Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
through direct investments/short positions in the securities and/or through investments with similar economic characteristics. For the purposes of each such investment policy, “assets” includes a Fund’s net assets, as well as amounts borrowed for investment purposes, if any. In addition, for purposes of such an investment policy, “assets” includes not only the amount of a Fund’s net assets attributable to investments providing direct investment exposure to the type of investments suggested by its name (e.g., the value of stocks, or the value of derivative instruments such as futures, options or options on futures), but also cash and cash equivalents that are segregated on the Fund’s books and records or being used as collateral, as required by applicable regulatory guidance, or otherwise available to cover such investment exposure. The Board has adopted a policy to provide investors with at least 60 days’ notice prior to changes in a Fund’s name policy.
Sections 1471-1474 of the Code and the U.S. Treasury and IRS guidance issued thereunder (collectively, “FATCA”) generally require a Fund to obtain information sufficient to identify the status of each of its shareholders under FATCA or under an applicable intergovernmental agreement (an “IGA”). If a shareholder fails to provide this information or otherwise fails to comply with FATCA or an IGA, a Fund or its agent may be required to withhold under FATCA at a rate of 30% with respect to that shareholder on ordinary dividends it pays to such shareholder and 30% of the gross proceeds of share redemptions or exchanges and certain Capital Gain Dividends it pays to such shareholder after December 31, 2018. If a payment by a Fund is subject to FATCA withholding, the Fund or its agent is required to withhold even if such payment would otherwise be exempt from withholding under the rules applicable to foreign shareholders described above (e.g., Capital Gain Dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, and interest-related dividends).
Creation Units of Shares may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor. Such Authorized Participant will agree pursuant to the terms of such Authorized Participant Agreement on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, as the case may be, to certain conditions, including that such Authorized Participant will make available an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Balancing Amount, defined below, and the Transaction Fee, described below in “Transaction Fees”. The Authorized Participant may require the investor to enter into an agreement with such Authorized Participant with respect to certain matters, including payment of the Balancing Amount. Investors who are not Authorized Participants must make appropriate arrangements with an Authorized Participant. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not be a DTC Participant or may not have executed an Authorized Participant Agreement, and that therefore orders to purchase Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant. As a result, purchase orders placed through an Authorized Participant may result in additional charges to such investor. The Trust does not expect to enter into an Authorized Participant Agreement with more than a small number of DTC Participants.
5. Borrow money, except that the Fund (i) may borrow from banks (as defined in the 1940 Act) in amounts up to 331/3% of its total assets (including the amount borrowed), (ii) may, to the extent permitted by applicable law, borrow up to an additional 5% of its total assets for temporary purposes, (iii) may obtain such short-term credit as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of portfolio securities, (iv) may purchase securities on margin to the extent permitted by applicable law and (v) may enter into reverse repurchase agreements. The Fund may not pledge its assets other than to secure such borrowings or, to the extent permitted by the Fund’s investment policies as set forth in the Prospectus and SAI, as they may be amended from time to time, in connection with hedging transactions, short sales, when-issued and forward commitment transactions and similar investment strategies.
If a Fund purchases in the secondary market a debt security that has a fixed maturity date of more than one year from its date of issuance at a price lower than the stated redemption price of such debt security (or, in the case of a debt security issued with “original issue discount” (described below), a price below the debt security’s “revised issue price”), the excess of the stated redemption price over the purchase price is “market discount.” If the amount of market discount is more than a de minimis amount, a portion of such market discount must be included as ordinary income (not capital gain) by a Fund in each taxable year in which the Fund owns an interest in such debt security and receives a principal payment on it. In particular, the Fund will be required to allocate that principal payment first to the portion of the market discount on the debt security that has accrued but has not previously been includable in income. In general, the amount of market discount that must be included for each period is equal to the lesser of (i) the amount of market discount accruing during such period (plus any accrued market discount for prior periods not previously taken into account) or (ii) the amount of the principal payment with respect to such period. Generally, market discount accrues on a daily basis for each day the debt security is held by a Fund at a constant rate over the time remaining to the debt security’s maturity or, at the election of the Fund, at a constant yield to maturity which takes into account the semi-annual compounding of interest. Gain realized on the disposition of a market discount obligation must be recognized as ordinary interest income (not capital gain) to the extent of the accrued market discount.
