Assume it is January 3, 2015. Bob and Ann both want to trade at Bitcoin Futures Exchange (BFE). BFE offers 3 different contracts: one expiring and settling on Friday January 9 ('weekly'), another expiring Friday January 16th ('biweekly'), and finally one expiring in March 27 ('quarterly'). Each contract is worth 1 bitcoin notionally. BFE has a policy that traders have to put 20% of margin down to enter a trade, so Bob and Ann deposit 0.2btc to their BFE accounts as they only want to trade 1 contract.
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.
Each of the Funds expects to distribute at least annually to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and its net capital gain (that is, the excess of its net long-term capital gains over its net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards). Investment company taxable income that is retained by a Fund will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates. If a Fund retains any net capital gain, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained, but it may designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gains in a notice mailed within 60 days of the close of the Fund’s taxable year to its shareholders who, in turn, (i) will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of such undistributed amount, and (ii) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amount against their federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds on a properly filed U.S. tax return to the extent the credit exceeds such liabilities. If a Fund makes this designation, for federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of Shares owned by a shareholder of a Fund will be increased by an amount equal to the difference between the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s gross income under clause (i) of the preceding sentence and the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii) of the preceding sentence. The funds are not required to, and there can be no assurance that a Fund will, make this designation if it retains all or a portion of its net capital gain in a taxable year.
ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Fund Shares through DTC to the Custodian by no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time of the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. Authorized Participants should be aware that the deadline for such transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system may be significantly earlier than the close of business on the primary listing exchange. Those making redemption requests should ascertain the deadline applicable to transfers of Fund Shares through the DTC system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution affecting the transfer of Fund Shares. The Balancing Amount, if any, must be transferred in U.S. dollars directly to the Custodian through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Custodian no later than 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date. If the Custodian does not receive both the required Fund Shares and the Balancing Amount, if any, by 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively, on the second Business Day (T+2) immediately following the transmittal date, such order will be deemed not in proper form and cancelled.
Because most ETFs are investment companies, absent exemptive relief or reliance on an applicable exemptive statute or rule, a Fund’s investments in such investment companies generally would be limited under applicable federal statutory provisions. Those provisions typically restrict a Fund’s investment in the shares of another investment company to up to 5% of its assets (which may represent no more than 3% of the securities of such other investment company) and limit aggregate investments in all investment companies to 10% of assets. A Fund may invest in certain ETFs in excess of the statutory limit in reliance on an exemptive order issued by the SEC to those entities or pursuant to statutory or exemptive relief and pursuant to procedures approved by the Board provided that the Fund complies with the conditions of the exemptive relief, as they may be amended from time to time, and any other applicable investment limitations.
The promoters of these products promise traders a way to beat the market by arbitraging prices between different exchanges. Don’t believe the hype. Bitcoin exchanges often have expensive withdrawal processes and hefty fees for trading bitcoin with fiat currencies, such as dollars or euros. Also, settlement of bitcoin trades can take hours. These factors will eliminate any profits from bitcoin arbitrage and may even lead to losses.
Look, you and I are sophisticated, and we get that "bitcoin's price increase is deflationary and makes it a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin, because "bitcoin is a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin. (People keep making it though.) Bitcoin's value proposition -- much like that of gold -- is that it is an uncorrelated store of value, not that it is useful for buying a sandwich. But at the same time you have to watch out for business models that are based on the casual assumption that bitcoin works just like a currency. "Cryptocurrency-financed warehouse lending" has the word "cryptocurrency" in it, so it's worth billions of dollars, but I'm not sure it works as a business model.
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Because a Fund invests in cash instruments denominated in foreign currencies, it may hold foreign currencies pending investment or conversion into U.S. dollars. Although the Fund values its assets daily in U.S. dollars, it does not convert its holdings of foreign currencies into U.S. dollars on a daily basis. The Fund will convert its holdings from time to time, however, and incur the costs of currency conversion. Foreign exchange dealers may realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to the Fund at one rate, and offer to buy the currency at a lower rate if the Fund tries to resell the currency to the dealer.
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.
Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market seems to rise and fall simultaneously with the altcoins. Is a systemic issue that causes this harmonious rise and fall of prices on the exchanges? The answer is a little fuzzy, but there are several factors at play. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as the universal trading currency, which leads to many investors buying and selling Bitcoin to buy and sell altcoins. When bitcoin starts a bull run, many of the altcoins fall, as investors jump on the Bitcoin train and vice versa. It’s also systemic because most exchanges require Bitcoin rather than fiat currency to transact. It is easy to invest fiat currency in the market and then leave there as an investor trades it; moving it from one currency to another and not cashing it back to fiat currency. Furthermore, When the Bitcoin price falls or rises against the fiat currency, all the altcoins will usually follow. This is because all altcoin prices are based on their Bitcoin exchange rate, not their fiat currency exchange rate. The value of an altcoin in fiat currency is the value of the altcoin in Bitcoin and then Bitcoin’s value in that fiat currency. It is Bitcoin that strongly affects pricing.
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.
Yes but ... in cryptocurrencies? If you had borrowed 100 bitcoins to finance your working capital needs a year ago, you'd have financed about $79,000 worth of working capital. If you had to pay back 112 bitcoins today, that would come to a bit over $2 million, a dollar interest rate of over 2,400 percent. (If you'd borrowed ether you'd be paying over 12,000 percent.) Unless your working capital was bitcoin, you will not be able to pay back that loan. The lesson here is: Probably don't borrow an asset caught in a massive speculative frenzy to fund your working capital needs.
DTC has advised the Trust as follows: it is a limited-purpose trust company organized under the laws of the State of New York, a member of the Federal Reserve System, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the New York Uniform Commercial Code and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the 1934 Act. DTC was created to hold securities of its participants (“DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the NYSE and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”). DTC agrees with and represents to DTC Participants that it will administer its book-entry system in accordance with its rules and by-laws and requirements of law. Beneficial ownership of Shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in Shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of Shares. The laws of some jurisdictions may require that certain purchasers of securities take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form. Such laws may impair the ability of certain investors to acquire beneficial interests in Shares.
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.
• A Fund’s income from or the proceeds of dispositions of its non-U.S. investments may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries, which will reduce the Fund’s return on and taxable distributions in respect of its non-U.S. investments. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate these taxes. If more than 50% of the value of a Fund’s total assets at the close of a taxable year consists of securities of foreign corporations, the Fund will be eligible to elect to “pass through” to you foreign income taxes that it has paid. If this election is made, you will be required to include your share of those taxes in gross income as a distribution from the Fund and you generally will be allowed to claim a credit (or a deduction, if you itemize deductions) for these amounts on your federal U.S. income tax return, subject to certain limitations.
The proof-of-stake is a method of securing a cryptocurrency network and achieving distributed consensus through requesting users to show ownership of a certain amount of currency. It is different from proof-of-work systems that run difficult hashing algorithms to validate electronic transactions. The scheme is largely dependent on the coin, and there's currently no standard form of it. Some cryptocurrencies use a combined proof-of-work/proof-of-stake scheme.
Under a Rule 12b-1 Distribution Plan (the “Plan”) adopted by the Board, each Fund may pay its distributor and financial intermediaries, such as broker-dealers and investment advisors, up to 0.25% on an annualized basis of the average daily net assets of a Fund as reimbursement or compensation for distribution related activities with respect to the Funds. Because these fees are paid out of each Fund’s assets on an on-going basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. For the prior fiscal year, no payments were made by the fund under the Plan.
• The technology is new and many of its uses may be untested. Blockchain technology is a new and developing technology protocol that is relatively untested and unregulated. The mechanics of using distributed ledger technology to transact in other types of assets, such as securities or derivatives, is less clear. Blockchain technology may never develop optimized transactional processes that lead to realized economic returns for any company in which the Fund invests.
Banks may not provide banking services, or may cut off banking services, to businesses that provide bitcoin-related services or that accept bitcoin as payment, which could damage the public perception of bitcoin and the utility of bitcoin as a payment system and could decrease the price of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Instruments and adversely affect an investment in the Funds.
