interest, taxes, dividends (including dividend expenses on securities sold short), litigation, indemnification, expenses associated with investment in other funds as permitted by the then current registration statement, and extraordinary expenses as determined under generally accepted accounting principles) to the extent total annual Fund operating expenses, as a percentage of average daily net assets, exceed 0.95% through September 30, 2018 (0.30% for the Inflation Expectations ETF, 0.60% for the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, 0.50% for the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, and 0.75% for the Merger ETF each through September 30, 2018. ProShare Advisors, on behalf of the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, has contractually agreed to waive investment advisory and management services fees and to reimburse other expenses (exclusive of transaction costs, interest, taxes, dividends (including dividend expenses on securities sold short), litigation, indemnification, expenses associated with investment in other funds as permitted by the then current registration statement, and extraordinary expenses as determined under generally accepted accounting principles but inclusive of acquired fund fees and expenses) to the extent total annual Fund operating expenses, as a percentage of average daily net assets, exceed 0.95% through September 30, 2018. After such date, the expense limitation may be terminated or revised by ProShare Advisors. Amounts waived or reimbursed in a particular contractual period may be recouped by ProShare Advisors within five years of the end of that contractual period, however, such recoupment will be limited to the lesser of any expense limitation in place at the time of recoupment or the expense limitation in place at the time of waiver or reimbursement.
Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) launched trading in Cboe bitcoin futures at 5:00 p.m. Central Time on December 10 under the ticker symbol "XBT". XBT℠ futures are cash-settled contracts based on the Gemini's auction price for bitcoin, denominated in U.S. dollars. Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) is a digital asset exchange and custodian founded in 2014 that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as bitcoin, and is subject to fiduciary obligations, capital reserve requirements, and banking compliance standards of the New York State Department of Financial Services.3
Whether a Fund realizes a gain or loss from futures activities depends generally upon movements in the underlying currency, commodity, security or index. The extent of a Fund’s loss from an unhedged short position in futures contracts or from writing options on futures contracts is potentially unlimited, and investors may lose the amount that they invest plus any profits recognized on their investment. The Funds may engage in related closing transactions with respect to options on futures contracts. The Funds will engage in transactions in futures contracts and related options that are traded on a U.S. exchange or board of trade or that have been approved for sale in the U.S. by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).
To the extent that an Underlying RIC realizes net losses on its investments for a given taxable year, a Fund that invests in the Underlying RIC will not be able to benefit from those losses until (i) the Underlying RIC realizes gains that it can reduce by those losses, or (ii) the Fund recognizes its share of those losses when it disposes of shares in the Underlying RIC. Moreover, when a Fund makes such a disposition, any loss it recognizes will be a capital loss. A Fund will not be able to offset any capital losses from its dispositions of shares of the Underlying RIC against its ordinary income (including distributions deriving from net short-term capital gains realized by the Underlying RIC). In addition, a portion of such capital loss may be long-term, which will first offset the Fund’s capital gains, increasing the likelihood that the Fund’s short-term capital gains will be distributed to shareholders as ordinary income.
Total Return Swaps. Total return swaps are used either as substitutes for owning the physical securities that comprise a given market index or as a means of obtaining non-leveraged exposure in markets where securities are not available. “Total return” refers to the payment (or receipt) of an index’s total return, which is then exchanged for the receipt (or payment) of a floating interest rate. Total return swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to a market or sector index by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
The above futures curve shows that in the short term (< 1month) bitcoin-USD futures prices tend to be at or higher than the respective spot prices, with the highest premium to spot reached for futures maturing in approximately 9 days. In the mid term (1-3 months), bitcoin futures prices increase rapidly with mid prices at a premium of approximately 2% compared to the spot price. In the long term (>3months), premiums are positive and prices increase with a relatively stable velocity. Long term prices are at a slightly higher level compared to mid-term maturities. The absolute difference between long-term and short-term premium is positive, revealing an overall positive view about bitcoin among investors for the future. To summarize, this curve reflects modest investor optimism in the short term, due to a possibly high level of volatility around the launch of U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts, and an increasingly positive view on bitcoin-USD rates in the medium and long term. In the distant future (>3months) the curve may reflect a belief that the long-term true value of bitcoin will be at a higher level than today, possibly due to increased institutional participation and the maturation of digital assets as a potential asset class.