Still elsewhere, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in a footnote, quoted me saying "Just because you mumble the word 'blockchain' doesn't make otherwise illegal things legal," which I hope is now an official CFTC position. And here is Tyler Cowen on bitcoin volatility and Siegel's paradox: "Volatility is a feature of Bitcoin, not a bug, and that is in part for reasons that have nothing to do with speculation or bubbliness, but rather follow from the contours of the utility function." And: "No, a Guy Didn't Scam $1 Million by Selling Chuck E. Cheese Tokens as Bitcoins."
In order to provide current Share pricing information, an Exchange disseminates an updated Indicative Optimized Portfolio Value (“IOPV”) for each Fund. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPVs and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPVs. IOPVs are expected to be disseminated on a per Fund basis every 15 seconds during regular trading hours of an Exchange.
Last night, Cboe XBTSM Bitcoin Futures commenced trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange. The launch was smooth, although our website experienced some issues due to an overwhelming number of hits looking for the trading data. Now that the futures are up and running, it may be time for a brief explanation of how an owner of bitcoins may use futures to hedge their position.
Assume it is January 3, 2015. Bob and Ann both want to trade at Bitcoin Futures Exchange (BFE). BFE offers 3 different contracts: one expiring and settling on Friday January 9 ('weekly'), another expiring Friday January 16th ('biweekly'), and finally one expiring in March 27 ('quarterly'). Each contract is worth 1 bitcoin notionally. BFE has a policy that traders have to put 20% of margin down to enter a trade, so Bob and Ann deposit 0.2btc to their BFE accounts as they only want to trade 1 contract.
The tax rules are uncertain with respect to the treatment of income or gains arising in respect of commodity-linked exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and certain commodity-linked structured notes; also, the timing and character of income or gains arising from ETNs can be uncertain. An adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect a Fund’s ability to qualify for treatment as a regulated investment company and to avoid a Fund-level tax.
Transaction fees for cryptocurrency depend mainly on the supply of network capacity at the time, versus the demand from the currency holder for a faster transaction. The currency holder can choose a specific transaction fee, while network entities process transactions in order of highest offered fee to lowest. Cryptocurrency exchanges can simplify the process for currency holders by offering priority alternatives and thereby determine which fee will likely cause the transaction to be processed in the requested time.
• Early Close/Late Close/Trading Halt Risk — An exchange or market may close early, close late or issue trading halts on specific securities, or the ability to trade certain securities or financial instruments may be restricted, which may disrupt the Fund’s creation and redemption process, potentially affect the price at which the Fund’s shares trade in the secondary market, and/or result in the Fund being unable to trade certain securities or financial instruments. In these circumstances, the Fund may be unable to rebalance its portfolio, may be unable to accurately price its investments and/or may incur substantial trading losses. If trading in the Fund’s shares halt, shareholders may be temporarily unable to trade shares of the Fund at an advantageous time or price.
Let's not even go into the paradigm shift that this development implies. The growth of a bitcoin futures market positions it even more as a commodity than a currency (in the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates futures markets). And even more as an investment asset than a technology that has the potential to change the plumbing of finance.
The fund performance for a Geared ProShares Fund can be estimated given any set of assumptions for the factors described above. The tables on the next five pages illustrate the impact of two factors, benchmark volatility and benchmark performance, on a Geared Fund. Benchmark volatility is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in the returns of a benchmark and is calculated as the standard deviation of the natural logarithm of one plus the benchmark return (calculated daily), multiplied by the square root of the number of trading days per year (assumed to be 252). The tables show estimated Fund returns for a number of combinations of benchmark performance and benchmark volatility over a one-year period. Assumptions used in the tables include: (a) no dividends paid with respect to securities included in the underlying benchmark; (b) no Fund expenses; and (c) borrowing/lending rates (to obtain leverage or inverse exposure) of zero percent. If Fund expenses and/or actual borrowing lending rates were reflected, the Fund’s performance would be different than shown.
