The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck, and these opinions may change at any time and from time to time. Non-VanEck proprietary information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Historical performance is not indicative of future results. Current data may differ from data quoted. Any graphs shown herein are for illustrative purposes only. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of VanEck.
As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and in market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users, Bitcoin Exchanges and the Bitcoin Exchange Market. These regulatory efforts include, but are not limited to, the following.
The idea is simple; if the future is trading above the underlying asset (Bitcoin) today, we buy the asset and sell the future, thus receiving cash and locking in a profit. Then on the delivery date, we sell the bitcoin to cover the costs of settling the futures contract. For the deal to be profitable, the price difference has to be large enough to cover interest between today and the delivery date as well as all costs fees.
This may sound like an unfair system to those who are used to trading with confidence that their profits are settled in full, but it's a compromise that has been made in order to offer the high leverage. If you want to guarantee that your profits are not reduced by any socialised loss, then use CryptoFacilities or Coinpit. They use a "termination" procedure in the event of a margin call not being filled. This simply terminates the contract and sends the portfolio value of the losing counterparty to the winning counterparty. It's worth noting that the system has been incredibly robust, with very minimal socialised losses being triggered on OKCoin and none on BitMEX as of November 2015.
• Counterparty Risk —The Fund bears the risk that the counterparty to derivative transaction, such as a futures contract, defaults or otherwise fails to honor its obligations. If a counterparty defaults, the Fund will lose money and the value of an investment in the Fund may decrease. The Fund may engage in futures transactions with a limited number of counterparties, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to counterparty risk. The effect of the volatility of bitcoin pricing or other aspects of trading in bitcoin futures on futures clearinghouses for bitcoin futures is currently unknown, and may result in increased counterparty risk.
On 25 March 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes. This means bitcoin will be subject to capital gains tax. In a paper published by researchers from Oxford and Warwick, it was shown that bitcoin has some characteristics more like the precious metals market than traditional currencies, hence in agreement with the IRS decision even if based on different reasons.
A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.
As noted above, swap agreements typically are settled on a net basis, which means that the payment streams are netted out, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Payments may be made at the conclusion of a swap agreement or periodically during its term. The timing and character of any income, gain or loss recognized by a Fund on the payment or payments made or received on a swap will vary depending upon the terms of the particular swap. Swap agreements do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to swap agreements is limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make. If the other party to a swap agreement defaults, a Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments that such Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any. The net amount of the excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each swap will be accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or liquid assets, having an aggregate NAV at least equal to such accrued excess will be earmarked or segregated by a Fund’s custodian (though, as noted above, in connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “seller”, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid, with a value at least equal to the full notional amount of the swap (minus any variation margin or amounts owed to the Fund under an offsetting transaction)). Inasmuch as these transactions are entered into for hedging purposes or are offset by earmarked or segregated cash or liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, the Funds and their Advisor believe that these transactions do not constitute senior securities within the meaning of the 1940 Act, and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to a Fund’s borrowing restrictions.
A Fund may invest in exchange-traded funds that are organized as trusts. An exchange-traded trust is a pooled trust that invests in assets, including physical commodities, and issues shares that are traded on a securities exchange. When the pool of assets is fixed, exchange traded trusts are treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and thus, the Fund will be treated as holding its share of an exchange traded trust’s assets, and the Fund’s sale of its interest in an exchange-traded trust will be treated as a sale of the underlying assets, for purpose of determining whether the Fund meets the 90 percent gross income test described above . As with investments in commodities and similar assets investments in exchange traded trusts may generate non-qualifying income for purposes of this test. As a result, a Fund’s investments in exchange traded trusts can be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC, and can bear adversely on the Fund’s ability to so qualify.
Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) launched trading in Cboe bitcoin futures at 5:00 p.m. Central Time on December 10 under the ticker symbol “XBT”. XBT℠ futures are cash-settled contracts based on the Gemini’s auction price for bitcoin, denominated in U.S. dollars. Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) is a digital asset exchange and custodian founded in 2014 that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as bitcoin, and is subject to fiduciary obligations, capital reserve requirements, and banking compliance standards of the New York State Department of Financial Services.3
It’s reasonable to assume that a product named a future is attempting to predict the future. For Bitcoin futures, this is definitely not what they deliver. The core utility of the futures markets is not predicting the future prices of their product but rather the secure delivery of a product at a known price, quality, and date. If there’s product seasonality (e.g., specific harvest times) or foreseeable shortages/abundances then future’s prices may reflect that but neither of these factors applies to Bitcoin.
I under-performed the market in 2017. A crypto market that went up several hundred percent and having read 24 books on finance and trading throughout the process, these were my biggest takeaways. Remember, these are notes I wrote to myself, so they may not work for your trading style. This version was summarized exclusively for CryptoMarket360 – a full version is hyperlinked at the bottom.
Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (ODD). Copies of the ODD are available from your broker or from The Options Clearing Corporation, 125 S. Franklin Street, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60606. The information on this website is provided solely for general education and information purposes and therefore should not be considered complete, precise, or current. Many of the matters discussed are subject to detailed rules, regulations, and statutory provisions which should be referred to for additional detail and are subject to changes that may not be reflected in the website information. No statement within the website should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell a security or to provide investment advice. The inclusion of non-Cboe advertisements on the website should not be construed as an endorsement or an indication of the value of any product, service, or website. The Terms and Conditions govern use of this website and use of this website will be deemed acceptance of those Terms and Conditions.
NYSs (or “direct shares”) are foreign stocks denominated in U.S. dollars and traded on American exchanges without being converted into ADRs. These stocks come from countries that do not restrict the trading of their stocks on other nations’ exchanges. Each Fund may also invest in ordinary shares of foreign issuers traded directly on U.S. exchanges.
