The Board was formed in 2002, prior to the inception of the Trust’s operations. Messrs. Reynolds, Wachs and Sapir were appointed to serve as the Board’s initial trustees prior to the Trust’s operations. Mr. Fertig was added in June 2011. Each Trustee was and is currently believed to possess the specific experience, qualifications, attributes and skills necessary to serve as a Trustee of the Trust. In addition to their years of service as Trustees to ProFunds and Access One Trust, and gathering experience with funds with investment objectives and principal investment strategies similar to the Trust’s Funds, each individual brings experience and qualifications from other areas. In particular, Mr. Reynolds has significant senior executive experience in the areas of human resources, recruitment and executive organization; Mr. Wachs has significant experience in the areas of investment and real estate development; Mr. Sapir has significant experience in the field of investment management, both as an executive and as an attorney; and Mr. Fertig has significant experience in the areas of investment and asset management.
The NAV per share of each Fund is computed by dividing the value of the net assets of such Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by its total number of Fund shares outstanding. Expenses and fees are accrued daily and taken into account for purposes of determining NAV. The NAV of each Fund is calculated by JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association. The NAV of each Fund is generally determined each business day at the close of regular trading of the (ordinarily 3:00 p.m. Eastern time). The Fund’s investments are generally valued at their market value using information provided by a pricing service or market quotations. Short-term securities are valued on the basis of amortized cost or based on market prices. In addition, routine valuation of certain other derivatives is performed using procedures approved by the Board.
Transactions in options, futures, forward contracts, swaps and certain positions undertaken by the Funds may result in “straddles” for federal income tax purposes. The straddle rules may affect the character of gains (or losses) realized by a Fund, and losses realized by the Fund on positions that are part of a straddle may be deferred under the straddle rules, rather than being taken into account in calculating taxable income for the taxable year in which the losses are realized. In addition, certain carrying charges (including interest expense) associated with positions in a straddle may be required to be capitalized rather than deducted currently. Certain elections that a Fund may make with respect to its straddle positions may also affect the amount, character and timing of the recognition of gains or losses from the affected positions.
• Active Management Risk — The performance of actively managed funds reflects, in part, the ability of ProShare Advisors to select investments and make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. ProShare Advisors’ judgments about the Fund’s investments may prove to be incorrect. If the investments selected and strategies employed by ProShares Advisors fail to produce the intended results, the Fund may not achieve its investment objective and could underperform other funds with a similar investment objective and/or strategies.
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
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 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.
Under a Rule 12b-1 Distribution Plan (the “Plan”) adopted by the Board, each Fund may pay its distributor and financial intermediaries, such as broker-dealers and investment advisors, up to 0.25% on an annualized basis of the average daily net assets of a Fund as reimbursement or compensation for distribution related activities with respect to the Funds. Because these fees are paid out of each Fund’s assets on an on-going basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. For the prior fiscal year, no payments were made by the fund under the Plan.
When a new crypto is launched, its founders announce how many coins will be mined. Once the quota is reached, no further coins can be produced. The first digital coin introduced was Bitcoin, which remains today the benchmark for all other digital coins. Among other currencies that have made their way into the cryptocurrency hall-of-fame we have: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, and a number of derived currencies, including Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
Disctric0x is a network of decentralized communities and marketplaces, and where each ‘district’ is a decentralized entity on the district0x Network. In other words, District0x allows anyone to create a network of communities (or organizations) with a focus on governance, cooperation and decision making being decentralized. District0x is an open-source software project, and as such, it does not seek to gain profit, but rather focuses all of its attention towards building software that enables development and governance of marketplaces that are powered by the community.
• 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.
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Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market seems to rise and fall simultaneously with the altcoins. Is a systemic issue that causes this harmonious rise and fall of prices on the exchanges? The answer is a little fuzzy, but there are several factors at play. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as the universal trading currency, which leads to many investors buying and selling Bitcoin to buy and sell altcoins. When bitcoin starts a bull run, many of the altcoins fall, as investors jump on the Bitcoin train and vice versa. It’s also systemic because most exchanges require Bitcoin rather than fiat currency to transact. It is easy to invest fiat currency in the market and then leave there as an investor trades it; moving it from one currency to another and not cashing it back to fiat currency. Furthermore, When the Bitcoin price falls or rises against the fiat currency, all the altcoins will usually follow. This is because all altcoin prices are based on their Bitcoin exchange rate, not their fiat currency exchange rate. The value of an altcoin in fiat currency is the value of the altcoin in Bitcoin and then Bitcoin’s value in that fiat currency. It is Bitcoin that strongly affects pricing.
With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, each Fund is susceptible to operational and information security risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber attacks include, but are not limited to gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites. Cyber security failures or breaches of a Fund’s third -party service provider (including, but not limited to, index providers, the administrator and transfer agent) or the issuers of securities in which the Funds invest, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. The Funds and their shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result. While the Funds have established business continuity plans and systems to prevent such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Funds cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by issuers in which the Funds invest.