A key attribute of a futures market is how its contract’s prices vary by expiration date. The succession of futures prices over time is called the “term structure”. If supply is stable (no seasonality or shortages) then typically futures prices will increase with expirations further in the future. This term structure configuration is called “contango” and it accounts for the fact that carry costs (e.g., time value of money) and profit expectations increase with time. Unless there are big changes in interest rates or the way that Bitcoin exchanges work I expect the level of contango in the Bitcoin futures term structure to be small. Bitcoins don’t cost much to hodl (once you have your hardware wallet) and there’s no apparent seasonality. The chart below from VIX Central shows a typical Bitcoin term structure (click on chart to get current data):
• Valuation Risk — In certain circumstances, portfolio holdings may be valued using techniques other than market quotations. The value established for a portfolio holding may be different from what would be produced through the use of another methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their value from one day to the next than would be the case if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund could sell a portfolio holding for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund would incur a loss because a portfolio holding is sold at a discount to its established value.
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.
of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. The Trust has been granted an exemption by the SEC from this prospectus delivery obligation in ordinary secondary market transactions involving Shares under certain circumstances, on the condition that purchasers of Shares are provided with a product description of the Shares. Broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to an ordinary secondary market transaction), and thus dealing with Shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus-delivery obligation with respect to Shares are reminded that under Rule 153 under the 1933 Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the 1933 Act owed to a national securities exchange member in connection with a sale on the national securities exchange is satisfied if a Fund’s prospectus is made available upon request at the national securities exchange on which the Shares of such Fund trade. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange and not with respect to other transactions.
Each Independent Trustee is paid a $185,000 annual retainer for service as Trustee on the Board and for service as Trustee for other funds in the Fund Complex, $10,000 for attendance at each quarterly in-person meeting of the Board of Trustees, $3,000 for attendance at each special meeting of the Board of Trustees, and $3,000 for attendance at telephonic meetings. Trustees who are also Officers or affiliated persons receive no remuneration from the Trust for their services as Trustees. The Officers, other than the CCO, receive no compensation directly from the Trust for performing the duties of their offices.
Ultimately, the big and yet unanswered question will continue to loom: is bitcoin indeed the millennials’ gold, as strategist Tom Lee suggests, and therefore has real and measurable value, or is it simply used for speculation as investors like Jack Bogle and Warren Buffet have implied? The answer that important investors will come up with for that question should have a significant impact on the price movement of bitcoin, and it is completely uncertain what it will look like.
• Changes in the Bitcoin Network could have an adverse effect on the operation and value of bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the value of Bitcoin Futures Contracts and the value of Fund Shares. The open source nature of the Bitcoin protocol permits any developer to review the underlying code and suggest changes to it via “Bitcoin Improvement Proposals”, or “BIPs.” If accepted by a sufficient number of miners, BIPs may result in substantial changes to the Bitcoin Network, including changes that result in “forks.” Such changes may influence the price of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Futures Contracts. In particular, it is possible that the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts subsequent to a “fork” may be linked to the price of bitcoin on only one of the resulting Bitcoin Networks, rather than the aggregate price of bitcoin on all resulting Bitcoin Networks. The CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) have announced different protocols for addressing forks.
• Risks Associated with Bitcoin – The Fund is exposed to risks associated with bitcoin. Investing in or gaining exposure to Bitcoin may provide the Fund with increased risk. Various global factors may negatively impact the Fund’s performance including legal, regulatory, political, social, regional and economic events. These risks, which could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the trading price of Fund shares, include the following:
• Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are listed for trading on the [ ] Exchange and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares and other market factors. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming directly with the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, trading spreads and the resulting premium or discount on the Fund’s shares may widen and the Fund’s shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting.
Transaction fees payable to the Trust are imposed to compensate the Trust for the transfer and other transaction costs of a Fund associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units of Shares. A fixed Transaction Fee is applicable to each creation or redemption transaction, regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased or redeemed. In addition, a variable Transaction Fee equal to a percentage of the value of each Creation Unit purchased or redeemed may be applicable to a creation or redemption transaction. Purchasers of Creation Units of the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds for cash may also be required to pay an additional charge to compensate the relevant Fund for brokerage, market impact or other expenses. Where the Trust permits an in-kind purchaser to substitute cash in lieu of depositing a portion of the Deposit Securities, the purchaser will be assessed an additional charge for cash purchases. The maximum Transaction Fee on purchases and redemptions will be 2.00% of the NAV of any Creation Unit, except that for the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, a Transaction Fee up to 3.00% will be charged on the cash used in lieu of depositing all or a portion of the Deposit Securities or the cash portion of any redemption transaction. The Transaction Fees charged to each Fund are presented in the Authorized Participant Handbook.
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).