The CME Group contract (symbol “BTC”) began trading on December 18, 2017, building off of the success of the BRR and demand for a regulated trading venue for the digital asset market. The contract is cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are listed on and subject to the rules of CME.2
When you hear "margin", you may be thinking that you are borrowing money to trade bitcoin futures. This is not quite true. A key feature of these futures contracts is that the leverage comes from counterparties providing it to one another, not from the exchange lending funds and not from any bitcoin being lent from third parties. The contracts are simply like stocks with a market price, which represents the agreements between traders to take the opposing sides of where price of bitcoin will go, so no actual bitcoins are being exchanged per se, however the profit and loss between counterparties is very real!
Investment in mortgage-backed securities poses several risks, including among others, prepayment, market and credit risk. Prepayment risk reflects the risk that borrowers may prepay their mortgages faster than expected, thereby affecting the investment’s average life and perhaps its yield. Whether or not a mortgage loan is prepaid is almost entirely controlled by the borrower. Borrowers are most likely to exercise prepayment options at the time when it is least advantageous to investors, generally prepaying mortgages as interest rates fall, and slowing payments as interest rates rise. Besides the effect of prevailing interest rates, the rate of prepayment and refinancing of mortgages may also be affected by appreciation in home values, ease of the refinancing process and local economic conditions. Market risk reflects the risk that the price of a security may fluctuate over time. The price of mortgage-backed securities may be particularly sensitive to prevailing interest rates, the length of time the security is expected to be outstanding, and the liquidity of the issue. In a period of unstable interest rates, there may be decreased demand for certain types of mortgage-backed securities, and each Fund invested in such securities wishing to sell them may find it difficult to find a buyer, which may in turn decrease the price at which they may be sold. Credit risk reflects the risk that a Fund may not receive all or part of its principal because the issuer or credit enhancer has defaulted on its obligations. Obligations issued by U.S. government-related entities are guaranteed as to the payment of principal and interest, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The performance of private label mortgage-backed securities, issued by private institutions, is based on the financial health of those institutions. With respect to GNMA certificates, although GNMA guarantees timely payment even if homeowners delay or default, tracking the “pass-through” payments may, at times, be difficult.
In contrast, if you are “going short” on Bitcoin, you assume that Bitcoin prices will fall. Buying put options will enable you to sell Bitcoin at some point in the future at a price that is higher than the future price you expect. In analogy to the example above, if the current Bitcoin price is 5,000 USD and you expect it to fall to 2,000 USD in 6 months, then put options allowing you to sell Bitcoin for 5,000 USD in 5 months (when everyone else is selling for 2000 USD) are very valuable.
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.
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed their use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in eight countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. In the United States and Canada, state and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.
The above futures curve shows that in the short term (< 1month) bitcoin-USD futures prices tend to be at or higher than the respective spot prices, with the highest premium to spot reached for futures maturing in approximately 9 days. In the mid term (1-3 months), bitcoin futures prices increase rapidly with mid prices at a premium of approximately 2% compared to the spot price. In the long term (>3months), premiums are positive and prices increase with a relatively stable velocity. Long term prices are at a slightly higher level compared to mid-term maturities. The absolute difference between long-term and short-term premium is positive, revealing an overall positive view about bitcoin among investors for the future. To summarize, this curve reflects modest investor optimism in the short term, due to a possibly high level of volatility around the launch of U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts, and an increasingly positive view on bitcoin-USD rates in the medium and long term. In the distant future (>3months) the curve may reflect a belief that the long-term true value of bitcoin will be at a higher level than today, possibly due to increased institutional participation and the maturation of digital assets as a potential asset class.
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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.
Look, you and I are sophisticated, and we get that "bitcoin's price increase is deflationary and makes it a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin, because "bitcoin is a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin. (People keep making it though.) Bitcoin's value proposition -- much like that of gold -- is that it is an uncorrelated store of value, not that it is useful for buying a sandwich. But at the same time you have to watch out for business models that are based on the casual assumption that bitcoin works just like a currency. "Cryptocurrency-financed warehouse lending" has the word "cryptocurrency" in it, so it's worth billions of dollars, but I'm not sure it works as a business model.
