Unlike many commodity futures, Bitcoin futures are cash settled rather than physically settled. Cash settlement is a relatively new development in futures trading, first introduced in 1981 for Eurodollar futures, that addresses the problem of how to settle futures contracts on things that are difficult/impossible to deliver physicially—things like interest rates, large stock indexes (e.g., S&P 500), and volatility indexes (Cboe’s VIX). Futures physical settlement involves actual shipment/change of ownership of the underlying product to the contract holder but in practice, it’s rarely used (~2% of the time). Instead, most organizations that are using futures to hedge prices of future production/usage will make separate arrangements with suppliers/customers for physical delivery and just use the futures to protect against contrary price changes. In practice, the final settlement price of the contract can be used to provide the desired price protection regardless of whether the futures contract specifies physically delivery or cash-settlement.
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 Short Bitcoin Futures 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 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.
COVERED BONDS. The Funds may invest in covered bonds, which are debt securities issued by banks or other credit institutions that are backed by both the issuing institution and underlying pool of assets that compose the bond (a “cover pool”). The cover pool for a covered bond is typically composed of residential or commercial mortgage loans or loans to public sector institutions. A covered bond may lose value if the credit rating of the issuing bank or credit institution is downgraded or the quality of the assets in the cover pool deteriorates.
The foregoing discussion is primarily a summary of certain U.S. federal income tax consequences of investing in a Fund based on the law in effect as of the date of this SAI. The discussion does not address in detail special tax rules applicable to certain classes of investors, such as, among others, IRAs and other retirement plans, tax-exempt entities, foreign investors, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, and investors making in-kind contributions to a Fund. Such shareholders may be subject to U.S. tax rules that differ significantly from those summarized above. You should consult your tax advisor for more information about your own tax situation, including possible other federal, state, local and, where applicable, foreign tax consequences of investing in a Fund.
In a possible lead-up to its plans on becoming an ATS, on March 26, 2018, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced it was adding support for ERC20 into all its trading platforms. ERC20 is the Ethereum technical standard that the majority of ICO tokens are based on. “This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” Coinbase said in a blog post.
“Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He further added, “As the world's largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
As of May 2018, over 1,800 cryptocurrency specifications existed. Within a cryptocurrency system, the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to as miners: who use their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions, adding them to the ledger in accordance with a particular timestamping scheme.
But… it's also possible that the institutional investors that are negative on bitcoin's prospects (and there's no shortage of those) may use the futures markets to put money behind their conviction. It's much easier to sell a futures contract with a lower-than-market price than it is to actually short bitcoin. These investors may well send signals to the actual bitcoin market that sends prices tumbling.
Source: MV Index Solutions GmbH (MVIS®). MVIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Van Eck Associates Corporation. Data as of December 8, 2017 (synthesized data from BitMEX, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC which represents non-U.S. listed bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges). Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Current market conditions may not continue.
Knowing their estimated costs and profit requirements the arbitrageur determines a minimum difference they need between the futures’ prices and the spot price before they will enter the market. They then monitor the price difference between Bitcoin futures and the Bitcoin exchanges and if large enough they act to profit on that gap. For example, if a specific Bitcoin future (e.g., February contract) is trading sufficiently higher than the current Bitcoin exchange price they will short that Bitcoin future and hedge their position by buying Bitcoins on the exchange. At that point, if they have achieved trade prices within their targets, they have locked in a guaranteed profit. They will hold those positions until contract expiration (or until they can cover their short futures and sell Bitcoins at a profit).
Unsponsored ADR programs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the issuer of the underlying securities. As a result, available information concerning the issuers may not be as current for unsponsored ADRs, and the price of unsponsored depositary receipts may be more volatile than if such instruments were sponsored by the issuer and/or there may be no correlation between available information and the market value.
• A person who exchanges Creation Units for securities generally will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and any cash received. However, all or a portion of any loss a person realizes upon an exchange of Creation Units for securities will be disallowed by the Internal Revenue Service if such person purchases other substantially identical shares of the Fund within 30 days before or after the exchange. In such case, the basis of the newly purchased shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.
