Futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced higher than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “contango.” Conversely, futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced lower than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “backwardation.” Contango and backwardation have different impacts on ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF (each, a “Bitcoin Fund”) and ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF (the “Short Bitcoin Fund”).
and other factors. Thus, to the extent a Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as the reference asset, that Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of correlation with its index as it would if the Fund used only swaps on the underlying index. The Advisor, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of the Funds’ transactions in swap agreements.
• Any distributions from income or short-term capital gains that you receive generally are taxable to you as ordinary dividends for federal income tax purposes. Ordinary dividends you receive that a Fund reports as “qualified dividend income” may be taxed at the same rates as long-term capital gains, but will not be considered long-term capital gains for other federal income tax purposes, including the calculation of net capital losses.
The Funds may invest in equity securities. The market price of securities owned by a Fund may go up or down, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Securities may decline in value due to factors affecting securities markets generally or particular industries represented in the securities markets. The value of a security may decline due to general market conditions not specifically related to a particular company, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates, or adverse investor sentiment generally. A security’s value may also decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. The value of a security may also decline for a number of reasons that directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage and reduced demand for the issuer’s goods or services. Equity securities generally have greater price volatility than fixed income securities, and the Funds are particularly sensitive to these market risks.
Investors in the ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF should understand the consequences of the “short” strategy employed by the Fund, which is subject to, among others, compounding and market volatility risk. The Fund may adjust its short exposure as frequently as daily basis which entails obtaining additional short exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing short exposure as the Fund experiences losses. As a result, the Fund’s performance may be more vulnerable to the effects of compounding than funds that do not seek to provide short investment exposure. During periods of high volatility, this risk may be exacerbated and the Fund may have losses as a result of such adjustments.
• Active Management Risk — The performance of actively managed funds reflects, in part, the ability of ProShare Advisors to select investments and make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. ProShare Advisors’ judgments about the Fund’s investments may prove to be incorrect. If the investments selected and strategies employed by ProShare Advisors fail to produce the intended results, the Fund may not achieve its investment objective and could underperform other funds with a similar investment objective and/or strategies. The Fund does not seek to provide investment performance that would be opposite of a 30% investment in bitcoin futures contracts and a 70% investment in U.S. government securities.
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.
Under an investment advisory agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust, on behalf of each Fund (the “Agreement” or “Advisory Agreement”), each Fund (other than the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF and 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 0.75%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory Fee Waiver Agreement for each of these Funds that reduces the annualized rate based on its average daily net assets, as follows: 0.75% of the first $4.0 billion of average daily net assets of the Fund; 0.70% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $4.0 billion to $5.5 billion; 0.65% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $5.5 billion to $7.0 billion; 0.60% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $7.0 billion to $8.5 billion; and 0.55% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $8.5 billion. The fee waiver arrangement will remain in effect through at least September 30, 2018 and prior to such date ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
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.
Provide a list or diagram of all persons directly or indirectly controlled by or under common control with the Registrant. For any person controlled by another person, disclose the percentage of voting securities owned by the immediately controlling person or other basis of that person’s control. For each company, also provide the state or other sovereign power under the laws of which the company is organized.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, One Beacon Street, 19th Floor, Boston, MA 02108, acts as Administrator to the Funds pursuant to an administration agreement dated June 16, 2006, as amended from time to time. The Administrator provides the Funds with all required general administrative services, including, without limitation, office space, equipment, and personnel; clerical and general back office services; bookkeeping and internal accounting; the determination of NAVs; and the preparation and filing of all financial reports, and all other materials, except registration statements and proxy statements, required to be filed or furnished by the Funds under federal and state securities laws. Citi Fund Services Ohio, Inc. (“Citi”), located at 4400 Easton Commons, Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43219, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Citibank N.A., provides regulatory administration services to the Trust (altogether, the “Regulatory Administrative Services”). For its services, Citi is paid a set fee allocated among each of the Funds.
price of a particular asset, whether a Fund will realize a gain or loss from the purchase or writing (sale) of options on an index depends upon movements in the level of prices for specific underlying assets generally or, in the case of certain indexes, in an industry or market segment. A Fund will not enter into an option position that exposes the Fund to an obligation to another party, unless the Fund either (i) owns an offsetting position in the underlying securities or other options and/or (ii) earmarks or segregates with the Fund’s custodian bank cash or liquid instruments that, when added to the premiums deposited with respect to the option, are equal to the market value of the underlying assets not otherwise covered.
That includes institutional investors, who are increasingly interested in the benefits that crypto could offer their portfolios — to a degree that might have been unthinkable even six months ago. These investors, who have $130 trillion of assets under management worldwide, could have a huge impact on the crypto market, whose market cap remains under $300 billion.
Source: MV Index Solutions GmbH (MVIS®). MVIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Van Eck Associates Corporation. Data as of December 8, 2017 (synthesized data from BitMEX, OKCoin, CryptoFacilities, and BTCC which represents non-U.S. listed bitcoin futures trading on these exchanges). Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Current market conditions may not continue.
The Bitcoin Network and bitcoin, as an asset, currently hold a “first-to-market” advantage, often referred to as a “network effect,” over other digital assets. This first-to-market advantage has resulted in the Bitcoin Network evolving into the most well developed network of any digital asset. The Bitcoin Network enjoys the largest user base of any digital asset and, more importantly, the largest combined mining power in use to secure the Bitcoin Blockchain. Having a large mining network enhances user confidence regarding the security of the Bitcoin Blockchain and long-term stability of the Bitcoin Network. Despite the marked network effect advantage of the Bitcoin Network over other digital assets, it is possible that real or perceived shortcomings in the Bitcoin Network, technological, regulatory or other developments could result in a decline in popularity and acceptance of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Network.
Many expect bitcoin futures to stabilise the markets because big institutional investors will be able to trade bitcoin using all the flexibility present in sophisticated trading markets, with effective risk management and hedging strategies. Since the CME plans to set price limits on the trading range of bitcoin futures, the price of the coin is expected to become more stable. That is the optimistic outlook. It is reasonable to assume that if futures markets will indeed take off the way they are expected to, the market will eventually gravitate towards a less volatile state.
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.
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.
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.
When the Fund has an open futures contract position, it is subject to daily variation margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. Futures markets are highly volatile and the use of or exposure to futures contracts may increase volatility of the Fund’s NAV. Futures contracts are also subject to liquidity risk.
“One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can’t hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold,” said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp. With futures, “you don’t hold the physical bitcoin, which solves custody issues and counterparty risks with these less-regulated exchanges.”
From time to time, proxy issues may pose a material conflict of interest between Fund shareholders and the Advisor, the Distributor or any affiliates thereof. Due to the limited nature of the Advisor’s activities (e.g., no underwriting business, no publicly traded affiliates, no investment banking activities and no research recommendations), conflicts of interest are likely to be infrequent. Nevertheless, it shall be the duty of the Committee to monitor potential conflicts of interest. In the event a conflict of interest arises, the Advisor will direct ISS to use its independent judgment to vote affected proxies in accordance with approved guidelines. The Committee will disclose to the Board of Trustees the voting issues that created the conflict of interest and the manner in which voted such proxies were voted.
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.
application of the PFIC rules, certain excess distributions might have been classified as capital gains. In general, under the PFIC rules, an excess distribution is treated as having been realized ratably over the period during which the Fund held the PFIC shares. If a Fund receives an excess distribution with respect to PFIC stock, the Fund will itself be subject to tax on the portion of an excess distribution that is allocated to prior taxable years without the ability to reduce such tax by making distributions to Fund shareholders, and an interest factor will be added to the tax as if the tax had been payable in such prior taxable years.
BitMEX is a derivatives exchange that offers leveraged contracts that are bought and sold in Bitcoin. This is a platform that provides trading in bitcoin derivatives. The derivative traded is a perpetual swap contract, which is a derivative product similar to a traditional Futures Contract. Swap contracts trade like spots, tracking the underlying assets.
As of February 2018, the Chinese Government halted trading of virtual currency, banned initial coin offerings and shut down mining. Some Chinese miners have since relocated to Canada. One company is operating data centers for mining operations at Canadian oil and gas field sites, due to low gas prices. In June 2018, Hydro Quebec proposed to the provincial government to allocate 500 MW to crypto companies for mining. According to a February 2018 report from Fortune, Iceland has become a haven for cryptocurrency miners in part because of its cheap electricity. Prices are contained because nearly all of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources, prompting more mining companies to consider opening operations in Iceland. The region’s energy company says bitcoin mining is becoming so popular that the country will likely use more electricity to mine coins than power homes in 2018. In October 2018 Russia will become home to one of the largest legal mining operations in the world, located in Siberia. More than 1.5 million Russians are engaged in home mining. Russia’s energy resources and climate provide some of the best conditions for crypto mining.
Each Fund generally engages in closing or offsetting transactions before final settlement of a futures contract wherein a second identical futures contract is sold to offset a long position (or bought to offset a short position). In such cases, the obligation is to deliver (or take delivery of) cash equal to a specific dollar amount (the contract multiplier) multiplied by the difference between the price of the offsetting transaction and the price at which the original contract was entered into. If the original position entered into is a long position (futures contract purchased), there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting sell transaction is carried out at a higher (lower) price, inclusive of commissions. If the original position entered into is a short position (futures contract sold) there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting buy transaction is carried out at a lower (higher) price, inclusive of commissions.
Mortgage-backed securities are most commonly issued or guaranteed by GNMA, FNMA or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”), but may also be issued or guaranteed by other private issuers. GNMA is a government-owned corporation that is an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It guarantees, with the full faith and credit of the United States, full and timely payment of all monthly principal and interest on its mortgage-backed securities. FNMA is a publicly owned, government-sponsored corporation that mostly packages mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, but also sells some non-governmentally backed mortgages. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FNMA. The FHLMC is a publicly chartered agency that buys qualifying residential mortgages from lenders, re-packages them and provides certain guarantees. The corporation’s stock is owned by savings institutions across the United States and is held in trust by the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Pass-through securities issued by the FHLMC are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by the FHLMC.
3. Make loans to other persons, except that the acquisition of bonds, debentures or other corporate debt securities and investment in government obligations, commercial paper, pass-through instruments, certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances and repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts and any similar instruments shall not be deemed to be the making of a loan, and except, further, that the Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that the lending of portfolio securities may be made only in accordance with applicable law and the guidelines set forth in the Prospectus and this SAI, as they may be amended from time to time.
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.
Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are listed for trading on the [ ] Exchange and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares and other market factors. In addition, the securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the Exchange. Because the Fund generally values such securities as of its local market closing time, the daily net asset value (“NAV”) may vary from the market performance of the Fund as of the Exchange close (typically at [ ] p.m., Eastern Time). Furthermore, liquidity in such securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. This may cause wider spreads and larger premium and discounts than would otherwise be the case if each market was open until the close of trading on the Exchange. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund.
Unsponsored ADR programs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the issuer of the underlying securities. As a result, available information concerning the issuers may not be as current for unsponsored ADRs, and the price of unsponsored depositary receipts may be more volatile than if such instruments were sponsored by the issuer and/or there may be no correlation between available information and the market value.
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).