There may be circumstances outside the control of the Advisor, Trust, Administrator (as defined below), transfer agent, Custodian (as defined below), any sub-custodian, Distributor (as defined below), and/or a Fund that make it, for all practical purposes, impossible to re-position such Fund and/or to process a purchase or redemption order. Examples of such circumstances include: natural disasters; public service disruptions or utility problems such as those caused by fires, floods, extreme weather conditions, and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy, and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the aforementioned parties, as well as the DTC, the NSCC, or any other participant in the purchase process; and similar extraordinary events. Accordingly, while the Advisor has implemented and tested a business continuity plan that transfers functions of any disrupted facility to another location and has effected a disaster recovery plan, circumstances, such as those above, may prevent a Fund from being operated in a manner consistent with its investment objective and/or principal investment strategies.
Jump up ^ Iansiti, Marco; Lakhani, Karim R. (January 2017). "The Truth About Blockchain". Harvard Business Review. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
(ix) limit-up or limit-down trading halts on options or futures contracts which may prevent a Fund from purchasing or selling options or futures contracts; (x) early and unanticipated closings of the markets on which the holdings of a Fund trade, resulting in the inability of the Fund to execute intended portfolio transactions; and (xi) fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
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.
Note that the market value of the contract fluctuates before settlement. You are not forced to hold the contract to expiration. As the spot market moves, the traded futures contract price also moves. There is a live orderbook of traders placing buy and sell orders and you are able to realize your profit or loss prior to expiration, just as if you were buying and selling a stock.
Other countries are not as accommodative of bitcoin. For example, the Chinese government on December 3, 2013 issued a notice that classified bitcoin as legal and “virtual commodities;” however, the same notice restricted the banking and payment industries from using bitcoin, creating uncertainty and limiting the ability of Bitcoin Exchanges to operate in the then-second largest bitcoin market. Then on September 15, 2017, the Chinese government and local financial regulators officially requested some Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges and digital asset trading platforms to shut down by the end of September 2017. In addition, the Central Bank of Bolivia banned the use of bitcoin as a means of payment in May 2014. Further, in July 2016, the Russian Ministry of Finance indicated it supports a proposed law that bans bitcoin domestically but allows for its use as a foreign currency. In September 2017 the head of the Russian central bank stated that it is categorically against regulating cryptocurrencies as money, as a means by which payment can be made for goods and services, and against equating them with foreign currency. Most recently, South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination released a wide variety of proposed regulations which range from the imposition of capital gains taxes on profits realized from cryptocurrency trading, to banning minors from registering on South Korean bitcoin exchanges, and even prohibiting financial institutions from investing in digital assets. These restrictive stances towards digital assets may reduce the rate of expansion of bitcoin use or even eliminate the use of bitcoin entirely in these geographies.
If a Fund that writes an option wishes to terminate the Fund’s obligation, the Fund may effect a “closing purchase transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written by the Fund. The effect of the purchase is that the writer’s position will be canceled by the OCC. However, a writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after the writer has been notified of the exercise of an option. Likewise, a Fund which is the holder of an option may liquidate its position by effecting a “closing sale transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased by the Fund. There is no guarantee that either a closing purchase or a closing sale transaction can be effected. If any call or put option is not exercised or sold, the option will become worthless on its expiration date. A Fund will realize a gain (or a loss) on a closing purchase transaction with respect to a call or a put option previously written by the Fund if the premium, plus commission costs, paid by the Fund to purchase the call or put option to close the transaction is less (or greater) than the premium, less commission costs, received by the Fund on the sale of the call or the put option. The Fund also will realize a gain if a call or put option which the Fund has written lapses unexercised, because the Fund would retain the premium.
The Board is currently composed of four Trustees, including three Independent Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Funds, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (each an “Independent Trustee”). In addition to four regularly scheduled meetings per year, the Board holds executive sessions (with and without employees of the Advisor), special meetings, and/or informal conference calls relating to specific matters that may require discussion or action prior to its next regular meeting. The Independent Trustees have retained “independent legal counsel” as the term is defined in the 1940 Act.
