Look, you and I are sophisticated, and we get that "bitcoin's price increase is deflationary and makes it a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin, because "bitcoin is a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin. (People keep making it though.) Bitcoin's value proposition -- much like that of gold -- is that it is an uncorrelated store of value, not that it is useful for buying a sandwich. But at the same time you have to watch out for business models that are based on the casual assumption that bitcoin works just like a currency. "Cryptocurrency-financed warehouse lending" has the word "cryptocurrency" in it, so it's worth billions of dollars, but I'm not sure it works as a business model.
Each Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements as part of its investment strategy, which may be viewed as a form of borrowing. Reverse repurchase agreements involve sales by a Fund of portfolio assets for cash concurrently with an agreement by the Fund to repurchase those same assets at a later date at a fixed price. Generally, the effect of such a transaction is that a Fund can recover all or most of the cash invested in the portfolio securities involved during the term of the reverse repurchase agreement, while a Fund will be able to keep the interest income associated with those portfolio securities. Such transactions are advantageous only if the interest cost to a Fund of the reverse repurchase transaction is less than the cost of obtaining the cash otherwise. Opportunities to achieve this advantage may not always be available, and a Fund intends to use the reverse repurchase technique only when it will be to the Fund’s advantage to do so. A Fund will segregate with its custodian bank cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the Fund’s obligations with respect to reverse repurchase agreements.
The introduction of futures didn't lead to a wave of hedge-fund money shorting bitcoin. It led to retail and institutional money going long bitcoin. We talked last week about the spread between Cboe's bitcoin futures price and the actual price of bitcoin, which was wider than $1,000 for a while. The spread has tightened considerably -- as of 8:15 a.m. today, the CME futures traded at $18,585, Cboe futures at $18,670, and spot bitcoin at about $18,245, for a spread of about 2 percent -- but it still exists. Why would you pay more for a synthetic bitcoin in a month than you would for an actual bitcoin today? The answer, presumably, is that the synthetic bitcoin is more valuable to you: You want bitcoin exposure, but you'd prefer to get it through a standardized contract on a regulated exchange that settles in dollars.
Taking their prices from bitcoin futures, the swaps will not handle bitcoin directly. Seeing as Morgan Stanley is a regulated and established financial institution, tying the product to futures contracts is a safer bet than basing them on bitcoin’s spot price, as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Exchange offer fully-regulated bitcoin futures from which Morgan Stanley can pool pricing data.
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It’s reasonable to assume that a product named a future is attempting to predict the future. For Bitcoin futures, this is definitely not what they deliver. The core utility of the futures markets is not predicting the future prices of their product but rather the secure delivery of a product at a known price, quality, and date. If there’s product seasonality (e.g., specific harvest times) or foreseeable shortages/abundances then future’s prices may reflect that but neither of these factors applies to Bitcoin.
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.
Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
That includes institutional investors, who are increasingly interested in the benefits that crypto could offer their portfolios — to a degree that might have been unthinkable even six months ago. These investors, who have $130 trillion of assets under management worldwide, could have a huge impact on the crypto market, whose market cap remains under $300 billion.
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.
ProShare Advisors, pursuant to a separate Management Services Agreement, performs certain administrative services on behalf of the Funds, such as negotiating, coordinating and implementing the Trust’s contractual obligations with the Funds’ service providers; monitoring, overseeing and reviewing the performance of such service providers to ensure adherence to applicable contractual obligations; and preparing or coordinating reports and presentations to the Board of Trustees with respect to such service providers as requested or as deemed necessary. For these services, the Trust pays to ProShare Advisors a fee at the annual rate of 0.10% of average daily net assets for each of the Funds. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this management services fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
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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.
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If the Funds engage in offsetting transactions, the Funds will incur a gain or loss, to the extent that there has been movement in forward currency contract prices. If forward prices go down during the period between the date a Fund enters into a forward currency contract for the sale of a currency and the date it enters into an offsetting contract for the purchase of the currency, the Fund will realize a gain to the extent that the price of the currency it has agreed to sell exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to buy. If forward prices go up, the Fund will suffer a loss to the extent the price of the currency it has agreed to buy exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to sell.
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BitMEX is a derivatives exchange that offers leveraged contracts that are bought and sold in Bitcoin. This is a platform that provides trading in bitcoin derivatives. The derivative traded is a perpetual swap contract, which is a derivative product similar to a traditional Futures Contract. Swap contracts trade like spots, tracking the underlying assets.
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In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) will constitute unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) to entities (including a qualified pension plan, an individual retirement account, a 401(k) plan, a Keogh plan or other tax-exempt entity) subject to tax on UBTI, thereby potentially requiring such an entity that is allocated excess inclusion income, and otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, to file a return and pay tax on such income, and (iii) in the case of a foreign shareholder (defined below), will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. A shareholder will be subject to income tax on such inclusions without reference to any exemption therefrom otherwise available under the Code.
