Market Spotlight – Bitcoin - A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure transactions, control creation, and verify transactions. The first such cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced in 2009. In 2017, the exchanges launched a Bitcoin futures contract. The CBOE contract launched on Sunday, December 10, while the CME contract launched on Monday, December 18.
Non-Diversified Status (All Funds, except the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF the ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF, and the ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF)
Some Funds focus their investments in particular foreign geographical regions or countries. In addition to the risks of investing in foreign securities discussed above, the investments of such Funds may be exposed to special risks that are specific to the country or region in which the investments are focused. Furthermore, Funds with such a focus may be subject to additional risks associated with events in nearby countries or regions or those of a country’s principal trading partners. Additionally, some Funds have an investment focus in a foreign country or region that is an emerging market and, therefore, are subject to heightened risks relative to Funds that focus their investments in more developed countries or regions.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses"). Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.
Louis M. Mayberg, President of ProShare Advisors from inception to April 2012 and ProFund Advisors LLC from April 1997 to April 2012. Mr. Mayberg co-founded National Capital Companies, L.L.C., an investment bank specializing in financial services companies mergers and acquisitions and equity underwritings in 1986, and managed its financial services hedge fund. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance from The George Washington University.
The biggest problem of the Blockchain is its reliance on miners. This is exactly why the cryptocurrency called IOTA (the Internet of Thigs Application) was created in 2016. IOTA also battles increasing transaction fees and network scalability. IOTA’s blockchain is called Tangle. It is a blockchain with no blocks and no chains. In this system, the users themselves are responsible for validating transactions. This means there’s no need for approval from miners; so users enjoy a fee-free transaction and an increased process speed.
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.
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.
• Changes in the Bitcoin Network could have an adverse effect on the operation and value of bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the value of Bitcoin Futures Contracts and the value of Fund Shares. The open source nature of the Bitcoin protocol permits any developer to review the underlying code and suggest changes to it via “Bitcoin Improvement Proposals”, or “BIPs.” If accepted by a sufficient number of miners, BIPs may result in substantial changes to the Bitcoin Network, including changes that result in “forks.” Such changes may influence the price of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Futures Contracts. In particular, it is possible that the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts subsequent to a “fork” may be linked to the price of bitcoin on only one of the resulting Bitcoin Networks, rather than the aggregate price of bitcoin on all resulting Bitcoin Networks. The CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) have announced different protocols for addressing forks.
The Distribution and Service Plan is intended to permit the financing of a broad array of distribution-related activities and services, as well as shareholder services, for the benefit of investors. These activities and services are intended to make the Shares an attractive investment alternative, which may lead to increased assets, increased investment opportunities and diversification, and reduced per share operating expenses. There are currently no plans to impose distribution fees.
A Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. A Fund will realize a gain if the price of the security declines in price between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss will be increased, by the amount of the premium, dividends or interest a Fund may be required to pay, if any, in connection with a short sale.
Ultimately, if you want to make money with crypto you have a couple of options. The easiest thing to do is to build a diversified portfolio of carefully selected coins and then to simply wait a couple of years. However, this is not the most effective way to make mad money. If you want to truly crush it at crypto, you need access to truly knowledgable people.
Exchanges simply take a fee to facilitate the orderbook where its clients (the counterparties) create and trade futures contract with each other. They also have to manage the system's risk so that traders don't get overleveraged or manipulate the market. Since counterparties are only putting margin down that is a % of the contract value, the exchange also has to handle liquidation procedures in case the value of the margin is exceeded by the loss on the notional market value of the contract. For instance, BitMEX offers 100x leverage, so if you want to enter a $10,000 position you need to put down $100 worth of bitcoin. If the price moves just 0.5% against your favor, BitMEX will take over your position and execute it into the market, so that the person on the other side of the contract can have someone else who pays for the profit. In the event that the liquidation doesn't get passed off to another trader, an Auto-Deleveraging/Termination can occur, or Socialize Loss in the contract builds (we will discuss these issues in more detail later).
One traditional attraction of trading futures is the ability to use relatively small amounts of money to potentially achieve outsized returns. In many futures markets the margin, the amount of money that your broker requires up-front before executing the trade can be quite small compared to the ultimate value of the contract. For example, as of 22-Dec-2017, each E-mini S&P 500 contract was worth $134K ($50*S&P 500 index value)—this “list price” of the contract is called its notional value. The CME only requires you to maintain a minimum margin of $4.5K (3.4% of notional) to control this contract (brokers often require additional margin). Margin requirements this low are only possible because the volatility of the S&P 500 is well understood and your margin account balance is adjusted at the end of every trading day to account for the winnings or losses of the day. If your account balance falls below the margin minimum of $4.5K you’ll need to quickly add money to your account or your position will be summarily closed out by your broker. On the plus side, if you’ve predicted the S&P’s direction correctly your profits will be that same as if you completely owned the underlying stocks in the index. A +1% daily move in the S&P500 would yield $1340 in profit even though you only have $4500 invested— a 29% return—this multiplier effect is called leverage.
The only way that new Bitcoin can be created is through a process called “mining.” Bitcoin mining occurs when users process transactional data into “blocks” and then add them to the blockchain. As payment for this service, miners are awarded specific amounts of new Bitcoin. Upon its launch, the maximum supply of Bitcoin was predetermined to be 21 million.
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As we have seen above, a futures contract has an expiration date. This is the date on which you can purchase the ton of pork bellies for 1,000 USD – this is called a physical settlement. Alternatively, futures contracts can be settled with cash as well. In these contracts, you receive the difference between the current price of the underlying asset and the price in your contract as cash.