A Precautionary Note to Purchasers of Creation Units — You should be aware of certain legal risks unique to investors purchasing Creation Units directly from the fund. Because new shares from the Fund may be issued on an ongoing basis, a “distribution” of the Fund’s shares could be occurring at any time. As a dealer, certain activities on your part could, depending on the circumstances, result in your being deemed a participant in the distribution, in a manner that could render you a statutory underwriter and subject you to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). For example, you could be deemed a statutory underwriter if you purchase Creation Units from the Fund, break them down into the constituent Fund shares, and sell those shares directly to customers, or if you choose to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. Whether a person is an underwriter depends upon all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities, and the examples mentioned here should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could cause you to be deemed an underwriter. Dealers who are not “underwriters,” but are
"We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts' price discovery process," CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo said in an official statement. "This includes potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages."
Inverse bitcoin contracts are usually denominated in USD terms. So if there's a contract value of $100 then each side -- LONG and SHORT -- puts down some portion of the contract value in margin. The contract is an agreement between traders to pay the other side an amount of bitcoin profit/loss as the price changes. Each contract has an expiration date, and some exchanges have periodic (daily or weekly) dates where the contract period's profits are "settled" even if the contract has not expired.
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”).

If an investor gets the timing of the oscillations right, they can make money at every point along the way, going long when the market goes up and short when it drops. However, it is also difficult to come across any reliable strategy that has thus far been able to predict which events influence the price of bitcoin to which extent. The initial calling off of the Segwit2x fork is a good example of that. Shortly after the news broke, the market appeared to be divided into two camps – those who saw less value because they would not receive the equivalent amount of their holdings in the new currency (“dividends”), and those who saw the news as a consolidation of bitcoin’s strength. The two camps pushed the price in opposite directions in a way that made it hard to predict which side would have the upper hand at which point in time.


Hey, Will, I like this! Thanx for the info. I’m somewhat new to cryptos but not to investing — my Dad invested in the stock market since I was a kid and as an adult I was a registered investment advisor representative for a large US institution. One conclusion I’ve come to is that the skills and approach for crypto investing are no different than those for the stock market. I use the same strategies and analyses I use for stocks and etf’s and feel completely at home in the crypto market. Yes, I deal with more brokerage accounts, etc., but the principles are the same.
William E. Seale, Ph.D., Chief Economist of ProShare Advisors since inception and ProFund Advisors LLC since 2005. Dr. Seale has more than 30 years of experience in the financial markets. His background includes a five-year presidential appointment as a commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and an appointment as Chairman of the Department of Finance at The George Washington University. He earned his degrees at the University of Kentucky.

•   Any distributions from income or short-term capital gains that you receive generally are taxable to you as ordinary dividends for federal income tax purposes. Ordinary dividends you receive that a Fund reports as “qualified dividend income” may be taxed at the same rates as long-term capital gains, but will not be considered long-term capital gains for other federal income tax purposes, including the calculation of net capital losses.


In 1983 the American cryptographer David Chaum conceived an anonymous cryptographic electronic money called ecash.[9][10] Later, in 1995, he implemented it through Digicash,[11] an early form of cryptographic electronic payments which required user software in order to withdraw notes from a bank and designate specific encrypted keys before it can be sent to a recipient. This allowed the digital currency to be untraceable by the issuing bank, the government, or a third party.
An Authorized Participant may place an order to redeem Creation Units (i) through the Clearing Process, or (ii) outside the Clearing Process. In either case, a redemption order for a Fund must be received by the following cut-off times (which may be earlier if the relevant Exchange or any relevant bond market closes early). In all cases purchase/redeem procedures are at this discretion of the Advisor and may be changed without notice.
At the expiration of the contract you are trading, all positions get closed out and settled. Different exchanges use different anchors to settle against. To avoid manipulation, most of them use an index. OKCoin uses a custom 6-exchange index (3 chinese, 3 Western), while BitMEX, Deribit, Coinpit, and CryptoFacilities use a multi-spot-exchange Index to settle all of its contracts at expiration. This minimizes the risk of any manipulation if contracts settled on a single exchange's price, but it also makes it more difficult to manage your hedges since there's no way to "buy" or "sell" an index. No system is perfect, and each one offers different unique pro's and con's, just like your selection of contract type and length. So depending on your case you may want something different than someone else.
Securities (including short-term securities) and other assets are generally valued at their market value using information provided by a pricing service or market quotations. Short-term securities are valued on the basis of amortized cost or based on market prices. Futures contracts and options on securities, indexes and futures contracts are generally valued at their last sale price prior to the time at which the NAV per share of a class of shares of a Fund is determined. Alternatively, fair valuation procedures as described below may be applied if deemed more appropriate. Routine valuation of certain other derivatives is performed using procedures approved by the Board of Trustees.
  •   Inverse Correlation Risk — Since a portion of the Fund’s assets are invested in short positions in bitcoin futures contracts, the Fund will likely decline in value when the price of bitcoin futures contracts goes up (unless such losses are offset by gains in the value of the Fund’s positions in other investments), a result that is the opposite from the results of taking long positions in bitcoin futures contracts.

