As of February 2018, the Chinese Government halted trading of virtual currency, banned initial coin offerings and shut down mining. Some Chinese miners have since relocated to Canada. One company is operating data centers for mining operations at Canadian oil and gas field sites, due to low gas prices. In June 2018, Hydro Quebec proposed to the provincial government to allocate 500 MW to crypto companies for mining. According to a February 2018 report from Fortune, Iceland has become a haven for cryptocurrency miners in part because of its cheap electricity. Prices are contained because nearly all of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources, prompting more mining companies to consider opening operations in Iceland. The region’s energy company says bitcoin mining is becoming so popular that the country will likely use more electricity to mine coins than power homes in 2018. In October 2018 Russia will become home to one of the largest legal mining operations in the world, located in Siberia. More than 1.5 million Russians are engaged in home mining. Russia’s energy resources and climate provide some of the best conditions for crypto mining.
Note that the market value of the contract fluctuates before settlement. You are not forced to hold the contract to expiration. As the spot market moves, the traded futures contract price also moves. There is a live orderbook of traders placing buy and sell orders and you are able to realize your profit or loss prior to expiration, just as if you were buying and selling a stock.
For purchases and sales of derivatives (i.e., financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset, interest rate or index) the Advisor evaluates counterparties on the following factors: reputation and financial strength; execution prices; commission costs; ability to handle complex orders; ability to give prompt and full execution, including the ability to handle difficult trades; accuracy of reports and confirmations provided; reliability, type and quality of research provided; financing costs and other associated costs related to the transaction; and whether the total cost or proceeds in each transaction is the most favorable under the circumstances.
Like all investments, investing in any of the Funds entails risks. The risk factors most likely to have a significant impact on a Fund’s portfolio are called “principal risks.” The principal risks of each Fund are described in the applicable Fund’s Summary Prospectus and additional information regarding certain of these principal risks, as well as information related to other potential risks to which a particular Fund may be subjected, is provided below. Some risks apply to all of the Funds, while others are specific to the investment strategies of certain Funds, as indicated below. Each Fund may be subject to other risks in addition to those identified as principal risks.
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 bitcoin futures contracts and money market instruments. The Fund is designed to benefit when the price of bitcoin futures contracts increases. The Fund generally seeks to have 30% of the value of its portfolio invested in bitcoin futures contracts and 70% of the value of its portfolio invested in money market instruments. The Fund does not invest directly in bitcoin.
NYSs (or “direct shares”) are foreign stocks denominated in U.S. dollars and traded on American exchanges without being converted into ADRs. These stocks come from countries that do not restrict the trading of their stocks on other nations’ exchanges. Each Fund may also invest in ordinary shares of foreign issuers traded directly on U.S. exchanges.
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):
The tables below shows performance examples of an Ultra and UltraShort ProShares Fund that have investment objective to correspond to two times (2x) and two times the inverse (-2x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
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.
Mass adoption of bitcoin will also require an accommodating regulatory environment. A lack of expansion in usage of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Blockchain could adversely affect the market for bitcoin and may have a negative impact on the performance of the Bitcoin Instruments and the performance of the Funds. Even if growth in bitcoin adoption continues in the near or medium-term, there is no assurance that bitcoin usage, or the market for Bitcoin Instruments, will continue to grow over the long-term. A contraction in use of bitcoin may result in increased volatility or a reduction in the price of bitcoin, as well as increased volatility or a reduction in the price of Bitcoin Derivatives, which could adversely impact the value of an investment in a Fund. Conversely, a rapid expansion in the use of bitcoin may result in rapid appreciation in the price of bitcoin, which could adversely impact the value of a Fund which takes a short position in bitcoin futures contracts.
The Shares are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by BofA Merrill Lynch. Neither BofA Merrill Lynch nor any of Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, MSCI, Inc. or Frank Russell Company (the “Exchanges and Entities”) have passed on the legality or suitability of, or the accuracy or adequacy of descriptions and disclosures relating to, the Shares, nor do they make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Shares or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Shares particularly or the ability of the Index to track general hedge fund performance. BofA Merrill Lynch’s and the Exchanges and Entities’ only relationship to the Trust is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names of BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities and of the Index, which indices are determined, composed and calculated by BofA Merrill Lynch without regard to the Trust or the Shares. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities have no obligation to take the needs of the Trust or the owners of the Shares into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Index. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities are not responsible for and have not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Shares to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Shares are to be converted into or redeemed for cash or other assets. BofA Merrill Lynch and the Exchanges and Entities have no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Shares.