Each Fund may provide redemptions in portfolio securities or cash at the Advisor’s discretion. With respect to the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds, the Index Receipt Agent makes available through the NSCC immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange on each day that the Exchange is open for business the portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). These securities, at times, may not be identical to Deposit Securities which are applicable to a purchase of Creation Units. The Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeeming shareholder a portfolio of securities which differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities but does not differ in NAV.
Bitcoin futures contracts are a new type of futures contract that began trading in December 2017. Unlike the established futures markets for traditional physical commodities, the market for bitcoin futures contracts is in the developmental stage and has very limited volume, trading and operational history. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a new and developing asset class subject to both developmental and regulatory uncertainty. Ownership of bitcoin is thought to be very concentrated and the supply and liquidity of bitcoin is limited. The price of bitcoin could drop precipitously for a variety of reasons including but not limited to regulatory changes, a crisis of confidence in the bitcoin network or a change in user preference to competing cryptocurrencies. As such, bitcoin futures contracts and the market for bitcoin futures contracts may be riskier, less liquid, more volatile and more vulnerable to economic, market, industry, regulatory and other changes than more established futures contracts and futures markets. There is no assurance that a liquid market will emerge or be sustained for bitcoin futures contracts. The liquidity of the market for bitcoin futures contracts will depend on, among other things, the supply and demand for bitcoin futures contracts, the adoption of bitcoin and the commercial and speculative interest in the market for bitcoin futures contracts. The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of sudden and high volatility and, as a result, the price of bitcoin futures contracts also may experience periods of sudden and high volatility. Margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts currently are, and may continue to be, materially higher than the typical margin requirements for more established types of futures contracts. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the market for Fund shares.
The tables below show performance examples of an UltraPro and UltraPro Short ProShares Fund that have investment objectives to correspond to three times (3x) and three times the inverse (-3x) 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 as 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.
A Fund may cover its sale of a call option on a futures contract by taking a long position in the underlying futures contract at a price less than or equal to the strike price of the call option, or, if the long position in the underlying futures contract is established at a price greater than the strike price of the written (sold) call, the Fund will earmark/segregate liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the call and the price of the future. A Fund may also cover its sale of a call option by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently with the call option. A Fund may cover its sale of a put option on a futures contract by taking a short position in the underlying futures contract at a price greater than or equal to the strike price of the put option, or, if the short position in the underlying futures contract is established at a price less than the strike price of the written put, the Fund will segregate cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the put and the price of the future. A Fund may also cover its sale of a put option by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently to the put option.
Purchasers of Shares in Creation Units are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust. Investors will also bear the costs of transferring securities from the Fund to their account or on their order. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services.
Each Independent Trustee is paid a $185,000 annual retainer for service as Trustee on the Board and for service as Trustee for other funds in the Fund Complex, $10,000 for attendance at each quarterly in-person meeting of the Board of Trustees, $3,000 for attendance at each special meeting of the Board of Trustees, and $3,000 for attendance at telephonic meetings. Trustees who are also Officers or affiliated persons receive no remuneration from the Trust for their services as Trustees. The Officers, other than the CCO, receive no compensation directly from the Trust for performing the duties of their offices.
• A new competing digital asset may pose a challenge to bitcoin’s current market dominance, resulting in a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin. It is possible that other digital currencies and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than Bitcoin. The rise of such currencies could lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin.
The Fund will periodically adjust its holdings in order to maintain inverse exposure to bitcoin futures contracts. As the price of bitcoin futures contracts declines, net assets of the Fund will generally increase resulting in inverse exposure that is less than the value of the Fund’s assets. Conversely, when the price of bitcoin futures contracts increases, net assets of the Fund will generally decrease resulting in inverse exposure that is more than the value of the Fund’s assets, and the Fund’s inverse exposure will be periodically adjusted to restore approximately equivalent inverse exposure.
These developments are expected to not only further rally the price of Bitcoin, but also open the doors for more traditional investment opportunities based on cryptocurrencies, such as a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). ETFs are currently very popular investment products for beginning and advanced investors because they charge low fees and usually have low volatility. Because high volatility is one of the factors preventing conventional investors from entering the crypto market, products such as these could offer them the best of both worlds.