• 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.
Cryptocurrency is based on knowledge sharing on a distributed platform. The entire transactional history is for everyone to see. One blockchain is one thread of transaction. One unit or one block stores many transactions. The size of the block is 1MB and generally stores around 1000 to 2000 transactions. The data entered cannot be altered, nor can it be removed, enabling a system of complete transparency and trust. The entire money flow for the working model is beyond the traditional practices of controlling tax rates, credit usage, and money supply in the market.
• Theft, loss or destruction. Transacting on a blockchain depends in part specifically on the use of cryptographic keys that are required to access a user’s account (or “wallet”). The theft, loss or destruction of these keys impairs the value of ownership claims users have over the relevant assets being represented by the ledger (whether “smart contracts,” securities, currency or other digital assets). The theft, loss or destruction of private or public keys needed to transact on a blockchain could also adversely affect a blockchain company’s business or operations if it were dependent on the ledger.
reporting systems. As of October 2016, the Advisor has separate arrangements to make payments, other than for the educational programs and marketing activities described above, to Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (the “Firms”). Pursuant to the arrangements with the Firms, the Firms agreed to promote certain ProShares ETFs to each Firm’s customers and not to charge certain of their customers any commissions when those customers purchase or sell shares of certain ProShares ETFs. These payments, which may be significant, are paid by the Advisor from its own resources and not from the assets of the Funds. A discussion regarding the basis for the Board of Trustees approving the Advisory Agreement of the Trust will be (or is) available in the Trust’s Annual and/or Semi-Annual Report to shareholders. The Investment Advisory fees paid, as well as any amounts reimbursed pursuant to the Expense Limitation Agreement, for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015, May 31, 2016 and May 31, 2017 for each Fund that was operational as of each date are set forth below. Because each of the New Funds was not operational at the end of the Trust’s last fiscal year, information on investment advisory fees paid by the Fund is not included in this SAI.
Altcoins is the general term associated with the cryptocurrencies launched after Bitcoin’s success. At first, these were mere copies mimicking the original Bitcoin. Today, there are over 1,000 of these, and the list just keeps growing. Most crypto coins are launched following an ICO (Initial Coin Offering – a form of crowdfunding) in which the developers raise cash by offering a limited number of initial coins to finance technological development. So far, besides the list below, we can find names, such as Namecoin, Peercoin, Bytecoin, Deutsche eMark, Novacoin, Cryptogenic Bullion, Quark, DarkCoin and Mangocoinz (for smartphones).
CCC/CC/C – Very highly speculative credit quality. In danger of defaulting on financial obligations. There is little difference between these three categories, although CC and C ratings are normally applied to obligations that are seen as highly likely to default, or subordinated to obligations rated in the CCC to B range. Obligations in respect of which default has not technically taken place but is considered inevitable may be rated in the C category.
It bears repeating -- when trading futures on leverage, you are not "borrowing" the money, so you don't have to pay a financing rate on your positions. Even though you are 100x exposed, you don't have to pay 100x financing (unless you're trading the perpetual swap, which is not a futures contract, but has similar characteristics). Since bitcoin futures do tend to trade at a premium, you are in a way paying an implied interest rate in the contract, because if you want to go long, you have to pay above spot, so you pay the interest up front in the contract, in a way.
Basically, if you trade margin spot on a site like Kraken or Bitfinex, you will pay financing fees while you hold the position open. The same goes for CFD sites like WhaleClub or 1Broker. With bitcoin futures, you are able to trade margin without expending interest, because counterparties to the contract pay a fee to open and close the contract, and the exchange just manages the risk, so no money is really being lent!
The price of bitcoin may change sharply while the market for certain Bitcoin Instruments is closed or when the exchange on which Fund shares are traded is closed. Although the Funds will not invest directly in bitcoin, such price changes could impact the price and volatility of the Bitcoin Instruments in which the Funds invest and, therefore, could have a negative impact on your investment in the Funds.
In addition, the Advisor, any of its affiliates or employees and the Funds have a policy not to enter into any agreement or other understanding—whether written or oral—under which brokerage transactions or remuneration are directed to a broker to pay for distribution of a Fund’s shares. The table below sets forth the brokerage commissions paid by each Fund for the period noted for each Fund. Because each of the New Funds was not operational at the end of the Trust’s last fiscal year, information on brokerage commissions paid by the Fund is not included in this SAI.
The longest redemption cycle for a Fund is a function of the longest redemption cycle among the countries whose stocks comprise the Funds. Under certain conditions, a Fund may pay redemption proceeds more than seven days after the tender of a Creation Unit for redemption, but generally a Fund will not take more than fourteen calendar days from the date of the tender to pay redemption proceeds.
The Board oversight of the Trust and the Funds extends to the Trust’s risk management processes. The Board and its Audit Committee consider risk management issues as part of their responsibilities throughout the year at regular and special meetings. The Advisor and other service providers prepare regular reports for Board and Audit Committee meetings that address a variety of risk-related matters, and the Board as a whole or the Audit Committee may also receive special written reports or presentations on a variety of risk issues at the request of the Board or the Audit Committee. For example, the portfolio managers of the Funds meet regularly with the Board to discuss portfolio performance, including investment risk, counterparty risk and the impact on the Funds of investments in particular securities or derivatives. As noted above, given the relatively small size of the Board, the Board determined it is not necessary to adopt a complex leadership structure in order for the Board to effectively exercise its risk oversight function.
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):
When a new crypto is launched, its founders announce how many coins will be mined. Once the quota is reached, no further coins can be produced. The first digital coin introduced was Bitcoin, which remains today the benchmark for all other digital coins. Among other currencies that have made their way into the cryptocurrency hall-of-fame we have: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, and a number of derived currencies, including Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
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.