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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.
A large investor tends to have portfolios that are diversified enough that they can stomach deviations from expected price movements even with leverage. But smaller investors have smaller accounts, and that is where leverage can be fatal. This is because amplified losses can grow larger than the account balance and cause the need for a margin call when facing the prospect of going into severe debt.
When a market price is not readily available, each Fund’s investments are valued at fair value in good faith under procedures established by, and under the general supervision and responsibility of, the Board. The use of a fair valuation method may be appropriate if, for example: (i) market quotations do not accurately reflect fair value of an investment; (ii) 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; (iii) a trading halt closes an exchange or market early; or (iv) other events result in an exchange or market delaying its normal close. This procedure incurs the unavoidable risk that the valuation may be higher or lower than the securities might actually command if the Funds sold them. See the SAI for more details.
Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management waged a proxy fight to get himself on the board of Procter & Gamble Co. that ended at P&G's annual meeting in October, when Peltz lost out to management nominee Ernesto Zedillo by about 6.2 million votes. Or did he? In November, an independent recount of the votes found that Peltz had beaten Zedillo by 42,780 votes, or about 0.0016 percent of the shares outstanding. Or did he? On Friday the final official count of the votes came in, finding that Zedillo actually won by 498,312 votes, or about 0.019 percent of the shares outstanding. It is a little disappointing that Zedillo's margin in the third count, though less than his margin in the first count, was bigger than Peltz's margin in the second. I was hoping that not only would the victor alternate with each count, but also that the margin would get narrower and narrower, until eventually we'd find out that the two sides were exactly tied except for a single ballot for a single share written in a special ink that says "Peltz" under fluorescent light and "Zedillo" under natural light. I was hoping that P&G would count the votes again and again forever.
When the market for certain futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby bitcoin futures contracts would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures contracts. This pattern of higher futures prices for longer expiration bitcoin futures contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for certain bitcoin futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby bitcoin futures contracts would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures contracts. This pattern of higher future prices for shorter expiration bitcoin futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.”
The value of the bitcoin futures contracts is generally based on the expected value of bitcoin at a future point in time, specifically, the expiration date of the bitcoin futures contracts. Other factors, such as cost of mining, storing and securing bitcoin may affect the value of bitcoin futures. A change in the price of bitcoin today (sometimes referred to as the “spot” price) will not necessarily result in a corresponding movement in the price of the bitcoin futures contracts since the price of the bitcoin futures contracts is based on expectations of the price of bitcoin at a future point in time. Additionally, there is no one centralized source for pricing bitcoin and pricing from one bitcoin exchange to the next can vary widely. Therefore, the value of the bitcoin futures contracts held by the Fund should not be expected to track the price of bitcoin on the Bitcoin Exchange Market.
In addition, the Advisor, its affiliates and principals may trade for their own accounts. Consequently, non-customer and proprietary trades may be executed and cleared through any prime broker or other broker utilized by clients. It is possible that officers or employees of the Advisor may buy or sell securities or other instruments that the Advisor has recommended to, or purchased for, its clients and may engage in transactions for their own accounts in a manner that is inconsistent with the Advisor’s recommendations to a client. Personal securities transactions by employees may raise potential conflicts of interest when such persons trade in a security that is owned by, or considered for purchase or sale for, a client. The Advisor has adopted policies and procedures designed to detect and prevent such conflicts of interest and, when they do arise, to ensure that it effects transactions for clients in a manner that is consistent with its fiduciary duty to its clients and in accordance with applicable law.
In general, a foreign corporation that is not engaged in and is not treated as engaged in a U.S. trade or business is nonetheless subject to tax at a flat rate of 30% (or lower tax treaty rate), generally payable through withholding, on the gross amount of certain U.S.-source income that is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. There is presently no tax treaty in force between the United States and the jurisdiction in which any Subsidiary is (or would be) resident that would reduce this rate of withholding tax. Income subject to such a flat tax is of a fixed or determinable annual or periodic nature and includes dividends and interest income. Certain types of income are specifically exempted from the 30% tax and thus withholding is not required on payments of such income to a foreign corporation. The 30% tax generally does not apply to capital gains (whether long-term or short-term) or to interest paid to a foreign corporation on its deposits with U.S. banks. The 30% tax also does not apply to interest which qualifies as “portfolio interest.” Very generally, the term portfolio interest includes U.S.-source interest (including OID) on an obligation in registered form, and with respect to which the person, who would otherwise be required to deduct and withhold the 30% tax, received the required statement that the beneficial owner of the obligation is not a U.S. person within the meaning of the Code.