The value of such Creation Unit for the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the UltraPro Short S&P500® ETF, the UltraPro Short QQQ® ETF, the UltraPro Short Dow30SM ETF, the UltraPro Short MidCap400 ETF, the UltraPro Short Russell2000 ETF, the Short High Yield ETF, the UltraPro S&P500® ETF, the UltraPro QQQ® ETF, the UltraPro Dow30SM ETF, the UltraPro MidCap400 ETF and the UltraPro Russell2000 ETF as of each such Fund’s inception was $4,000,000.
You will then be able to trade futures contracts just like they are bitcoin spot. If price goes up on spot, a good futures exchange will have its contracts also going up in price, and then you can sell and get out. However, the price of the futures contract is dependent on others trading it. So if nobody else is trading it and bringing the market price of the contract along with changes in the underlying asset, then it's useless and you are forced to hold it until settlement to realize any of the profit/loss from the position.
A Fund may invest in exchange-traded funds that are organized as trusts. An exchange-traded trust is a pooled trust that invests in assets, including physical commodities, and issues shares that are traded on a securities exchange. When the pool of assets is fixed, exchange traded trusts are treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and thus, the Fund will be treated as holding its share of an exchange traded trust’s assets, and the Fund’s sale of its interest in an exchange-traded trust will be treated as a sale of the underlying assets, for purpose of determining whether the Fund meets the 90 percent gross income test described above . As with investments in commodities and similar assets investments in exchange traded trusts may generate non-qualifying income for purposes of this test. As a result, a Fund’s investments in exchange traded trusts can be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC, and can bear adversely on the Fund’s ability to so qualify.
• 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.
For the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Hedge Replication ETF, the Merger ETF, the RAFI Long/Short, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF, the Short SmallCap600, the Short S&P500, the UltraShort Consumer Services, the UltraShort Financials, the UltraShort Health Care, the UltraShort Industrials, the UltraShort Semiconductors, the UltraShort Technology, the UltraShort Utilities, the UltraShort FTSE Europe, the UltraShort MSCI Brazil Capped, the UltraShort MSCI Japan, the Short 7-10 Year Treasury, the Ultra SmallCap600, the UltraPro MidCap400, the Ultra Basic Materials, the Ultra Consumer Goods, the Ultra Consumer Services, the Ultra Health Care, the Ultra Industrials, the Ultra Semiconductors, the Ultra Technology, the Ultra Telecommunications, the Ultra Utilities, the UltraPro Financial Select Sector, the Ultra MSCI EAFE, the Ultra MSCI Emerging Markets, the Ultra FTSE Europe, the Ultra FTSE China 50, the Ultra MSCI Japan, the Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, and the Ultra High Yield a Creation Unit is comprised of 25,000 Shares.
Each Fund, except for the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, is a “non-diversified” series of the Trust. A Fund’s classification as a “non-diversified” investment company means that the proportion of the Fund’s assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer is not limited by the 1940 Act. Notwithstanding each Fund’s status as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act, each Fund intends to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, which imposes its own diversification requirements on these Funds that are less restrictive than the requirements applicable to the “diversified” investment companies under the 1940 Act. A Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy may be limited by that Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC and its strategy may bear adversely on its ability to so qualify. For more details, see “Taxation” below. With respect to a “non-diversified” Fund, a relatively high percentage of such a Fund’s assets may be invested in the securities of a limited number of issuers, primarily within the same economic sector. That Fund’s portfolio securities, therefore, may be more susceptible to any single economic, political, or regulatory occurrence than the portfolio securities of a more diversified investment company.
For example, a Fund may cover its long position in a futures contract by purchasing a put option on the same futures contract with a strike price (i.e., an exercise price) as high as or higher than the price of the futures contract, or, if the strike price of the put is less than the price of the futures contract, the Fund will earmark/segregate cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the put and the price of the future. A Fund may also “cover” its long position in a futures contract by taking a short position in the instruments underlying the futures contract, or by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently, with a short position in the futures contract. A Fund may “cover” its short position in a futures contract by purchasing a call option on the same futures contract with a strike price (i.e., an exercise price) as low as or lower than the price of the futures contract, or, if the strike price of the call is greater than the price of the futures contract, the Fund will earmark /segregate cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the call and the price of the future. A Fund may also “cover” its short position in a futures contract by taking a long position in the instruments underlying the futures contract, or by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently with a long position in the futures contract.
For example, you can enter a Bitcoin futures contract with Mortimer Duke saying that you will sell him 1 BTC on March 30, 2018, for the price of 5,000 USD per BTC. (In the actual CME futures contracts, the limit for one contract is 5 BTC, but we will stick with 1 BTC now for the purposes of easy explanation.) You enter into this contract on an exchange like CME.