• Lack of regulation. Digital commodities and their associated platforms are largely unregulated, and the regulatory environment is rapidly evolving. As a result, blockchain companies may be exposed to adverse regulatory action, fraudulent activity or even failure. Blockchain companies may face political or legal challenges from competitors, industry groups or local and national governments. New regulations may have a negative impact on blockchain technology and blockchain technology companies.
(a) derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from (i) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to, gains from options, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and (ii) net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” as described below (the income described in this subparagraph (a), “Qualifying Income”);
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. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a new and developing asset class subject to both developmental and regulatory uncertainty. Ownership of bitcoin is thought to be very concentrated and the supply and liquidity of bitcoin is limited. The price of bitcoin could drop precipitously for a variety of reasons including but not limited to regulatory changes, a crisis of confidence in the bitcoin network or a change in user preference to competing cryptocurrencies. 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. The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of sudden and high volatility and, as a result, the price of bitcoin futures contracts also may experience periods of sudden and high volatility. Margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts currently are, and may continue to be, materially higher than the typical margin requirements for more established types of futures contracts. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the market for Fund shares.
A cryptocurrency is a digital coin, designed to be transferred between people in virtual transactions. Cryptocurrencies exist only as data and not as physical objects; you cannot actually hold a Bitcoin in your hand or keep Ethereum in your safe. Owning a Bitcoin means you have the collective agreement of each and every computer on the Bitcoin network that it is currently owned by you and – more importantly – that it was legitimately created by a miner.
Investment in mortgage-backed securities poses several risks, including among others, prepayment, market and credit risk. Prepayment risk reflects the risk that borrowers may prepay their mortgages faster than expected, thereby affecting the investment’s average life and perhaps its yield. Whether or not a mortgage loan is prepaid is almost entirely controlled by the borrower. Borrowers are most likely to exercise prepayment options at the time when it is least advantageous to investors, generally prepaying mortgages as interest rates fall, and slowing payments as interest rates rise. Besides the effect of prevailing interest rates, the rate of prepayment and refinancing of mortgages may also be affected by appreciation in home values, ease of the refinancing process and local economic conditions. Market risk reflects the risk that the price of a security may fluctuate over time. The price of mortgage-backed securities may be particularly sensitive to prevailing interest rates, the length of time the security is expected to be outstanding, and the liquidity of the issue. In a period of unstable interest rates, there may be decreased demand for certain types of mortgage-backed securities, and each Fund invested in such securities wishing to sell them may find it difficult to find a buyer, which may in turn decrease the price at which they may be sold. Credit risk reflects the risk that a Fund may not receive all or part of its principal because the issuer or credit enhancer has defaulted on its obligations. Obligations issued by U.S. government-related entities are guaranteed as to the payment of principal and interest, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The performance of private label mortgage-backed securities, issued by private institutions, is based on the financial health of those institutions. With respect to GNMA certificates, although GNMA guarantees timely payment even if homeowners delay or default, tracking the “pass-through” payments may, at times, be difficult.
In addition, the Advisor, any of its affiliates or employees and the Funds have a policy not to enter into any agreement or other understanding—whether written or oral—under which brokerage transactions or remuneration are directed to a broker to pay for distribution of a Fund’s shares. The table below sets forth the brokerage commissions paid by each Fund for the period noted for each Fund. Because each of the New Funds was not operational at the end of the Trust’s last fiscal year, information on brokerage commissions paid by the Fund is not included in this SAI.
• Large-Cap Company Investment Risk —The Fund invests in stocks of large-cap companies. Although returns on investments in large-cap companies are often perceived as being less volatile than the returns of companies with smaller market capitalizations, the return on large-cap securities could trail the returns on investments in smaller and mid-sized companies for a number of reasons. For example, large-cap companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges, such as changes in technology, and also may not be able to attain the high growth rate of successful smaller companies.
Like any futures contract, trading in XBT futures is not suitable for all investors and involves the risk of loss. The risk of loss in XBT futures can be substantial. Market participants should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable in light of their own circumstances and financial resources. For additional information regarding futures trading risks, see the Risk Disclosure Statement set forth in CFTC Regulation 1.55(b).
