You could imagine the spread going the other way, though. If everyone really was clamoring to short bitcoin, and if the futures offered a more convenient way to do it than the bitcoin exchanges, then you'd expect the short sellers to pay a premium to short via futures. Instead of selling a bitcoin at $18,000 today, they'd be willing to sell a synthetic bitcoin for $17,500, paying the spread to an arbitrageur who was willing to do the actual shorting for them. But the fact that the spread is mostly positive, and that bitcoin's price has been mostly going up, suggests that the demand has mostly been for synthetic long positions, not short.
Elaborating a bit on the concept of Cryptocurrency and the blockchain effect before we move onto the central theme. As put in words by Daniel Gasteiger on the topic ‘Blockchain Demystified’ at TEDxLausanne,‘A blockchain is nothing but a database, a database that is public, therefore not owned by anybody. Distributed hence not stored centrally on one computer but on many computers across the world. Constantly synchronized to keep the transactions up to date and secured overall by the art of cryptography to make it tamper proof and hacker proof. These four features make this technology exceptional.’ Daniel’s strong belief in the solidarity of the concept of Cryptocurrency motivated him to leave his full-fledged career of 20 years in financial services to focus on the concept of Blockchain. Looking to know more about how to formulate Cryptocurrency strategies? Read our blog on Cryptocurrencies Trading Strategy With Data Extraction Technique. 
CryptoFacilities, Coinpit, and BitMEX has a realtime profit realisation, while OKCoin and Deribit has weekly rebalancing scheduled for all contract lengths. It's important to note that on all of these exchanges, all the futures and forwards are non-deliverable and have expiration at various times. Despite this, OKCoin uses "delivery" as their term for expiration settlement of a contract, and "settlement" for the weekly rebalancing of the Pnl for higher length contracts. Since we are stuck with this unprofessional Chinese exchange being the dominant market player in futures, we have to focus on their use of the terminology, but BitMEX and CryptoFacilities have very impressive and professional setups that use well documented procedures. Always read the documentation of any exchange you're using and the contract specifications of the individual product you're using.
Elsewhere, here is the story of block.one, which "has raised about $700 million and counting" by selling EOS tokens that it says "do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features." Block.one is using the money to build "a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications," as its white paper explains, and the white paper also includes a disclaimer in bold capitals:
Under certain circumstances, a Fund may recognize gain from a constructive sale of an “appreciated financial position” it holds if it enters into a short sale, forward contract or other transaction that substantially reduces the risk of loss with respect to the appreciated position. In that event, the Fund would be treated as if it had sold and immediately repurchased the property and would be taxed on any gain (but would not recognize any loss) from the constructive sale. The character of gain from a constructive sale would depend upon each Fund’s holding period in the property. Appropriate adjustments would be made in the amount of any gain or loss subsequently realized on the position to reflect the gain recognized on the constructive sale. Loss from a constructive sale would be recognized when the property was subsequently disposed of, and its character would depend on the Fund’s holding period and the application of various loss deferral provisions of the Code. Constructive sale treatment does not generally apply to a transaction if such transaction is closed on or before the end of the 30th day after the close of the Fund’s taxable year and the Fund holds the appreciated financial position throughout the 60-day period beginning with the day such transaction closed. The term “appreciated financial position” excludes any position that is “marked-to-market.”
The Declaration of Trust of the Trust disclaims liability of the shareholders or the Officers of the Trust for acts or obligations of the Trust which are binding only on the assets and property of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification of the Trust’s property for all loss and expense of any Funds shareholder held personally liable for the obligations of the Trust. The risk of a Trust shareholder incurring financial loss on account of shareholder liability is limited to circumstances where the Funds would not be able to meet the Trust’s obligations and this risk, thus, should be considered remote.
and other factors. Thus, to the extent a Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as the reference asset, that Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of correlation with its index as it would if the Fund used only swaps on the underlying index. The Advisor, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of the Funds’ transactions in swap agreements.
The exceptions to withholding for Capital Gain Dividends and short-term capital gain dividends do not apply to (A) distributions to an individual foreign shareholder who is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the distribution and (B) distributions attributable to gain that is treated as effectively connected with the conduct by the foreign shareholder of a trade or business within the United States under special rules regarding the disposition of U.S. real property interests as described below. The exception to withholding for interest-related dividends does not apply to distributions to a foreign shareholder (A) that has not provided a satisfactory statement that the beneficial owner is not a U.S. person, (B) to the extent that the dividend is attributable to certain interest on an obligation if the foreign shareholder is the issuer or is a 10% shareholder of the issuer, (C) that is within certain foreign countries that have inadequate information exchange with the United States, or (D) to the extent the dividend is attributable to interest paid by a person that is a related person of the foreign shareholder and the foreign shareholder is a controlled foreign corporation. If a Fund invests in a RIC that pays Capital Gain Dividends, short-term capital gain dividends or interest-related dividends to the Fund, such distributions retain their character as not subject to withholding if properly reported when paid by the Fund to foreign shareholders. A Fund is permitted to report such part of its dividends as interest-related and/or short-term capital gain dividends as are eligible, but is not required to do so.
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. While the potential to earn more is increased with the amount of money you invest into a coin, the potential to lose more is also magnified. Another way to think about it is to look at the cryptocurrency market as a whole; if you believe that this is just the beginning, then more than likely the entire market cap of cryptocurrencies will increase. What are the chances that this market cap increase will be entirely driven by one coin vs. being driven by many coins? The best way to safely capture the overall growth of cryptocurrency is to diversify and reap the benefits of growth from multiple coins. Also, fun fact — Between January 2016 and January 2018, Corgicoin has increased by 60,000x, and Verge has increased by 13,000x. During the same period, Bitcoin has increased by 34x. While you would have gotten impressive gains from Bitcoin, expanding into other coins could have landed you potentially larger ones.

Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency—a digital or cryptocurrency secured through cryptography, or codes that can’t be read without a key. Traditional currencies are made up of paper bills and coins. Unlike traditional currencies, the bitcoin is not issued by any central government. Rather, a computer algorithm determines how many bitcoins are produced and added to the economy. This is much different than a traditional currency, where central banks typically determine how much money to print.
Let’s say Larry owns one bitcoin and the current price is $16,600, be believes the price is overdone to the upside for a short period of time.  This is a fictional example, so don’t beat me up on the outlook, you can criticize Larry, but he’s made up too.  Larry has a futures account and sees that he can sell short a January XBT Future at $17,600.  He decides to do this and is now short 1 January XBT Future at $17,600. 
More generally, investments by a Fund in options, futures, forward contracts, swaps and other derivative financial instruments are subject to numerous special and complex tax rules. These rules could affect whether gains and losses recognized by a Fund are treated as ordinary or capital, accelerate the recognition of income or gains to a Fund and defer or possibly prevent the recognition or use of certain losses by a Fund. The rules could, in turn, affect the amount, timing or character of the income distributed to shareholders by a Fund. In addition, because the tax rules applicable to such instruments may be uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future IRS guidance with respect to these rules (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect whether a Fund has made sufficient distributions and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements to maintain its qualification as a RIC and avoid a Fund-level tax.
While “physical” delivery of Bitcoins as part of a futures contract would certainly be possible it raises regulatory and security issues in today’s environment where the cybercurrency exchanges are mostly unregulated, somewhat unreliable, and theft due to security hacks is distressingly common.  By selecting cash settlement the CME and Cboe completely avoid the transfer of custody issues and shift those problems to somebody else—namely the market makers and arbitrageur.
Recent bitcoin futures contract announcements from CBOE, CME, and Nasdaq have generated tremendous interest in digital assets. Bitcoin futures have been highly anticipated as they will provide traditional financial institutions with one of the first opportunities to meaningfully participate in the digital asset space via a regulated investment framework. It is an opportunity for Wall Street to catch up with Main Street on bitcoin. With the impending launch of U.S.-listed bitcoin futures, investors may wonder what the bitcoin futures curve might look like. Using information from existing digital asset derivative trading platforms such as Bitmex, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC (all exchanges outside of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission purview), MVIS Research has constructed an approximate curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges. These are real trading platforms revealing real volume.
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!

