You may wonder: where do these contracts come from? We know on the spot market that bitcoins are being bought and sold for fiat, but how the heck are bitcoins being used to trade bitcoin futures contracts? Let's walk through a really simple example showing how an exchange functions when there's just a simple two traders who want to go long and short.
• Tax Risk — In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from “qualifying income,” meet certain asset diversification tests at the end of each taxable quarter, and meet annual distribution requirements. The Fund’s pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. The Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, the Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its
The Funds may invest in bitcoin-based futures contracts, swap agreements, and options contracts, which are types of derivative contracts. A derivative refers to any financial instrument whose value is derived, at least in part, from the price of an underlying security, commodity, asset, rate, or index. The use of derivatives presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. Changes in the value of a derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying security, asset, rate or index. Gains or losses in a derivative may be magnified and may be much greater than the derivative’s original cost. Because bitcoin-based derivatives were only recently introduced, the degree to which bitcoin-based derivatives are likely to provide exposure to movements in the price of bitcoin is extremely uncertain. If market participants executing trades in bitcoin-based derivatives face constraints, including capital constraints, security risks, or high execution costs with respect to direct investments in bitcoin, the price at which bitcoin-based derivatives trade may fail to capture price movements in the underlying price of bitcoin. Moreover, it is not clear how changes to the Bitcoin Network and determinations by any relevant derivatives exchange with respect to such changes to the Bitcoin Network will affect the value of any positions in bitcoin-based derivatives. [[In December 2015, the SEC proposed a new rule to regulate the use of derivatives by registered investment companies, such as the Fund. Whether and when this proposed rule will be adopted and its potential effects on the Fund are unclear as of the date of this Prospectus.]]
“Qualified dividend income” received by an individual is taxed at the rates applicable to net capital gain. In order for some portion of the dividends received by a Fund shareholder to be qualified dividend income, the Fund must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to some portion of the dividend-paying stocks in its portfolio and the shareholder must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to the Fund’s Shares. A dividend will not be treated as qualified dividend income (at either the Fund or shareholder level) (1) if the dividend is received with respect to any share of stock held for fewer than 61 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (or, in the case of certain preferred stock, 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date), (2) to the extent that the recipient is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property, (3) if the recipient elects to have the dividend income treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest, or (4) if the dividend is received from a foreign corporation that is (a) not eligible for the benefits of a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States (with the exception of dividends paid on stock of such a foreign corporation that is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States) or (b) treated as a passive foreign investment company. In general, distributions of investment income reported by a Fund as derived from qualified dividend income will be treated as qualified dividend income in the hands of a shareholder taxed as an individual, provided the shareholder meets the holding period and other requirements described above with respect to the Fund’s Shares.
S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF; S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF; Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF; Equities for Rising Rates ETF; Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF; S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF; S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF; S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF; and S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF 4:00 p.m. (3:30 p.m. if in cash) in order to receive that day’s closing NAV per Share
Shareholders that are U.S. persons and own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of a Fund could be required to report annually their “financial interest” in the Fund’s “foreign financial accounts,” if any, on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”). Shareholders should consult a tax advisor, and persons investing in a Fund through an intermediary should contact their intermediary, regarding the applicability to them of this reporting requirement.
The value of such Creation Unit for the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the Hedge Replication ETF, the Merger ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, the UltraPro Short Financial Select Sector ETF, the UltraShort FTSE Europe ETF, the UltraPro Financial Select Sector ETF, and the Ultra High Yield ETF as of each such Fund’s inception was $2,000,000.
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.
Moody’s ratings for state and municipal notes and other short-term loans are designated Moody’s Investment Grade (MIG) and for variable rate demand obligations are designated Variable Moody’s Investment Grade (VMIG). This distinction recognizes the differences between short-term credit risk and long-term risk. Loans bearing the designation MIG-1/VMIG-1 are of the best quality, enjoying strong protection from established cash flows of funds for their servicing or from established and broad-based access to the market for refinancing, or both. Loans bearing/with the designation MIG-2/VMIG-2 are of high quality, with ample margins of protection, although not as large as the preceding group.
