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Here is the story of Longfin Corp., a fin-tech-ish company that was listed on Nasdaq on Wednesday and then announced on Friday that it was acquiring Ziddu.com, "a blockchain-empowered global micro-lending solutions provider," causing its stock to go up by more than 1,200 percent and giving it a market capitalization of some $6.2 billion as of yesterday's close. LongFin's offering circular is a fun read -- it describes its founder and chief executive officer, who also happens to be the controlling shareholder of Ziddu.com, as "a financial wizard" and "a true believer in disruptive technologies" who "believes that every piece of information is worth millions" -- but even better is the press release describing the Ziddu acquisition:
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 Board has established an Audit Committee to assist the Board in performing oversight responsibilities. The Audit Committee is composed exclusively of Independent Trustees. Currently, the Audit Committee is composed of Messrs. Reynolds, Wachs and Fertig. Among other things, the Audit Committee makes recommendations to the full Board of Trustees with respect to the engagement of an independent registered public accounting firm and reviews with the independent registered public accounting firm the plan and results of the internal controls, audit engagement and matters having a material effect on the Trust’s financial operations. During the past fiscal year, the Audit Committee met five times, and the Board of Trustees met four times.
Other countries are not as accommodative of bitcoin. For example, the Chinese government on December 3, 2013 issued a notice that classified bitcoin as legal and “virtual commodities;” however, the same notice restricted the banking and payment industries from using bitcoin, creating uncertainty and limiting the ability of Bitcoin Exchanges to operate in the then-second largest bitcoin market. Then on September 15, 2017, the Chinese government and local financial regulators officially requested some Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges and digital asset trading platforms to shut down by the end of September 2017. In addition, the Central Bank of Bolivia banned the use of bitcoin as a means of payment in May 2014. Further, in July 2016, the Russian Ministry of Finance indicated it supports a proposed law that bans bitcoin domestically but allows for its use as a foreign currency. In September 2017 the head of the Russian central bank stated that it is categorically against regulating cryptocurrencies as money, as a means by which payment can be made for goods and services, and against equating them with foreign currency. Most recently, South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination released a wide variety of proposed regulations which range from the imposition of capital gains taxes on profits realized from cryptocurrency trading, to banning minors from registering on South Korean bitcoin exchanges, and even prohibiting financial institutions from investing in digital assets. These restrictive stances towards digital assets may reduce the rate of expansion of bitcoin use or even eliminate the use of bitcoin entirely in these geographies.
Note that any losses on the bitcoin position is offset by the short position in the Jan XBT Futures contract. Because Jan XBT was trading at a $1,000 premium to spot bitcoin, the profit for this trade is equal to that difference. Now, keep in mind if bitcoin doubles between now and January 17 settlement the maximum profit is $1000. Larry is giving up some upside to assure a return of $1000.
A futures contract is a technique to hedge positions and reduce the risk of the unknown. It is also used for arbitrating between current spot and future contracts. In the case of bitcoins, futures have been more associated with miners who face the risk of unknown future prices. OrderBook.net (formerly iCBIT), a futures marketplace operating since 2011, sells millions of futures contracts each month. The standard contract size (or tick size) is $10. A typical instrument would look like this: BTC/USD-3.14. Here "BTC/USD" signifies the rate of exchange between Bitcoin and US dollar, "3" means the month of March, and "14" signifies the year 2014. The trading symbol for the same instrument will be BUH4. Each month has a trading symbol like March is H (as per Chicago Mercantile Exchange), the "B" is taken from BTC and the "U" from USD, and "4" signifies the year.
