Do you remember, like, two weeks ago, when people were talking about how the launch of bitcoin futures at Cboe Global Markets Inc. and CME Group Inc. would allow for efficient short-selling of bitcoin and finally deflate the bubble? Smart hedge-fund money was lining up to bet against bitcoin, the thinking went, but had no convenient way to do it on the actual bitcoin exchanges. The only people trading bitcoin were the true believers, so of course it kept going up, but once it was opened up to normal financial players that would end. "The futures reduce the frictions of going short more than they do of going long, so it’s probably net bearish," said Craig Pirrong.
If, in any taxable year, a Fund were to fail to meet the 90% gross income, diversification or distribution test described above, the Fund could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying a Fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, or disposing of certain assets. If a Fund were ineligible to or did not cure such a failure for any taxable year, or otherwise failed to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, the Fund would be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gain (if any), would be taxable to shareholders as dividend income. In such a case, distributions from the Fund would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund may be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions.
If SupermegahedgefundX can offset any potential losses with futures trading, then maybe it will be more willing to buy bitcoin – although why it would allow its potential gains to be reduced with the same futures trade is beyond me. And, why hold the bitcoin when you can get similar profits with less initial outlay just by trading the synthetic derivatives?
Bitcoin relies on blockchain technology. “Blockchain” is a decentralized database. Transactions are grouped in blocks and then chained together through cryptographic links. Blockchain is designed so that the chain can be added to, but not edited. This structure is called a “distributed ledger.” Transactions in the distributed ledger are permanently recorded and can never disappear, although theft and loss of bitcoin can occur. While bitcoin has grown in popularity, it’s still not nearly as widely accepted as traditional currency.
• 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.
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.
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There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.