether, the “Regulatory Administrative Services”). For its services, Citi is paid a set fee allocated among each of the Funds.
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.