• Government regulation could adversely impact the operation of the Bitcoin Network or the use of bitcoin. As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and in market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users and related issues. Although currently bitcoin is not regulated or is lightly regulated in most countries, including the United States, some countries have, and one or more countries may in the future, take regulatory actions that severely restrict the right to acquire, own, hold, sell or use bitcoin or to exchange bitcoin for fiat currency. Regulation in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions may restrict the use of bitcoin or otherwise materially impact the global demand for bitcoin. Regulation of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and other cryptocurrencies may have an impact the price of bitcoin. If Bitcoin Exchanges become subject to regulation, that may also impact trading in bitcoin as trading may be concentrated in a smaller number of regulated exchanges, which may impact price, volatility and trading volumes. Also, most Bitcoin Exchanges currently require bitcoin trading accounts to be fully funded, but if margin trading is introduced, there may be additional risks, including increased volumes, higher volatility and higher risk that the exchanges would suffer counterparty defaults. Finally, the Bitcoin Exchanges may be required to comply with tax and other reporting obligations that make it more costly to transact in bitcoin (which may have an impact on price, volatility, or the trading of bitcoin more generally).
Were Centra's tokens securities? Well, yes, obviously. We talked last week about the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement action against Munchee, an initial coin offering vaguely similar to Centra's in that it featured "utility tokens" to be used in a blockchain ecosystem that did not yet exist, sold on promises of speculative returns. The SEC brusquely and correctly dismissed the notion that such "utility tokens" were not securities, and I suspect any court will agree. Also, while Centra occasionally remembered to call its tokens "utility-based tokens" and "not securities, shares or investments," it often forgot. From the complaint:
AvaTrade offers all traders the opportunity to trade a wide range of top-ranked digital coins 24/7. Due to the massive popularity of cryptocurrencies over the past couple of years, they have become a conventional and popular asset. The main purpose of this new technology is to allow people to buy, trade and invest without having to rely on banks or any other financial institutions.
All other procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement must be followed in order to receive the next determined NAV. The requisite Fund Securities and the Balancing Amount (minus a redemption Transaction Fee or additional charges for requested cash redemptions) or the Cash Redemption Amount, as applicable and at the discretion of the Advisor, will be transferred by the second (2nd) NSCC Business Day following the date on which such request for redemption is deemed received. Cash-only redemption orders and Global Fund orders may not be placed through the Clearing Process.
The regulation of bitcoin, digital assets and related products and services continues to evolve. The inconsistent and sometimes conflicting regulatory landscape may make it more difficult for bitcoin businesses to provide services, which may impede the growth of the bitcoin economy and have an adverse effect on consumer adoption of bitcoin. There is a possibility of future regulatory change altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Funds or the ability of the Funds to continue to operate. Additionally, to the extent that bitcoin itself is determined to be a security, commodity future or other regulated asset, or to the extent that a United States or foreign government or quasi-governmental agency exerts regulatory authority over the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin trading or ownership in bitcoin, the price of bitcoin and the value of the Bitcoin Instruments may be adversely affected, which may have an adverse effect on the value of your investment in the Funds. In sum, bitcoin regulation takes many different forms and will, therefore, impact bitcoin and its usage in a variety of manners. The European Union has recently agreed to rules designed to reduce anonymity of bitcoin transactions, which may impact the supply and demand for bitcoin and bitcoin futures contracts.
• Daily Position Limit Risk - Many U.S. futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified periods during the trading day. In addition, these exchanges have established limits on the maximum amount of futures positions that any person may hold or control on such exchanges. These limits may restrict the amount of assets the Fund is able to invest in bitcoin futures contracts or have a negative impact on the price of such contracts. In order to comply with such limits, the Fund may be required to reduce the size of its outstanding positions or not enter into new positions that would otherwise be taken for the Fund. This could potentially subject the Funds to substantial losses or periods in which the Fund does not accept additional Creation Units.
As we have seen above, a futures contract has an expiration date. This is the date on which you can purchase the ton of pork bellies for 1,000 USD – this is called a physical settlement. Alternatively, futures contracts can be settled with cash as well. In these contracts, you receive the difference between the current price of the underlying asset and the price in your contract as cash.
