One traditional attraction of trading futures is the ability to use relatively small amounts of money to potentially achieve outsized returns. In many futures markets the margin, the amount of money that your broker requires up-front before executing the trade can be quite small compared to the ultimate value of the contract. For example, as of 22-Dec-2017, each E-mini S&P 500 contract was worth $134K ($50*S&P 500 index value)—this “list price” of the contract is called its notional value. The CME only requires you to maintain a minimum margin of $4.5K (3.4% of notional) to control this contract (brokers often require additional margin). Margin requirements this low are only possible because the volatility of the S&P 500 is well understood and your margin account balance is adjusted at the end of every trading day to account for the winnings or losses of the day. If your account balance falls below the margin minimum of $4.5K you’ll need to quickly add money to your account or your position will be summarily closed out by your broker. On the plus side, if you’ve predicted the S&P’s direction correctly your profits will be that same as if you completely owned the underlying stocks in the index. A +1% daily move in the S&P500 would yield $1340 in profit even though you only have $4500 invested— a 29% return—this multiplier effect is called leverage.
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.
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/Blockchain 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 Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (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.
Certain Funds expect to invest in exchange-traded funds, including exchange-traded funds registered under the 1940 Act (“Underlying ETFs”). Some such Underlying ETFs will be treated as regulated investment companies for federal income tax purposes (each such Underlying ETF, an “Underlying RIC”). In such cases, a Fund’s income and gains will normally consist, in whole or part, of dividends and other distributions from the Underlying RICs and gains and losses on the disposition of shares of the Underlying RICs. The amount of income and capital gains realized by a Fund and in turn a Fund’s shareholders in respect of the Fund’s investments in Underlying RICs may be greater than such amounts would have been had the Fund invested directly in the investments held by the Underlying RICs, rather than in the shares of the Underlying RICs. Similarly, the character of such income and gains (e.g., long-term capital gain, eligibility for the dividends-received deduction, etc.) will not necessarily be the same as it would have been had the Fund invested directly in the investments held by the Underlying RICs.
Distributions of Shares shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all Shares. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in Shares as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners of Shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants. The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspects of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such Shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners owning through such DTC Participants.
• A decline in the adoption of bitcoin could have a negative effect on the price of bitcoin and bitcoin-related investments. Bitcoin’s adoption has been on a generally continuous climb since bitcoin first gained mass media attention in 2013. However, there can be no guarantees this growth will continue. Further, adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment has been limited when compared with the increase in the price of bitcoin, indicating that the majority of bitcoin’s use is for investment and speculative purposes. A lack of acceptance of bitcoin as a means of payment could negatively impact the price of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests.
• an investment company, or person that would be an investment company but for the exclusions provided by sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, having the same investment adviser or principal underwriter as the Trust or having an investment adviser or principal underwriter that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Advisor or principal underwriter of the Trust;
Ultimately, the big and yet unanswered question will continue to loom: is bitcoin indeed the millennials’ gold, as strategist Tom Lee suggests, and therefore has real and measurable value, or is it simply used for speculation as investors like Jack Bogle and Warren Buffet have implied? The answer that important investors will come up with for that question should have a significant impact on the price movement of bitcoin, and it is completely uncertain what it will look like.
Each Fund intends to use, on a regular basis, leveraged investment techniques in pursuing its investment objective. Leverage exists when a Fund achieves the right to a return on a capital base that exceeds the Fund’s assets. Utilization of leverage involves special risks and should be considered to be speculative. Specifically, leverage creates the potential for greater gains to Fund shareholders during favorable market conditions and the risk of magnified losses during adverse market conditions. Leverage is likely to cause higher volatility of the NAVs of these Funds’ Shares. Leverage may also involve the creation of a liability that does not entail any interest costs or the creation of a liability that requires the Fund to pay interest which would decrease the Fund’s total return to shareholders. If these Funds achieve their investment objectives, during adverse market conditions, shareholders should experience a loss greater than they would have incurred had these Funds not been leveraged.
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. Such restrictions could have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Instruments in which the Funds invest and may adversely affect an investment in the Funds.
