Futures markets create an immense amount of flexibility. They enable investors to readily bet on an asset or bet against it (go long or go short), and they are usually characterised by an immense amount of leverage. In the case of bitcoin, this means one can trade a high volume of coins while only paying for a fraction of them, essentially operating with borrowed money. Leverage is used to amplify profits on a small volume of assets, but it is a double-edged sword in that it also amplifies losses.
Elsewhere, here is the story of block.one, which "has raised about $700 million and counting" by selling EOS tokens that it says "do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features." Block.one is using the money to build "a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications," as its white paper explains, and the white paper also includes a disclaimer in bold capitals:
In addition, the securities of some foreign governments, companies and markets are less liquid, and may be more volatile, than comparable securities of domestic governments, companies and markets. Some foreign investments may be subject to brokerage commissions and fees that are higher than those applicable to U.S. investments. A Fund also may be affected by different settlement practices or delayed settlements in some foreign markets. Moreover, some foreign jurisdictions regulate and limit U.S. investments in the securities of certain issuers.
By now you may ask yourself, “If I think that the price of an asset is going to rise, why should I buy a call option and not the asset itself?” The answer is this: Options give you leverage. That means that with a limited amount of capital, you can profit much more by buying options than assets – but also lose much more. This is because a small difference in the price of the underlying asset immediately leads to a substantial change in the price of the derivative. For example, when pork belly prices rise from 1,000 USD to 1,100 USD (an increase of 10%), call options for 1,000 USD suddenly become much more valuable – their prices may rise from 10.5 USD to 105 USD. Thus, if you have invested all of your capital in pork bellies, you will win 10% – if you have invested in pork belly call options, you will pocket a 1,000% profit.
Bitcoin relies on blockchain technology. “Blockchain” is a decentralized database. Transactions are grouped in blocks and then chained together through cryptographic links. Blockchain is designed so that the chain can be added to, but not edited. This structure is called a “distributed ledger.” Transactions in the distributed ledger are permanently recorded and can never disappear, although theft and loss of bitcoin can occur. While bitcoin has grown in popularity, it’s still not nearly as widely accepted as traditional currency.
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.
The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the net investment income of certain individuals, trusts, and estates to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by a Fund of ordinary dividends and capital gain dividends as described above, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, redemption or exchange of Fund shares. Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of this additional tax on their investment in a Fund.
The tables below show performance examples of an UltraPro and UltraPro Short ProShares Fund that have investment objectives to correspond to three times (3x) and three times the inverse (-3x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same as or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
Tax Risk — In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from “qualifying income,” meet certain asset diversification tests at the end of each taxable quarter, and meet annual distribution requirements. The Fund’s
The Bitcoin Network is currently maintained by Bitcoin Core and no single entity owns the Bitcoin Network (see “Description of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Network—The Bitcoin Network”). However, third parties may still assert intellectual property rights claims relating to the operation of the Bitcoin Network. Regardless of the merit of any intellectual property or other legal action, any threatened action that reduces confidence in the Bitcoin Network’s long-term viability or the ability of end-users to hold and transfer bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin and adversely affect the Bitcoin Instruments. Additionally, a meritorious intellectual property rights claim could prevent end-users from accessing the Bitcoin Network or holding or transferring their bitcoin, which could adversely affect the value of the Bitcoin Instruments. As a result, an intellectual property rights claim against Bitcoin Network participants could have a material adverse impact on the Funds.
Traders A and B in the previous example are hedgers. However, futures contracts, once they exist, can also be bought and sold in their own right. This is where futures get interesting for speculators. Say that Speculator X believes the price of a ton of pork belly will rise to 1,200 USD in 3 months’ time, so buying the futures contract at 1,000 USD is a good deal. He can then sell the contract to bacon producers who want to buy pork bellies at 1,000 USD. The option to buy at a specified price in the future is known as a call option. The price of call options rise when traders assume that the price of the underlying asset will rise.