Each Fund intends to invest to a significant extent in bitcoin futures contracts. Each Fund expects to gain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts by investing a portion of its assets in a wholly-owned subsidiary of such Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (each, a “Subsidiary”). Each Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor. Unlike the Fund, a Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Each Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to bitcoin futures contracts in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Each Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in its corresponding Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to a Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of its underlying Subsidiary.
When a Fund purchases a put or call option on a futures contract, the Fund pays a premium for the right to sell or purchase the underlying futures contract for a specified price upon exercise at any time during the option period. By writing (selling) a put or call option on a futures contract, a Fund receives a premium in return for granting to the purchaser of the option the right to sell to or buy from the Fund the underlying futures contract for a specified price upon exercise at any time during the option period.
“Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He further added, “As the world's largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
The Funds may make short sales “against the box,” i.e., when a security identical to or convertible or exchangeable into one owned by a Fund is borrowed and sold short. Whenever a Fund engages in short sales, it earmarks or segregates liquid securities or cash in an amount that, when combined with the amount of collateral deposited with the broker in connection with the short sale, equals the current market value of the security sold short. The earmarked or segregated assets are marked-to-market daily.
Assume there is 0 contracts open and 2 traders, and a new futures contract expiring in 7 days opens. You can "create" a contract by putting a limit sell order in the orderbook at a given price. If someone market buys that limit order, an open contract is created between you and the other trader. This is how you can go from a position of 0 to a negative exposure just by selling a contract.
Creation Units of all Funds may, at the discretion of the Advisor, be sold for cash (the “Cash Purchase Amount”). Creation Units are sold at their NAV plus a Transaction Fee, as described below. The Advisor may also restrict purchases of Creation Units to be on a cash-only basis at any time and without prior notice, in all cases at the Advisor’s discretion.
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%.
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.
Since the introduction of futures, the price of bitcoin has gone up, suggesting that there were more As -- people who wanted to be long bitcoin synthetically -- than Cs -- people who wanted to be short synthetically -- though again it is still early. Crudely speaking, the arbitrage spread suggests that there are also more As than Bs: There are a lot of people who want to be long bitcoin without owning bitcoin, but not so many people who want to own bitcoin without being long bitcoin. (Which makes sense! If you bought a bitcoin and sold a futures contract when Cboe launched its futures last week, you could have locked in a risk-free arbitrage profit of something like $1,200. But if you had just bought a bitcoin, you'd be up about $3,000 by now.) The costs of trading actual bitcoins on bitcoin exchanges -- in terms of blockchain transaction costs, exchange withdrawal limits, etc. -- are significant enough that people who want bitcoin exposure are willing to pay about 2 percent to avoid them.
In traditional financial markets, derivatives are used as speculation objects as well as insurance against losses. The latter is known as hedging. One popular variety of derivatives used for hedging are called futures. A future is a contract between two parties in which one party agrees to pay the other a predetermined amount of money for an underlying asset at a specific point in time.