Hey Will. Thanks for the helpful guide! I’ve just gotten into crypto and found this info extremely useful. Just a question regarding how you keep your alt coins safe. As far as I can tell, you can’t keep many of these alt coins on a Trezor hard wallet, so do you just use something like My Ether Wallet instead? Cheers mate! Here’s to a cracking 2018!!
The Fund may invest in stocks of small- and mid- cap companies. The risk of equity investing may be particularly acute for securities of issuers with smaller market capitalizations. Small- and mid-cap company stocks may trade at greater spreads or lower trading volumes, and may be less liquid than the stocks of larger companies. Small- and mid-cap companies may have limited product lines or resources, may be dependent upon a particular market niche and may have greater fluctuations in price than the stocks of larger companies. Further, stocks of small- and mid-sized companies could be more difficult to liquidate during market downturns compared to larger, more widely traded companies. In addition, small- and mid-cap companies may lack the financial and personnel resources to handle economic or industry-wide setbacks and, as a result, such setbacks could have a greater effect on small- and mid- cap security prices.
The Fund seeks inverse or “short” exposure through short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and other financial instruments. This will cause the Fund to be exposed to certain risks associated with selling securities short. These risks include, under certain market conditions, an increase in the volatility and decrease in the liquidity of asset underlying the short position, which may lower the Fund’s return, result in a loss, have the effect of limiting the Fund’s ability to obtain inverse exposure through financial instruments such as swap agreements and futures contracts, or require the Fund to seek inverse exposure through alternative investment strategies that may be less desirable or more costly to implement. To the extent that, at any particular point in time, the asset underlying the short position may be thinly traded or have a limited market, including due to regulatory action, the Fund may be unable to meet its investment objective due to a lack of available securities or counterparties. During such periods, the Fund’s ability to issue additional Creation Units may be adversely affected. Obtaining inverse exposure through these instruments may be considered an aggressive investment technique. Any income, dividends or payments by the assets underlying the Fund’s short positions will negatively impact the Fund.
The price of the futures contract can deviate from the underlying price of bitcoin on spot markets, which can vary based on sentiment. But in the end, at expiration of the contract, the contract MUST settle at the price of spot. So you need to watch the main spot market price movements because the futures contracts will track the movements underlying (sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, sometimes simultaneously). There are three Chinese exchanges worth following: OKCoin, Houbi, and BTCC; there are two Western exchanges worth following: Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Other exchanges that are currently less important but still worth keeping an eye on are: ItBit, Coinbase, OKCoin USD, BTC-e, and Kraken (which has the largest BTC/EUR orderbook as of December 2015).
“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.”
YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER SUCH TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES. YOU SHOULD READ THE "RISK DISCLOSURE" WEBPAGE ACCESSED AT WWW.FUTURESONLINE.COM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOMEPAGE. FUTURESONLINE IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH NOR DOES IT ENDORSE ANY TRADING SYSTEM, NEWSLETTER OR OTHER SIMILAR SERVICE. FUTURESONLINE DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR VERIFY ANY PERFORMANCE CLAIMS MADE BY SUCH SYSTEMS OR SERVICES.
In contrast, if you are “going short” on Bitcoin, you assume that Bitcoin prices will fall. Buying put options will enable you to sell Bitcoin at some point in the future at a price that is higher than the future price you expect. In analogy to the example above, if the current Bitcoin price is 5,000 USD and you expect it to fall to 2,000 USD in 6 months, then put options allowing you to sell Bitcoin for 5,000 USD in 5 months (when everyone else is selling for 2000 USD) are very valuable.
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 addition, the securities of some foreign governments, companies and markets are less liquid, and may be more volatile, than comparable securities of domestic governments, companies and markets. Some foreign investments may be subject to brokerage commissions and fees that are higher than those applicable to U.S. investments. A Fund also may be affected by different settlement practices or delayed settlements in some foreign markets. Moreover, some foreign jurisdictions regulate and limit U.S. investments in the securities of certain issuers.
As an example: if you have Quarterlies contracts that you made profits on over the weekend, then this profit needs to be withheld because of the risk of socialised losses. By Friday, however, this profit is available to be withdrawn and the positions are all rebalanced. Technically this is not a "settlement", because if you are holding an open Quarterlies contract when the weekly settlement occurs, your position will remain open, it will just experience a step-up in cost-basis and the unrealised Pnl is applied, so that socialised losses can be handled.
A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.