The introduction of futures didn't lead to a wave of hedge-fund money shorting bitcoin. It led to retail and institutional money going long bitcoin. We talked last week about the spread between Cboe's bitcoin futures price and the actual price of bitcoin, which was wider than $1,000 for a while. The spread has tightened considerably -- as of 8:15 a.m. today, the CME futures traded at $18,585, Cboe futures at $18,670, and spot bitcoin at about $18,245, for a spread of about 2 percent -- but it still exists. Why would you pay more for a synthetic bitcoin in a month than you would for an actual bitcoin today? The answer, presumably, is that the synthetic bitcoin is more valuable to you: You want bitcoin exposure, but you'd prefer to get it through a standardized contract on a regulated exchange that settles in dollars.
Elsewhere, here is the story of block.one, which "has raised about $700 million and counting" by selling EOS tokens that it says "do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features." Block.one is using the money to build "a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications," as its white paper explains, and the white paper also includes a disclaimer in bold capitals:
Creation Units of Shares may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor. Such Authorized Participant will agree pursuant to the terms of such Authorized Participant Agreement on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, as the case may be, to certain conditions, including that such Authorized Participant will make available an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Balancing Amount, defined below, and the Transaction Fee, described below in “Transaction Fees”. The Authorized Participant may require the investor to enter into an agreement with such Authorized Participant with respect to certain matters, including payment of the Balancing Amount. Investors who are not Authorized Participants must make appropriate arrangements with an Authorized Participant. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not be a DTC Participant or may not have executed an Authorized Participant Agreement, and that therefore orders to purchase Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant. As a result, purchase orders placed through an Authorized Participant may result in additional charges to such investor. The Trust does not expect to enter into an Authorized Participant Agreement with more than a small number of DTC Participants.
participating in a distribution (as opposed to engaging in ordinary secondary market transactions), and thus dealing with the Fund’s shares as part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the Securities Act, will be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the Securities Act.
Several factors may affect a Fund’s ability to achieve a high degree of correlation with its benchmark. Among these factors are: (i) a Fund’s fees and expenses, including brokerage (which may be increased by high portfolio turnover) and the costs associated with the use of derivatives; (ii) less than all of the securities underlying a Fund’s benchmark being held by the Fund and/or securities not included in its benchmark being held by a Fund; (iii) an imperfect correlation between the performance of instruments held by a Fund, such as futures contracts, and the performance of the underlying securities in a benchmark; (iv) bid-ask spreads (the effect of which may be increased by portfolio turnover); (v) holding instruments traded in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (vi) a Fund’s share prices being rounded to the nearest cent; (vii) changes to the benchmark that are not disseminated in advance; (viii) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with investment restrictions or policies or regulatory or tax law requirements;
No Independent Trustee (or an immediate family member thereof) had any direct or indirect interest, the value of which exceeded $120,000, in the Advisor, the principal underwriter of the Trust, or any entity controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Advisor or the principal underwriter of the Trust (not including registered investment companies) during the two most recently completed calendar years.
Ann then goes on BFE and she wants to short on bitcoin at market price. She sees that only the January 9 contract has any orders. She could put a limit order in the orderbook if she wanted. However, she sees Bob's bid in the orderbook and decides to fill it, and uses her 0.2btc as margin to collateralize this position. She has just opened a position worth 1 bitcoin that has 5x leverage, and so has Bob.
The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to any Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its NAV is not reasonably practicable; (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC; or (5) for up to 14 calendar days for any of the Global Funds or Short or Ultra International ProShares Funds during an international local holiday, as described below in “Other Information”.
The Funds may engage in short sales transactions. A short sale is a transaction in which a Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. To complete such a transaction, a Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed by borrowing the same security from another lender, purchasing it at the market price at the time of replacement or paying the lender an amount equal to the cost of purchasing the security. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to repay the lender any dividends it receives, or interest which accrues, during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The net proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet the margin requirements, until the short position is closed out. A Fund also will incur transaction costs in effecting short sales.