As a shareholder on a Fund record date, you will earn a share of the investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, derived from a Fund’s direct security holdings and derivative instruments. You will receive such earnings as either an income dividend or a capital gains distribution. Each Fund intends to declare and distribute to its shareholders at least annually its net investment income, if any, as well as net realized capital gains, if any. Subject to Board approval, some or all of any net realized capital gains distribution may be declared payable in either additional shares of the respective Fund or in cash.


RUSSELL DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE RUSSELL INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN AND RUSSELL SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN. RUSSELL MAKES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY PROSHARES TRUST, INVESTORS, FUND SHAREHOLDERS, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE RUSSELL INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. RUSSELL MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE RUSSELL INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL RUSSELL HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
The Funds may purchase and write options on indexes to create investment exposure consistent with their investment objectives, to hedge or limit the exposure of their positions, or to create synthetic money market positions. An index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the assets included in the index. Options on indexes give the holder the right to receive an amount of cash upon exercise of the option. Receipt of this cash amount will depend upon the closing level of the index upon which the option is based being greater than (in the case of a call) or less than (in the case of a put) the level at which the exercise price of the option is set. The amount of cash received, if any, will be the difference between the closing price level of the index and the exercise price of the option, multiplied by a specified dollar multiple. The writer (seller) of the option is obligated, in return for the premiums received from the purchaser of the option, to make delivery of this amount to the purchaser. All settlements of index options transactions are in cash.
On May 7, 2014, the SEC published an investor alert that highlighted fraud and other concerns relating to certain investment opportunities denominated in bitcoin and fraudulent and unregistered investment schemes targeted at participants in online bitcoin forums. On July 25, 2017, the SEC issued a Report of Investigation or Report which concluded that digital assets or tokens issued for the purpose of raising funds may be securities within the meaning of the federal securities laws. The Report emphasized that whether a digital asset is a security is based on the particular facts and circumstances, including the economic realities of the transactions. This was reiterated in a December 11, 2017 Public Statement emphasizing the risks of investing in digital assets such as bitcoin and noting the possibility that bitcoin and other digital assets may be deemed to be securities. The SEC continues to take action against persons or entities misusing bitcoin in connection with fraudulent schemes (i.e., Ponzi scheme), inaccurate and inadequate publicly disseminated information, and the offering of unregistered securities.

However, there could be a transition stage in which volatility could actually become worse. Large financial trading firms could enter the market to an extent that has not been seen yet, and because bitcoin is so difficult to value (as Warren Buffet put it: “You can’t value bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset.”), a lot of different forces will act on its price. Shorts will become more popular, and disagreements on pricing could manifest in the cryptocurrency markets in the form of extreme price jumps, more so than is already commonplace.
The BofA Merrill Lynch Marks are trademarks of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated or its affiliates and have been licensed for use by Trust. S&P, MSCI and Russell, respectively, are trademarks of Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, MSCI, Inc. and Frank Russell Company and have been licensed for use by BofA Merrill Lynch.

While “physical” delivery of Bitcoins as part of a futures contract would certainly be possible it raises regulatory and security issues in today’s environment where the cybercurrency exchanges are mostly unregulated, somewhat unreliable, and theft due to security hacks is distressingly common.  By selecting cash settlement the CME and Cboe completely avoid the transfer of custody issues and shift those problems to somebody else—namely the market makers and arbitrageur.


The tables below show performance examples of an UltraPro and UltraPro Short ProShares Fund that have investment objectives to correspond to three times (3x) and three times the inverse (-3x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same as or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
The Advisor, with the assistance of ISS, maintains for a period of at least five years a record of each proxy statement received and materials that were considered when the proxy was voted during the calendar year. Information on how the Funds voted proxies relating to portfolio securities for the 12-month (or shorter) period ended June 30 is available without charge, upon request, (1) by calling the Advisor at 888-776-3637, (2) on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com, and (3) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

Traders A and B in the previous example are hedgers. However, futures contracts, once they exist, can also be bought and sold in their own right. This is where futures get interesting for speculators. Say that Speculator X believes the price of a ton of pork belly will rise to 1,200 USD in 3 months’ time, so buying the futures contract at 1,000 USD is a good deal. He can then sell the contract to bacon producers who want to buy pork bellies at 1,000 USD. The option to buy at a specified price in the future is known as a call option. The price of call options rise when traders assume that the price of the underlying asset will rise.
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