Unlike many commodity futures, Bitcoin futures are cash settled rather than physically settled. Cash settlement is a relatively new development in futures trading, first introduced in 1981 for Eurodollar futures, that addresses the problem of how to settle futures contracts on things that are difficult/impossible to deliver physicially—things like interest rates, large stock indexes (e.g., S&P 500), and volatility indexes (Cboe’s VIX). Futures physical settlement involves actual shipment/change of ownership of the underlying product to the contract holder but in practice, it’s rarely used (~2% of the time). Instead, most organizations that are using futures to hedge prices of future production/usage will make separate arrangements with suppliers/customers for physical delivery and just use the futures to protect against contrary price changes. In practice, the final settlement price of the contract can be used to provide the desired price protection regardless of whether the futures contract specifies physically delivery or cash-settlement.
(d) In the event of a settlement of other disposition not involving a final adjudication (as provided in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of this Section 8.5.2) and resulting in a payment by a Covered Person, unless there has been either a determination that such Covered Person did not engage in willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of this office by the court or other body approving the settlement or other disposition, or a reasonable determination, based on a review of readily available facts (as opposed to a full trial-type inquiry), that he or she did not engage in such conduct, such determination being made by : (i) a vote of a majority of the Disinterested Trustees (as such term is defined in Section 8.5.5) acting on the matter); or (ii) a writer opinion of independent legal counsel.
• 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.
Taking their prices from bitcoin futures, the swaps will not handle bitcoin directly. Seeing as Morgan Stanley is a regulated and established financial institution, tying the product to futures contracts is a safer bet than basing them on bitcoin’s spot price, as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Exchange offer fully-regulated bitcoin futures from which Morgan Stanley can pool pricing data.
and the FTSE Developed Europe Index (the “Indices”) (ii) the figure at which an Index is said to stand at any particular time on any particular day or otherwise, or (iii) the suitability of the Index for the purpose to which it is being put in connection with the ProShares Ultra, Short and UltraShort FTSE China 50 and Ultra and UltraShort FTSE Developed Europe. None of the Licensor Parties have provided or will provide any financial or investment advice or recommendation in relation to the Index to ProShares or its clients. The Index is calculated by FTSE or its agent. None of the Licensor Parties shall be (a) liable (whether in negligence or otherwise) to any person for any error in the Index and (b) under any obligation to advise any person of any error therein.
The question is: Do we live in a society, or do we just have a list of prices and you decide which ones to pay? Do we all try to get along together and share the world, giving due consideration to each other's needs, or do rich people just get to do whatever they want? Much of the article is devoted to the cool things that the Flatiron Institute is doing, but much of it is devoted to people fretting that there might be a downside to rich individuals determining the direction of basic science and using their money to crowd out traditional universities. Meanwhile Simons sits back and smokes and tosses pennies into the no-smoking jar.
• 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.
New altcoins often make unsubstantiated claims about their products. Recently the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against two ICOs it says were sold on the basis of fraudulent claims. China has banned the sale of ICOs, and many individuals familiar with fraud, including the famed Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, have described ICOs as the biggest scam ever.
Various government agencies, departments, and courts have classified bitcoin differently. China Central Bank banned the handling of bitcoins by financial institutions in China in early 2014. In Russia, though cryptocurrencies are legal, it is illegal to actually purchase goods with any currency other than the Russian ruble. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.
In a possible lead-up to its plans on becoming an ATS, on March 26, 2018, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced it was adding support for ERC20 into all its trading platforms. ERC20 is the Ethereum technical standard that the majority of ICO tokens are based on. “This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” Coinbase said in a blog post.
