• ETN Risk — The Fund is likely to obtain substantial exposure to the price movements of bitcoin by holding ETNs that provide exposure to the price of bitcoin. ETNs are unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities of an issuer that are listed and traded on a U.S. stock exchange. An ETN’s returns are generally linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy minus applicable fees. ETNs do not provide principal protection and may or may not make periodic coupon payments. ETNs are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that the issuer cannot pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Additionally, the value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market (e.g., the commodities market), changes in interest rates or the issuer’s credit rating, and other economic, legal, political or geographic events. The value of an investment in an ETN may be impacted by fees associated with the ETN. Structural aspects of the ETNs may impact their market value. Trading by affiliates of an ETN sponsor may create conflicts of interest. The issuer of an ETN may be unable to meet its obligations. The potential impact of Bitcoin Network forks on the value of a bitcoin ETN is unclear. ETNs issued by special purpose vehicles may include greater risk. ETNs are subject to risks associated with the underlying asset.
Speculating and hedging bitcoin with futures has never been easier. Spot has lower leverage which means you have to risk more of your capital with exchanges. Margin fees are very expensive on Bitfinex and Kraken when you are borrowing funds and paying up to 0.1% per day to be in a position. Futures contracts on the other hand have no holding fees associated. You pay a fee to enter the contract, and you pay a fee to exit the contract. Your profit or loss comes from the change in the price you pay.
A Fund may cover its sale of a call option on a futures contract by taking a long position in the underlying futures contract at a price less than or equal to the strike price of the call option, or, if the long position in the underlying futures contract is established at a price greater than the strike price of the written (sold) call, the Fund will earmark/segregate liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the call and the price of the future. A Fund may also cover its sale of a call option by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently with the call option. A Fund may cover its sale of a put option on a futures contract by taking a short position in the underlying futures contract at a price greater than or equal to the strike price of the put option, or, if the short position in the underlying futures contract is established at a price less than the strike price of the written put, the Fund will segregate cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the strike price of the put and the price of the future. A Fund may also cover its sale of a put option by taking positions in instruments whose prices are expected to move relatively consistently to the put option.
Securities (including short-term securities) and other assets are generally valued at their market value using information provided by a pricing service or market quotations. Short-term securities are valued on the basis of amortized cost or based on market prices. Futures contracts and options on securities, indexes and futures contracts are generally valued at their last sale price prior to the time at which the NAV per share of a class of shares of a Fund is determined. Alternatively, fair valuation procedures as described below may be applied if deemed more appropriate. Routine valuation of certain other derivatives is performed using procedures approved by the Board of Trustees.
Transactions in options, futures, forward contracts, swaps and certain positions undertaken by the Funds may result in “straddles” for federal income tax purposes. The straddle rules may affect the character of gains (or losses) realized by a Fund, and losses realized by the Fund on positions that are part of a straddle may be deferred under the straddle rules, rather than being taken into account in calculating taxable income for the taxable year in which the losses are realized. In addition, certain carrying charges (including interest expense) associated with positions in a straddle may be required to be capitalized rather than deducted currently. Certain elections that a Fund may make with respect to its straddle positions may also affect the amount, character and timing of the recognition of gains or losses from the affected positions.
Each Fund’s portfolio turnover rate, to a great extent, will depend on the purchase, redemption and exchange activity of the Fund’s investors. A Fund’s portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. The nature of the Funds may cause the Funds to experience substantial differences in brokerage commissions from year to year. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Advisor based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services. High portfolio turnover and correspondingly greater brokerage commissions depend, to a great extent, on the purchase, redemption, and exchange activity of a Fund’s investors, as well as each Fund’s investment objective and strategies. Consequently, it is difficult to estimate what each Fund’s actual portfolio turnover rate will be in the future. However, it is expected that the portfolio turnover experienced by the Funds from year to year, as well as within a year, may be substantial. A higher portfolio turnover rate would likely involve correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and transaction and other expenses that would be borne by the Funds. The nature of the Funds may cause the Funds to experience substantial differences in brokerage commissions from year to year. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Advisor based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services. In addition, a Fund’s portfolio turnover level may adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective. “Portfolio Turnover Rate” is defined under the rules of the SEC as the value of the securities purchased or securities sold, excluding all securities whose maturities at time of acquisition were one year or less, divided by the average monthly value of such securities owned during the year. Based on this definition, instruments with remaining maturities of less than one year, including swap agreements, options and futures contracts in which the Funds invest, are excluded from the calculation of Portfolio Turnover Rate for each Fund. For those Funds that commenced operations prior to May 31, 2017, each such Fund’s turnover rate information is set forth in the annual report to shareholders. Portfolio turnover rates are also shown in each Fund’s summary prospectus.
The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to any Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its NAV is not reasonably practicable; (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC; or (5) for up to 14 calendar days for any of the Global Funds or Short or Ultra International ProShares Funds during an international local holiday, as described below in “Other Information”.
Now let's say that both traders simply hold the January 9 contract to expiration. If price settles at 440, 10% higher, then Bob will get a 50% return on his initial margin (+0.1btc, 5x leverage enhances his 10% gain on the notional 1 bitcoin of the contract) and Ann will lose 50%. (-0.1btc). This is one of the most powerful parts of futures: higher leverage means higher returns on your trades. The leverage feature is essential for hedgers and speculators trying to get the most out of their capital when managing risk. And better yet: you don't pay daily interest or any margin fees on this leverage with bitcoin futures!
In a futures market, if the price is $500/BTC, an investor needs to buy 50 futures contracts, each worth $10. If an investor wishes to open a positive position then he goes long with “buy" contracts, and if he decides to open a negative position, he goes short with “sell” contracts. An investor’s position can be either positive or negative for the same instrument. (For more, see: Bitcoin Mass Hysteria: The Disaster that Brought Down Mt. Gox.)
The Board has appointed Michael L. Sapir to serve as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Sapir is also the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Advisor and, as such, is not an Independent Trustee. The Chairman’s primary role is to participate in the preparation of the agenda for Board meetings, determine (with the advice of counsel) which matters need to be acted upon by the Board, and to ensure that the Board obtains all the information necessary to perform its functions and take action. The Chairman also presides at all meetings of the Board and acts, with the assistance of staff, as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys and the Independent Trustees between meetings. The Chairman may perform such other functions as may be requested by the Board from time to time. The Board does not have a lead Independent Trustee.
The Trust reserves the absolute right to reject a purchase order transmitted to it by the Distributor in respect of any Fund if (a) the purchaser or group of purchasers, upon obtaining the Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of any Fund; (b) the Deposit Securities delivered are not as specified by ProShare Advisors and ProShare Advisors has not consented to acceptance of an in-kind deposit that varies from the designated Deposit Securities; (c) acceptance of the purchase transaction order would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (d) the acceptance of the purchase transaction order would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (e) the acceptance of the purchase order transaction would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or ProShare Advisors, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners; (f) the value of a Cash Purchase Amount, or the value of the Balancing Amount to accompany an in-kind deposit, exceeds a purchase authorization limit extended to an Authorized Participant by the Custodian and the Authorized Participant has not deposited an amount in excess of such purchase authorization with the Custodian prior to the relevant cut-off time for the Fund on the transmittal date; or (g) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Distributor and ProShare Advisors make it impractical to process purchase orders. The Trust shall notify a prospective purchaser of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of purchase transaction orders nor shall either of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification.
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.