Now, if that margin-call does not get filled and the price continues to fall, then I'm making profits on my contract but nobody is paying for it since the counterparty who got margin-called didn't get the liquidation order filled. So what happens is that at settlement time of the contract, that unfilled liquidation loss to the system will be deducted from the profits of ALL traders before they are distributed.
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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.
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In September 2015, the establishment of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ledger (ISSN 2379-5980) was announced. It covers studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh. The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.
Bitcoin (BTC) has been engaged in a predictable up and down pattern where it absolutely crashes at the beginning of any year and then sky-rockets as the year nears its end. Bitcoin held steady at around $19,000 in December 2017, and then sure enough – crashed big time to around $6,000 at the beginning of 2018. At the time of writing, March 8th 2018, the price of Bitcoin is relatively stable between $10,000 and $12,000. In my opinion, the price will run again soon.
On 25 March 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes. This means bitcoin will be subject to capital gains tax. In a paper published by researchers from Oxford and Warwick, it was shown that bitcoin has some characteristics more like the precious metals market than traditional currencies, hence in agreement with the IRS decision even if based on different reasons.
Were Centra's tokens securities? Well, yes, obviously. We talked last week about the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement action against Munchee, an initial coin offering vaguely similar to Centra's in that it featured "utility tokens" to be used in a blockchain ecosystem that did not yet exist, sold on promises of speculative returns. The SEC brusquely and correctly dismissed the notion that such "utility tokens" were not securities, and I suspect any court will agree. Also, while Centra occasionally remembered to call its tokens "utility-based tokens" and "not securities, shares or investments," it often forgot. From the complaint:
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.
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Futures markets create an immense amount of flexibility. They enable investors to readily bet on an asset or bet against it (go long or go short), and they are usually characterised by an immense amount of leverage. In the case of bitcoin, this means one can trade a high volume of coins while only paying for a fraction of them, essentially operating with borrowed money. Leverage is used to amplify profits on a small volume of assets, but it is a double-edged sword in that it also amplifies losses.
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• Counterparty Risk —The Fund bears the risk that the counterparty to derivative transaction, such as a futures contract, defaults or otherwise fails to honor its obligations. If a counterparty defaults, the Fund will lose money and the value of an investment in the Fund may decrease. The Fund may engage in futures transactions with a limited number of counterparties, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to counterparty risk. The effect of the volatility of bitcoin pricing or other aspects of trading in bitcoin futures on futures clearinghouses for bitcoin futures is currently unknown, and may result in increased counterparty risk.
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.
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It will not, though: Everyone is exhausted, so P&G will just add Peltz to its board. This makes sense. The election is for all practical purposes a tie; the difference in votes appears to be well within the margin for measurement error. I think in that scenario a tie has to go to the activist: If 49.98 percent of your shareholders think something is going wrong, you might as well do something to appease them.
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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.
Credit Default Swaps (“CDS”): In the case of a CDS, the agreement will reference one or more debt securities or reference entities. The protection “buyer” in a credit default contract is generally obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract until a credit event, such as a default, on a reference entity has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer: a) the full notional value of the swap; or b) the difference between the notional value of the defaulted reference entity and the recovery price/rate for the defaulted reference entity. CDS are designed to reflect changes in credit quality, including events of default. The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF will normally be a “buyer” of CDS (also referred to as a buyer of protection or a seller of risk). The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF will primarily invest in centrally cleared, index-based CDS that provide credit exposure through a single trade to a basket of reference entities. The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF may also invest in single-name CDS. Single-name CDS provide exposure to a single reference entity and are not centrally cleared.
A key attribute of a futures market is how its contract’s prices vary by expiration date. The succession of futures prices over time is called the “term structure”. If supply is stable (no seasonality or shortages) then typically futures prices will increase with expirations further in the future. This term structure configuration is called “contango” and it accounts for the fact that carry costs (e.g., time value of money) and profit expectations increase with time. Unless there are big changes in interest rates or the way that Bitcoin exchanges work I expect the level of contango in the Bitcoin futures term structure to be small. Bitcoins don’t cost much to hodl (once you have your hardware wallet) and there’s no apparent seasonality. The chart below from VIX Central shows a typical Bitcoin term structure (click on chart to get current data):
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Trading directly on CME is not possible unless you are a broker yourself. This means that you have to pay a high fee – between thousands and hundreds of thousands of USD – to join CME. As an individual investor, you need to find a broker who trades on CME. You will then open an account with this broker – a margin account rather than a cash account because in options trading, there is a margin involved, as we have seen above. Because this poses a higher risk for the broker – in case you can’t settle your debts – these deals can only be done in special margin accounts and not cash accounts.