Securities (including short-term securities) and other assets are generally valued at their market value using information provided by a pricing service or market quotations. Short-term securities are valued on the basis of amortized cost or based on market prices. Futures contracts and options on securities, indexes and futures contracts are generally valued at their last sale price prior to the time at which the NAV per share of a class of shares of a Fund is determined. Alternatively, fair valuation procedures as described below may be applied if deemed more appropriate. Routine valuation of certain other derivatives is performed using procedures approved by the Board of Trustees.
• Short Sale Exposure Risk — 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 assets short. These risks include, under certain market conditions, an increase in the volatility and decrease in the liquidity of the 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 assets 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. Inverse exposure must be actively managed in order to keep the Fund fully invested. See “Compounding Risk” above for an explanation of how this impacts performance
The policy for each Fund regarding purchases and sales of securities is that primary consideration will be given to obtaining the most favorable prices and efficient executions of transactions. Consistent with this policy, when securities transactions are effected on a stock exchange, the policy is to pay commissions that are considered fair and reasonable without necessarily determining that the lowest possible commissions are paid in all circumstances. The Advisor believes that a requirement always to seek the lowest possible commission cost could impede effective portfolio management and preclude the Fund and the Advisor from obtaining a high quality of brokerage and execution services. In seeking to determine the reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid in any transaction, the Advisor relies upon its experience and knowledge regarding commissions generally charged by various brokers and on its judgment in evaluating the brokerage and execution services received from the broker. Such determinations are necessarily subjective and imprecise, as in most cases an exact dollar value for those services is not ascertainable. In addition to commission rates, when selecting a broker for a particular transaction, the Advisor considers but is not limited to the following efficiency factors: the broker’s availability, willingness to commit capital, reputation and integrity, facilities reliability, access to research, execution capacity and responsiveness.
Changes in the Bitcoin Network could have an adverse effect on the operation and value of bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the value of Bitcoin Futures Contracts and the value of Fund Shares. 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.” Such changes may influence
The portfolio composition file (“PCF”) and the IOPV file, which contain equivalent portfolio holdings information, will be made available as frequently as daily to the Funds’ service providers to facilitate the provision of services to the Funds and to certain other entities (“Entities”) in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as contemplated by exemptive orders issued by the SEC and other legal and business requirements pursuant to which the Funds create and redeem Shares. Entities are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members and subscribers to various fee-based services, including large institutional investors (“Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem Creation Units and other institutional market participants that provide information services. Each business day, Fund portfolio holdings information will be provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or through other fee-based services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to the fee-based services, including Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading Shares of Funds in the secondary market.
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 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 Futures/Equity 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.
The Global Listed Private Equity ETF and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF each pay ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.50%. The Inflation Expectations ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.55%. The CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.65%. ProShare Advisors manages the investment and the reinvestment of the assets of each of the Funds in accordance with the investment objectives, policies, and limitations of the Fund, subject to the general supervision and control of the Trustees and the Officers of the Trust. ProShare Advisors bears all costs associated with providing these advisory services. Except for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, ProShare Advisors has contractually agreed to waive investment advisory and management services fees and to reimburse other expenses (exclusive of transaction costs,
A number of companies that provide bitcoin-related services have been unable to find banks that are willing to provide them with bank accounts and banking services. Similarly, a number of such companies have had their existing bank accounts closed by their banks. Banks may refuse to provide bank accounts and other banking services to bitcoin-related companies or companies that accept bitcoin for a number of reasons, such as perceived compliance risks or costs. The difficulty that many businesses that provide bitcoin-related services have and may continue to have in finding banks willing to provide them with bank accounts and other banking services may be currently decreasing the usefulness of bitcoin as a payment system and harming public perception of bitcoin or could decrease its usefulness and harm its public perception in the future. Similarly, the usefulness of bitcoin as a payment system and the public perception of bitcoin could be damaged if banks were to close the accounts of many or of a few key businesses providing bitcoin-related services. This could decrease the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on the price of Bitcoin Instruments and therefore adversely affect an investment in the Funds.
I used to find it odd that these hypothetical AIs were supposed to be smart enough to solve problems that no human could, yet they were incapable of doing something most every adult has done: taking a step back and asking whether their current course of action is really a good idea. Then I realized that we are already surrounded by machines that demonstrate a complete lack of insight, we just call them corporations. Corporations don’t operate autonomously, of course, and the humans in charge of them are presumably capable of insight, but capitalism doesn’t reward them for using it. On the contrary, capitalism actively erodes this capacity in people by demanding that they replace their own judgment of what “good” means with “whatever the market decides.”
Shares may be issued in advance of receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the applicable Deposit Securities as described below. In these circumstances, the initial deposit may have a greater value than the NAV of the Shares on the date the order is placed in proper form because, in addition to the available Deposit Securities, cash must be deposited in an amount equal to the sum of (i) the Balancing Amount, plus (ii) up to 115% of the market value of the undelivered Deposit Securities (the “Additional Cash Deposit”). Additional amounts of cash may be required to be deposited with the Trust, pending delivery of the missing Deposit Securities to the extent necessary to maintain the Additional Cash Deposit with the Trust in an amount up to 115% of the daily mark-to-market value of the missing Deposit Securities. Authorized Participants will be liable to the Trust for the costs incurred by the Trust in connection with any such purchases. These costs will be deemed to include the amount by which the actual purchase price of the Deposit Securities exceeds the market value of such Deposit Securities on the day the purchase order was deemed received by the Distributor plus the brokerage and related transaction costs associated with such purchases. The Trust will return any unused portion of the Additional Cash Deposit once all of the missing Deposit Securities have been properly received by the Custodian or any sub-custodian or purchased by the Trust and deposited into the Trust. In addition, a Transaction Fee, as described below, will be charged in all cases. The delivery of Shares so purchased will occur no later than the third Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor.
• Subsidiary Investment Risk — Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Fund to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Subsidiary is not registered under the 1940 Act and is not subject to all the investor protections of the 1940 Act. Thus, the Fund, as an investor in the Subsidiary, will not have all the protections offered to investors in registered investment companies.
When cash markets are not functioning well, cash and carry arbitrage (and its reverse) futures markets may make the underlying asset accessible to more people. It is possible that A is bullish on bitcoin, but does not wish to go through the hassles of creating a wallet and storing it safely. At the same time, B might be comfortable with bitcoin wallets, but might be unwilling to take bitcoin price risk. Then B can buy bitcoin spot and sell cash settled bitcoin futures to A; the result is that A obtains exposure to bitcoin without creating a bitcoin wallet, while B obtains a risk free investment (a synthetic T-bill). Similarly, suppose C wishes to bet against bitcoin, but does not have the ability to short it; while D has no views on bitcoin, but has sufficient access to the cash market to be able to short bitcoin. Then D can take a risk free position by shorting bitcoin in the cash market and buying bitcoin futures from C who obtains a previously unavailable short position.
Transactions that occur through the use and exchange of these altcoins are independent from formal banking systems, and therefore can make tax evasion simpler for individuals. Since charting taxable income is based upon what a recipient reports to the revenue service, it becomes extremely difficult to account for transactions made using existing cryptocurrencies, a mode of exchange that is complex and difficult to track.
The Declaration of Trust of the Trust disclaims liability of the shareholders or the Officers of the Trust for acts or obligations of the Trust which are binding only on the assets and property of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification of the Trust’s property for all loss and expense of any Funds shareholder held personally liable for the obligations of the Trust. The risk of a Trust shareholder incurring financial loss on account of shareholder liability is limited to circumstances where the Funds would not be able to meet the Trust’s obligations and this risk, thus, should be considered remote.
Making money arbitraging bitcoin futures can be extremely simple. Futures contracts typically trade at a premium, and all you have to do, starting with USD, is buy bitcoin at Spot price and sell futures of the same amount at premium price. Then just wait until expiration to make your arb profit in bitcoin (which you can then put in USD). Whether it's a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any futures contract, as long as it's in a premium, you lock in the sale price and earn the arbitrage profit.