JUNK BONDS. “Junk Bonds” generally offer a higher current yield than that available for higher-grade issues. However, lower-rated securities involve higher risks, in that they are especially subject to adverse changes in general economic conditions and in the industries in which the issuers are engaged, to changes in the financial condition of the issuers and to price fluctuations in response to changes in interest rates. During periods of economic downturn or rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers may experience financial stress that could adversely affect their ability to make payments of interest and principal and increase the possibility of default. In addition, the market for lower-rated debt securities has expanded rapidly in recent years, and its growth paralleled a long economic expansion. At times in recent years, the prices of many lower-rated debt securities declined substantially, reflecting an expectation that many issuers of such securities might experience financial difficulties. As a result, the yields on lower-rated debt securities rose dramatically, but the higher yields did not reflect the value of the income stream that holders of such securities expected. Rather, the risk that holders of such securities could lose a substantial portion of their value as a result of the issuers’ financial restructuring or default. There can be no assurance that such declines will not recur. The market for lower-rated debt issues generally is thinner and less active than that for higher quality securities, which may limit each Fund’s ability to sell such securities at fair value in response to changes in the economy or financial markets. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may also decrease the values and liquidity of lower-rated securities, especially in a thinly traded market. Changes by recognized rating services in their rating of a fixed income security may affect the value of these investments. Each Fund will not necessarily dispose of a security when its rating is reduced below the rating it had at the time of purchase. However, the Advisor will monitor the investment to determine whether continued investment in the security will assist in meeting each Fund’s investment objective.
Two members of the Silk Road Task Force—a multi-agency federal task force that carried out the U.S. investigation of Silk Road—seized bitcoins for their own use in the course of the investigation. DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV, who attempted to extort Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht ("Dread Pirate Roberts"), pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and extortion under color of official right, and was sentenced to 6.5 years in federal prison. U.S. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty to crimes relating to his diversion of $800,000 worth of bitcoins to his personal account during the investigation, and also separately pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with another cryptocurrency theft; he was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison.
To assist the Advisor in its responsibility for voting proxies and the overall proxy voting process, the Advisor has retained Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) as an expert in the proxy voting and corporate governance area. ISS is a subsidiary of Vestar Capital Partners VI, L.P., a leading U.S. middle market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. The services provided by ISS include in-depth research, global issuer analysis and voting recommendations as well as vote execution, reporting and record keeping. ISS issues quarterly reports for the Advisor to review to assure proxies are being voted properly. The Advisor and ISS also perform spot checks intra-quarter to match the voting activity with available shareholder meeting information. ISS’s management meets on a regular basis to discuss its approach to new developments and amendments to existing policies. Information on such developments or amendments in turn is provided to the Proxy Committee. The Proxy Committee reviews and, as necessary, may amend periodically the Guidelines to address new or revised proxy voting policies or procedures.
The Board has approved a Distribution and Service Plan under which each Fund may pay financial intermediaries such as broker-dealers and investment advisers (“Authorized Firms”) up to 0.25%, on an annualized basis, of average daily net assets of the Fund as reimbursement or compensation for distribution-related activities with respect to the Shares of the Fund and shareholder services. Under the Distribution and Service Plan, the Trust or the Distributor may enter into agreements (“Distribution and Service Agreements”) with Authorized Firms that purchase Shares on behalf of their clients.
When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, a Bitcoin Fund may sell the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a lower price and buy a longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a higher price, resulting in a negative roll yield (i.e., a loss). When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, a Bitcoin Fund may sell the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a higher price and buy the longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a lower price, resulting in a positive roll yield (i.e., a gain).
In pure financial theory, the value of a futures contract is based on a "no arbitrage condition" from the interest rates in each asset. We have Bitcoin and US Dollar. Bitcoin interest rates tend to be less than US Dollar interest rates, so when you want to replicate the future value of bitcoin in US dollars, you have to borrow USD at, say, 5%, and invest in Bitcoin at 1% return. This requires a premium on the futures exchange to be able to hedge that trade.
The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts are imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures and the market value of the underlying assets, and the possibility of an illiquid market for a futures contract. Although each Fund intends to sell futures contracts only if there is an active market for such contracts, no assurance can be given that a liquid market will exist for any particular contract at any particular time. Many futures exchanges and boards of trade limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified periods during the day. Futures contract prices could move to the limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and potentially subjecting a Fund to substantial losses. If trading is not possible, or if a Fund determines not to close a futures position in anticipation of adverse price movements, the Fund will be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin. The risk that the Fund will be unable to close out a futures position will be minimized by entering into such transactions on a national exchange with an active and liquid secondary market. In addition, although the counterparty to a futures contract is often a clearing organization, backed by a group of financial institutions, there may be instances in which the counterparty could fail to perform its obligations, causing significant losses to a Fund.
Bitcoin is maintained on the decentralized, open source protocol of the peer-to-peer bitcoin computer network (the “Bitcoin Network”). No single entity owns or operates the Bitcoin Network. The infrastructure of the Bitcoin Network is collectively maintained by a decentralized user base. The Bitcoin Network is accessed through software, and software governs bitcoin’s creation, movement, and ownership. The value of bitcoin is determined in great part by the supply of (which is limited), and demand for, bitcoin in the global exchange markets for the trading of bitcoin (individually, “Bitcoin Exchanges” and collectively, the “Bitcoin Exchange Market”), market expectations for the adoption of bitcoin and the volume of private user-to-user transactions.
When a market price is not readily available, each Fund’s investments are valued at fair value in good faith under procedures established by, and under the general supervision and responsibility of, the Board. The use of a fair valuation method may be appropriate if, for example: (i) market quotations do not accurately reflect fair value of an investment; (ii) an investment’s value has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the exchange or market on which the investment is principally traded; (iii) a trading halt closes an exchange or market early; or (iv) other events result in an exchange or market delaying its normal close. This procedure incurs the unavoidable risk that the valuation may be higher or lower than the securities might actually command if the Funds sold them. See the SAI for more details.
Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market seems to rise and fall simultaneously with the altcoins. Is a systemic issue that causes this harmonious rise and fall of prices on the exchanges? The answer is a little fuzzy, but there are several factors at play. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as the universal trading currency, which leads to many investors buying and selling Bitcoin to buy and sell altcoins. When bitcoin starts a bull run, many of the altcoins fall, as investors jump on the Bitcoin train and vice versa. It’s also systemic because most exchanges require Bitcoin rather than fiat currency to transact. It is easy to invest fiat currency in the market and then leave there as an investor trades it; moving it from one currency to another and not cashing it back to fiat currency. Furthermore, When the Bitcoin price falls or rises against the fiat currency, all the altcoins will usually follow. This is because all altcoin prices are based on their Bitcoin exchange rate, not their fiat currency exchange rate. The value of an altcoin in fiat currency is the value of the altcoin in Bitcoin and then Bitcoin’s value in that fiat currency. It is Bitcoin that strongly affects pricing.
When the market for certain futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby bitcoin futures contracts would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures contracts. This pattern of higher futures prices for longer expiration bitcoin futures contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for certain bitcoin futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby bitcoin futures contracts would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures contracts. This pattern of higher future prices for shorter expiration bitcoin futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.”
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.