In June 2015, the New York Department of Financial Services (the “NYDFS”) finalized a rule that requires most businesses involved in digital currency business activity in or involving New York, excluding merchants and consumers, to apply for a license (“BitLicense”) from the NYDFS and to comply with anti-money laundering, cyber security, consumer protection, and financial and reporting requirements, among others. As an alternative to the BitLicense in New York, firms can apply for a charter to become limited purpose trust companies qualified to engage in digital currency business activity. Other states have considered regimes similar to the BitLicense, or have required digital currency businesses to register with their states as money transmitters, such as Washington and Georgia, which results in digital currency businesses being subject to requirements similar to those of NYDFS’ BitLicense regime. Certain state regulators, such as the Texas Department of Banking, Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, have found that mere transmission of bitcoin, without activities involving transmission of fiat currency, does not constitute money transmission requiring licensure. The North Carolina Commissioner of Banks has issued guidance providing that North Carolina’s money transmission regulations only apply to the transmission of digital currency and not its use. In June 2014, the State of California adopted legislation that would formally repeal laws that could be interpreted as making illegal the use of bitcoin or other digital assets as a means of payment. In July 2017, Delaware amended its General Corporation Law to provide for the creation maintenance of certain required records by blockchain technology and permit its use for electronic transmission of stockholder communications.
• 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.
Each Fund, except for 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, is a “non-diversified” series of the Trust. A Fund’s classification as a “non-diversified” investment company means that the proportion of the Fund’s assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer is not limited by the 1940 Act. Notwithstanding each Fund’s status as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act, each Fund intends to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, which imposes its own diversification requirements on these Funds that are less restrictive than the requirements applicable to the “diversified” investment companies under the 1940 Act. A Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy may be limited by that Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC and its strategy may bear adversely on its ability to so qualify. For more details, see “Taxation” below. With respect to a “non-diversified” Fund, a relatively high percentage of such a Fund’s assets may be invested in the securities of a limited number of issuers, primarily within the same economic sector. That Fund’s portfolio securities, therefore, may be more susceptible to any single economic, political, or regulatory occurrence than the portfolio securities of a more diversified investment company.
A Bitcoin (spot or futures) exchange (like any online trading firm) charges its clients a fee to carry out trading activities. As exchanges face the risk of hacking and theft, it is wise not to trust an exchange with all your coins. You should split and keep part of them in other devices or cold storage. Now with bitcoin futures being offered by some of the most prominent marketplaces, investors, traders and speculators are all bound to benefit. These centralized marketplaces will facilitate trade based on a trader’s outlook for bitcoin prices, gain exposure to bitcoin prices or hedge their existing bitcoin positions. Overall, the launching of bitcoin futures by Cboe and CME will facilitate price discovery and price transparency, enable risk-management via a regulated bitcoin product and give a further push to bitcoin as an accepted asset class. (For more, see: The Risks Of Buying Bitcoins.)
Each Fund’s portfolio turnover rate, to a great extent, will depend on the purchase, redemption and exchange activity of the Fund’s investors. A Fund’s portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. The nature of the Funds may cause the Funds to experience substantial differences in brokerage commissions from year to year. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Advisor based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services. High portfolio turnover and correspondingly greater brokerage commissions depend, to a great extent, on the purchase, redemption, and exchange activity of a Fund’s investors, as well as each Fund’s investment objective and strategies. Consequently, it is difficult to estimate what each Fund’s actual portfolio turnover rate will be in the future. However, it is expected that the portfolio turnover experienced by the Funds from year to year, as well as within a year, may be substantial. A higher portfolio turnover rate would likely involve correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and transaction and other expenses that would be borne by the Funds. The nature of the Funds may cause the Funds to experience substantial differences in brokerage commissions from year to year. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Advisor based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services. In addition, a Fund’s portfolio turnover level may adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective. “Portfolio Turnover Rate” is defined under the rules of the SEC as the value of the securities purchased or securities sold, excluding all securities whose maturities at time of acquisition were one year or less, divided by the average monthly value of such securities owned during the year. Based on this definition, instruments with remaining maturities of less than one year, including swap agreements, options and futures contracts in which the Funds invest, are excluded from the calculation of Portfolio Turnover Rate for each Fund. For those Funds that commenced operations prior to May 31, 2017, each such Fund’s turnover rate information is set forth in the annual report to shareholders. Portfolio turnover rates are also shown in each Fund’s summary prospectus.
