As of May 2018, over 1,800 cryptocurrency specifications existed. Within a cryptocurrency system, the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to as miners: who use their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions, adding them to the ledger in accordance with a particular timestamping scheme.
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.
In the normal course of business, a Fund enters into standardized contracts created by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (“ISDA agreements”) with certain counterparties for derivative transactions. These agreements contain, among other conditions, events of default and termination events, and various covenants and representations. Certain of the Fund’s ISDA agreements contain provisions that require the Fund to maintain a pre-determined level of net assets, and/or provide limits regarding the decline of the Fund’s NAV over specific periods of time, which may or may not be exclusive of redemptions. If the Fund were to trigger such provisions and have open derivative positions, at that time counterparties to the ISDA agreements could elect to terminate such ISDA agreements and request immediate payment in an amount equal to the net liability positions, if any, under the relevant ISDA agreement. Pursuant to the terms of its ISDA agreements, the Fund will have already collateralized its liability under such agreements, in some cases only in excess of certain threshold amounts. With uncleared swaps, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. Thus, a Fund will typically only enter into uncleared swap agreements with major, global financial institutions that meet the Fund’s standard of creditworthiness. The Funds seek to mitigate risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, in an amount approximately equal to what the counterparty owes the Fund subject to certain minimum thresholds, although the Funds may not always be successful. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to the risks described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.
price of a particular asset, whether a Fund will realize a gain or loss from the purchase or writing (sale) of options on an index depends upon movements in the level of prices for specific underlying assets generally or, in the case of certain indexes, in an industry or market segment. A Fund will not enter into an option position that exposes the Fund to an obligation to another party, unless the Fund either (i) owns an offsetting position in the underlying securities or other options and/or (ii) earmarks or segregates with the Fund’s custodian bank cash or liquid instruments that, when added to the premiums deposited with respect to the option, are equal to the market value of the underlying assets not otherwise covered.
Each Fund may invest in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). Equity REITs invest primarily in real property, while mortgage REITs invest in construction, development and long-term mortgage loans. Their value may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property of the REIT, the creditworthiness of the issuer, property taxes, interest rates, and tax and regulatory requirements, such as those relating to the environment. REITs are dependent upon management skill, are not diversified and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers, self-liquidation and the possibility of failing to qualify for tax-free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain exempt status under the 1940 Act.
Standard & Poor’s® and S&P® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) and Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”). The Indexes are a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates, and have been licensed for use by ProShares. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, Dow Jones, S&P, any of their third party licensors, or any of their respective affiliates (collectively, “S&P Dow Jones Indices”). S&P Dow Jones Indices does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Funds or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Funds particularly or the ability of the Indexes to track general market performance. S&P Dow Jones Indices’ only relationship to ProShares with respect to the Indexes is the licensing of the Indexes and certain trademarks, service marks and/or trade names of S&P Dow Jones Indices. The Indexes are determined, composed and calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices without regard to ProShares or the Funds. S&P Dow Jones Indices have no obligation to take the needs of ProShares or the owners of the Funds into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Indexes. S&P Dow Jones Indices are not responsible for and have not participated in the determination of the prices, and amount of the Funds or the timing of the issuance or sale of the Funds or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Funds are to be converted into cash or redeemed, as the case may be. S&P Dow Jones Indices have no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Funds. There is no assurance that investment products based on the Indexes will accurately track index performance or provide positive investment returns. S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and its subsidiaries are not investment advisers. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by S&P Dow Jones Indices to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
5. Borrow money, except that the Fund (i) may borrow from banks (as defined in the 1940 Act) in amounts up to 331/3% of its total assets (including the amount borrowed), (ii) may, to the extent permitted by applicable law, borrow up to an additional 5% of its total assets for temporary purposes, (iii) may obtain such short-term credit as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of portfolio securities, (iv) may purchase securities on margin to the extent permitted by applicable law and (v) may enter into reverse repurchase agreements. The Fund may not pledge its assets other than to secure such borrowings or, to the extent permitted by the Fund’s investment policies as set forth in the Prospectus and SAI, as they may be amended from time to time, in connection with hedging transactions, short sales, when-issued and forward commitment transactions and similar investment strategies.
Bitcoin has a very limited history of operations and there is no established performance record for the price of Bitcoin on the Bitcoin Exchange Market that can provide an adequate basis for evaluating an investment in bitcoin or Bitcoin Instruments such as Bitcoin Derivatives, ETNs and Bitcoin Securities. Although past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, if bitcoin had an established history, such history might (or might not) provide investors with more information on which to evaluate an investment in the Funds.
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.
The price of the futures contract can deviate from the underlying price of bitcoin on spot markets, which can vary based on sentiment. But in the end, at expiration of the contract, the contract MUST settle at the price of spot. So you need to watch the main spot market price movements because the futures contracts will track the movements underlying (sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, sometimes simultaneously). There are three Chinese exchanges worth following: OKCoin, Houbi, and BTCC; there are two Western exchanges worth following: Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Other exchanges that are currently less important but still worth keeping an eye on are: ItBit, Coinbase, OKCoin USD, BTC-e, and Kraken (which has the largest BTC/EUR orderbook as of December 2015).
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.
If this sounds confusing to you, then don't worry. In practice, these futures contracts are just like buying and selling spot market value. Just focus on the price of the contract and whether you are LONG or SHORT. If you're long and the futures price goes up, the BTC value of the contract goes up and you have bought an asset that is increasing in value.
Let's not even go into the paradigm shift that this development implies. The growth of a bitcoin futures market positions it even more as a commodity than a currency (in the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates futures markets). And even more as an investment asset than a technology that has the potential to change the plumbing of finance.
The NAV of each Fund is typically determined each business day at 3:00 p.m., Eastern Time on days when is open for trading. The [ ] Exchange is open every week, Monday through Friday, except when the following holidays are celebrated: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the third Monday in January), Presidents’ Day (the third Monday in February), Good Friday, Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), Independence Day, Labor Day (the first Monday in September), Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas Day. An Exchange may close early on the business day before each of these holidays and on the day after Thanksgiving Day. Exchange holiday schedules are subject to change without notice. If the exchange or market on which a Fund’s investments are primarily traded closes early, the NAV may be calculated prior to its normal calculation time. Creation/ redemption transaction order time cutoffs would also be accelerated.
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 most common way to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency derivatives today is through contract-for-difference (CFD) contracts. These CFD contracts are usually traded over the counter (OTC), meaning that they are not traded on exchanges but directly between participants. Due to the high volatility (exceeding 1.5-2x std from the mean) most of the OTC platforms do not provide leverage on bitcoin and other cryptos CFDs.