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.
Currently, Bitcoin futures have very high margin requirements. The Cboe requires 40% of the notional amount for maintenance margin, the CME requires 43%. Your broker will likely require more than that. The culprit behind these high requirements is Bitcoin’s high volatility—until that calms down the exchanges will protect themselves by requiring a bunch of up-front money. If you don’t come up with the money for a margin call they want to close out your position without leaving a negative balance.
Bitcoin futures promise more flexibility for investors and potentially a more stable price. Yet, there is a chance that volatility could increase in the interim and while strategies like shorting and using leverage hold a lot of potential when used within the right infrastructure, they can be detrimental to smaller investors and, in the worst case scenario, could derail the market in dangerous ways.
Bitcoin is maintained on the decentralized, open source protocol of the peer-to-peer bitcoin computer network (the “Bitcoin Network”). No single entity owns or operates the Bitcoin Network. The infrastructure of the Bitcoin Network is collectively maintained by a decentralized user base. The Bitcoin Network is accessed through software, and software governs bitcoin’s creation, movement, and ownership. The value of bitcoin is determined in great part by the supply of (which is limited), and demand for, bitcoin in the global exchange markets for the trading of bitcoin (individually, “Bitcoin Exchanges” and collectively, the “Bitcoin Exchange Market”), market expectations for the adoption of bitcoin and the volume of private user-to-user transactions.
The tables below show performance examples of an UltraPro and UltraPro Short ProShares Fund that have investment objectives to correspond to three times (3x) and three times the inverse (-3x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same as or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
If a Fund that writes an option wishes to terminate the Fund’s obligation, the Fund may effect a “closing purchase transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written by the Fund. The effect of the purchase is that the writer’s position will be canceled by the OCC. However, a writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after the writer has been notified of the exercise of an option. Likewise, a Fund which is the holder of an option may liquidate its position by effecting a “closing sale transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased by the Fund. There is no guarantee that either a closing purchase or a closing sale transaction can be effected. If any call or put option is not exercised or sold, the option will become worthless on its expiration date. A Fund will realize a gain (or a loss) on a closing purchase transaction with respect to a call or a put option previously written by the Fund if the premium, plus commission costs, paid by the Fund to purchase the call or put option to close the transaction is less (or greater) than the premium, less commission costs, received by the Fund on the sale of the call or the put option. The Fund also will realize a gain if a call or put option which the Fund has written lapses unexercised, because the Fund would retain the premium.
This means simply that you put down 1 bitcoin and you can trade 20 on OKCoin, or 100 bitcoin on BitMEX. The multiple refers to the initial margin you need to open the nominal position value. You simply set the margin aside as collateral, and if the position goes against you, the collateral will be used to exit your position into a liquidation, or margin call.
In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) will constitute unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) to entities (including a qualified pension plan, an individual retirement account, a 401(k) plan, a Keogh plan or other tax-exempt entity) subject to tax on UBTI, thereby potentially requiring such an entity that is allocated excess inclusion income, and otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, to file a return and pay tax on such income, and (iii) in the case of a foreign shareholder (defined below), will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. A shareholder will be subject to income tax on such inclusions without reference to any exemption therefrom otherwise available under the Code.
Under a Rule 12b-1 Distribution Plan (the “Plan”) adopted by the Board, each Fund may pay its distributor and financial intermediaries, such as broker-dealers and investment advisors, up to 0.25% on an annualized basis of the average daily net assets of a Fund as reimbursement or compensation for distribution related activities with respect to the Funds. Because these fees are paid out of each Fund’s assets on an on-going basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. For the prior fiscal year, no payments were made by the fund under the Plan.
Blockchain technology builds on the innovations of the blockchain and adopts it for many business, recreational and personal applications. Although initially associated with digital commodities like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology can be used to track tangible, intangible and digital assets and companies in all business sectors. Blockchain technology may, in the future, be used to support a wide array of business applications in many different industries and markets. It is an emerging technology that has the potential to redefine how records of value are transacted. Blockchain technology seeks to facilitate the process of recording transactions and tracking assets (e.g., cryptocurrency, contracts, information, etc.) through solving challenges of counterparty trust and alleviating the need for a central repository or ledger. It is designed to provide a transparent and secure process to transfer and digitally record information or property on a shared transaction database through a secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer distributed ledger.
Orders to redeem Creation Units outside the Clearing Process (other than for Global Fund orders), including all cash-only redemptions, must be delivered through a DTC Participant that has executed the Authorized Participant Agreement. A DTC Participant who wishes to place an order for redemption of Creation Units to be effected outside the Clearing Process need not be a “participating party” under the Authorized Participant Agreement, but such orders must state that the DTC Participant is not using the Clearing Process and that the redemption of Creation Units will instead be effected through a transfer of Shares directly through DTC. A redemption order for a Fund must be received by the cut-off times set forth in “Redemption Cut-Off Times” above. The order must be accompanied or preceded by the requisite number of Shares of Funds specified in such order, which delivery must be made through DTC to the Custodian by the second Business Day (T+3) following such transmittal date. All other procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement must be properly followed in order to receive the next determined NAV.
When the market for certain 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 bitcoin futures contracts would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures contracts. This pattern of higher futures prices for longer expiration bitcoin futures contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for certain bitcoin 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 bitcoin futures contracts would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures contracts. This pattern of higher future prices for shorter expiration bitcoin futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.”
The first timestamping scheme invented was the proof-of-work scheme. The most widely used proof-of-work schemes are based on SHA-256 and scrypt. The latter now dominates over the world of cryptocurrencies, with at least 480 confirmed implementations. Some other hashing algorithms that are used for proof-of-work include CryptoNight, Blake, SHA-3, and X11.
If you are “going long” on Bitcoin, you assume that Bitcoin prices will go up. And if you expect Bitcoin prices to go up, you are interested in buying call options – options that enable you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price in the future. For example, if the current Bitcoin price is 5,000 USD and you expect it to rise to 8,000 USD 6 months from now, you would certainly pay good money for a call option that allows you to purchase Bitcoin for 5000 USD in 6 months, when everyone else is buying for 8,000 USD.
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, including potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages. Nevertheless, investors should be aware of the potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts . . . it is incumbent on market participants to conduct appropriate due diligence to determine the particular appropriateness of these products, which at times have exhibited extreme volatility and unique risks.”
That's why liquidity and volume are essential to a quality exchange. If you enter that contract at $400 and you see bitcoin spot price jumping to $500 but nobody is trading futures so you can't sell it to them, you get screwed. Luckily at this point in 2016 there are numerous options for trading futures that are liquid and settle on short time horizons. So you can typically trade contracts and get in and out of them with decent spreads and reasonable fees.
It is important to note, however, that leverage means that your potential losses may also be much higher. If pork belly prices fall, call options lose value in a much higher proportion than the pork bellies themselves. In the above example, if the price of pork bellies falls from 1,000 to 900 USD (by 10%), the price of call options may fall from 10.5 USD to almost zero, resulting in a near-total loss of your funds instead of a small loss of just 10%.