The Distribution and Service Plan and Distribution and Service Agreements will remain in effect for a period of one year and will continue in effect thereafter only if such continuance is specifically approved annually by a vote of the Trustees. All material amendments of the Distribution and Service Plan must also be approved by the Board. The Distribution and Service Plan may be terminated at any time by a majority of the Board or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares, as defined under the 1940 Act, of the affected Fund. The Distribution and Service Agreements may be terminated at any time, without payment of any penalty, by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares, as defined under the 1940 Act, of the affected Fund on not less than 60 days’ written notice to any other party to the Distribution and Service Agreements. The Distribution and Service Agreements shall terminate automatically if assigned. The Board has determined that, in its judgment, there is a reasonable likelihood that the Distribution and Service Plan will benefit the Funds and holders of Shares of the Funds. In the Board’s quarterly review of the Distribution and Service Plan and Distribution and Service Agreements, the Trustees will consider their continued appropriateness and the level of compensation and/or reimbursement provided therein.
Corporate debt securities carry both credit risk and interest rate risk. Credit risk is the risk that a Fund could lose money if the issuer of a corporate debt security is unable to pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Some corporate debt securities that are rated below investment-grade are generally considered speculative because they present a greater risk of loss, including default, than higher quality debt securities. The credit risk of a particular issuer’s debt security may vary based on its priority for repayment. For example, higher ranking (senior) debt securities have a higher priority than lower ranking (subordinated) securities. This means that the issuer might not make payments on subordinated securities while continuing to make payments on senior securities. In addition, in the event of bankruptcy, holders of higher-ranking senior securities may receive amounts otherwise payable to the holders of more junior securities. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of certain corporate debt securities will tend to fall when interest rates rise. In general, corporate debt securities with longer terms tend to fall more in value when interest rates rise than corporate debt securities with shorter terms.
• ETN Risk — The Fund is likely to obtain substantial exposure to the price movements of bitcoin by holding ETNs that provide exposure to the price of bitcoin. ETNs are unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities of an issuer that are listed and traded on a U.S. stock exchange. An ETN’s returns are generally linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy minus applicable fees. ETNs do not provide principal protection and may or may not make periodic coupon payments. ETNs are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that the issuer cannot pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Additionally, the value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market (e.g., the commodities market), changes in interest rates or the issuer’s credit rating, and other economic, legal, political or geographic events. The value of an investment in an ETN may be impacted by fees associated with the ETN. Structural aspects of the ETNs may impact their market value. Trading by affiliates of an ETN sponsor may create conflicts of interest. The issuer of an ETN may be unable to meet its obligations. The potential impact of Bitcoin Network forks on the value of a bitcoin ETN is unclear. ETNs issued by special purpose vehicles may include greater risk. ETNs are subject to risks associated with the underlying asset.
A tax-exempt shareholder may also recognize UBTI if a Fund recognizes “excess inclusion income” (as described above) derived from direct or indirect investments in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs if the amount of such income recognized by the Fund exceeds the Fund’s investment company taxable income (after taking into account deductions for dividends paid by the Fund). In addition, special tax consequences apply to charitable remainder trusts (“CRTs”) that invest in RICs that invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs. Under legislation enacted in December 2006, a CRT (as defined in section 664 of the Code) that realizes any UBTI for a taxable year must pay an excise tax annually of an amount equal to such UBTI. Under IRS guidance issued in October 2006, a CRT will not recognize UBTI as a result of investing in a Fund that recognizes “excess inclusion income.” Rather, if at any time during any taxable year a CRT (or one of certain other tax-exempt shareholders, such as the United States, a state or political subdivision, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, and certain energy
Basically, if you trade margin spot on a site like Kraken or Bitfinex, you will pay financing fees while you hold the position open. The same goes for CFD sites like WhaleClub or 1Broker. With bitcoin futures, you are able to trade margin without expending interest, because counterparties to the contract pay a fee to open and close the contract, and the exchange just manages the risk, so no money is really being lent!
• 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.
There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.