Each Fund may enter into swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities. On a typical long swap, the counterparty will generally agree to pay the Fund the amount, if any, by which the notional amount of the swap agreement would have increased in value had it been invested in the particular underlying assets (e.g., an ETF, or securities comprising a benchmark index), plus the dividends or interest that would have been received on those assets. The Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty a floating rate of interest on the notional amount of the swap agreement plus the amount, if any, by which the notional amount would have decreased in value had it been invested in such assets plus, in certain instances, commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. Therefore, the return to the Fund on such swap agreements should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends or interest on the assets less the interest paid by the Fund on the notional amount. As a trading technique, the Advisor may substitute physical securities with a swap agreement having investment characteristics substantially similar to the underlying securities. Some Funds may also enter into swap agreements that provide the opposite return of their benchmark or a security. Their operations are similar to that of the swaps disclosed above except that the counterparty pays interest to each Fund on the notional amount outstanding and that dividends or interest on the underlying instruments reduce the value of the swap, plus, in certain instances, each Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. These amounts are often netted with any unrealized gain or loss to determine the value of the swap.
Portfolio holdings information may not be provided prior to its public availability (“Non-Standard Disclosure”) in other circumstances except where appropriate confidentiality arrangements limiting the use of such information are in effect. Non-Standard Disclosure may be authorized by the Trust’s CCO or, in his absence, any other authorized officer of the Trust if he determines that such disclosure is in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, no conflict exists between the interests of the Fund’s shareholders and those of the Advisor or Distributor and such disclosure serves a legitimate business purpose, and measures discussed in the previous paragraph regarding confidentiality are satisfied. The lag time between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed shall be determined by the officer authorizing the disclosure. The CCO is responsible for ensuring that portfolio holdings disclosures are made in accordance with this Policy.
Michael L. Sapir, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ProShare Advisors since inception and ProFund Advisors LLC since April 1997. Mr. Sapir formerly practiced law, primarily representing financial institutions for over 13 years, most recently as a partner in a Washington, D.C.-based law firm. He holds degrees from Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) and the University of Miami (M.B.A. and B.A.).
The idea is simple; if the future is trading above the underlying asset (Bitcoin) today, we buy the asset and sell the future, thus receiving cash and locking in a profit. Then on the delivery date, we sell the bitcoin to cover the costs of settling the futures contract. For the deal to be profitable, the price difference has to be large enough to cover interest between today and the delivery date as well as all costs fees.
Each Fund, except for the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, is a “non-diversified” series of the Trust. A Fund’s classification as a “non-diversified” investment company means that the proportion of the Fund’s assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer is not limited by the 1940 Act. Notwithstanding each Fund’s status as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act, each Fund intends to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, which imposes its own diversification requirements on these Funds that are less restrictive than the requirements applicable to the “diversified” investment companies under the 1940 Act. A Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy may be limited by that Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC and its strategy may bear adversely on its ability to so qualify. For more details, see “Taxation” below. With respect to a “non-diversified” Fund, a relatively high percentage of such a Fund’s assets may be invested in the securities of a limited number of issuers, primarily within the same economic sector. That Fund’s portfolio securities, therefore, may be more susceptible to any single economic, political, or regulatory occurrence than the portfolio securities of a more diversified investment company.
It’s reasonable to assume that a product named a future is attempting to predict the future. For Bitcoin futures, this is definitely not what they deliver. The core utility of the futures markets is not predicting the future prices of their product but rather the secure delivery of a product at a known price, quality, and date. If there’s product seasonality (e.g., specific harvest times) or foreseeable shortages/abundances then future’s prices may reflect that but neither of these factors applies to Bitcoin.
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.
impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect the price of bitcoin. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests. In addition to technical disruptions such as cyber-attacks, the potential elimination of the net neutrality regulations in the U.S. may have a negative impact on bitcoin and the Bitcoin ecosystem.
The table below shows a performance example of a Short ProShares Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of an index. In the chart below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance.
Trading directly on CME is not possible unless you are a broker yourself. This means that you have to pay a high fee – between thousands and hundreds of thousands of USD – to join CME. As an individual investor, you need to find a broker who trades on CME. You will then open an account with this broker – a margin account rather than a cash account because in options trading, there is a margin involved, as we have seen above. Because this poses a higher risk for the broker – in case you can’t settle your debts – these deals can only be done in special margin accounts and not cash accounts.