The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
So far, these derivatives market have only been a niche occupied by crypto enthusiasts. That is until one of the newcomers, Crypto Facilities, and an incumbent in the derivatives market have joined forces: Crypto Facilities and the CME Group. The CME Group (controlling, for example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that has been around for more than a century) is a large-scale business that is officially regulated and audited by the US financial authorities. It settles its contracts in fiat money rather than cryptocurrency, thus enabling non-crypto experts to speculate on Bitcoin.
On September 17, 2015, the CFTC provided clarity regarding the regulatory treatment of bitcoin in the Coinflip civil enforcement case. There the CFTC determined that bitcoin and other virtual currencies are regulated as commodities under the CEA. Based on this determination, the CFTC applied CEA provisions and CFTC regulations that apply to a bitcoin derivatives trading platform. Also of significance, the CFTC took the position that bitcoin is not encompassed by the definition of currency under the CEA and CFTC regulations. The CFTC defined bitcoin and other “virtual currencies” as “a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value, but does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are distinct from ‘real’ currencies, which are the coin and paper money of the United States or another country that are designated as legal tender, circulate, and are customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.” On July 6, 2017, the CFTC granted LedgerX, LLC an order of registration as a Swap Execution Facility for digital assets and on July 24, 2017, the CFTC approved Ledger X, LLC as the first derivatives clearing organization for digital currency. On September 21, 2017, the CFTC filed a civil enforcement action in federal court against a New York corporation and its principal, charging them with fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in connection with a Ponzi scheme involving investments in bitcoin, which the CFTC asserted is a commodity subject to its jurisdiction.
Mortgage-backed securities are most commonly issued or guaranteed by GNMA, FNMA or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”), but may also be issued or guaranteed by other private issuers. GNMA is a government-owned corporation that is an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It guarantees, with the full faith and credit of the United States, full and timely payment of all monthly principal and interest on its mortgage-backed securities. FNMA is a publicly owned, government-sponsored corporation that mostly packages mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, but also sells some non-governmentally backed mortgages. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FNMA. The FHLMC is a publicly chartered agency that buys qualifying residential mortgages from lenders, re-packages them and provides certain guarantees. The corporation’s stock is owned by savings institutions across the United States and is held in trust by the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Pass-through securities issued by the FHLMC are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by the FHLMC.
In May 2018 Bitcoin Gold (and two other cryptocurrencies) were hit by a successful 51% hashing attack by an unknown actor, in which exchanges lost estimated $18m. In June 2018, Korean exchange Coinrail was hacked, losing US$37 million worth of altcoin. Fear surrounding the hack was blamed for a $42 billion cryptocurrency market selloff. On 9 July 2018 the exchange Bancor had $23.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen.
The idea is simple; if the future is trading above the underlying asset (Bitcoin) today, we buy the asset and sell the future, thus receiving cash and locking in a profit. Then on the delivery date, we sell the bitcoin to cover the costs of settling the futures contract. For the deal to be profitable, the price difference has to be large enough to cover interest between today and the delivery date as well as all costs fees.
Currently there are a several digital asset trading platforms that provide investors with forms of derivative products such as futures, so one could estimate and synthesize the discrete futures curve from the averages of various curves. MVIS research used BitMEX, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC as sources, to construct and approximate bitcoin futures curve based on non-U.S. bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges.
The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Trust on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent Shares and sells some or all of the Shares comprising such Creation Units directly to its customers; or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for Shares. A determination of whether a person is an underwriter for the purposes of the 1933 Act depends upon all the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities. Thus, the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead a person to be deemed an underwriter. Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are effecting transactions in Shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of Shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result
Under normal market conditions, each Fund intends to invest substantially all of its assets in Benchmark Futures Contracts. The contractual obligations of a buyer or seller holding a futures contract to expiration may be satisfied by settling in cash as designated in the contract specifications. Alternatively, futures contracts may be closed out prior to expiration by making an offsetting sale or purchase of an identical futures contract on the same or linked exchange before the designated date of settlement. Once this date is reached, the futures contract “expires.” The Funds do not intend to hold bitcoin futures contracts through expiration, but instead to “roll” their respective positions. “Rolling” refers to a process whereby futures contracts nearing expiration are closed out and replaced with an identical futures contract with a later expiration date. Accordingly, the Funds are subjects to risks related to rolling.
Set forth below is a general discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax issues concerning the Funds and the purchase, ownership, and disposition of a Fund’s Shares. This discussion does not purport to be complete or to deal with all aspects of federal income taxation that may be relevant to shareholders in light of their particular circumstances, nor to certain types of shareholders subject to special treatment under the federal income tax laws (for example, life insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, and IRAs and other retirement plans). This discussion is based upon present provisions of the Code, the regulations promulgated thereunder, and judicial and administrative ruling authorities, all of which are subject to change, which change may be retroactive. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors with regard to the federal tax consequences of the purchase, ownership, or disposition of a Fund’s Shares, as well as the tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, foreign country, or other taxing jurisdiction.
The investment restrictions of the Funds specifically identified as fundamental policies may not be changed without the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that Fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. The investment objectives and all other investment policies of the Funds not specified as fundamental (including the index of a Fund) may be changed by the Board without the approval of shareholders.
Some exchanges offer trading on margin. When such an option is available, Bitcoiners are allowed to borrow funds from peer liquidity providers to carry out trades. The term "liquidity provider" refers to those who are ready to deposit their bitcoins and/or dollars with the exchange for use by others for a certain pre-fixed duration, rate, and amount. For example, say a Bitcoiner wants to buy 20 Bitcoins, anticipating that its price would rise in future and thus hopes to profit by selling them at a later date. If the person does not have sufficient funds to buy the 20 bitcoins, the margin facility allows him to borrow the amount required (20 X the price of bitcoins in USD) from a liquidity provider. When the Bitcoiner chooses to close the position, he needs to repay the amount borrowed plus the interest accrued during this time period. Remember that the amount accrued (loan + interest) needs to be reimbursed regardless of profit or loss at the time of settlement.
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.
Notwithstanding the guidelines set forth above, S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, S&P Midcap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, and DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF will not borrow money for investment purposes. Each of these Funds may borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including to meet redemption requests or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions, in an amount up to 10% of its respective net assets.
Now there is an open interest in the futures contract created. The simple act of two traders with no open interest, one making a limit order which then gets filled by the other, is what creates this position. The exchange then holds the 0.2 BTC margin of each party and the Profit and Loss (PNL) of the contract seesaws between counterparties based on market movements. If the exchange is liquid and rational, then the market price of the contract will change as the spot market moves. So if bitcoin price starts going up, futures traders will bid the price up.
“One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can’t hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold,” said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp. With futures, “you don’t hold the physical bitcoin, which solves custody issues and counterparty risks with these less-regulated exchanges.”
For purposes of this SAI, the word “invest” refers to a Fund directly and indirectly investing in securities or other instruments. Similarly, when used in this SAI, the word “investment” refers to a Fund’s direct and indirect investments in securities and other instruments. For example, the Funds typically invest indirectly in securities or instruments by using financial instruments with economic exposure similar to those securities or instruments.
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: