ProShares Crude Oil Strategy ETF is an actively managed fund that seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) crude oil futures markets. The Fund’s strategy seeks to outperform certain index based strategies by actively managing the rolling of WTI crude oil futures contracts. “Rolling” means selling a futures contract as it nears its expiration date and replacing it with a new futures contract that has a later expiration date. The Fund generally selects between WTI crude oil futures contracts with the three nearest expiration dates (known as the front, second and third month contracts) based on ProShare Advisors’ analysis of the liquidity and cost of establishing and maintaining such positions. Each month, the Fund will evaluate this strategy on or about the fifth business day of the month and may roll its position from the fifth through ninth business days into the contract month determined by the Fund’s active investment strategy.
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (including through the Subsidiary, as defined below), or “turns over” its portfolio. A higher portfolio turnover rate for the Fund or the Subsidiary may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when the Fund’s shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the example above, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus. Thus, no portfolio turnover information is provided for this Fund.
The Trust reserves the absolute right to reject a purchase order transmitted to it by the Distributor in respect of any Fund if (a) the purchaser or group of purchasers, upon obtaining the Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of any Fund; (b) the Deposit Securities delivered are not as specified by ProShare Advisors and ProShare Advisors has not consented to acceptance of an in-kind deposit that varies from the designated Deposit Securities; (c) acceptance of the purchase transaction order would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (d) the acceptance of the purchase transaction order would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (e) the acceptance of the purchase order transaction would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or ProShare Advisors, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners; (f) the value of a Cash Purchase Amount, or the value of the Balancing Amount to accompany an in-kind deposit, exceeds a purchase authorization limit extended to an Authorized Participant by the Custodian and the Authorized Participant has not deposited an amount in excess of such purchase authorization with the Custodian prior to the relevant cut-off time for the Fund on the transmittal date; or (g) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Distributor and ProShare Advisors make it impractical to process purchase orders. The Trust shall notify a prospective purchaser of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of purchase transaction orders nor shall either of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification.
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.
Each Fund intends to invest to a significant extent in bitcoin futures contracts. Each Fund expects to gain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts by investing a portion of its assets in a wholly-owned subsidiary of such Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (each, a “Subsidiary”). Each Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor. Unlike the Fund, a Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Each Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to bitcoin futures contracts in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Each Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in its corresponding Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to a Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of its underlying Subsidiary.
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.”
Market conditions should be considered favorable to a Fund when such conditions make it more likely that the value of an investment in that Fund will increase. Market conditions should be considered adverse to a Fund when such conditions make it more likely that the value of an investment in that Fund will decrease. For example, market conditions that cause the level of the S&P 500® to rise are considered “favorable” to the Ultra S&P500® and are considered “adverse” to the Short S&P500®.
Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency—a digital or cryptocurrency secured through cryptography, or codes that can’t be read without a key. Traditional currencies are made up of paper bills and coins. Unlike traditional currencies, the bitcoin is not issued by any central government. Rather, a computer algorithm determines how many bitcoins are produced and added to the economy. This is much different than a traditional currency, where central banks typically determine how much money to print.
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed their use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in eight countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. In the United States and Canada, state and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.
The Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.07%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this investment advisory fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
Because most ETFs are investment companies, absent exemptive relief or reliance on an applicable exemptive statute or rule, a Fund’s investments in such investment companies generally would be limited under applicable federal statutory provisions. Those provisions typically restrict a Fund’s investment in the shares of another investment company to up to 5% of its assets (which may represent no more than 3% of the securities of such other investment company) and limit aggregate investments in all investment companies to 10% of assets. A Fund may invest in certain ETFs in excess of the statutory limit in reliance on an exemptive order issued by the SEC to those entities or pursuant to statutory or exemptive relief and pursuant to procedures approved by the Board provided that the Fund complies with the conditions of the exemptive relief, as they may be amended from time to time, and any other applicable investment limitations.
The Funds may invest in shares of foreign corporations that are classified under the Code as passive foreign investment companies (“PFICs”). In general, a foreign corporation is classified as a PFIC if at least one-half of its assets constitute investment-type assets, or 75% or more of its gross income is investment-type income. Certain distributions from a PFIC, as well as gain from the sale of PFIC shares, are treated as “excess distributions.” Excess distributions are taxable as ordinary income even though, absent
• The bitcoin exchanges on which bitcoin trades are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated and, therefore, may be more exposed to 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.
• Tax Risk — In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, the 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. The 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. The Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, the 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.
The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to any Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its NAV is not reasonably practicable; (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC; or (5) for up to 14 calendar days for any of the Global Funds or Short or Ultra International ProShares Funds during an international local holiday, as described below in “Other Information”.
Well since then bitcoin is up more than 50 percent; it reached a record of $19,511 early Monday, hours after CME launched its futures contract. "Bitcoin Climbs as Futures Debut Fails to Incite Attack by Shorts," is the Bloomberg headline about Sunday's start of trading on CME. On the other hand, bitcoin was actually down a bit on the first full day of CME trading yesterday, and fell further overnight; "Bitcoin Futures Prices Fall in CME Debut" is the Wall Street Journal headline about Monday's trading. It is of course still very early days for the futures, and it's still possible that the shorts will come in and drive the price down. I guess it's even possible bitcoin bulls and bears will both flock to the futures market and trade with each other to find an efficient and stable price that reflects bitcoin's fundamental value, whatever that is.
Crypto Facilities and the CME Group have been calculating and publishing the Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) since November 2016. Such an official rate is a prerequisite of options trading in the traditional markets. The BRR is calculated based on the rates from the biggest exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit, and Kraken. More concretely, it is calculated based on all Bitcoin vs. USD trades on the participating exchanges between 3 and 4 p.m. London time. To calculate the BRR, the hour between 3 and 4 is divided into 12 intervals of 5 minutes. For each interval, the volume-weighted median of the Bitcoin price is calculated (statistically, the median, in contrast to the average, prevents single outliers from distorting the price). The BRR is then the average of these 12 median values. More details about the calculation of the BRR can be found in the BRR whitepaper.