• 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 increased volumes, higher volatility and higher risk that the exchanges would suffer counterparty defaults. Finally, the Bitcoin Exchanges may be required to comply with tax and other reporting obligations that make it more costly to transact in bitcoin (which may have an impact on price, volatility, or the trading of bitcoin more generally).
Non-VanEck proprietary information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Historical performance is not indicative of future results. Current data may differ from data quoted. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of VanEck.
Words of caution are appropriate when talking about going short and using leverage. These strategies are incredibly effective because they allow investors to not only profit from a general upward trend in bitcoin but to profit from the fluctuations in the market. At first, it is hard to think of a more perfect asset than bitcoin for such purposes. The upward trends have been fast and extreme, yet fluctuations are very common and tend to be substantial.
The rules regarding the extent to which such subpart F inclusions will be treated as “qualifying income” for purposes of the 90% gross income requirement described above are unclear and currently under consideration. In the absence of further guidance, each Parent Fund will seek to ensure that it satisfies the 90% gross income requirement, including but not limited to by ensuring that its Subsidiary timely distributes to it an amount equal to the Subsidiary’s subpart F income by the end of the Subsidiary’s taxable year. In order to make such distributions, the Subsidiary may be required to sell investments, including at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. If a Parent Fund were to fail to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment in any taxable year, it would be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gains, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. In addition, the Parent Fund could be required to pay substantial taxes, penalties and interest, and to make substantial distributions, in order to re-qualify for such special treatment.
While volatile movements take away the attractiveness of any asset, a certain amount of swing in price creates trading opportunities. This is something that many traders and speculators have been taking advantage of by buying the digital currency and then selling at a profit through an exchange. The whole process makes bitcoin exchanges an important part of the ecosystem since it facilitates the buying and selling of bitcoins, as well as futures trading.
The ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF contains portfolio investments that are primarily listed on foreign markets. To the extent the Fund’s portfolio investments trade in foreign markets on days when the Fund is not open for business or when the primary exchange for its shares is not open, the value of the Fund’s assets may vary on days when shareholders may not be able to purchase or sell Fund shares and Authorized Participants may not be able to create or redeem Creation Units. Also, certain portfolio investments may not be traded on days the Fund is open for business.
The CME Group contract (symbol “BTC”) began trading on December 18, 2017, building off of the success of the BRR and demand for a regulated trading venue for the digital asset market. The contract is cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are listed on and subject to the rules of CME.2
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.
Equity/Index Swaps. In an equity swap, payments on one or both sides are linked to the performance of equities or an equity index. Equity swaps are normally used to (1) initiate and maintain long or short equity exposures either in an index or a specific stock portfolio; (2) temporarily eliminate exposure to an equity portfolio without disturbing the underlying equity position; or (3) increase, reduce, or eliminate market exposure to a single issue or a narrow stock portfolio or obtain greater diversification for a limited period of time without disturbing an underlying position.
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.
When cash markets are not functioning well, cash and carry arbitrage (and its reverse) futures markets may make the underlying asset accessible to more people. It is possible that A is bullish on bitcoin, but does not wish to go through the hassles of creating a wallet and storing it safely. At the same time, B might be comfortable with bitcoin wallets, but might be unwilling to take bitcoin price risk. Then B can buy bitcoin spot and sell cash settled bitcoin futures to A; the result is that A obtains exposure to bitcoin without creating a bitcoin wallet, while B obtains a risk free investment (a synthetic T-bill). Similarly, suppose C wishes to bet against bitcoin, but does not have the ability to short it; while D has no views on bitcoin, but has sufficient access to the cash market to be able to short bitcoin. Then D can take a risk free position by shorting bitcoin in the cash market and buying bitcoin futures from C who obtains a previously unavailable short position.
There are many groups on Facebook where you can find likeminded folks who will happily talk crypto all day but the problem is that 99% of these groups are filled with people who have only a very basic understanding of cryptocurrency and the knowledge available here is not particularly strong. I have recently left almost every single group on Facebook as, in my opinion, they are largely filled with FUD.
• Intellectual property claims. A proliferation of recent startups attempting to apply blockchain technology in different contexts means the possibility of conflicting intellectual property claims could be a risk to an issuer, its operations or its business. This could also pose a risk to blockchain platforms that permit transactions in digital securities.
