Having said that, bitcoin price action remains fraught with wild and inexplicable gaps, like a $400 drop and rise in an hour in the late hours of July 30, according to Bloomberg. This particular trade, and unwind seems to have affected bitcoin pricing globally and likely impacted trading of the U.S. listed contracts as well. Volumes and open interest seemed to have increased around the time of this large trade unwind. It could be a coincidence, though I suspect that some smart traders, aware of the situation, put short trades on in these future contracts to take advantage of the forced unwind.
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.
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.
Many expect bitcoin futures to stabilise the markets because big institutional investors will be able to trade bitcoin using all the flexibility present in sophisticated trading markets, with effective risk management and hedging strategies. Since the CME plans to set price limits on the trading range of bitcoin futures, the price of the coin is expected to become more stable. That is the optimistic outlook. It is reasonable to assume that if futures markets will indeed take off the way they are expected to, the market will eventually gravitate towards a less volatile state.
A Bitcoin (spot or futures) exchange (like any online trading firm) charges its clients a fee to carry out trading activities. As exchanges face the risk of hacking and theft, it is wise not to trust an exchange with all your coins. You should split and keep part of them in other devices or cold storage. Now with bitcoin futures being offered by some of the most prominent marketplaces, investors, traders and speculators are all bound to benefit. These centralized marketplaces will facilitate trade based on a trader’s outlook for bitcoin prices, gain exposure to bitcoin prices or hedge their existing bitcoin positions. Overall, the launching of bitcoin futures by Cboe and CME will facilitate price discovery and price transparency, enable risk-management via a regulated bitcoin product and give a further push to bitcoin as an accepted asset class. (For more, see: The Risks Of Buying Bitcoins.)
• Subsidiary Investment Risk — Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Fund to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Subsidiary is not registered under the 1940 Act and is not subject to all the investor protections of the 1940 Act. Thus, the Fund, as an investor in the Subsidiary, will not have all the protections offered to investors in registered investment companies.
A Parent Fund’s recognition of any subpart F income from an investment in its Subsidiary will increase the Fund’s tax basis in such subsidiary. Distributions by a Subsidiary to a Parent Fund, including in redemption of its Subsidiary’s shares, will be tax free, to the extent of its Subsidiary’s previously undistributed subpart F income, and will correspondingly reduce the Fund’s tax basis in its Subsidiary, and any distributions in excess of the Fund’s tax basis in its Subsidiary will be treated as realized gain. Any losses with respect to the Fund’s shares of its Subsidiary will not be currently recognized. Subpart F income is generally treated as ordinary income, regardless of the character of a Subsidiary’s underlying income.
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.
Under an investment advisory agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust, on behalf of each Fund (the “Agreement” or “Advisory Agreement”), each Fund (other than the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF and 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 0.75%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory Fee Waiver Agreement for each of these Funds that reduces the annualized rate based on its average daily net assets, as follows: 0.75% of the first $4.0 billion of average daily net assets of the Fund; 0.70% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $4.0 billion to $5.5 billion; 0.65% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $5.5 billion to $7.0 billion; 0.60% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $7.0 billion to $8.5 billion; and 0.55% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $8.5 billion. The fee waiver arrangement will remain in effect through at least September 30, 2018 and prior to such date ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
Some Funds focus their investments in particular foreign geographical regions or countries. In addition to the risks of investing in foreign securities discussed above, the investments of such Funds may be exposed to special risks that are specific to the country or region in which the investments are focused. Furthermore, Funds with such a focus may be subject to additional risks associated with events in nearby countries or regions or those of a country’s principal trading partners. Additionally, some Funds have an investment focus in a foreign country or region that is an emerging market and, therefore, are subject to heightened risks relative to Funds that focus their investments in more developed countries or regions.
Each Fund may consider changing its index at any time, including if, for example: the current index becomes unavailable; the Board believes that the current index no longer serves the investment needs of a majority of shareholders or that another index may better serve their needs; or the financial or economic environment makes it difficult for the Fund’s investment results to correspond sufficiently to its current index. If believed appropriate, a Fund may specify an index for itself that is “leveraged” or proprietary. There can be no assurance that a Fund will achieve its objective.
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.
Government regulation could adversely impact the operation of the Bitcoin Network or the use of bitcoin. As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and in market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users and related issues. Although currently bitcoin is not regulated or is lightly regulated in most countries, including the United States, some countries have, and one or more countries may in the future, take regulatory actions that severely restrict the right to acquire, own, hold, sell or use bitcoin or to exchange bitcoin for fiat currency. Regulation in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions may restrict the use of bitcoin or otherwise materially impact the global demand for bitcoin. Regulation of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and other cryptocurrencies may have an impact the price of bitcoin. If Bitcoin Exchanges become subject to regulation, that may also impact trading in bitcoin as trading may be concentrated in a smaller number of regulated exchanges, which may impact price, volatility and trading volumes. Also, most Bitcoin Exchanges currently require bitcoin trading accounts to be fully funded, but if margin trading is introduced, there may be additional risks, including
pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. The Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, the Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its shareholders, and were ineligible to or were not to cure such failure, the Fund would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax on all its income at the fund level. The resulting taxes could substantially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of income available for distribution. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions.
A U.S. person, including a Fund, who owns (directly or indirectly) 10% or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock of a foreign corporation is a “U.S. Shareholder” for purposes of the CFC provisions of the Code. A CFC is a foreign corporation that, on any day of its taxable year, is owned (directly, indirectly, or constructively) more than 50% (measured by voting power or value) by U.S. Shareholders. Because of its investment in its Subsidiary, each Parent Fund is a U.S. Shareholder in a CFC. As a U.S. Shareholder, each Parent Fund is required to include in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes for each taxable year of the Fund its pro rata share of its CFC’s “subpart F income” for the CFC’s taxable year ending within the Fund’s taxable year whether or not such income is actually distributed by the CFC, provided that the foreign corporation has been a CFC for at least 30 uninterrupted days in its taxable year. Subpart F income generally includes interest, OID, dividends, net gains from the disposition of stocks or securities, net gains from transactions (including futures, forward, and similar transactions) in commodities, receipts with respect to securities loans, and net payments received with respect to equity swaps and similar derivatives. Subpart F income is treated as ordinary income, regardless of the character of the CFC’s underlying income. Net losses incurred by a CFC during a tax year do not flow through to an investing Fund and thus will not be available to offset income or capital gain generated from that Fund’s other investments. In addition, net losses incurred by a CFC during a tax year generally cannot be carried forward by the CFC to offset gains realized by it in subsequent taxable years. To the extent each Parent Fund invests in its Subsidiary and recognizes subpart F income in excess of actual cash distributions from such the Subsidiary, if any, it may be required to sell assets (including when it is not advantageous to do so) to generate the cash necessary to distribute as dividends to its shareholders all of its income and gains and therefore to eliminate any tax liability at the Fund level. Subpart F income also includes the excess of gains over losses from transactions (including futures, forward and other similar transactions) in commodities.
How can this be? How can you have more futures contracts for gold than actual gold? Because you don't have to deliver a bar of gold when the contract matures. Many futures contracts settle on a "cash" basis – instead of physical delivery for the sale, the buyer receives the difference between the futures price (= the agreed-upon price) and the spot (= market) price.
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The table below shows a performance example of a Short ProShares Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of an index. In the chart below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance.
A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.