• The bitcoin exchanges on which bitcoin trades are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated and, therefore, may be more exposed to volatility, fraud and security breaches than established, regulated exchanges for other products. Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks. Fraudulent activity can increase volatility and have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin, the general acceptance of bitcoin as an investment or means of currency and could have a negative impact on the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests and the value of the Fund.
Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Parent Funds and the Subsidiaries are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of a Parent Fund and/or its respective Subsidiary to operate as described in this SAI and could negatively affect a Parent Fund and its shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiaries. If Cayman Islands law changes such that a Subsidiary must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Parent Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns. See “Taxation” below for more information.
• Valuation Risk — In certain circumstances, portfolio holdings may be valued using techniques other than market quotations. The value established for a portfolio holding may be different from what would be produced through the use of another methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their value from one day to the next than would be the case if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund could sell a portfolio holding for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund would incur a loss because a portfolio holding is sold at a discount to its established value.
Creation Units of Shares may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor. Such Authorized Participant will agree pursuant to the terms of such Authorized Participant Agreement on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, as the case may be, to certain conditions, including that such Authorized Participant will make available an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Balancing Amount, defined below, and the Transaction Fee, described below in “Transaction Fees”. The Authorized Participant may require the investor to enter into an agreement with such Authorized Participant with respect to certain matters, including payment of the Balancing Amount. Investors who are not Authorized Participants must make appropriate arrangements with an Authorized Participant. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not be a DTC Participant or may not have executed an Authorized Participant Agreement, and that therefore orders to purchase Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant. As a result, purchase orders placed through an Authorized Participant may result in additional charges to such investor. The Trust does not expect to enter into an Authorized Participant Agreement with more than a small number of DTC Participants.
In 1998, Wei Dai published a description of "b-money", an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system. Shortly thereafter, Nick Szabo created "bit gold". Like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that would follow it, bit gold (not to be confused with the later gold-based exchange, BitGold) was an electronic currency system which required users to complete a proof of work function with solutions being cryptographically put together and published. A currency system based on a reusable proof of work was later created by Hal Finney who followed the work of Dai and Szabo.
The information in this Statement of Additional Information is not complete and may be changed. Shares of the Fund may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This Statement of Additional Information is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
During the market slump last week, there was some banter on Reddit that the crash was going to end Wednesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM EST when the markets closed the first Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE expired at $10,900 per Bitcoin. There was even a countdown posted by one Reddit user. While the price of Bitcoin did not rocket back up in the immediate aftermath, altcoins started to rebound hours after the futures contracts expired.
Each Independent Trustee is paid a $185,000 annual retainer for service as Trustee on the Board and for service as Trustee for other funds in the Fund Complex, $10,000 for attendance at each quarterly in-person meeting of the Board of Trustees, $3,000 for attendance at each special meeting of the Board of Trustees, and $3,000 for attendance at telephonic meetings. Trustees who are also Officers or affiliated persons receive no remuneration from the Trust for their services as Trustees. The Officers, other than the CCO, receive no compensation directly from the Trust for performing the duties of their offices.
Furthermore, each Fund, except the Matching ProShares Funds, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF has an investment objective to match the performance, a multiple (2x or 3x), the inverse (-1x) or a multiple of the inverse (-2x or -3x) of the performance of a benchmark on a single day. A “single day” is measured from the time the Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Fund’s next NAV calculation. These Funds are subject to the correlation risks described above. In addition, while a close correlation of any Fund to its benchmark may be achieved on any single day, over time, the cumulative percentage increase or decrease in the NAV of the shares of a Fund may diverge, in some cases significantly, from the cumulative percentage decrease or increase in the benchmark due to a compounding effect as further described in the Prospectus and below.
In general, the Code defines (1) “short-term capital gain dividends” as distributions of net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses and (2) “interest-related dividends” as distributions from U.S. source interest income of types similar to those not subject to U.S. federal income tax if earned directly by an individual foreign shareholder, in each case to the extent such distributions are properly reported as such by a Fund in a written notice to shareholders.
• 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.
• Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are listed for trading on the [ ] Exchange and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares and other market factors. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming directly with the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, trading spreads and the resulting premium or discount on the Fund’s shares may widen and the Fund’s shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting.
A bitcoin exchange operates somewhat similarly to online stock trading brokers, where customers deposit their fiat currency (or bitcoins) to carry out trades. However, not all bitcoin exchanges offer such services. Some exchanges are more like wallets and thus provide limited trading options or storage of currency (both digital and fiat) for trading. The bigger and more elaborate exchanges offer trades between different cryptocurrencies, as well as between digital and fiat currencies. The number of currencies supported by an exchange varies from one exchange to another. (For more, see: Why Is Bitcoin’s Value So Volatile.)
For purposes of this SAI, the word “invest” refers to a Fund directly and indirectly investing in securities or other instruments. Similarly, when used in this SAI, the word “investment” refers to a Fund’s direct and indirect investments in securities and other instruments. For example, the Funds typically invest indirectly in securities or instruments by using financial instruments with economic exposure similar to those securities or instruments.
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.
(b) A majority of the Disinterested Trustees acting on the matter (provided that a majority of the Disinterested Trustees then in office act on the matter) or independent legal counsel in a written opinion shall determine, based upon a review of the readily available facts (as opposed to the facts available upon a full trial), that there is reason to believe that the recipient ultimately will be found entitled to indemnification.