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.
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.
The value of such Creation Unit for the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers 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, High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the UltraPro Short S&P500® ETF, the UltraPro Short QQQ® ETF, the UltraPro Short Dow30SM ETF, the UltraPro Short MidCap400 ETF, the UltraPro Short Russell2000 ETF, the Short High Yield ETF, the UltraPro S&P500® ETF, the UltraPro QQQ® ETF, the UltraPro Dow30SM ETF, the UltraPro MidCap400 ETF and the UltraPro Russell2000 ETF as of each such Fund’s inception was $4,000,000.
If I held the opinion that an asset was going to go one way, but then made the research and it turned out that I started thinking it might actually be headed the other way, I should feel no obligation to hold on to my original opinion, just because I didnt want to feel I’ve been initially wrong. This seems obvious but is much tougher in practice for inexperienced investors.
ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF in particular or the ability of Morningstar® Diversified Alternatives IndexSM to track general stock market performance. Morningstar’s only relationship to ProShares Trust is the licensing of: (i) certain service marks and service names of Morningstar; and (ii) the Morningstar® Diversified Alternatives IndexSM which is determined, composed and calculated by Morningstar without regard to ProShares Trust or ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF. Morningstar has no obligation to take the needs of ProShares Trust or the owners of ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Morningstar® Diversified Alternatives IndexSM. Morningstar is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the prices and amount of the Morningstar® Diversified Alternatives IndexSM or the timing of the issuance or sale of ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF is converted into cash. Morningstar has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF. MORNINGSTAR, INC. DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE PROSHARES MORNINGSTAR ALTERNATIVES SOLUTION ETF OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN AND MORNINGSTAR SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN. MORNINGSTAR MAKES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY PROSHARES TRUST, OWNERS OR USERS OF THE PROSHARES MORNINGSTAR ALTERNATIVES SOLUTION ETF, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE PROSHARES MORNINGSTAR ALTERNATIVES SOLUTION ETF OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. MORNINGSTAR MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE FUND OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL MORNINGSTAR HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
The rights of indemnification under the Declaration of Trust may be insured against by policies maintained by the Trust, and shall be severable, shall not affect any other rights to which any Covered Person may now or hereafter be entitled, shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a Covered Person, and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of such a person. Nothing contained in the Declaration of Trust shall affect any rights to indemnification to which Trust personnel other than Covered Persons may be entitled by contract or otherwise under law.
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.
How can this be? How can you have more futures contracts for gold than actual gold? Because you don't have to deliver a bar of gold when the contract matures. Many futures contracts settle on a "cash" basis – instead of physical delivery for the sale, the buyer receives the difference between the futures price (= the agreed-upon price) and the spot (= market) price.
In order to qualify for the withholding exemptions for interest-related and short term capital gain dividends, a foreign shareholder is required to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing the applicable W-8 form or substitute form). In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund reports all or a portion of a payment as an interest-related or short-term capital gain dividend to shareholders. Foreign shareholders should consult their tax advisors or intermediaries, as applicable, regarding the application of these rules to their accounts.
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.
Although forward currency contracts may be used by the Funds to try to manage currency exchange risks, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates could result in poorer performance than if a Fund had not entered into these transactions. Even if the Advisor correctly predicts currency exchange rate movements, a hedge could be unsuccessful if changes in the value of a Fund’s position do not correspond to changes in the value of the currency in which its investments are denominated. This lack of correlation between a Fund’s forwards and currency positions may be caused by differences between the futures and currency markets.
Crypto Facilities and the CME Group have been calculating and publishing the Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) since November 2016. Such an official rate is a prerequisite of options trading in the traditional markets. The BRR is calculated based on the rates from the biggest exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit, and Kraken. More concretely, it is calculated based on all Bitcoin vs. USD trades on the participating exchanges between 3 and 4 p.m. London time. To calculate the BRR, the hour between 3 and 4 is divided into 12 intervals of 5 minutes. For each interval, the volume-weighted median of the Bitcoin price is calculated (statistically, the median, in contrast to the average, prevents single outliers from distorting the price). The BRR is then the average of these 12 median values. More details about the calculation of the BRR can be found in the BRR whitepaper.