Each Fund intends to distribute its net investment income and capital gains to shareholders at least annually to qualify for treatment as a RIC under the Code. Under current law, provided a Fund is not treated as a “personal holding company” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Fund is permitted to treat on its tax return as dividends paid the portion of redemption proceeds paid to redeeming shareholders that represents the redeeming shareholders’ portion of the Fund’s accumulated earnings and profits. This practice, called tax “equalization,” reduces the amount of income and/or gains that a Fund is required to distribute as dividends to non-redeeming shareholders. Tax equalization is not available to a Fund treated as a personal holding company. The amount of any undistributed income and/or gains is reflected in the value of a Fund’s Shares. The total return on a shareholder’s investment will generally not be reduced as a result of a Fund’s use of this practice.
If SupermegahedgefundX can offset any potential losses with futures trading, then maybe it will be more willing to buy bitcoin – although why it would allow its potential gains to be reduced with the same futures trade is beyond me. And, why hold the bitcoin when you can get similar profits with less initial outlay just by trading the synthetic derivatives?
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Provide a list or diagram of all persons directly or indirectly controlled by or under common control with the Registrant. For any person controlled by another person, disclose the percentage of voting securities owned by the immediately controlling person or other basis of that person’s control. For each company, also provide the state or other sovereign power under the laws of which the company is organized.

The tax treatment of certain contracts (including regulated futures contracts and non-equity options) entered into by the Fund will be governed by Section 1256 of the Code (“Section 1256 contracts”). Gains (or losses) on these contracts generally are considered to be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although foreign currency gains or losses arising from certain Section 1256 contracts may be treated as ordinary in character (see “Foreign Currency Transactions” below). Also, section 1256 contracts held by a Fund at the end of each taxable year (and for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates prescribed in the Code) are “marked-to-market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gains or losses are treated as ordinary or 60/40 gains or losses, as appropriate.
The investment restrictions of the Funds specifically identified as fundamental policies may not be changed without the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that Fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. The investment objectives and all other investment policies of the Funds not specified as fundamental (including the index of a Fund) may be changed by the Board without the approval of shareholders.
In 1998, Wei Dai published a description of "b-money", an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system.[14] Shortly thereafter, Nick Szabo created "bit gold".[15] 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.

The Declaration of Trust of the Trust disclaims liability of the shareholders or the Officers of the Trust for acts or obligations of the Trust which are binding only on the assets and property of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification of the Trust’s property for all loss and expense of any Funds shareholder held personally liable for the obligations of the Trust. The risk of a Trust shareholder incurring financial loss on account of shareholder liability is limited to circumstances where the Funds would not be able to meet the Trust’s obligations and this risk, thus, should be considered remote.
Ann then goes on BFE and she wants to short on bitcoin at market price. She sees that only the January 9 contract has any orders. She could put a limit order in the orderbook if she wanted. However, she sees Bob's bid in the orderbook and decides to fill it, and uses her 0.2btc as margin to collateralize this position. She has just opened a position worth 1 bitcoin that has 5x leverage, and so has Bob.