The tax treatment of certain contracts (including regulated futures contracts and non-equity options) entered into by the Fund will be governed by Section 1256 of the Code (“Section 1256 contracts”). Gains (or losses) on these contracts generally are considered to be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although foreign currency gains or losses arising from certain Section 1256 contracts may be treated as ordinary in character (see “Foreign Currency Transactions” below). Also, section 1256 contracts held by a Fund at the end of each taxable year (and for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates prescribed in the Code) are “marked-to-market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gains or losses are treated as ordinary or 60/40 gains or losses, as appropriate.
The CME Group contract (symbol "BTC") began trading on December 18, 2017, building off of the success of the BRR and demand for a regulated trading venue for the digital asset market. The contract is cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are listed on and subject to the rules of CME.2
The Board has appointed Michael L. Sapir to serve as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Sapir is also the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Advisor and, as such, is not an Independent Trustee. The Chairman’s primary role is to participate in the preparation of the agenda for Board meetings, determine (with the advice of counsel) which matters need to be acted upon by the Board, and to ensure that the Board obtains all the information necessary to perform its functions and take action. The Chairman also presides at all meetings of the Board and acts, with the assistance of staff, as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys and the Independent Trustees between meetings. The Chairman may perform such other functions as may be requested by the Board from time to time. The Board does not have a lead Independent Trustee.
R-1 (high) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality, and indicates an entity which possesses unquestioned ability to repay current liabilities as they fall due. Entities rated in this category normally maintain strong liquidity positions, conservative debt levels and profitability which is both stable and above average. Companies achieving an “R-1 (high)” rating are normally leaders in structurally sound industry segments with proven track records, sustainable positive future results and no substantial qualifying negative factors. Given the extremely tough definition which DBRS has established for an “R-1 (high)”, few entities are strong enough to achieve this rating.
For purposes of the diversification test described in subparagraph (b) above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. Also, for purposes of the diversification test in (b) above, the identification of the issuer (or, in some cases, issuers) of a particular Fund investment can depend on the terms and conditions of that investment. In some cases, identification of the issuer (or issuers) is uncertain under current law, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to issuer identification for a particular type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to meet the diversification test in (b) above.
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.
CREDIT SUISSE SECURITIES (USA) LLC AND ITS AFFILIATES (COLLECTIVELY, “CREDIT SUISSE”) DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE INDEX, OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN AND CREDIT SUISSE SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN. CREDIT SUISSE MAKES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY LICENSEE, OWNERS OF THE PRODUCT, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE CREDIT SUISSE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. CREDIT SUISSE MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE CREDIT SUISSE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL CREDIT SUISSE HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Cryptocurrencies have been compared to Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and economic bubbles, such as housing market bubbles. Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management stated in 2017 that digital currencies were "nothing but an unfounded fad (or perhaps even a pyramid scheme), based on a willingness to ascribe value to something that has little or none beyond what people will pay for it", and compared them to the tulip mania (1637), South Sea Bubble (1720), and dot-com bubble (1999).
If the price drops to $500, you earn 11.73 BTC on the position and have 20.06 BTC left, which at $500 per BTC is worth $10,000! This is a simple example just to show you, even if you're a small bitcoin holder, bitcoin futures are a valuable risk management tool. You could have performed this "hedge" at 50x leverage by putting down just 8.33/50= 0.17 BTC worth of margin!
One of the biggest issues for institutional investors is the fragmented nature of the market, requiring them to operate on several exchanges. Often, this forces them to come up with customized ways to deal with the limitations of each exchange — a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. Not only that, but this can lead to liquidity and slippage problems, as even small trades can consume liquidity and cause prices to slip.