The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its assets in a combination of short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and money market instruments. The Fund is designed to benefit when the price of bitcoin futures contracts declines. The Fund generally seeks to have 30% of the value of its portfolio invested in short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and 70% of the value of its portfolio invested in money market instruments.
Under normal market conditions, each Fund intends to invest substantially all of its assets in Benchmark Futures Contracts. The contractual obligations of a buyer or seller holding a futures contract to expiration may be satisfied by settling in cash as designated in the contract specifications. Alternatively, futures contracts may be closed out prior to expiration by making an offsetting sale or purchase of an identical futures contract on the same or linked exchange before the designated date of settlement. Once this date is reached, the futures contract “expires.” The Funds do not intend to hold bitcoin futures contracts through expiration, but instead to “roll” their respective positions. “Rolling” refers to a process whereby futures contracts nearing expiration are closed out and replaced with an identical futures contract with a later expiration date. Accordingly, the Funds are subjects to risks related to rolling.
Disclaimer: Unlike security options, CFE futures contracts (other than security futures) cannot be held in a securities account and are required to be held in a futures account. CFE security futures contracts may be held in either a futures account or a securities account. In order to assist those customers that wish to consider a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), Introducing Broker (IB), or clearing firm in order to trade CFE futures contracts, we have assembled the above list of FCMs, IBs, and clearing firms offering CFE futures products.
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In 1998, Wei Dai published a description of "b-money", an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system. Shortly thereafter, Nick Szabo created "bit gold". Like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that would follow it, bit gold (not to be confused with the later gold-based exchange, BitGold) was an electronic currency system which required users to complete a proof of work function with solutions being cryptographically put together and published. A currency system based on a reusable proof of work was later created by Hal Finney who followed the work of Dai and Szabo.
ProShare Advisors, located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, serves as the investment adviser to the fund and provides investment advice and management services to each Fund. ProShare Advisors oversees the investment and reinvestment of the assets in each Fund. Pursuant to the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust (entered into on behalf of each Fund), ProShare Advisors is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except interest expenses, taxes, brokerage and other transaction costs, compensation and expenses of the Independent Trustees, compensation and expenses of counsel to the Independent Trustees, compensation and expenses of the Trust’s chief compliance officer and his or her staff, future distribution fees or expenses, and extraordinary expenses. For its investment advisory and management services, ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund; ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund; ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund; and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate of % of average daily net assets of the Fund. A discussion regarding the basis for the Board approving the investment advisory and management agreement for each Fund will be included in the Trust’s semi-annual or annual report to shareholders that covers the period during which the approval occurred.
Futures contracts derive their value from an asset and more or less follow the movements of the underlying commodity, in our case: bitcoin. They ultimately settle at price of the commodity in the future on a particular exchange, or an index that represents a basket of prices at different exchanges. So if you have a weekly future's contract and you don't want to sell out of it on the market, then it will expire at the price at a specific time when Friday comes and if you want to maintain your position you must re-open on the new contract period. In the weekly example, if a contract is issued at April 14, 2017, it dies on April 21, 2017. If you buy the contract at a price of $1,100 and you don't sell it for the whole week, and the price ends on April 21 at $1,200, then you profit.
The existence of market makers (e.g., Virtu Financial) refutes a common assertion about futures—that there‘s always a loser for every winner, that it’s a zero-sum game. It’s true that derivatives like stock options and futures are created in matched pairs—a long and a short contract. If two speculators own those two contracts the profits on one side are offset by losses on the other but market makers are not speculators. In general, they’re not betting on the direction of the market. They act as intermediaries, selling to buyers at the higher ask price and buying from sellers at the lower bid price— collecting the difference.
The CME considers a hard fork of the Bitcoin Blockchain where both forks continue to be actively mined and traded but may not be fungible with each other, as an unusual and extreme circumstance. As such, CME provides that Crypto Facilities Ltd. (CME’s administrator) shall be responsible for recommending the necessary actions and responses to ensure the relevance and integrity of the Bitcoin Pricing Products.
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (including through the Subsidiary, as defined below) or “turns over” its portfolio. A higher portfolio turnover rate for the Fund or the Subsidiary may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when the Fund’s shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the example above, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus. Thus, no portfolio turnover information is provided for this Fund.
Disclaimer: Trading carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to invest you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.
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.