Consistent with a client’s investment objective, the Advisor may enter into guarantee close agreements with certain brokers. In all such cases, the agreement calls for the execution price at least to match the closing price of the security. In some cases, depending upon the circumstances, the broker may obtain a price that is better than the closing price and which under the agreement provides additional benefits to clients. The Advisor will generally distribute such benefits pro rata to applicable client trades.
As a result of compounding, for periods greater than one day, the use of leverage tends to cause the performance of a Fund to vary from its benchmark performance times the stated multiple or inverse multiple in the Fund’s investment objective, before accounting for fees and fund expenses. Compounding affects all investments, but has a more significant impact on geared funds. Four factors significantly affect how close daily compounded returns are to longer-term benchmark returns times the fund’s multiple: the length of the holding period, benchmark volatility, whether the multiple is positive or inverse, and its leverage level. Longer holding periods, higher benchmark volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each can lead to returns farther from the multiple times the benchmark return. As the tables below show, particularly during periods of higher benchmark volatility, compounding will cause longer term results to vary from the benchmark performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective. This effect becomes more pronounced as volatility increases.
• Liquidity Risk — In certain circumstances, such as the disruption of the orderly markets for the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the Fund might not be able to acquire or dispose of certain holdings quickly or at prices that represent true market value in the judgment of ProShare Advisors. Markets may be disrupted by a number of events, including but not limited to cyber-attacks, economic crises, natural disasters, new legislation, or regulatory changes inside or outside the U.S.
At that point, you can begin trading. You can submit market or limit orders. The orders will be filled as soon as your buy/sell order can be matched to a corresponding one. Most exchanges only offer this limited structure for placing orders. However, a growing number of exchanges now allow more complex orders, including the option to go long/short on a stock and to employ leverage.
Always pay attention to Bitcoin. Most altcoins (every cryptocurrency except Bitcoin) are pegged more closely to Bitcoin than Asian currencies were to the USD during the Asian Financial Crisis. If Bitcoin price pump drastically, altcoins price can go down as people try to exit altcoins to ride the BTC profits; inversely, if Bitcoin prices dump drastically, altcoin prices can go down, too, as people exit altcoins to exchange back into fiat. The best times for altcoin growth appear when Bitcoin shows organic growth or decline, or remains stagnant in price.
risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such a default occurs, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s right as a creditor. The counterparty risk for cleared swaps is generally lower than for uncleared over-the-counter swaps because generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared swap agreement and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations. However, there can be no assurance that the clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to a Fund. Upon entering into a cleared swap, a Fund may be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents in the range of approximately 3% to 6% of the notional amount for CDS on high yield debt issuers and 1% to 5% for CDS on investment grade debt issuers (this amount is subject to change by the clearing organization that clears the trade). This amount, known as “initial margin,” is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the cleared swap and is returned to a Fund upon termination of the swap, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the swap fluctuates, making the long and short position in the swap contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” The premium (discount) payments are built into the daily price of the swap and thus are amortized through the variation margin. The variation margin payment also includes the daily portion of the periodic payment stream.
Qualifying Income described in clause (i) of subparagraph (a) above) will be treated as Qualifying Income. In general, such entities will be treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes because they meet the passive income requirement under Code section 7704(c)(2). In addition, although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to RICs, such rules do apply to a RIC with respect to items attributable to an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership. Moreover, the amounts derived from investments in foreign currency will be treated as Qualifying Income for purposes of subparagraph (a) above. There is a remote possibility that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) could issue guidance contrary to such treatment with respect to foreign currency gains that are not directly related to a RIC’s principal business of investing in stocks or securities (or options or futures with respect to stocks or securities), which could affect a Fund’s ability to meet the 90% gross income test and adversely affect the manner in which that Fund is managed.
Each Fund may provide redemptions in portfolio securities or cash at the Advisor’s discretion. With respect to the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds, the Index Receipt Agent makes available through the NSCC immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange on each day that the Exchange is open for business the portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). These securities, at times, may not be identical to Deposit Securities which are applicable to a purchase of Creation Units. The Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeeming shareholder a portfolio of securities which differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities but does not differ in NAV.
For example, a Fund may cover its long position in a futures contract by purchasing a put option on the same futures contract with a strike price (i.e., an exercise price) as high as or higher than the price of the futures contract, or, if the strike price of the put is less than the price of the futures contract, the Fund will earmark/segregate cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the put and the price of the future. A Fund may also “cover” its long position in a futures contract by taking a short position in the instruments underlying the futures contract, or by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently, with a short position in the futures contract. A Fund may “cover” its short position in a futures contract by purchasing a call option on the same futures contract with a strike price (i.e., an exercise price) as low as or lower than the price of the futures contract, or, if the strike price of the call is greater than the price of the futures contract, the Fund will earmark /segregate cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the call and the price of the future. A Fund may also “cover” its short position in a futures contract by taking a long position in the instruments underlying the futures contract, or by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently with a long position in the futures contract.
Special Note Regarding the Correlation Risks of Geared Funds (All Funds, except the Matching ProShares Funds, 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 and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF)
The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the net investment income of certain individuals, trusts, and estates to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by a Fund of ordinary dividends and capital gain dividends as described above, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, redemption or exchange of Fund shares. Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of this additional tax on their investment in a Fund.
In order to make sure that you actually have money in your margin account to settle the difference with Mortimer every day, you are required to put up an initial margin at the beginning of the contract. A lower sum, the so-called minimum margin or maintenance margin, is also defined by the broker. If the money in your margin account falls from the initial margin to the maintenance margin, it triggers a margin call: The broker requests you to fill up your margin account to at least the initial margin (of course, you may also put up more).