Altcoins is the general term associated with the cryptocurrencies launched after Bitcoin’s success. At first, these were mere copies mimicking the original Bitcoin. Today, there are over 1,000 of these, and the list just keeps growing. Most crypto coins are launched following an ICO (Initial Coin Offering – a form of crowdfunding) in which the developers raise cash by offering a limited number of initial coins to finance technological development. So far, besides the list below, we can find names, such as Namecoin, Peercoin, Bytecoin, Deutsche eMark, Novacoin, Cryptogenic Bullion, Quark, DarkCoin and Mangocoinz (for smartphones).
When a new crypto is launched, its founders announce how many coins will be mined. Once the quota is reached, no further coins can be produced. The first digital coin introduced was Bitcoin, which remains today the benchmark for all other digital coins. Among other currencies that have made their way into the cryptocurrency hall-of-fame we have: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, and a number of derived currencies, including Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
Each Fund may enter into swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities. On a typical long swap, the counterparty will generally agree to pay the Fund the amount, if any, by which the notional amount of the swap agreement would have increased in value had it been invested in the particular underlying assets (e.g., an ETF, or securities comprising a benchmark index), plus the dividends or interest that would have been received on those assets. The Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty a floating rate of interest on the notional amount of the swap agreement plus the amount, if any, by which the notional amount would have decreased in value had it been invested in such assets plus, in certain instances, commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. Therefore, the return to the Fund on such swap agreements should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends or interest on the assets less the interest paid by the Fund on the notional amount. As a trading technique, the Advisor may substitute physical securities with a swap agreement having investment characteristics substantially similar to the underlying securities. Some Funds may also enter into swap agreements that provide the opposite return of their benchmark or a security. Their operations are similar to that of the swaps disclosed above except that the counterparty pays interest to each Fund on the notional amount outstanding and that dividends or interest on the underlying instruments reduce the value of the swap, plus, in certain instances, each Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. These amounts are often netted with any unrealized gain or loss to determine the value of the swap.
R-1 (high) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality, and indicates an entity which possesses unquestioned ability to repay current liabilities as they fall due. Entities rated in this category normally maintain strong liquidity positions, conservative debt levels and profitability which is both stable and above average. Companies achieving an “R-1 (high)” rating are normally leaders in structurally sound industry segments with proven track records, sustainable positive future results and no substantial qualifying negative factors. Given the extremely tough definition which DBRS has established for an “R-1 (high)”, few entities are strong enough to achieve this rating.
A Precautionary Note Regarding Unusual Circumstances — ProShares Trust can postpone payment of redemption proceeds for any period during which (1) [the Exchange] is closed other than customary weekend and holiday closings, (2) trading on [the Exchange] is restricted, (3) any emergency circumstances exist, as determined by the SEC, and (4) the SEC by order permits for the protection of shareholders of the Fund, as further described in the SAI.
You can find other information about ProShares on the SEC’s website (www.sec.gov) or you can get copies of this information after payment of a duplicating fee by electronic request at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the Public Reference Section of the SEC, Washington, D.C. 20549-0102. Information about ProShares, including their SAI, can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. For information on the Public Reference Room, call the SEC at (202) 551-8090.
Crypto Facilities and the CME Group have been calculating and publishing the Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) since November 2016. Such an official rate is a prerequisite of options trading in the traditional markets. The BRR is calculated based on the rates from the biggest exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit, and Kraken. More concretely, it is calculated based on all Bitcoin vs. USD trades on the participating exchanges between 3 and 4 p.m. London time. To calculate the BRR, the hour between 3 and 4 is divided into 12 intervals of 5 minutes. For each interval, the volume-weighted median of the Bitcoin price is calculated (statistically, the median, in contrast to the average, prevents single outliers from distorting the price). The BRR is then the average of these 12 median values. More details about the calculation of the BRR can be found in the BRR whitepaper.