Each Fund may invest in master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), which are commonly treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes and publicly traded on national securities exchanges. Such MLPs are limited by the Internal Revenue Code to apply to enterprises that engage in certain businesses, mostly pertaining to the use of natural resources, such as natural gas extraction and transportation. Some real estate enterprises may also qualify as MLPs.
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:
There is no registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible, and in fact, reasonably likely, that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin from selling their bitcoin, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Funds which do not take a short position in bitcoin futures contracts.
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.
Under an investment advisory agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust, on behalf of each Fund (the “Agreement” or “Advisory Agreement”), each Fund (other than the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF) pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate, based on its average daily net assets, of 0.75%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory Fee Waiver Agreement for each of these Funds that reduces the annualized rate based on its average daily net assets, as follows: 0.75% of the first $4.0 billion of average daily net assets of the Fund; 0.70% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $4.0 billion to $5.5 billion; 0.65% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $5.5 billion to $7.0 billion; 0.60% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $7.0 billion to $8.5 billion; and 0.55% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $8.5 billion. The fee waiver arrangement will remain in effect through at least September 30, 2018 and prior to such date ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
Interest Rate Swaps. Interest rate swaps, in their most basic form, involve the exchange by a Fund with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest. For example, a Fund might exchange its right to receive certain floating rate payments in exchange for another party’s right to receive fixed rate payments. Interest rate swaps can take a variety of other forms, such as agreements to pay the net differences between two different interest indexes or rates, even if the parties do not own the underlying instruments. Despite their differences in form, the function of interest rate swaps is generally the same: to increase or decrease a Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates. For example, a Fund may enter into a swap transaction to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or a portion of its portfolio or to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date.
The Bitcoin protocol was built using open source software by a small group of individuals who developed what is known today as “Bitcoin Core.” 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” (as described herein). The Bitcoin Network has already experienced two major forks after developers attempted to increase transaction capacity. Blocks mined on these new “forked” networks now diverge from blocks mined on the original Bitcoin Network maintained by Bitcoin Core, resulting in the creation of two new blockchains whose digital assets are referred to as “bitcoin cash.” and “bitcoin gold.” Bitcoin, bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold now operate as separate, independent networks. Multiple BIPs still exist, many of which are aimed at increasing the transaction capacity of the Bitcoin Network, and it is possible that one or more of these BIPs could result in further network “forks.” Such changes may
• Intellectual property claims. A proliferation of recent startups attempting to apply blockchain technology in different contexts means the possibility of conflicting intellectual property claims could be a risk to an issuer, its operations or its business. This could also pose a risk to blockchain platforms that permit transactions in digital securities.
Cryptocurrency is also used in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road. The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.
Elaborating a bit on the concept of Cryptocurrency and the blockchain effect before we move onto the central theme. As put in words by Daniel Gasteiger on the topic ‘Blockchain Demystified’ at TEDxLausanne,‘A blockchain is nothing but a database, a database that is public, therefore not owned by anybody. Distributed hence not stored centrally on one computer but on many computers across the world. Constantly synchronized to keep the transactions up to date and secured overall by the art of cryptography to make it tamper proof and hacker proof. These four features make this technology exceptional.’ Daniel’s strong belief in the solidarity of the concept of Cryptocurrency motivated him to leave his full-fledged career of 20 years in financial services to focus on the concept of Blockchain. Looking to know more about how to formulate Cryptocurrency strategies? Read our blog on Cryptocurrencies Trading Strategy With Data Extraction Technique.
• Rolling Futures Contract Risk — The Fund will invest in and have exposure to bitcoin futures contracts and is subject to risks related to “rolling” such contracts. Rolling occurs when the Fund closes out of a futures contract as it nears its expiration and replaces it with a contract that has a later expiration. The Fund does not intend to hold futures contracts through expiration, but instead intends to “roll” its futures positions. When the market for these futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby contract would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures contract prices for longer expiration contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures prices for shorter expiration futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.” Extended periods of contango could cause significant losses for the Fund. The Advisor will utilize active management techniques to seek to mitigate the negative impact or, in certain cases, benefit from the contango or backwardation present in the various futures contract markets, but there can be no guarantee that it will be successful in doing so.
While it is likely that regulatory laws surrounding ICOs will only be settled in court (perhaps even the Supreme Court), if ICO tokens are legally classified as securities, any exchange that wants to list those tokens needs to either register as a national securities exchange or operate under an exemption and set itself up as an alternative trading system (ATS).
DTC has advised the Trust as follows: it is a limited-purpose trust company organized under the laws of the State of New York, a member of the Federal Reserve System, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the New York Uniform Commercial Code and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the 1934 Act. DTC was created to hold securities of its participants (“DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the NYSE and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”). DTC agrees with and represents to DTC Participants that it will administer its book-entry system in accordance with its rules and by-laws and requirements of law. Beneficial ownership of Shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in Shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of Shares. The laws of some jurisdictions may require that certain purchasers of securities take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form. Such laws may impair the ability of certain investors to acquire beneficial interests in Shares.