The Advisor, with the assistance of ISS, maintains for a period of at least five years a record of each proxy statement received and materials that were considered when the proxy was voted during the calendar year. Information on how the Funds voted proxies relating to portfolio securities for the 12-month (or shorter) period ended June 30 is available without charge, upon request, (1) by calling the Advisor at 888-776-3637, (2) on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com, and (3) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
These developments are expected to not only further rally the price of Bitcoin, but also open the doors for more traditional investment opportunities based on cryptocurrencies, such as a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). ETFs are currently very popular investment products for beginning and advanced investors because they charge low fees and usually have low volatility. Because high volatility is one of the factors preventing conventional investors from entering the crypto market, products such as these could offer them the best of both worlds.
The Funds are exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and the shares of each Fund (“Shares”) are listed on NYSE Arca, The NASDAQ Stock Market or the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., (each, an “Exchange”). The Shares trade on the relevant Exchange at market prices that may differ to some degree from the Shares’ NAVs. Each Fund issues and redeems Shares on a continuous basis at NAV in large, specified numbers of Shares called “Creation Units.” Creation Units of the Funds are issued and redeemed in-kind for securities and an amount of cash or entirely in cash, in each case at the discretion of ProShare Advisors LLC (the “Advisor” or “ProShare Advisors”). Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares cannot be purchased from and are not redeemable securities of the Funds. Retail investors, therefore, generally will not be able to purchase or redeem the Shares directly. Rather, most retail investors will purchase and sell Shares in the secondary market with the assistance of a broker. Reference is made to the Prospectus for a discussion of the investment objectives and policies of each of the Funds. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. Portfolio management is provided to the Funds by ProShare Advisors, a Maryland limited liability company with offices at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, MD 20814.
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.
Created by Charlie Lee, a former Google engineer, Litecoin is an open-source payment network that operates on a global scale. It is not controlled by any centralized power, and it uses the “scrypt” as proof-of-work. It is similar to Bitcoin but has the advantage of offering a faster rate of generation and therefore faster transactions. This is one of the main reasons why its enthusiasts continue to invest or hold onto the coin even after finding out that its founder sold his stack.
The Global Listed Private Equity ETF and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF each pay ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.50%. The Inflation Expectations ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.55%. The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.65%. ProShare Advisors manages the investment and the reinvestment of the assets of each of the Funds in accordance with the investment objectives, policies, and limitations of the Fund, subject to the general supervision and control of the Trustees and the Officers of the Trust. ProShare Advisors bears all costs associated with providing these advisory services. Except for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, ProShare Advisors has contractually agreed to waive investment advisory and management services fees and to reimburse other expenses (exclusive of transaction costs,
Words of caution are appropriate when talking about going short and using leverage. These strategies are incredibly effective because they allow investors to not only profit from a general upward trend in bitcoin but to profit from the fluctuations in the market. At first, it is hard to think of a more perfect asset than bitcoin for such purposes. The upward trends have been fast and extreme, yet fluctuations are very common and tend to be substantial.
Note that any losses on the bitcoin position is offset by the short position in the Jan XBT Futures contract. Because Jan XBT was trading at a $1,000 premium to spot bitcoin, the profit for this trade is equal to that difference. Now, keep in mind if bitcoin doubles between now and January 17 settlement the maximum profit is $1000. Larry is giving up some upside to assure a return of $1000.
• Rolling Futures Contract Risk — The Fund will invest in and have exposure to bitcoin futures contracts and is subject to risks related to “rolling” such contracts. Rolling occurs when the Fund closes out of a futures contract as it nears its expiration and replaces it with a contract that has a later expiration. The Fund does not intend to hold futures contracts through expiration, but instead intends to “roll” its futures positions. When the market for these 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 contract would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures contract prices for longer expiration contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for 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 contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures prices for shorter expiration futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.” Extended periods of contango could cause significant losses for the Fund. The Advisor will utilize active management techniques to seek to mitigate the negative impact or, in certain cases, benefit from the contango or backwardation present in the various futures contract markets, but there can be no guarantee that it will be successful in doing so.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have evolved from a playful experiment among technical experts to an established and growing branch of the global financial industry. This means that the times in which cryptocurrency traders and investors only concerned themselves with straightforward buying and selling are over. Derivatives are now entering the picture.