Homero Josh Garza, who founded the cryptocurrency startups GAW Miners and ZenMiner in 2014, acknowledged in a plea agreement that the companies were part of a pyramid scheme, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2015. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission separately brought a civil enforcement action against Garza, who was eventually ordered to pay a judgment of $9.1 million plus $700,000 in interest. The SEC's complaint stated that Garza, through his companies, had fraudulently sold "investment contracts representing shares in the profits they claimed would be generated" from mining.
It is important to note, however, that leverage means that your potential losses may also be much higher. If pork belly prices fall, call options lose value in a much higher proportion than the pork bellies themselves. In the above example, if the price of pork bellies falls from 1,000 to 900 USD (by 10%), the price of call options may fall from 10.5 USD to almost zero, resulting in a near-total loss of your funds instead of a small loss of just 10%.
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.
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed their use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in eight countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. In the United States and Canada, state and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.
A Precautionary Note to Retail Investors — The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”), a limited trust company and securities depositary that serves as a national clearinghouse for the settlement of trades for its participating banks and broker-dealers, or its nominee will be the registered owner of all outstanding shares of the fund Your ownership of shares will be shown on the records of DTC and the DTC Participant broker through whom you hold the shares. PROSHARES TRUST WILL NOT HAVE ANY RECORD OF YOUR OWNERSHIP. Your account information will be maintained by your broker, who will provide you with account statements, confirmations of your purchases and sales of shares, and tax information. Your broker also will be responsible for furnishing certain cost basis information and ensuring that you receive shareholder reports and other communications from the Fund. Typically, you will receive other services only if your broker offers these services.
Each Fund seeks performance that corresponds to the performance of an index. There is no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used to create any index will result in a Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. Any index may underperform more traditional indices. In turn, the Fund could lose value while other indices or measures of market performance increase in level or performance. In addition, each Fund may be subject to the risk that an index provider may not follow its stated methodology for determining the level of the index and/or achieve the index provider’s intended performance objective.
Making money arbitraging bitcoin futures can be extremely simple. Futures contracts typically trade at a premium, and all you have to do, starting with USD, is buy bitcoin at Spot price and sell futures of the same amount at premium price. Then just wait until expiration to make your arb profit in bitcoin (which you can then put in USD). Whether it's a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any futures contract, as long as it's in a premium, you lock in the sale price and earn the arbitrage profit.