The investment techniques and strategies discussed below may be used by a Fund if, in the opinion of the Advisor, the techniques or strategies may be advantageous to the Fund. A Fund may reduce or eliminate its use of any of these techniques or strategies without changing the Fund’s fundamental policies. There is no assurance that any of the techniques or strategies listed below, or any of the other methods of investment available to a Fund, will result in the achievement of the Fund’s objectives. Also, there can be no assurance that any Fund will grow to, or maintain, an economically viable size, and management may determine to liquidate a Fund at a time that may not be opportune for shareholders.
Only invest what you can lose. During the recent crash in January 2018, hobby-investors got burned. Reports of frustration and losses came at the cost of broken monitors, smashed laptops, and heavy monetary losses. While the rules are in more particular order of importance, it’s safe to assume that this is the most important rule, the rule to rule the rules. As soon as your money is converted into cryptocurrency, consider it lost forever. There is absolutely no guarantee you can get it back. Losses don’t simply come from dips in the market; extraordinary factors such as hacks, bugs, and government regulation can mean you’ll never see any of your money again. If you are investing money you can’t afford to lose, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your current financial situation, because what you’re about to do is an act of desperation. This includes: using credit cards, taking out mortgages, applying for loans, or selling everything and traveling the world (as glamorous as that sounds).
ProShare Advisors is also responsible for the general management and administration of each Subsidiary, pursuant to separate investment advisory and management agreements. Under those advisory and management agreements, ProShare Advisors provides each Subsidiary with the same type of services under essentially the same terms (except at no cost to such Subsidiary) as are provided for its respective Parent Fund.
Recent bitcoin futures contract announcements from CBOE, CME, and Nasdaq have generated tremendous interest in digital assets. Bitcoin futures have been highly anticipated as they will provide traditional financial institutions with one of the first opportunities to meaningfully participate in the digital asset space via a regulated investment framework. It is an opportunity for Wall Street to catch up with Main Street on bitcoin. With the impending launch of U.S.-listed bitcoin futures, investors may wonder what the bitcoin futures curve might look like. Using information from existing digital asset derivative trading platforms such as Bitmex, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC (all exchanges outside of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission purview), MVIS Research has constructed an approximate curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges. These are real trading platforms revealing real volume.
Other countries are not as accommodative of bitcoin. For example, the Chinese government on December 3, 2013 issued a notice that classified bitcoin as legal and “virtual commodities;” however, the same notice restricted the banking and payment industries from using bitcoin, creating uncertainty and limiting the ability of Bitcoin Exchanges to operate in the then-second largest bitcoin market. Then on September 15, 2017, the Chinese government and local financial regulators officially requested some Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges and digital asset trading platforms to shut down by the end of September 2017. In addition, the Central Bank of Bolivia banned the use of bitcoin as a means of payment in May 2014. Further, in July 2016, the Russian Ministry of Finance indicated it supports a proposed law that bans bitcoin domestically but allows for its use as a foreign currency. In September 2017 the head of the Russian central bank stated that it is categorically against regulating cryptocurrencies as money, as a means by which payment can be made for goods and services, and against equating them with foreign currency. Most recently, South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination released a wide variety of proposed regulations which range from the imposition of capital gains taxes on profits realized from cryptocurrency trading, to banning minors from registering on South Korean bitcoin exchanges, and even prohibiting financial institutions from investing in digital assets. These restrictive stances towards digital assets may reduce the rate of expansion of bitcoin use or even eliminate the use of bitcoin entirely in these geographies.
Daily access to the PCF and IOPV file is permitted (i) to certain personnel of those service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, or other support to portfolio management, including Authorized Participants, and (ii) to other personnel of the Advisor and the Funds’ distributor, administrator, custodian and fund accountant who are involved in functions which may require such information to conduct business in the ordinary course.
Currently the front month future is the January contract which at last check could be sold for $17,600. This contract settles in a cash transfer based on the 4:00 pm eastern bitcoin auction price on Wednesday January 17, 2018 established by Gemini who is partnering with Cboe Global Markets. The bitcoin price at Gemini is close to $16,600 so I will use that for the underlying bitcoin price in this example.
The Trust has entered into an agreement with Foreside Management Services, LLC (“Foreside”), pursuant to which Foreside provides the Trust with the services of an individual to serve as the Trust’s Principal Financial Officer and Treasurer. Neither Foreside nor the Treasurer have a role in determining the investment policies of the Trust or Funds, or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Trust or a Fund. The Trust pays Foreside an annual flat fee of $100,000 per year and an additional annual flat fee of $3,500 per Fund, and will reimburse Foreside for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred by Foreside in providing services to the Trust. For the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015, May 31, 2016 and May 31, 2017, the Trust paid $533,544, $533,860, and $481,869, respectively, to Foreside for services pursuant to its agreement. Foreside is located at Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, ME 04101.
ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Fund Shares through DTC to the Custodian by no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time of the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. Authorized Participants should be aware that the deadline for such transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system may be significantly earlier than the close of business on the primary listing exchange. Those making redemption requests should ascertain the deadline applicable to transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution affecting the transfer of Fund Shares. The Balancing Amount, if any, must be transferred in U.S. dollars directly to the Custodian through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Custodian no later than 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. If the Custodian does not receive both the required Fund Shares and the Balancing Amount, if any, by 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively, on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date, such order will be deemed not in proper form and cancelled.
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
Futures contracts derive their value from an asset and more or less follow the movements of the underlying commodity, in our case: bitcoin. They ultimately settle at price of the commodity in the future on a particular exchange, or an index that represents a basket of prices at different exchanges. So if you have a weekly future's contract and you don't want to sell out of it on the market, then it will expire at the price at a specific time when Friday comes and if you want to maintain your position you must re-open on the new contract period. In the weekly example, if a contract is issued at April 14, 2017, it dies on April 21, 2017. If you buy the contract at a price of $1,100 and you don't sell it for the whole week, and the price ends on April 21 at $1,200, then you profit.
• Daily Position Limit Risk - Many U.S. futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified periods during the trading day. In addition, these exchanges have established limits on the maximum amount of futures positions that any person may hold or control on such exchanges. These limits may restrict the amount of assets the Fund is able to invest in bitcoin futures contracts or have a negative impact on the price of such contracts. In order to comply with such limits, the Fund may be required to reduce the size of its outstanding positions or not enter into new positions that would otherwise be taken for the Fund. This could potentially subject the Funds to substantial losses or periods in which the Fund does not accept additional Creation Units.
• A decline in the adoption of bitcoin could have a negative effect on the price of bitcoin and bitcoin-related investments. Bitcoin’s adoption has been on a generally continuous climb since bitcoin first gained mass media attention in 2013. However, there can be no guarantees this growth will continue. Further, adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment has been limited when compared with the increase in the price of bitcoin, indicating that the majority of bitcoin’s use is for investment and speculative purposes. A lack of acceptance of bitcoin as a means of payment could negatively impact the price of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests.
The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities required for a Portfolio Deposit for each Fund changes as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by ProShare Advisors with a view to the investment objective of the applicable Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the securities constituting the relevant securities index, as applicable. The adjustments described above will reflect changes, known to ProShare Advisors on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Portfolio Deposit, in the composition of the subject index being tracked by the relevant Fund, as applicable, or resulting from stock splits and other corporate actions. In addition, the Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of an amount of cash (i.e., a “cash in lieu” amount) to be added to the Balancing Amount to replace any Deposit Security which may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or for other similar reasons. A Transaction Fee may be assessed on any “cash in lieu” amounts, as further described below under “Transaction Fees”. For the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, a minimum of 70% of the Deposit Securities must be delivered, unless such purchase is made on a cash-only basis.
Individual shares of the Fund will be 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 the Fund’s shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Differences between secondary market prices and NAV, the value of the Fund’s holdings, may be due largely to supply and demand forces in the secondary market, which may not be the same forces as those influencing prices for securities or financial instruments held by the Fund at a particular time. Given the fact that the Fund’s shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained.
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 real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). Equity REITs invest primarily in real property, while mortgage REITs invest in construction, development and long-term mortgage loans. Their value may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property of the REIT, the creditworthiness of the issuer, property taxes, interest rates, and tax and regulatory requirements, such as those relating to the environment. REITs are dependent upon management skill, are not diversified and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers, self-liquidation and the possibility of failing to qualify for tax-free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain exempt status under the 1940 Act.
The Fund is different from most exchange-traded funds in that it seeks inverse, or “short”, exposure. The Fund may not be suitable for all investors and should be used only by knowledgeable investors. Shareholders should actively manage and monitor their investments, as frequently as daily. As with any shorting strategy that is periodically rebalanced, the return of the Fund over time will likely differ from the inverse of the return of a similar static long investment.
Currently, Bitcoin futures have very high margin requirements. The Cboe requires 40% of the notional amount for maintenance margin, the CME requires 43%. Your broker will likely require more than that. The culprit behind these high requirements is Bitcoin’s high volatility—until that calms down the exchanges will protect themselves by requiring a bunch of up-front money. If you don’t come up with the money for a margin call they want to close out your position without leaving a negative balance.
When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, the Short Bitcoin Fund may buy the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a lower price and sell a longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a higher price, resulting in a positive roll yield (i.e., a gain). When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, the Short Bitcoin Fund may buy the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a higher price and sell the longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a lower price, resulting in a negative roll yield (i.e., a loss).
Example: If the futures contract price is $400, then you can buy 0.5btc worth of this and if the price of bitcoin goes up to $450 the futures contract price will go up, and the value increases from 0.5 BTC and you can just sell for a profit. Trading a synthetic derivative rather than spot bitcoin allows you to use margin leverage to more easily buy and sell -- the contracts are just a facilitation of the 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.
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.