Non-Diversified Status (All Funds, except the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF the ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF, and the ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF)
Certain debt securities may be treated as debt securities that were originally issued at a discount. Original issue discount can generally be defined as the difference between the price at which a security was issued and its stated redemption price at maturity. Original issue discount that accrues on a debt security in a given year generally is treated for federal income tax purposes as interest income that is included in a Fund’s income and, therefore, subject to the distribution requirements applicable to RICs, even though the Fund may not receive a corresponding amount of cash until a partial or full repayment or disposition of the debt security.
Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. In many of these instances, the customers of such Bitcoin Exchanges were not compensated or made whole for the partial or complete losses of their account balances in such Bitcoin Exchanges. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks but the existence of these risks has created a higher barrier of entry for new Bitcoin Exchanges. The loss of confidence in new and smaller Bitcoin Exchanges and in the Bitcoin Exchange Market overall can slow down the mass adoption of bitcoin. Further, the failure of the Bitcoin Exchange Market or any other major component of the overall bitcoin ecosystem can have consequences for the Bitcoin Network, have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and could have a negative impact on the Bitcoin Instruments in which certain of the Funds invest.
The validity of each cryptocurrency's coins is provided by a blockchain. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
Futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced higher than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “contango.” Conversely, futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced lower than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “backwardation.” Contango and backwardation have different impacts on ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF (each, a “Bitcoin Fund”) and ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF (the “Short Bitcoin Fund”).
The price of the futures contract can deviate from the underlying price of bitcoin on spot markets, which can vary based on sentiment. But in the end, at expiration of the contract, the contract MUST settle at the price of spot. So you need to watch the main spot market price movements because the futures contracts will track the movements underlying (sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, sometimes simultaneously). There are three Chinese exchanges worth following: OKCoin, Houbi, and BTCC; there are two Western exchanges worth following: Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Other exchanges that are currently less important but still worth keeping an eye on are: ItBit, Coinbase, OKCoin USD, BTC-e, and Kraken (which has the largest BTC/EUR orderbook as of December 2015).
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of unregulated online exchanges and brokerage firms offering cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency trading products. Investors should be wary of too-good-to-be-true promotions and promises of quick riches. Once you deposit money, many of these firms will charge you outrageous commissions or make it very difficult to withdraw funds. Some of the worst offenders will simply steal your money.
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In order to provide current Share pricing information, an Exchange disseminates an updated Indicative Optimized Portfolio Value (“IOPV”) for each Fund. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPVs and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPVs. IOPVs are expected to be disseminated on a per Fund basis every 15 seconds during regular trading hours of an Exchange.
In pure financial theory, the value of a futures contract is based on a "no arbitrage condition" from the interest rates in each asset. We have Bitcoin and US Dollar. Bitcoin interest rates tend to be less than US Dollar interest rates, so when you want to replicate the future value of bitcoin in US dollars, you have to borrow USD at, say, 5%, and invest in Bitcoin at 1% return. This requires a premium on the futures exchange to be able to hedge that trade.
Disclaimer: This is a personally owned web site, reflecting the opinions of its author(s). It is unaffiliated with any FINRA broker/dealer. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of anyone other than myself. The information on this site is provided for discussion & entertainment purposes only, and are not investing recommendations. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities. DATA INFORMATION IS PROVIDED TO THE USERS "AS IS." NEITHER BitcoinFuturesGuide.COM, NOR ITS AFFILIATES, NOR ANY THIRD PARTY DATA PROVIDER MAKE ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND REGARDING THE DATA INFORMATION, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE.Copyright BitcoinFutursGuide, BTCFutures 2015-2016
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.
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):
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.
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
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.