The price of the futures contract can deviate from the underlying price of bitcoin on spot markets, which can vary based on sentiment. But in the end, at expiration of the contract, the contract MUST settle at the price of spot. So you need to watch the main spot market price movements because the futures contracts will track the movements underlying (sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, sometimes simultaneously). There are three Chinese exchanges worth following: OKCoin, Houbi, and BTCC; there are two Western exchanges worth following: Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Other exchanges that are currently less important but still worth keeping an eye on are: ItBit, Coinbase, OKCoin USD, BTC-e, and Kraken (which has the largest BTC/EUR orderbook as of December 2015).
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.
Each of the Funds expects to distribute at least annually to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and its net capital gain (that is, the excess of its net long-term capital gains over its net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards). Investment company taxable income that is retained by a Fund will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates. If a Fund retains any net capital gain, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained, but it may designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gains in a notice mailed within 60 days of the close of the Fund’s taxable year to its shareholders who, in turn, (i) will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of such undistributed amount, and (ii) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amount against their federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds on a properly filed U.S. tax return to the extent the credit exceeds such liabilities. If a Fund makes this designation, for federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of Shares owned by a shareholder of a Fund will be increased by an amount equal to the difference between the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s gross income under clause (i) of the preceding sentence and the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii) of the preceding sentence. The funds are not required to, and there can be no assurance that a Fund will, make this designation if it retains all or a portion of its net capital gain in a taxable year.
• 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.
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.
Now, what if the Bitcoin price is rising? For example, if 1 BTC is worth 5,500 USD, you don’t want to fulfill this contract any more and sell cheap for 5,000 USD. In order to still make things fair for both participants, the exchange (here CME) will make sure that you can sell for the current market price of 5,500 USD if you so wish, but they will compensate your contract partner for this. How? They will take the difference – 500 USD – out of your so-called margin account and give it to Mortimer. This kind of settlement is not only performed on the fulfilment date of the futures contract, but on every trading day, according to the current price of the asset.
Poloniex is an asset exchange based in the US. Trading on Poloniex is secure and allows traders to explore new and trendy coins which are up for speculation. It offers high volume margin trading and lending service for major crypto assets. Reportedly, the largest user base for trading on this site comes from Russia (6.06%) and US (24.84%). A differentiating factor about the site is that it does not support fiat currency.
Special rules would apply if a Fund were a qualified investment entity (“QIE”) because it is either a “U.S. real property holding corporation” (“USRPHC”) or would be a USRPHC but for the operation of certain exceptions to the definition of USRPIs described below. Very generally, a USRPHC is a domestic corporation that holds USRPIs the fair market value of which equals or exceeds 50% of the sum of the fair market values of the corporation’s USRPIs, interests in real property located outside the United States, and other trade or business assets. USRPIs generally are defined as any interest in U.S. real property and any interest (other than solely as a creditor) in a USRPHC or, very generally, an entity that has been a USRPHC in the last five years. A Fund that holds, directly or indirectly, significant interests in REITs may be a USRPHC. Interests in domestically controlled QIEs, including REITs and RICs that are QIEs, not-greater-than-10% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in REITs and not-greater-than-5% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in RICs generally are not USRPIs, but these exceptions do not apply for purposes of determining whether a Fund is a QIE.
Under current law, income of a RIC that would be treated as UBTI if earned directly by a tax-exempt entity generally will not be attributed as UBTI to a tax-exempt entity that is a shareholder in the RIC. Notwithstanding this “blocking” effect, a tax-exempt shareholder could realize UBTI by virtue of its investment in a Fund if Shares in a Fund constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholder within the meaning of Code section 514(b).
Most swap agreements entered into by a Fund (but generally not CDS) calculate and settle the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis” with a single payment. Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). Other swap agreements, such as CDS, may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of the reference entity.
Disclaimer: Trading carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to invest you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.
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: