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.
Some Centra investors have their doubts, and a plaintiffs' law firm has brought a class action complaint against Centra demanding the investors' money back. The complaint is fun -- Centra had a “Blog/Media Bounty” program to "Reward Experienced Writers who write quality Reviews, Articles About the Centra Project and the ICO crowdsale" -- but not that fun, because the plaintiffs' lawyers don't actually need to prove that Centra was a scam. Their job is much easier: All they need to do is prove that the tokens Centra sold in its initial coin offering were securities. If they were securities, they were sold illegally: They were offered publicly without being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or being exempt from registration. And one remedy for the illegal sale of securities is that the buyers can demand their money back -- whether or not Centra is legitimate, whether or not it is actually using the money to build a cryptocurrency debit card, whether or not it made any misleading statements in the ICO.
If the Fund holds the foregoing kinds of securities, it may be required to pay out as an income distribution each year an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash interest the Fund actually received. Such distributions may be made from the cash assets of the Fund or, if necessary, by disposition of portfolio securities including at a time when it may not be advantageous to do so. These dispositions may cause the Fund to realize higher amounts of short-term capital gains (generally taxed to shareholders at ordinary income tax rates) and, in the event the Fund realizes net capital gains from such transactions, its shareholders may receive a larger Capital Gain Dividend than if the Fund had not held such securities.
(d) In the event of a settlement of other disposition not involving a final adjudication (as provided in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of this Section 8.5.2) and resulting in a payment by a Covered Person, unless there has been either a determination that such Covered Person did not engage in willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of this office by the court or other body approving the settlement or other disposition, or a reasonable determination, based on a review of readily available facts (as opposed to a full trial-type inquiry), that he or she did not engage in such conduct, such determination being made by : (i) a vote of a majority of the Disinterested Trustees (as such term is defined in Section 8.5.5) acting on the matter); or (ii) a writer opinion of independent legal counsel.
On March 18, 2013, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) a bureau of the US Department of the Treasury, issued interpretive guidance relating to the application of the Bank Secrecy Act to distributing, exchanging and transmitting “virtual currencies.” More specifically, it determined that a user of virtual currencies (such as bitcoin) for its own account will not be considered a money service business (“MSB”) or be required to register, report and perform recordkeeping; however, an administrator or exchanger of virtual currency must be a registered money services business under FinCEN’s money transmitter regulations. As a result, Bitcoin Exchanges that deal with U.S. residents or otherwise fall under U.S. jurisdiction are required to obtain licenses and comply with FinCEN regulations. FinCEN released additional guidance clarifying that, under the facts presented, miners acting solely for their own benefit, software developers, hardware manufacturers, escrow service providers and investors in bitcoin would not be required to register with FinCEN on the basis of such activity alone, but that Bitcoin Exchanges, certain types of payment processors and convertible digital asset administrators would likely be required to register with FinCEN on the basis of the activities described in the October 2014 and August 2015 letters. FinCEN has also taken significant enforcement steps against companies alleged to have violated its regulations, including the assessment in July 2017 of a civil money penalty in excess of $110 million against BTC-e for alleged willful violation of U.S. anti-money laundering laws.
The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of high volatility. As a result, the CFE and CME have established margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts at levels substantially higher than the margin requirements for more established futures contracts. The increased margin requirements may result in much higher upfront costs for the Funds. Market participants may be deterred from incorporating bitcoin futures contracts into their investment strategies due to these higher costs and other limitations created by the high margin requirements, such as the limit on their ability to use leverage to invest in bitcoin futures contracts. A reduction in the adoption of the bitcoin futures contracts will negatively impact the market for bitcoin futures contracts and could negatively impact the performance of the Funds. In addition, the continued volatility in the price of bitcoin may result in further increases to the margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts by the CFE and CME, as well as some FCMs imposing margin requirements on their customers in amounts that are steeper than the margin required by the exchanges.
If this sounds confusing to you, then don't worry. In practice, these futures contracts are just like buying and selling spot market value. Just focus on the price of the contract and whether you are LONG or SHORT. If you're long and the futures price goes up, the BTC value of the contract goes up and you have bought an asset that is increasing in value.