When a new crypto is launched, its founders announce how many coins will be mined. Once the quota is reached, no further coins can be produced. The first digital coin introduced was Bitcoin, which remains today the benchmark for all other digital coins. Among other currencies that have made their way into the cryptocurrency hall-of-fame we have: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, and a number of derived currencies, including Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
* The “Fund Complex” consists of all operational registered investment companies under the 1940 Act that are advised by ProShare Advisors LLC and any registered investment companies that have an investment adviser that is an affiliated person of ProShare Advisors LLC. Investment companies that are non-operational (and therefore, not publicly offered) as of the date of this SAI are excluded from these figures.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid. IOTA was the first cryptocurrency not based on a blockchain, and instead uses the Tangle. Many other cryptocurrencies have been created though few have been successful, as they have brought little in the way of technical innovation. On 6 August 2014, the UK announced its Treasury had been commissioned to do a study of cryptocurrencies, and what role, if any, they can play in the UK economy. The study was also to report on whether regulation should be considered.
Last night, Cboe XBTSM Bitcoin Futures commenced trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange. The launch was smooth, although our website experienced some issues due to an overwhelming number of hits looking for the trading data. Now that the futures are up and running, it may be time for a brief explanation of how an owner of bitcoins may use futures to hedge their position.
The exceptions to withholding for Capital Gain Dividends and short-term capital gain dividends do not apply to (A) distributions to an individual foreign shareholder who is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the distribution and (B) distributions attributable to gain that is treated as effectively connected with the conduct by the foreign shareholder of a trade or business within the United States under special rules regarding the disposition of U.S. real property interests as described below. The exception to withholding for interest-related dividends does not apply to distributions to a foreign shareholder (A) that has not provided a satisfactory statement that the beneficial owner is not a U.S. person, (B) to the extent that the dividend is attributable to certain interest on an obligation if the foreign shareholder is the issuer or is a 10% shareholder of the issuer, (C) that is within certain foreign countries that have inadequate information exchange with the United States, or (D) to the extent the dividend is attributable to interest paid by a person that is a related person of the foreign shareholder and the foreign shareholder is a controlled foreign corporation. If a Fund invests in a RIC that pays Capital Gain Dividends, short-term capital gain dividends or interest-related dividends to the Fund, such distributions retain their character as not subject to withholding if properly reported when paid by the Fund to foreign shareholders. A Fund is permitted to report such part of its dividends as interest-related and/or short-term capital gain dividends as are eligible, but is not required to do so.
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.
Still elsewhere, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in a footnote, quoted me saying "Just because you mumble the word 'blockchain' doesn't make otherwise illegal things legal," which I hope is now an official CFTC position. And here is Tyler Cowen on bitcoin volatility and Siegel's paradox: "Volatility is a feature of Bitcoin, not a bug, and that is in part for reasons that have nothing to do with speculation or bubbliness, but rather follow from the contours of the utility function." And: "No, a Guy Didn't Scam $1 Million by Selling Chuck E. Cheese Tokens as Bitcoins."
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
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.
ADRs represent the right to receive securities of foreign issuers deposited in a domestic bank or a correspondent bank. ADRs are an alternative to purchasing the underlying securities in their national markets and currencies. For many foreign securities, U.S. dollar-denominated ADRs, which are traded in the United States on exchanges or over-the-counter (“OTC”), are issued by domestic banks. In general, there is a large, liquid market in the United States for many ADRs. Investments in ADRs have certain advantages over direct investment in the underlying foreign securities because: (i) ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated investments that are easily transferable and for which market quotations are readily available, and (ii) issuers whose securities are represented by ADRs are generally subject to auditing, accounting and financial reporting standards similar to those applied to domestic issuers. ADRs do not eliminate all risk inherent in investing in the securities of foreign issuers. By investing in ADRs rather than directly in the stock of foreign issuers outside the U.S., however, the Funds may avoid certain risks related to investing in foreign securities on non-U.S. markets.
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.
The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its assets in a combination of short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and money market instruments. The Fund is designed to benefit when the price of bitcoin futures contracts declines. The Fund generally seeks to have 30% of the value of its portfolio invested in short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and 70% of the value of its portfolio invested in money market instruments.
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.
When the Fund has an open futures contract position, it is subject to daily variation margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. Futures markets are highly volatile and the use of or exposure to futures contracts may increase volatility of the Fund’s NAV. Futures contracts are also subject to liquidity risk.
Maybe one day our fiat money system will go under and be completely replaced by cryptocurrencies. We’re living in a digitalized world and the possibility of Bitcoin or any other major cryptocurrencies to replace the way we pay for the goods and services is not beyond the realms of possibility. However, as long as there are still profits to be made from Forex currency trading we encourage you to read our receipt for Forex trading success: How to Make Money Trading – 2 Keys to Success.
Other forms of swap agreements that the Funds may enter into include: interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified level, or “floor”; and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.
If you want to speculate on the price of a cryptocurrency then the use of a Contract for Difference (CFD) is an option to consider. You won’t actually own the cryptocurrency, which means you don’t face the hassle and hurdles of trying to buy via one of the unregulated exchanges. Instead, a CFD is a financial instrument which allows you to speculate on price movements.
