CryptoFacilities, Coinpit, and BitMEX has a realtime profit realisation, while OKCoin and Deribit has weekly rebalancing scheduled for all contract lengths. It's important to note that on all of these exchanges, all the futures and forwards are non-deliverable and have expiration at various times. Despite this, OKCoin uses "delivery" as their term for expiration settlement of a contract, and "settlement" for the weekly rebalancing of the Pnl for higher length contracts. Since we are stuck with this unprofessional Chinese exchange being the dominant market player in futures, we have to focus on their use of the terminology, but BitMEX and CryptoFacilities have very impressive and professional setups that use well documented procedures. Always read the documentation of any exchange you're using and the contract specifications of the individual product you're using.
The existence of market makers (e.g., Virtu Financial) refutes a common assertion about futures—that there‘s always a loser for every winner, that it’s a zero-sum game. It’s true that derivatives like stock options and futures are created in matched pairs—a long and a short contract. If two speculators own those two contracts the profits on one side are offset by losses on the other but market makers are not speculators. In general, they’re not betting on the direction of the market. They act as intermediaries, selling to buyers at the higher ask price and buying from sellers at the lower bid price— collecting the difference.
The Administrator pays all fees and expenses that are directly related to the services provided by the Administrator to the Funds; each Fund reimburses the Administrator for all fees and expenses incurred by the Administrator which are not directly related to the services the Administrator provides to the Funds under the service agreement. Each Fund may also reimburse the Administrator for such out-of-pocket expenses as incurred by the Administrator in the performance of its duties. For these services each Fund that was operational for the period indicated paid the Administrator and Citi the amounts set forth below. Because the New Fund was not operational at the end of the Trust’s last fiscal year, information on fees paid to the Administrator and Citi on behalf of the New Fund is not included in this SAI.
• Ownership of bitcoin is pseudonymous and the supply of accessible bitcoins is unknown. 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, 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 its bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Fund.
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
Each Fund may invest in a wide range of fixed income securities, which may include foreign sovereign, sub-sovereign and supranational bonds, as well as any other obligations of any rating or maturity such as foreign and domestic investment grade corporate debt securities and lower-rated corporate debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”). Lower-rated or high yield debt securities include corporate high yield debt securities, zero-coupon securities, payment-in-kind securities, and STRIPS. Investment grade corporate bonds are those rated BBB or better by Standard & Poor’s Rating Group (“S&P”) or Baa or better by Moody’s Investor Services (“Moody’s”). Securities rated BBB by S&P are considered investment grade, but Moody’s considers securities rated Baa to have speculative characteristics. See Appendix A for a description of corporate bond ratings. The Funds may also invest in unrated securities.
While cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are managed through advanced encryption techniques, many governments have taken a cautious approach toward them, fearing their lack of central control and the effects they could have on financial security. Regulators in several countries have warned against cryptocurrency and some have taken concrete regulatory measures to dissuade users. Additionally, many banks do not offer services for cryptocurrencies and can refuse to offer services to virtual-currency companies. Gareth Murphy, a senior central banking officer has stated "widespread use [of cryptocurrency] would also make it more difficult for statistical agencies to gather data on economic activity, which are used by governments to steer the economy". He cautioned that virtual currencies pose a new challenge to central banks' control over the important functions of monetary and exchange rate policy. While traditional financial products have strong consumer protections in place, there is no intermediary with the power to limit consumer losses if bitcoins are lost or stolen. One of the features cryptocurrency lacks in comparison to credit cards, for example, is consumer protection against fraud, such as chargebacks.
In addition, the securities of some foreign governments, companies and markets are less liquid, and may be more volatile, than comparable securities of domestic governments, companies and markets. Some foreign investments may be subject to brokerage commissions and fees that are higher than those applicable to U.S. investments. A Fund also may be affected by different settlement practices or delayed settlements in some foreign markets. Moreover, some foreign jurisdictions regulate and limit U.S. investments in the securities of certain issuers.
All Shares of the Trust are freely transferable. The Shares do not have preemptive rights or cumulative voting rights, and none of the Shares have any preference to conversion, exchange, dividends, retirements, liquidation, redemption or any other feature. Shares have equal voting rights, except that, in a matter affecting a particular series or class of Shares, only Shares of that series or class may be entitled to vote on the matter. Trust shareholders are entitled to require the Trust to redeem Creation Units of their Shares. The Declaration of Trust confers upon the Board of Trustees the power, by resolution, to alter the number of Shares constituting a Creation Unit or to specify that Shares may be individually redeemable. The Trust reserves the right to adjust the stock prices of Shares to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any such adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits which would have no effect on the net assets of the applicable Fund.
