So be aware of the premium or discount that is on longer dated contracts, this can allow you some arbitrage opportunities if you are patient and have the coins to apply to it. In general, we recommend that you trade any contract that has good liquidity and high volume. This is the most important characteristic of ANY product for a trader. If you can't get in and out reliably, and have a price that reasonably follows the spot market behavior, then it's not worth trading.

The price of bitcoin on individual bitcoin exchanges, as well as the broader Bitcoin Exchange Market generally, has experienced periods of extreme volatility. This volatility is due in part to low liquidity and the changes exhibited by an early stage technological innovation. Speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the value of bitcoin may artificially inflate the price of bitcoin causing a negative impact on the performance of certain Funds which take a short position in bitcoin futures contracts. Conversely, government regulation and the perception of onerous regulatory actions may cause a drop in the price of bitcoin causing a negative impact on the performance of certain Funds which take a long position in bitcoin futures contracts. Developments related to the Bitcoin Network’s operations, Bitcoin Exchanges and the overall Bitcoin Exchange Market also contribute to the volatility in the price of bitcoin. These factors may continue to increase the volatility of the price of bitcoin which may have a negative impact on the performance of the Bitcoin Instruments and on the performance of the Funds.


There is no registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible, and in fact, reasonably likely, that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin from selling their bitcoin, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Funds which do not take a short position in bitcoin futures contracts.
These are NOT linked to or related in any way, to the futures contracts that trade on the CME or CBOE.  Not every article I have read makes this clear.  So the bright side of this story is that the contracts listed and traded on U.S. exchanges were not involved.  That is encouraging from both a regulatory aspect and for the future potential growth of cryptocurrency linked products in the U.S.
When a market price is not readily available, each Fund’s investments are valued at fair value in good faith under procedures established by, and under the general supervision and responsibility of, the Board. The use of a fair valuation method may be appropriate if, for example: (i) market quotations do not accurately reflect fair value of an investment; (ii) an investment’s value has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the exchange or market on which the investment is principally traded; (iii) a trading halt closes an exchange or market early; or (iv) other events result in an exchange or market delaying its normal close. This procedure incurs the unavoidable risk that the valuation may be higher or lower than the securities might actually command if the Funds sold them. See the SAI for more details.

Still elsewhere, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in a footnote, quoted me saying "Just because you mumble the word 'blockchain' doesn't make otherwise illegal things legal," which I hope is now an official CFTC position. And here is Tyler Cowen on bitcoin volatility and Siegel's paradox: "Volatility is a feature of Bitcoin, not a bug, and that is in part for reasons that have nothing to do with speculation or bubbliness, but rather follow from the contours of the utility function." And: "No, a Guy Didn't Scam $1 Million by Selling Chuck E. Cheese Tokens as Bitcoins."
As noted above under “Distributions”, a Fund may declare a distribution from net realized capital gains to be payable in additional Fund shares or cash. Even if the Fund does not declare a distribution to be payable in Fund shares, brokers may make available to their customers who own shares the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and capital gains will automatically be reinvested in additional whole shares of the same Fund. Without this service, investors would have to take their distributions in cash. To determine whether the dividend reinvestment service is available and whether there is a commission or other charge for using this service, please consult your broker.
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.

A key attribute of a futures market is how its contract’s prices vary by expiration date. The succession of futures prices over time is called the “term structure”. If supply is stable (no seasonality or shortages) then typically futures prices will increase with expirations further in the future. This term structure configuration is called “contango” and it accounts for the fact that carry costs (e.g., time value of money) and profit expectations increase with time. Unless there are big changes in interest rates or the way that Bitcoin exchanges work I expect the level of contango in the Bitcoin futures term structure to be small. Bitcoins don’t cost much to hodl (once you have your hardware wallet) and there’s no apparent seasonality. The chart below from VIX Central shows a typical Bitcoin term structure (click on chart to get current data):

Non-Diversified Status (All Funds, except 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 the ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF, and the ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF)
So be aware of the premium or discount that is on longer dated contracts, this can allow you some arbitrage opportunities if you are patient and have the coins to apply to it. In general, we recommend that you trade any contract that has good liquidity and high volume. This is the most important characteristic of ANY product for a trader. If you can't get in and out reliably, and have a price that reasonably follows the spot market behavior, then it's not worth trading.
Although certain securities exchanges attempt to provide continuously liquid markets in which holders and writers of options can close out their positions at any time prior to the expiration of the option, no assurance can be given that a market will exist at all times for all outstanding options purchased or sold by a Fund. If an options market were to become unavailable, the Fund would be unable to realize its profits or limit its losses until the Fund could exercise options it holds, and the Fund would remain obligated until options it wrote were exercised or expired. Reasons for the absence of liquid secondary market on an exchange include the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the OCC may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options) and those options would cease to exist, although outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.
Bitcoin futures are now available for trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE). CFE launched trading in Cboe bitcoin futures on December 10 under the ticker symbol "XBT" (contract specifications | fact sheet.) This brings many benefits to traders, including transparency, efficient price discovery, deep liquidity and centralized clearing. XBTSM futures provides a centralized marketplace for participants to trade based on their view of bitcoin prices, gain exposure to bitcoin prices or hedge their existing bitcoin positions.
(a) derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from (i) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to, gains from options, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and (ii) net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” as described below (the income described in this subparagraph (a), “Qualifying Income”);
The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck, and these opinions may change at any time and from time to time. Non-VanEck proprietary information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Historical performance is not indicative of future results. Current data may differ from data quoted. Any graphs shown herein are for illustrative purposes only. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of VanEck.
•   New Fund Risk — The Fund recently commenced operations, has a limited operating history, and started operations with a small asset base. There can be no assurance that the Fund will be successful or grow to or maintain a viable size, that an active trading market for the Fund’s shares will develop or be maintained, or that the Fund’s shares’ listing will continue unchanged.
For purposes of the diversification test described in subparagraph (b) above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. Also, for purposes of the diversification test in (b) above, the identification of the issuer (or, in some cases, issuers) of a particular Fund investment can depend on the terms and conditions of that investment. In some cases, identification of the issuer (or issuers) is uncertain under current law, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to issuer identification for a particular type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to meet the diversification test in (b) above.

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.
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