(a) derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from (i) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to, gains from options, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and (ii) net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” as described below (the income described in this subparagraph (a), “Qualifying Income”);
If Bitcoin futures prices get too high relative to spot arbitragers are natural sellers and if the futures prices get too low they are natural buyers. Their buying and selling actions naturally counteract price distortions between markets. If they’re somehow prevented from acting (e.g., if shorting Bitcoin was forbidden) then the futures market would likely become decoupled from the underlying spot price—not a good thing.
Alexander Ilyasov, ProShare Advisors: Senior Portfolio Manager since October 2013 and Portfolio Manager from November 2009 through September 2013. ProFund Advisors LLC: Senior Portfolio Manager since October 2013 and Portfolio Manager from November 2009 through September 2013. Ryan Dofflemeyer, ProShare Advisors: Portfolio Manager since January 2011, and a registered associated person and an NFA associate member of ProShares Capital Management LLC since October 2010.
Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are listed for trading on the [ ] Exchange and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares and other market factors. In addition, the securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the Exchange. Because the Fund generally values such securities as of its local market closing time, the daily net asset value (“NAV”) may vary from the market performance of the Fund as of the Exchange close (typically at [ ] p.m., Eastern Time). Furthermore, liquidity in such securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. This may cause wider spreads and larger premium and discounts than would otherwise be the case if each market was open until the close of trading on the Exchange. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund.
Bitcoin relies on blockchain technology. “Blockchain” is a decentralized database. Transactions are grouped in blocks and then chained together through cryptographic links. Blockchain is designed so that the chain can be added to, but not edited. This structure is called a “distributed ledger.” Transactions in the distributed ledger are permanently recorded and can never disappear, although theft and loss of bitcoin can occur. While bitcoin has grown in popularity, it’s still not nearly as widely accepted as traditional currency.
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).
The Funds may invest in both sponsored and unsponsored depositary receipts. Certain depositary receipts, typically those designated as “unsponsored,” require the holders thereof to bear most of the costs of such facilities, while issuers of “sponsored” facilities normally pay more of the costs thereof. The depository of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited securities or to pass through the voting rights to facility holders with respect to the deposited securities, whereas the depository of a sponsored facility typically distributes shareholder communications and passes through the voting rights.
In May 2018 Bitcoin Gold (and two other cryptocurrencies) were hit by a successful 51% hashing attack by an unknown actor, in which exchanges lost estimated $18m. In June 2018, Korean exchange Coinrail was hacked, losing US$37 million worth of altcoin. Fear surrounding the hack was blamed for a $42 billion cryptocurrency market selloff. On 9 July 2018 the exchange Bancor had $23.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen.
The Fund seeks inverse or “short” exposure through short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and other financial instruments. This will cause the Fund to be exposed to certain risks associated with selling securities short. These risks include, under certain market conditions, an increase in the volatility and decrease in the liquidity of asset underlying the short position, which may lower the Fund’s return, result in a loss, have the effect of limiting the Fund’s ability to obtain inverse exposure through financial instruments such as swap agreements and futures contracts, or require the Fund to seek inverse exposure through alternative investment strategies that may be less desirable or more costly to implement. To the extent that, at any particular point in time, the asset underlying the short position may be thinly traded or have a limited market, including due to regulatory action, the Fund may be unable to meet its investment objective due to a lack of available securities or counterparties. During such periods, the Fund’s ability to issue additional Creation Units may be adversely affected. Obtaining inverse exposure through these instruments may be considered an aggressive investment technique. Any income, dividends or payments by the assets underlying the Fund’s short positions will negatively impact the Fund.
In traditional financial markets, derivatives are used as speculation objects as well as insurance against losses. The latter is known as hedging. One popular variety of derivatives used for hedging are called futures. A future is a contract between two parties in which one party agrees to pay the other a predetermined amount of money for an underlying asset at a specific point in time.