• Small-and Mid-Cap Company Investment Risk — The Fund may invest in stocks of small-and mid-cap companies. The risk of equity investing may be particularly acute for securities of issuers with smaller market capitalizations. Small-and mid-cap company stocks may trade at greater spreads or lower trading volumes, and may be less liquid than the stocks of larger companies. Small-and mid-cap companies may have limited product lines or resources, may be dependent upon a particular market niche and may have greater fluctuations in price than the stocks of larger companies. Further, stocks of small-and mid-sized companies could be more difficult to liquidate during market downturns compared to larger, more widely traded companies. In addition, small-and mid-cap companies may lack the financial and personnel resources to handle economic or industry-wide setbacks and, as a result, such setbacks could have a greater effect on small-and mid-cap security prices.
of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. The Trust has been granted an exemption by the SEC from this prospectus delivery obligation in ordinary secondary market transactions involving Shares under certain circumstances, on the condition that purchasers of Shares are provided with a product description of the Shares. Broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to an ordinary secondary market transaction), and thus dealing with Shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus-delivery obligation with respect to Shares are reminded that under Rule 153 under the 1933 Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the 1933 Act owed to a national securities exchange member in connection with a sale on the national securities exchange is satisfied if a Fund’s prospectus is made available upon request at the national securities exchange on which the Shares of such Fund trade. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange and not with respect to other transactions.
Portfolio managers are generally responsible for multiple investment company accounts. As described below, certain inherent conflicts of interest arise from the fact that a portfolio manager has responsibility for multiple accounts, including conflicts relating to the allocation of investment opportunities. Listed below for each portfolio manager are the number and type of accounts managed or overseen by such portfolio manager as of May 31, 2017.
In order to provide current Share pricing information, an Exchange disseminates an updated Indicative Optimized Portfolio Value (“IOPV”) for each Fund. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPVs and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPVs. IOPVs are expected to be disseminated on a per Fund basis every 15 seconds during regular trading hours of an Exchange.
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.
Louis M. Mayberg, President of ProShare Advisors from inception to April 2012 and ProFund Advisors LLC from April 1997 to April 2012. Mr. Mayberg co-founded National Capital Companies, L.L.C., an investment bank specializing in financial services companies mergers and acquisitions and equity underwritings in 1986, and managed its financial services hedge fund. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance from The George Washington University.
• In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, a Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from “qualifying income,” meet certain asset diversification tests at the end of each taxable quarter, and meet annual distribution requirements. A Fund’s pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. A Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, a Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its shareholders, and were ineligible to or were not to cure such failure, the Fund would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax on all its income at the fund level. The resulting taxes could substantially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of income available for distribution. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions. Please see the Statement of Additional Information for more information.
Currently there are a several digital asset trading platforms that provide investors with forms of derivative products such as futures, so one could estimate and synthesize the discrete futures curve from the averages of various curves. MVIS research used BitMEX, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC as sources, to construct and approximate bitcoin futures curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges.
Subject to the general supervision by the Board, the Advisor is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities and derivatives for each of the Funds and the selection of brokers and dealers to effect transactions. Purchases from dealers serving as market makers may include a dealer’s mark-up or reflect a dealer’s mark-down. Purchases and sales of U.S. government securities are normally transacted through issuers, underwriters or major dealers in U.S. government securities acting as principals. Such transactions, along with other fixed income securities transactions, are made on a net basis and do not typically involve payment of brokerage commissions. The cost of securities purchased from an underwriter usually includes a commission paid by the issuer to the underwriters; transactions with dealers normally reflect the spread between bid and asked prices; and transactions involving baskets of equity securities typically include brokerage commissions. As an alternative to directly purchasing securities, the Advisor may find efficiencies and cost savings by purchasing futures or using other derivative instruments like total return swaps or forward contracts. The Advisor may also choose to cross -trade securities between clients to save costs where allowed under applicable law.
The Bitcoin Network’s functionality relies on the Internet. A broadly accepted and widely adopted decentralized network is necessary for a fully-functional blockchain network, such as the Bitcoin Network. Features of the Bitcoin Network, such as decentralization, open source protocol, and reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, are essential to preserve the stability of the network and decrease the risk of fraud or cyber-attacks. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect a Fund. In addition to technical disruptions such as cyber-attacks, the potential elimination of the net neutrality regulations in the U.S. may have a negative impact on miners, Bitcoin Markets and the Bitcoin ecosystem. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Instruments in which the Funds invest.
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.
Provide a list or diagram of all persons directly or indirectly controlled by or under common control with the Registrant. For any person controlled by another person, disclose the percentage of voting securities owned by the immediately controlling person or other basis of that person’s control. For each company, also provide the state or other sovereign power under the laws of which the company is organized.
The Board has established an Audit Committee to assist the Board in performing oversight responsibilities. The Audit Committee is composed exclusively of Independent Trustees. Currently, the Audit Committee is composed of Messrs. Reynolds, Wachs and Fertig. Among other things, the Audit Committee makes recommendations to the full Board of Trustees with respect to the engagement of an independent registered public accounting firm and reviews with the independent registered public accounting firm the plan and results of the internal controls, audit engagement and matters having a material effect on the Trust’s financial operations. During the past fiscal year, the Audit Committee met five times, and the Board of Trustees met four times.
When cash markets are not functioning well, cash and carry arbitrage (and its reverse) futures markets may make the underlying asset accessible to more people. It is possible that A is bullish on bitcoin, but does not wish to go through the hassles of creating a wallet and storing it safely. At the same time, B might be comfortable with bitcoin wallets, but might be unwilling to take bitcoin price risk. Then B can buy bitcoin spot and sell cash settled bitcoin futures to A; the result is that A obtains exposure to bitcoin without creating a bitcoin wallet, while B obtains a risk free investment (a synthetic T-bill). Similarly, suppose C wishes to bet against bitcoin, but does not have the ability to short it; while D has no views on bitcoin, but has sufficient access to the cash market to be able to short bitcoin. Then D can take a risk free position by shorting bitcoin in the cash market and buying bitcoin futures from C who obtains a previously unavailable short position.
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.