Do you remember, like, two weeks ago, when people were talking about how the launch of bitcoin futures at Cboe Global Markets Inc. and CME Group Inc. would allow for efficient short-selling of bitcoin and finally deflate the bubble? Smart hedge-fund money was lining up to bet against bitcoin, the thinking went, but had no convenient way to do it on the actual bitcoin exchanges. The only people trading bitcoin were the true believers, so of course it kept going up, but once it was opened up to normal financial players that would end. "The futures reduce the frictions of going short more than they do of going long, so it’s probably net bearish," said Craig Pirrong.
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.
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 DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Merger ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, and the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF contain portfolio investments that are primarily listed or traded on foreign markets. To the extent a Fund’s portfolio investments trade in foreign markets on days when a Fund is not open for business or when the primary exchange for the Shares is not open, the value of the Fund’s assets may vary and shareholders may not be able to purchase or sell Fund Shares and Authorized Participants may not be able to create or redeem Creation Units. Also, certain portfolio investments may not be traded on days a Fund is open for business.
The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain. Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds. By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. This is practically when the money transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions.
Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. In many of these instances, the customers of such Bitcoin Exchanges were not compensated or made whole for the partial or complete losses of their account balances in such Bitcoin Exchanges. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks but the existence of these risks has created a higher barrier of entry for new Bitcoin Exchanges. The loss of confidence in new and smaller Bitcoin Exchanges and in the Bitcoin Exchange Market overall can slow down the mass adoption of bitcoin. Further, the failure of the Bitcoin Exchange Market or any other major component of the overall bitcoin ecosystem can have consequences for the Bitcoin Network, have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and could have a negative impact on the Bitcoin Instruments in which certain of the Funds invest.
During the market slump last week, there was some banter on Reddit that the crash was going to end Wednesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM EST when the markets closed the first Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE expired at $10,900 per Bitcoin. There was even a countdown posted by one Reddit user. While the price of Bitcoin did not rocket back up in the immediate aftermath, altcoins started to rebound hours after the futures contracts expired.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is the second fork from Bitcoin (i.e. the second version to stem from Bitcoin’s source code). It retains Bitcoin’s transaction history, meaning that if you owned Bitcoin before the fork, you now own the equal amount of Bitcoin Gold. This cryptocurrency aims to introduce an alternative mining algorithm that is less susceptible to ASIC-based optimization, therefore allowing users to earn more with their computer cycles.
An initial coin offering (ICO) is a controversial means of raising funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. An ICO may be used by startups with the intention of avoiding regulation. However, securities regulators in many jurisdictions, including in the U.S., and Canada have indicated that if a coin or token is an "investment contract" (e.g., under the Howey test, i.e., an investment of money with a reasonable expectation of profit based significantly on the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others), it is a security and is subject to securities regulation. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency (usually in the form of "tokens") is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, often bitcoin or ether.
Don’t FOMO. This is a spot that people most frequently lose money on. A dash of manipulation, two tablespoons of media hype, a cup of CME and CBOE announcements, and a generous handful of FOMO drove Bitcoin prices from $10,000 to $20,000 in December. Since that time, Bitcoin fell to a low of $9,000 and is currently sitting at around $11,000. It’s easy to look back and say, “if only I waited one month, then I could’ve bought at $9,000 instead of waiting for Bitcoin to hit $20,000 again for me to break even.” But the reality is, the combination of 1) being greedy, 2) investing blindly, and 3) FOMO were likely large contributors to the purchase at an all-time-high. Even in the crazy world of cryptocurrency, if a coin pumps that quickly, it will correct — it’s a matter of time. Speculative pumps are almost always followed by dips. While trying to jump onto a train going full speed sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie, I’m sure most of us can agree we would probably save some limbs if we just waited for it at the next stop.
While volatile movements take away the attractiveness of any asset, a certain amount of swing in price creates trading opportunities. This is something that many traders and speculators have been taking advantage of by buying the digital currency and then selling at a profit through an exchange. The whole process makes bitcoin exchanges an important part of the ecosystem since it facilitates the buying and selling of bitcoins, as well as futures trading.
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.