Each Fund intends to distribute its net investment income and capital gains to shareholders at least annually to qualify for treatment as a RIC under the Code. Under current law, provided a Fund is not treated as a “personal holding company” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Fund is permitted to treat on its tax return as dividends paid the portion of redemption proceeds paid to redeeming shareholders that represents the redeeming shareholders’ portion of the Fund’s accumulated earnings and profits. This practice, called tax “equalization,” reduces the amount of income and/or gains that a Fund is required to distribute as dividends to non-redeeming shareholders. Tax equalization is not available to a Fund treated as a personal holding company. The amount of any undistributed income and/or gains is reflected in the value of a Fund’s Shares. The total return on a shareholder’s investment will generally not be reduced as a result of a Fund’s use of this practice.
As discussed above in “Investment in a Subsidiary”, each of the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF (each, a “Parent Fund”) intends to achieve commodity exposure through investment in a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary (each a “Subsidiary”). Each Subsidiary is classified as a corporation and is treated as a “controlled foreign corporation” (“CFC”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Each Parent Fund will limit its investments in its Subsidiary in the aggregate to 25% of the Parent Fund’s total assets. Each Parent Fund does not expect that income from its investment in its Subsidiary will be eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income or that distributions from its Subsidiary will be eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction.
Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) launched trading in Cboe bitcoin futures at 5:00 p.m. Central Time on December 10 under the ticker symbol “XBT”. XBT℠ futures are cash-settled contracts based on the Gemini’s auction price for bitcoin, denominated in U.S. dollars. Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) is a digital asset exchange and custodian founded in 2014 that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as bitcoin, and is subject to fiduciary obligations, capital reserve requirements, and banking compliance standards of the New York State Department of Financial Services.3
If a shareholder is eligible for the benefits of a tax treaty, any effectively connected income or gain will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net basis only if it is also attributable to a permanent establishment maintained by the shareholder in the United States. More generally, foreign shareholders who are residents in a country with an income tax treaty with the United States may obtain different tax results than those described herein, and are urged to consult their tax advisors.
Like any futures contract, trading in XBT futures is not suitable for all investors and involves the risk of loss. The risk of loss in XBT futures can be substantial. Market participants should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable in light of their own circumstances and financial resources. For additional information regarding futures trading risks, see the Risk Disclosure Statement set forth in CFTC Regulation 1.55(b).
Knowing their estimated costs and profit requirements the arbitrageur determines a minimum difference they need between the futures’ prices and the spot price before they will enter the market. They then monitor the price difference between Bitcoin futures and the Bitcoin exchanges and if large enough they act to profit on that gap. For example, if a specific Bitcoin future (e.g., February contract) is trading sufficiently higher than the current Bitcoin exchange price they will short that Bitcoin future and hedge their position by buying Bitcoins on the exchange. At that point, if they have achieved trade prices within their targets, they have locked in a guaranteed profit. They will hold those positions until contract expiration (or until they can cover their short futures and sell Bitcoins at a profit).
As noted above under “Distributions”, a Fund may declare a distribution from net realized capital gains to be payable in additional Fund shares or cash. Even if the Fund does not declare a distribution to be payable in Fund shares, brokers may make available to their customers who own shares the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and capital gains will automatically be reinvested in additional whole shares of the same Fund. Without this service, investors would have to take their distributions in cash. To determine whether the dividend reinvestment service is available and whether there is a commission or other charge for using this service, please consult your broker.
UPDATE: I do not recommend paying to enter a Cryptocurrency mastermind group – I’ve tried a few and found the ROI to be disappointing. I am now focussing on growing my portfolio passively utilising a cryptocurrency trading bot, the renowned Notorious Bot. Having a bot that trades for me, without emotion, using an advanced algorithm, allows me to grow my portfolio in the background without it cutting into my time or stressing me out. You can familiarise yourself with the basics of cryptocurrency trading bots here.
Orders to redeem Creation Units outside the Clearing Process (other than for Global Fund orders), including all cash-only redemptions, must be delivered through a DTC Participant that has executed the Authorized Participant Agreement. A DTC Participant who wishes to place an order for redemption of Creation Units to be effected outside the Clearing Process need not be a “participating party” under the Authorized Participant Agreement, but such orders must state that the DTC Participant is not using the Clearing Process and that the redemption of Creation Units will instead be effected through a transfer of Shares directly through DTC. A redemption order for a Fund must be received by the cut-off times set forth in “Redemption Cut-Off Times” above. The order must be accompanied or preceded by the requisite number of Shares of Funds specified in such order, which delivery must be made through DTC to the Custodian by the second Business Day (T+3) following such transmittal date. All other procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement must be properly followed in order to receive the next determined NAV.
Bob's transaction confirms first so he goes on BFE and looks at the contract selections. He wants to trade on the January 9 expiration contract. The orderbook is empty and Bob wants to go long (profit off an increase in bitcoin). Since there are no offers available, he places a limit order in the orderbook for a bid at 400 of 1 contract, using his 0.2btc as collateral for the position.
So far, these derivatives market have only been a niche occupied by crypto enthusiasts. That is until one of the newcomers, Crypto Facilities, and an incumbent in the derivatives market have joined forces: Crypto Facilities and the CME Group. The CME Group (controlling, for example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that has been around for more than a century) is a large-scale business that is officially regulated and audited by the US financial authorities. It settles its contracts in fiat money rather than cryptocurrency, thus enabling non-crypto experts to speculate on Bitcoin.