Mortgage-backed securities issued by private issuers, whether or not such obligations are subject to guarantees by the private issuer, may entail greater risk than obligations directly or indirectly guaranteed by the U.S. government. The average life of a mortgage-backed security is likely to be substantially shorter than the original maturity of the mortgage pools underlying the securities. Prepayments of principal by mortgagors and mortgage foreclosures will usually result in the return of the greater part of principal invested far in advance of the maturity of the mortgages in the pool.
Bitcoin has a very limited history of operations and there is no established performance record for the price of Bitcoin on the Bitcoin Exchange Market that can provide an adequate basis for evaluating an investment in bitcoin or Bitcoin Instruments such as Bitcoin Derivatives, ETNs and Bitcoin Securities. Although past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, if bitcoin had an established history, such history might (or might not) provide investors with more information on which to evaluate an investment in the Funds.
•   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 pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. The Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, the Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its
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.
•   Foreign Investments Risk — Investing in securities of foreign issuers may provide the Fund with increased risk. Various factors related to foreign investments may negatively impact the Fund’s performance, such as: i) fluctuations in the value of the applicable foreign currency; ii) differences in securities settlement practices; iii) uncertainty associated with evidence of ownership of investments in countries that lack centralized custodial services; iv) possible regulation of, or other limitations on, investments by U.S. investors in foreign investments; v) potentially higher brokerage commissions; vi) the possibility that a foreign government may withhold portions of interest and dividends at the source; vii) taxation of income earned in foreign countries or other foreign taxes imposed; viii) foreign exchange controls, which may include suspension of the ability to transfer currency from a foreign country; ix) less publicly available information about foreign issuers; x) changes in the denomination currency of a foreign investment; and xi) less certain legal systems in which the Fund might encounter difficulties or be unable to pursue legal remedies. Foreign investments also may be more susceptible to political, social, economic and regional factors than might be the case with U.S. securities. In addition, markets for foreign investments are usually less liquid, more volatile and significantly smaller than markets for U.S. securities, which may affect, among other things, the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell foreign investments at appropriate times. Because of differences in settlement times and/or foreign market holidays, transactions in a foreign market may take place one or more days after the necessary exposure to these investments is determined. Until the transactions are effected, the Fund is exposed to increased foreign currency risk and market risk.
Exchanges simply take a fee to facilitate the orderbook where its clients (the counterparties) create and trade futures contract with each other. They also have to manage the system's risk so that traders don't get overleveraged or manipulate the market. Since counterparties are only putting margin down that is a % of the contract value, the exchange also has to handle liquidation procedures in case the value of the margin is exceeded by the loss on the notional market value of the contract. For instance, BitMEX offers 100x leverage, so if you want to enter a $10,000 position you need to put down $100 worth of bitcoin. If the price moves just 0.5% against your favor, BitMEX will take over your position and execute it into the market, so that the person on the other side of the contract can have someone else who pays for the profit. In the event that the liquidation doesn't get passed off to another trader, an Auto-Deleveraging/Termination can occur, or Socialize Loss in the contract builds (we will discuss these issues in more detail later).
Coinbase is not alone in making moves toward becoming an ATS. Recently, mobile payment app company Circle acquired Poloniex, another U.S.-based exchange, with plans to “clean up” the exchange. A slide that was initially leaked from a Circle presentation stated, “Circle has briefed the SEC on the transaction and indicated that upon closing that we will begin the process of registering the new entity with the SEC and FINRA as a Broker/Dealer and in turn as a licensed ATS…”

Were Centra's tokens securities? Well, yes, obviously. We talked last week about the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement action against Munchee, an initial coin offering vaguely similar to Centra's in that it featured "utility tokens" to be used in a blockchain ecosystem that did not yet exist, sold on promises of speculative returns. The SEC brusquely and correctly dismissed the notion that such "utility tokens" were not securities, and I suspect any court will agree. Also, while Centra occasionally remembered to call its tokens "utility-based tokens" and "not securities, shares or investments," it often forgot. From the complaint:

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.

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.


Securities (including short-term securities) and other assets are generally valued at their market value using information provided by a pricing service or market quotations. Short-term securities are valued on the basis of amortized cost or based on market prices. Futures contracts and options on securities, indexes and futures contracts are generally valued at their last sale price prior to the time at which the NAV per share of a class of shares of a Fund is determined. Alternatively, fair valuation procedures as described below may be applied if deemed more appropriate. Routine valuation of certain other derivatives is performed using procedures approved by the Board of Trustees.
EDIT: #10 Bonus (Suggested by @kerstenwirth ) — always check the ticker symbol. Ticker symbols are not universal, and may vary from exchange to exchange in rare cases. Those cases, though, can come back to bite you. For example, Bitcoin Cash trades on some exchanges as BCH, while it trades on others as BCC. BCC is also the ticker symbol for BitConnect, which was recently outted as a Ponzi Scheme. If you bought BCC under the impression was Bitcoin Cash, you would’ve lost a lot of money.
Most swap agreements entered into by a Fund (but generally not CDS) calculate and settle the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis” with a single payment. Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). Other swap agreements, such as CDS, may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of the reference entity.
Market makers are challenged in fast markets—when either buyers or sellers are dominating and prices are moving rapidly. When this happens market makers are obligated to continue quoting bid and ask prices that maintain some semblance of an orderly market. If they start accumulating uncomfortably large net long or short inventories they may start hedging their positions to protect themselves. For example, if they are short Bitcoin futures they can buy Bitcoin futures with different expirations or directly buy Bitcoins to hedge their positions. The hedged portion of the market maker’s portfolio is not sensitive to Bitcoin price movements—their profit/losses on the short side are offset by their long positions.
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