• 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.
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.
Litecoin (LTC) is similar to Bitcoin in many of its characteristics and is also one of the more veteran cryptocurrencies out there. However, there are two main differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin: Speed and amount. While it takes 10 minutes to create a Bitcoin block, Litecoin demands roughly 2.5 minutes to create a block – meaning 4 times the speed. Moreover, Litecoin attracts many users, as it can produce 4 times the quantity of Bitcoin! However, as Litecoin uses highly complex cryptography, often mining it is more complicated than other cryptocurrencies.
You might buy in to your Ethereum position at $1000, you set your sell position $1300. Your sell order could take days, weeks, months, years or till the end of time to be filled. Once it has been filled, you then take that profit and you roll it over in to a new buy over at, say, $1100. Choosing good targets for your buy and sell orders is crucial if you want to be a successful swing trader but overall swing trading cryptocurrency is pretty easy – set your orders and then just wait.
• ETN Risk — The Fund is likely to obtain substantial exposure to the price movements of bitcoin by holding ETNs that provide exposure to the price of bitcoin. ETNs are unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities of an issuer that are listed and traded on a U.S. stock exchange. An ETN’s returns are generally linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy minus applicable fees. ETNs do not provide principal protection and may or may not make periodic coupon payments. ETNs are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that the issuer cannot pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Additionally, the value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market (e.g., the commodities market), changes in interest rates or the issuer’s credit rating, and other economic, legal, political or geographic events. The value of an investment in an ETN may be impacted by fees associated with the ETN. Structural aspects of the ETNs may impact their market value. Trading by affiliates of an ETN sponsor may create conflicts of interest. The issuer of an ETN may be unable to meet its obligations. The potential impact of Bitcoin Network forks on the value of a bitcoin ETN is unclear. ETNs issued by special purpose vehicles may include greater risk. ETNs are subject to risks associated with the underlying asset.
Each Fund intends to invest in bitcoin futures contracts. The Funds will not invest directly in bitcoin and are not benchmarked to the current price of bitcoin. The value of the bitcoin futures contracts is generally based on the expected value of bitcoin at a future point in time, specifically, the expiration date of the bitcoin futures contracts. Other factors, such as cost of mining, storing and securing bitcoin may affect the value of bitcoin futures. A change in the price of bitcoin today (sometimes referred to as the “spot” price) will not necessarily result in a corresponding movement in the price of the bitcoin futures contracts since the price of the bitcoin futures contracts is based on expectations of the price of bitcoin at a future point in time. Additionally, there is no one centralized source for pricing bitcoin and pricing from one bitcoin exchange to the next can vary widely. Additionally, each Fund has the ability to invest in, or take a short position in, bitcoin futures contracts offered by CFE or CME, each of which uses a different exchange, or exchanges, to determine the value of bitcoin, which may lead to material differences in the value of the bitcoin futures contracts offered by CFE and CME. As a result, each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the performance of the spot price of bitcoin (or the inverse of such performance) over all periods of time.
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.
For Caspian, creating a crypto trading system that meets the needs of institutional investors is a benefit not only to those traders, but to the entire crypto ecosystem. Providing the infrastructure that institutions need to confidently enter the crypto world sets the stage for a much larger market. This brings needed volume, scale, stability and liquidity — not to mention the kind of credibility that can encourage even more players. In the end, we believe that building an effective trading solution will raise all boats to help crypto live up to its vast potential.
Crypto derivatives were naturally discovered as an interesting addition to cryptocurrency exchanges first – probably as individual contracts between interested investors on these exchanges. Nowadays, there are already a couple of exchanges that offer crypto derivatives trading as a standard feature: BitMEX is the current market leader, according to The Merkle News; others are OKCoin, Crypto Facilities, Coinpit, and Deribit, as well as LedgerX (the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the US).