XBT futures is a cash-settled contract that settles to a single, tradeable auction price. In designing XBT futures, Cboe leveraged its significant product development expertise to design an instrument that allows participants to implement trading strategies in a manner to which they are accustomed. The single price settlement process gives participants the option of using XBT futures to hedge their exposure in underlying bitcoin or gain exposure to traded bitcoin prices without holding bitcoin.
There are two USA regulated Bitcoin futures exchanges in operation. The CME’s contract unit is five Bitcoins whereas the Cboe’s contract unit is one—that’s the biggest difference between these futures. The upfront money to buy or sell short a CME contract will be about five times higher than the Cboe contract. Larger investors won’t care but this will be an issue for smaller investors. Another difference is the spot/settlement process that the exchanges use. In the case of Cboe futures, the contracts will be settled to a 4 pm ET Gemini exchange auction price on the day of expiration, for the CME futures the settlement price is a complex calculation using an hour of volume weighted data from multiple exchanges (currently Bitstamp, itBit, Kraken, and GDAX). With the CME’s approach, it will be harder to manipulate the settlement price but it doesn’t give arbitrageurs a physical mechanism to trade their positions—possibly an issue.
Another huge pain point for institutional investors is portfolio management. Investors face major difficulties in tracking their real time and historical P&L (profits & loss). Our PMS (Portfolio Management System) allows users to see real-time and historical P&L over any time interval, as well as perform real-time monitoring of positions across exchanges and wallets.
While “physical” delivery of Bitcoins as part of a futures contract would certainly be possible it raises regulatory and security issues in today’s environment where the cybercurrency exchanges are mostly unregulated, somewhat unreliable, and theft due to security hacks is distressingly common. By selecting cash settlement the CME and Cboe completely avoid the transfer of custody issues and shift those problems to somebody else—namely the market makers and arbitrageur.
The introduction of futures didn't lead to a wave of hedge-fund money shorting bitcoin. It led to retail and institutional money going long bitcoin. We talked last week about the spread between Cboe's bitcoin futures price and the actual price of bitcoin, which was wider than $1,000 for a while. The spread has tightened considerably -- as of 8:15 a.m. today, the CME futures traded at $18,585, Cboe futures at $18,670, and spot bitcoin at about $18,245, for a spread of about 2 percent -- but it still exists. Why would you pay more for a synthetic bitcoin in a month than you would for an actual bitcoin today? The answer, presumably, is that the synthetic bitcoin is more valuable to you: You want bitcoin exposure, but you'd prefer to get it through a standardized contract on a regulated exchange that settles in dollars.
In the course of managing the Fund’s investments, ProShare Advisors will need to periodically adjust the Fund’s holdings in order to maintain investment exposure approximately equivalent to the Fund’s assets. This process entails obtaining additional inverse exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing inverse exposure as the Fund experiences losses. The higher the volatility of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the more such rebalancing can adversely affect the Fund’s performance.
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.
Important agents interacting with those prices are operating in one of three roles: individual speculator, market maker, or arbitrageur. A key role is market maker—a firm that has agreed to simultaneously act as both a buyer and seller for a specific security. When companies sign up for this role they agree to keep the bid/ask prices relatively close to each other—for example even if they aren’t keen on selling Bitcoins at the moment they can’t just set the ask price to an outrageous level. The agreed-upon maximum bid/ask ranges might be tied to market conditions (e.g., wider when deemed a “fast market”) and might allow time-outs but in general, the market maker agrees to act as a buffer between supply and demand.
In connection with its management of certain series of the Trust (i.e., the UltraShort S&P500®, the UltraShort QQQ®, the UltraShort Dow 30SM, the UltraShort MidCap400, the UltraShort SmallCap600, the UltraPro Short S&P500®, the UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Basic Materials, the UltraShort Financials, the UltraShort Utilities, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro MidCap 400, the UltraPro S&P 500®, the UltraPro QQQ®, the UltraPro Dow 30SM, the UltraPro Russell 2000, the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the UltraPro Financial Select Sector) and the wholly owned subsidiary of each of the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF (i.e., ProShares Cayman Portfolio I, ProShares Cayman Crude Oil Portfolio, ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio and ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, respectively) (collectively, the “Commodity Pools”) the Advisor has registered as a commodity pool operator (a “CPO”) and the Commodity Pools are commodity pools under the Commodity Exchange Act (the “CEA”). Accordingly, the Advisor is subject to registration and regulation as a CPO under the CEA, and must comply with various regulatory requirements under the CEA and the rules and regulations of the CFTC and the National Futures Association (“NFA”), including investor protection requirements, antifraud provisions, disclosure requirements and reporting and recordkeeping requirements. The Advisor is also subject to periodic inspections and audits by the CFTC and NFA. Compliance with these regulatory requirements could adversely affect the Commodity Pools’ total return. In this regard, any further amendment to the CEA or its related regulations that subject the Advisor or the Commodity Pools to additional regulation may have adverse impacts on the Commodity Pools’ operations and expenses.
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.
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.