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.
In connection with its management of certain series of the Trust (i.e., the UltraShort S&P500®, the UltraShort QQQ®, the UltraShort Dow 30SM, the UltraShort MidCap400, the UltraShort SmallCap600, the UltraPro Short S&P500®, the UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Basic Materials, the UltraShort Financials, the UltraShort Utilities, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro MidCap 400, the UltraPro S&P 500®, the UltraPro QQQ®, the UltraPro Dow 30SM, the UltraPro Russell 2000, the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the UltraPro Financial Select Sector) and the wholly owned subsidiary of each of the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF (i.e., ProShares Cayman Portfolio I, ProShares Cayman Crude Oil Portfolio, ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio and ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, respectively) (collectively, the “Commodity Pools”) the Advisor has registered as a commodity pool operator (a “CPO”) and the Commodity Pools are commodity pools under the Commodity Exchange Act (the “CEA”). Accordingly, the Advisor is subject to registration and regulation as a CPO under the CEA, and must comply with various regulatory requirements under the CEA and the rules and regulations of the CFTC and the National Futures Association (“NFA”), including investor protection requirements, antifraud provisions, disclosure requirements and reporting and recordkeeping requirements. The Advisor is also subject to periodic inspections and audits by the CFTC and NFA. Compliance with these regulatory requirements could adversely affect the Commodity Pools’ total return. In this regard, any further amendment to the CEA or its related regulations that subject the Advisor or the Commodity Pools to additional regulation may have adverse impacts on the Commodity Pools’ operations and expenses.
In June 2015, the New York Department of Financial Services (the “NYDFS”) finalized a rule that requires most businesses involved in digital currency business activity in or involving New York, excluding merchants and consumers, to apply for a license (“BitLicense”) from the NYDFS and to comply with anti-money laundering, cyber security, consumer protection, and financial and reporting requirements, among others. As an alternative to the BitLicense in New York, firms can apply for a charter to become limited purpose trust companies qualified to engage in digital currency business activity. Other states have considered regimes similar to the BitLicense, or have required digital currency businesses to register with their states as money transmitters, such as Washington and Georgia, which results in digital currency businesses being subject to requirements similar to those of NYDFS’ BitLicense regime. Certain state regulators, such as the Texas Department of Banking, Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, have found that mere transmission of bitcoin, without activities involving transmission of fiat currency, does not constitute money transmission requiring licensure. The North Carolina Commissioner of Banks has issued guidance providing that North Carolina’s money transmission regulations only apply to the transmission of digital currency and not its use. In June 2014, the State of California adopted legislation that would formally repeal laws that could be interpreted as making illegal the use of bitcoin or other digital assets as a means of payment. In July 2017, Delaware amended its General Corporation Law to provide for the creation maintenance of certain required records by blockchain technology and permit its use for electronic transmission of stockholder communications.
The CME Bitcoin futures contracts will be cash-settled, meaning that you will receive USD on the expiration date if your speculation was successful and you have not sold the derivative before the expiration date. You will not receive Bitcoin – that would be a physical settlement, even though Bitcoin is not a physical asset. This is a crucial difference because it enables traders to trade in Bitcoin futures without having a cryptocurrency wallet. Every transaction is done in USD.Thus, it is easy for mainstream traders to take part in this market.
Speculating and hedging bitcoin with futures has never been easier. Spot has lower leverage which means you have to risk more of your capital with exchanges. Margin fees are very expensive on Bitfinex and Kraken when you are borrowing funds and paying up to 0.1% per day to be in a position. Futures contracts on the other hand have no holding fees associated. You pay a fee to enter the contract, and you pay a fee to exit the contract. Your profit or loss comes from the change in the price you pay.
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There are also purely technical elements to consider. For example, technological advancement in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin result in high up-front costs to miners in the form of specialized hardware and software. Cryptocurrency transactions are normally irreversible after a number of blocks confirm the transaction. Additionally, cryptocurrency can be permanently lost from local storage due to malware or data loss. This can also happen through the destruction of the physical media, effectively removing lost cryptocurrencies forever from their markets.
Portfolio holdings information may not be provided prior to its public availability (“Non-Standard Disclosure”) in other circumstances except where appropriate confidentiality arrangements limiting the use of such information are in effect. Non-Standard Disclosure may be authorized by the Trust’s CCO or, in his absence, any other authorized officer of the Trust if he determines that such disclosure is in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, no conflict exists between the interests of the Fund’s shareholders and those of the Advisor or Distributor and such disclosure serves a legitimate business purpose, and measures discussed in the previous paragraph regarding confidentiality are satisfied. The lag time between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed shall be determined by the officer authorizing the disclosure. The CCO is responsible for ensuring that portfolio holdings disclosures are made in accordance with this Policy.
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The portfolio composition file (“PCF”) and the IOPV file, which contain equivalent portfolio holdings information, will be made available as frequently as daily to the Funds’ service providers to facilitate the provision of services to the Funds and to certain other entities (“Entities”) in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as contemplated by exemptive orders issued by the SEC and other legal and business requirements pursuant to which the Funds create and redeem Shares. Entities are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members and subscribers to various fee-based services, including large institutional investors (“Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem Creation Units and other institutional market participants that provide information services. Each business day, Fund portfolio holdings information will be provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or through other fee-based services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to the fee-based services, including Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading Shares of Funds in the secondary market.
It bears repeating -- when trading futures on leverage, you are not "borrowing" the money, so you don't have to pay a financing rate on your positions. Even though you are 100x exposed, you don't have to pay 100x financing (unless you're trading the perpetual swap, which is not a futures contract, but has similar characteristics). Since bitcoin futures do tend to trade at a premium, you are in a way paying an implied interest rate in the contract, because if you want to go long, you have to pay above spot, so you pay the interest up front in the contract, in a way.
Let's not even go into the paradigm shift that this development implies. The growth of a bitcoin futures market positions it even more as a commodity than a currency (in the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates futures markets). And even more as an investment asset than a technology that has the potential to change the plumbing of finance.
• 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 ProShare 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 Fund does not seek to provide investment performance that would be opposite of a 30% investment in bitcoin futures contracts and a 70% investment in U.S. government securities.
Darknet markets present challenges in regard to legality. Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency used in dark markets are not clearly or legally classified in almost all parts of the world. In the U.S., bitcoins are labelled as "virtual assets". This type of ambiguous classification puts pressure on law enforcement agencies around the world to adapt to the shifting drug trade of dark markets.
In this guide we don't want to deal with social loss risk, so use the FCA-regulated, London-based bitcoin derivatives exchange CryptoFacilities. They offer contracts with 2% margin requirement (50x leverage) as well as a 15% margin requirement (6.5x leverage). They are 100% bitcoin based, but they don't accept US customers. Sign up here to get started: