Distributions are taxable whether shareholders receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional shares. Distributions are also taxable to shareholders even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before a shareholder’s investment (and thus were included in the price the shareholder paid for the Fund shares). Investors should be careful to consider the tax implications of buying shares of a Fund just prior to a distribution. The price of shares purchased at this time will include the amount of the forthcoming distribution, but the distribution will generally be taxable.
The tax treatment of certain contracts (including regulated futures contracts and non-equity options) entered into by the Fund will be governed by Section 1256 of the Code (“Section 1256 contracts”). Gains (or losses) on these contracts generally are considered to be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although foreign currency gains or losses arising from certain Section 1256 contracts may be treated as ordinary in character (see “Foreign Currency Transactions” below). Also, section 1256 contracts held by a Fund at the end of each taxable year (and for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates prescribed in the Code) are “marked-to-market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gains or losses are treated as ordinary or 60/40 gains or losses, as appropriate.
NO PERSON HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED TO GIVE ANY INFORMATION OR TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATIONS NOT CONTAINED IN THE PROSPECTUS OR IN THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, WHICH THE PROSPECTUS INCORPORATES BY REFERENCE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE OFFERING MADE BY THE PROSPECTUS AND, IF GIVEN OR MADE, SUCH INFORMATION OR PRESENTATIONS MUST NOT BE RELIED UPON AS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED BY PROSHARES TRUST. THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFERING BY PROSHARES TRUST IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH AN OFFERING MAY NOT LAWFULLY BE MADE.
Institutional markets for restricted securities have developed as a result of the promulgation of Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, which provides a safe harbor from 1933 Act registration requirements for qualifying sales to institutional investors. When Rule 144A securities present an attractive investment opportunity and otherwise meet selection criteria, a Fund may make such investments. Whether or not such securities are illiquid depends on the market that exists for the particular security. The staff of the SEC has taken the position that the liquidity of Rule 144A restricted securities is a question of fact for a board of trustees to determine, such determination to be based on a consideration of the readily-available trading markets and the review of any contractual restrictions.
• Ownership of bitcoin is pseudonymous and the supply of accessible bitcoins is unknown. There is no registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible, that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin from selling its bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Fund.
reporting systems. As of October 2016, the Advisor has separate arrangements to make payments, other than for the educational programs and marketing activities described above, to Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (the “Firms”). Pursuant to the arrangements with the Firms, the Firms agreed to promote certain ProShares ETFs to each Firm’s customers and not to charge certain of their customers any commissions when those customers purchase or sell shares of certain ProShares ETFs. These payments, which may be significant, are paid by the Advisor from its own resources and not from the assets of the Funds. A discussion regarding the basis for the Board of Trustees approving the Advisory Agreement of the Trust will be (or is) available in the Trust’s Annual and/or Semi-Annual Report to shareholders. The Investment Advisory fees paid, as well as any amounts reimbursed pursuant to the Expense Limitation Agreement, for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015, May 31, 2016 and May 31, 2017 for each Fund that was operational as of each date are set forth below. Because each of the New Funds was not operational at the end of the Trust’s last fiscal year, information on investment advisory fees paid by the Fund is not included in this SAI.
An Authorized Participant that wishes to place an order to purchase Creation Units outside the Clearing Process must state that it is not using the Clearing Process and that the purchase instead will be effected through a transfer of securities and cash directly through DTC or as described below for Global Funds (defined below). Purchases (and redemptions) of Creation Units of the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds settled outside the Clearing Process will be subject to a higher Transaction Fee than those settled through the Clearing Process. Purchase orders effected outside the Clearing Process are likely to require transmittal by the Authorized Participant earlier on the transmittal date than orders effected using the Clearing Process. Those persons placing orders outside the Clearing Process should ascertain the deadlines applicable to DTC and the Federal Reserve Bank wire system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depository institution effectuating such transfer of Deposit Securities and Balancing Amount (for the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds), each as applicable and at the discretion of the Advisor, or of the Cash Purchase Amount together with the applicable Transaction Fee.
• Rolling Futures Contract Risk — The Fund will invest in and have exposure to bitcoin futures contracts and is subject to risks related to “rolling” such contracts. Rolling occurs when the Fund closes out of a futures contract as it nears its expiration and replaces it with a contract that has a later expiration. The Fund does not intend to hold futures contracts through expiration, but instead intends to “roll” its futures positions. When the market for these 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 contract would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures contract prices for longer expiration contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for 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 contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures prices for shorter expiration futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.” Extended periods of contango could cause significant losses for the Fund. The Advisor will utilize active management techniques to seek to mitigate the negative impact or, in certain cases, benefit from the contango or backwardation present in the various futures contract markets, but there can be no guarantee that it will be successful in doing so.
If a beneficial owner of Fund Shares who or which is a foreign shareholder has a trade or business in the United States, and income from the Fund is effectively connected with the conduct by the beneficial owner of that trade or business, such income will be subject to U.S. federal net income taxation at regular income tax rates and, in the case of a foreign corporation, may also be subject to a branch profits tax.
One of the biggest issues for institutional investors is the fragmented nature of the market, requiring them to operate on several exchanges. Often, this forces them to come up with customized ways to deal with the limitations of each exchange — a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. Not only that, but this can lead to liquidity and slippage problems, as even small trades can consume liquidity and cause prices to slip.
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):
Ethereum (ETH) is more than just a currency – it’s like one giant computer housing many computers around the globe. Ethereum can respond to sophisticated requests. Its ability to store revolutionary computer programs, known as smart contracts, gives Ethereum an edge over Bitcoin and has attracted attention from banks around the world. This, among other factors, has led to a jump of almost 10,000% in 2017!
The Bitcoin protocol was built using open source software by a small group of individuals who developed what is known today as “Bitcoin Core.” 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” (as described herein). The Bitcoin Network has already experienced two major forks after developers attempted to increase transaction capacity. Blocks mined on these new “forked” networks now diverge from blocks mined on the original Bitcoin Network maintained by Bitcoin Core, resulting in the creation of two new blockchains whose digital assets are referred to as “bitcoin cash.” and “bitcoin gold.” Bitcoin, bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold now operate as separate, independent networks. Multiple BIPs still exist, many of which are aimed at increasing the transaction capacity of the Bitcoin Network, and it is possible that one or more of these BIPs could result in further network “forks.” Such changes may
In general, dividends of net investment income received by corporate shareholders of a Fund may qualify for the 70% dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations to the extent of the amount of eligible dividends received by the Fund from domestic corporations for the taxable year. A dividend received by a Fund will not be treated as a dividend eligible for the dividends-received deduction (1) if it has been received with respect to any share of stock that the Fund has held for less than 46 days (91 days in the case of certain preferred stock) during the 91-day period beginning on the date which is 45 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date in the case of certain preferred stock) or (2) to the extent that the Fund is under an obligation (pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. Moreover, the dividends received deduction may otherwise be disallowed or reduced (1) if the corporate shareholder fails to satisfy the foregoing requirements with respect to its shares of the Fund or (2) by application of various provisions of the Code (for instance, the dividends-received deduction is reduced in the case of a dividend received on debt-financed portfolio stock (generally, stock acquired with borrowed funds)). The corporate alternative minimum tax may disallow the dividends received deduction in certain circumstances.
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 Bitcoin/Blockchain 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 Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (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.
through direct investments/short positions in the securities and/or through investments with similar economic characteristics. For the purposes of each such investment policy, “assets” includes a Fund’s net assets, as well as amounts borrowed for investment purposes, if any. In addition, for purposes of such an investment policy, “assets” includes not only the amount of a Fund’s net assets attributable to investments providing direct investment exposure to the type of investments suggested by its name (e.g., the value of stocks, or the value of derivative instruments such as futures, options or options on futures), but also cash and cash equivalents that are segregated on the Fund’s books and records or being used as collateral, as required by applicable regulatory guidance, or otherwise available to cover such investment exposure. The Board has adopted a policy to provide investors with at least 60 days’ notice prior to changes in a Fund’s name policy.
In 1983 the American cryptographer David Chaum conceived an anonymous cryptographic electronic money called ecash. Later, in 1995, he implemented it through Digicash, an early form of cryptographic electronic payments which required user software in order to withdraw notes from a bank and designate specific encrypted keys before it can be sent to a recipient. This allowed the digital currency to be untraceable by the issuing bank, the government, or a third party.
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.