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.
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.
These are NOT linked to or related in any way, to the futures contracts that trade on the CME or CBOE. Not every article I have read makes this clear. So the bright side of this story is that the contracts listed and traded on U.S. exchanges were not involved. That is encouraging from both a regulatory aspect and for the future potential growth of cryptocurrency linked products in the U.S.
The tax rules are uncertain with respect to the treatment of income or gains arising in respect of commodity-linked exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and certain commodity-linked structured notes; also, the timing and character of income or gains arising from ETNs can be uncertain. An adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect a Fund’s ability to qualify for treatment as a regulated investment company and to avoid a Fund-level tax.
BB, B, CCC, CC, and C – Obligations rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, ‘CC’, and ‘C’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘C’ the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.
In addition, the securities of some foreign governments, companies and markets are less liquid, and may be more volatile, than comparable securities of domestic governments, companies and markets. Some foreign investments may be subject to brokerage commissions and fees that are higher than those applicable to U.S. investments. A Fund also may be affected by different settlement practices or delayed settlements in some foreign markets. Moreover, some foreign jurisdictions regulate and limit U.S. investments in the securities of certain issuers.
A cryptocurrency is a digital coin, designed to be transferred between people in virtual transactions. Cryptocurrencies exist only as data and not as physical objects; you cannot actually hold a Bitcoin in your hand or keep Ethereum in your safe. Owning a Bitcoin means you have the collective agreement of each and every computer on the Bitcoin network that it is currently owned by you and – more importantly – that it was legitimately created by a miner.
In a futures market, if the price is $500/BTC, an investor needs to buy 50 futures contracts, each worth $10. If an investor wishes to open a positive position then he goes long with “buy" contracts, and if he decides to open a negative position, he goes short with “sell” contracts. An investor’s position can be either positive or negative for the same instrument. (For more, see: Bitcoin Mass Hysteria: The Disaster that Brought Down Mt. Gox.)
If anything, the problem seems to start with incredibly lax risk management at this exchange. According to the OKEX statement, the risk management team 'immediately' contacted the client to reduce the size of the trade - begging the question - how did their risk management system allow the trade to occur in the first place? On the bright side, something like that should be easy to fix, but it is indicative, potentially of how many simple things are being overlooked in the rush to make money from crypto trading.
Darknet markets present challenges in regard to legality. Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency used in dark markets are not clearly or legally classified in almost all parts of the world. In the U.S., bitcoins are labelled as "virtual assets". This type of ambiguous classification puts pressure on law enforcement agencies around the world to adapt to the shifting drug trade of dark markets.
Now let's say that both traders simply hold the January 9 contract to expiration. If price settles at 440, 10% higher, then Bob will get a 50% return on his initial margin (+0.1btc, 5x leverage enhances his 10% gain on the notional 1 bitcoin of the contract) and Ann will lose 50%. (-0.1btc). This is one of the most powerful parts of futures: higher leverage means higher returns on your trades. The leverage feature is essential for hedgers and speculators trying to get the most out of their capital when managing risk. And better yet: you don't pay daily interest or any margin fees on this leverage with bitcoin futures!
• The bitcoin exchanges on which bitcoin trades are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated and, therefore, may be more exposed to volatility, fraud and security breaches than established, regulated exchanges for other products. Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks. Fraudulent activity can increase volatility and have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin, the general acceptance of bitcoin as an investment or means of currency and could have a negative impact on the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests and the value of the Fund.
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.
ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Fund Shares through DTC to the Custodian by no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time of the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. Authorized Participants should be aware that the deadline for such transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system may be significantly earlier than the close of business on the primary listing exchange. Those making redemption requests should ascertain the deadline applicable to transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution affecting the transfer of Fund Shares. The Balancing Amount, if any, must be transferred in U.S. dollars directly to the Custodian through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Custodian no later than 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. If the Custodian does not receive both the required Fund Shares and the Balancing Amount, if any, by 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively, on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date, such order will be deemed not in proper form and cancelled.