I under-performed the market in 2017. A crypto market that went up several hundred percent and having read 24 books on finance and trading throughout the process, these were my biggest takeaways. Remember, these are notes I wrote to myself, so they may not work for your trading style. This version was summarized exclusively for CryptoMarket360 – a full version is hyperlinked at the bottom.
Many institutional investors are wise to use the futures contracts to lower the Bitcoin price to buy in lower by setting the stop-loss triggers at support levels to push down the price further and further to make it look like a crash. This scares novice investors to support the bears and sell to avoid a total loss. By taking this strategy, the Wall Street investors are strategically pushing down the price for in order to re-enter at much lower levels and potentially set Bitcoin up for another rocket rise to unprecedented highs. Then, assumingly, collect profits and repeat the cycle, increasing profits each time Bitcoin rises and falls.
Well since then bitcoin is up more than 50 percent; it reached a record of $19,511 early Monday, hours after CME launched its futures contract. "Bitcoin Climbs as Futures Debut Fails to Incite Attack by Shorts," is the Bloomberg headline about Sunday's start of trading on CME. On the other hand, bitcoin was actually down a bit on the first full day of CME trading yesterday, and fell further overnight; "Bitcoin Futures Prices Fall in CME Debut" is the Wall Street Journal headline about Monday's trading. It is of course still very early days for the futures, and it's still possible that the shorts will come in and drive the price down. I guess it's even possible bitcoin bulls and bears will both flock to the futures market and trade with each other to find an efficient and stable price that reflects bitcoin's fundamental value, whatever that is.
As a general matter, the Short ProShares Funds, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF and the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF respond differently in response to market conditions than the Matching ProShares Funds, the Ultra ProShares Funds, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF or the Crude Oil Strategy ETF. The terms “favorable market conditions” and “adverse market conditions,” as used in this SAI, are Fund-specific.
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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.
The price of bitcoin may change sharply while the market for certain Bitcoin Instruments is closed or when the exchange on which Fund shares are traded is closed. Although the Funds will not invest directly in bitcoin, such price changes could impact the price and volatility of the Bitcoin Instruments in which the Funds invest and, therefore, could have a negative impact on your investment in the Funds.
The Advisor, its principals, officers and employees (and members of their families) and affiliates may participate directly or indirectly as investors in the Advisor’s clients, such as the Funds. Thus the Advisor may recommend to clients the purchase or sale of securities in which it, or its officers, employees or related persons have a financial interest. The Advisor may give advice and take actions in the performance of its duties to its clients that differ from the advice given or the timing and nature of actions taken, with respect to other clients’ accounts and/or employees’ accounts that may invest in some of the same securities recommended to clients.
The CFTC, in conjunction with other federal regulators, also recently proposed stricter margin requirements for certain swap transactions. If adopted, the proposed requirements could increase the amount of margin necessary to conduct many swap transactions, limit the types of assets that can be used as collateral for such transactions, and impose other restrictions. The rule proposal may affect the ability of the Funds to use swap agreements (as well as futures contracts and options on futures contracts or commodities) and may substantially increase regulatory compliance costs for the Advisor and the Funds. As of the date of this SAI, the ultimate impact of the rule proposal on the Funds is uncertain. It is possible, however, that any adopted rule may adversely affect the Advisor’s ability to manage the Funds, may impair a Funds’ ability to achieve its investment objective and/or may result in reduced returns to Fund investors.
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.
Although shares of the fund are listed for trading on a stock exchange and may be listed or traded on other U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for the Fund’s shares will develop or be maintained. Trading in shares on an exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of an exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on an exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to exchange “circuit breaker” rules. Short selling of shares is also limited pursuant to SEC rules if the trading price of shares varies by more than 10% from the previous day’s closing price on the exchange. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged or that the shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange.
Margin Call - when you run out of bitcoin on your account to cover the contract positions you have taken (your account value doesn't cover the Maintance Margin) you are officially rekt. Some exchanges like CryptoFacilities will merely notify you that you have to deposit more or reduce your positions to increase your margin. Others like BitMEX will liquidate you at this level where the exchange takes over your position to liquidate it into the market to prevent system loss.
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of ProShares Trust (the “Trust”), dated October 1, 2017, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF each as may be amended or supplemented, each of which incorporates this SAI by reference. A copy of the Prospectuses and a copy of the Annual Report to shareholders for the Funds that have completed a fiscal year are available, without charge, upon request to the address above, by telephone at the number above, or on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 are incorporated by reference into and are deemed part of this SAI. The principal U.S. national stock exchange on which all Funds (except those noted below) identified in this SAI are listed is NYSE Arca. The S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Merger ETF, K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF are listed on the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. The UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro QQQ®, the Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the Equities for Rising Rates ETF are listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market.
Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. In many of these instances, the customers of such Bitcoin Exchanges were not compensated or made whole for the partial or complete losses of their account balances in such Bitcoin Exchanges. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks but the existence of these risks has created a higher barrier of entry for new Bitcoin Exchanges. The loss of confidence in new and smaller Bitcoin Exchanges and in the Bitcoin Exchange Market overall can slow down the mass adoption of bitcoin. Further, the failure of the Bitcoin Exchange Market or any other major component of the overall bitcoin ecosystem can have consequences for the Bitcoin Network, have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and could have a negative impact on the Bitcoin Instruments in which certain of the Funds invest.
Each Fund may be required to withhold federal income tax (“backup withholding”) from dividends and capital gains distributions paid to shareholders. Federal tax will be withheld if (1) the shareholder fails to furnish the Fund with the shareholder’s correct taxpayer identification number or social security number, (2) the IRS notifies the shareholder or the Fund that the shareholder has failed to report properly certain interest and dividend income to the IRS and to respond to notices to that effect, or (3) when required to do so, the shareholder fails to certify to the Fund that he or she is not subject to backup withholding. The backup withholding rate is 28%. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules may be credited against the shareholder’s federal income tax liability.
In addition, there may be times when the market price and the value of the Fund’s holdings vary significantly and you may pay more than the value of the Fund’s holdings when buying the Fund’s shares on the secondary market, and you may receive less than the value of the Fund’s holdings when you sell those shares. While the creation/ redemption feature is designed to make it likely that shares normally will trade close to the value of the Fund’s holdings, disruptions to creations and redemptions may result in trading prices that differ significantly from the value of the Fund’s holdings. The market price of shares, like the price of any exchange-traded security, includes a “bid-ask spread” charged by the exchange specialist, market makers or other participants that trade the particular security. In times of severe market disruption, the bid-ask spread often increases significantly. This means that shares may trade at a discount to the value of the Fund’s holdings, and the discount is likely to be greatest when the price of shares is falling fastest, which may be the time that you most want to sell your shares. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming shares directly with the Fund.
The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Trust on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent Shares and sells some or all of the Shares comprising such Creation Units directly to its customers; or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for Shares. A determination of whether a person is an underwriter for the purposes of the 1933 Act depends upon all the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities. Thus, the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead a person to be deemed an underwriter. Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are effecting transactions in Shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of Shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result
Bitcoin trading occurs on exchanges. These exchanges accept your fiat currencies (like USD and EUR) in exchange for a cryptocurrency (like BTC). These exchanges maintain a liquid pool of bitcoin, allowing users to withdraw their bitcoin at any time. Investors who wish to trade on that exchange can deposit bitcoin into their personal wallet on the exchange, or make a wire transfer to the exchange’s bank account. The exchange notices this transfer, then credits your account.
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.
A large investor tends to have portfolios that are diversified enough that they can stomach deviations from expected price movements even with leverage. But smaller investors have smaller accounts, and that is where leverage can be fatal. This is because amplified losses can grow larger than the account balance and cause the need for a margin call when facing the prospect of going into severe debt.
It is also possible that other digital currencies, typically referred to as “alt-coins”, and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than Bitcoin. In particular, the digital asset “ethereum” has acquired a substantial share of the cryptocurrency market in recent months, which may be in part due to perceived institutional backing and/or potentially advantageous features not incorporated into bitcoin. There are other cryptocurrencies gaining momentum as the price of the bitcoin continues to rise and investors see the cheaper cryptocurrencies as attractive alternatives. The continued rise of these alt-coins can lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and may have an adverse impact on the performance of Bitcoin Instruments and the performance of the Funds.
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.
• Investments by a Fund in options, futures, forward contracts, swap agreements and other derivative financial instruments are subject to numerous special and complex tax rules. These rules could affect the amount, timing or character of the distributions to shareholders by a Fund. In addition, because the application of these rules may be uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future Internal Revenue Service guidance with respect to these rules may affect whether a Fund has made sufficient distributions, and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements, to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid fund-level tax.
You could imagine the spread going the other way, though. If everyone really was clamoring to short bitcoin, and if the futures offered a more convenient way to do it than the bitcoin exchanges, then you'd expect the short sellers to pay a premium to short via futures. Instead of selling a bitcoin at $18,000 today, they'd be willing to sell a synthetic bitcoin for $17,500, paying the spread to an arbitrageur who was willing to do the actual shorting for them. But the fact that the spread is mostly positive, and that bitcoin's price has been mostly going up, suggests that the demand has mostly been for synthetic long positions, not short.
For hedging purposes, the Funds may invest in forward currency contracts to hedge either specific transactions (transaction hedging) or portfolio positions (position hedging). Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of forward currency contracts with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Funds in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. Position hedging is the sale of a forward currency contract on a particular currency with respect to portfolio positions denominated or quoted in that currency.
In order to make sure that you actually have money in your margin account to settle the difference with Mortimer every day, you are required to put up an initial margin at the beginning of the contract. A lower sum, the so-called minimum margin or maintenance margin, is also defined by the broker. If the money in your margin account falls from the initial margin to the maintenance margin, it triggers a margin call: The broker requests you to fill up your margin account to at least the initial margin (of course, you may also put up more).