And this is where the BRR comes in. The BRR is the reference rate that is relevant for futures contracts and options in Bitcoin. When a futures contract or call option expires on a certain day, the owner will receive the difference between the BRR and the Bitcoin price in the contract as cash (if the BRR is higher than the price in the contract, of course). The BRTI, in contrast, is a real-time statistic that is not binding for any contracts; it tells you for what price you can currently (in this second) buy or sell Bitcoin on the markets.
However, many of these investors are still waiting to be convinced to take the leap into crypto. One thing that is still giving many institutional investors pause is the fact that trade management systems in the crypto world simply do not offer the sophistication they are used to in conventional trading. They’ve become accustomed to the support of reliable automated tools, and the prospect of working without those can be a serious roadblock.

Transactions that occur through the use and exchange of these altcoins are independent from formal banking systems, and therefore can make tax evasion simpler for individuals. Since charting taxable income is based upon what a recipient reports to the revenue service, it becomes extremely difficult to account for transactions made using existing cryptocurrencies, a mode of exchange that is complex and difficult to track.[84]


As a shareholder on a Fund record date, you will earn a share of the investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, derived from a Fund’s direct security holdings and derivative instruments. You will receive such earnings as either an income dividend or a capital gains distribution. Each Fund intends to declare and distribute to its shareholders at least annually its net investment income, if any, as well as net realized capital gains, if any. Subject to Board approval, some or all of any net realized capital gains distribution may be declared payable in either additional shares of the respective Fund or in cash.

A Precautionary Note to Purchasers of Creation Units — You should be aware of certain legal risks unique to investors purchasing Creation Units directly from the fund. Because new shares from the Fund may be issued on an ongoing basis, a “distribution” of the Fund’s shares could be occurring at any time. As a dealer, certain activities on your part could, depending on the circumstances, result in your being deemed a participant in the distribution, in a manner that could render you a statutory underwriter and subject you to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). For example, you could be deemed a statutory underwriter if you purchase Creation Units from the Fund, break them down into the constituent Fund shares, and sell those shares directly to customers, or if you choose to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. Whether a person is an underwriter depends upon all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities, and the examples mentioned here should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could cause you to be deemed an underwriter. Dealers who are not “underwriters,” but are


On September 17, 2015, the CFTC provided clarity regarding the regulatory treatment of bitcoin in the Coinflip civil enforcement case. There the CFTC determined that bitcoin and other virtual currencies are regulated as commodities under the CEA. Based on this determination, the CFTC applied CEA provisions and CFTC regulations that apply to a bitcoin derivatives trading platform. Also of significance, the CFTC took the position that bitcoin is not encompassed by the definition of currency under the CEA and CFTC regulations. The CFTC defined bitcoin and other “virtual currencies” as “a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value, but does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are distinct from ‘real’ currencies, which are the coin and paper money of the United States or another country that are designated as legal tender, circulate, and are customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.” On July 6, 2017, the CFTC granted LedgerX, LLC an order of registration as a Swap Execution Facility for digital assets and on July 24, 2017, the CFTC approved Ledger X, LLC as the first derivatives clearing organization for digital currency. On September 21, 2017, the CFTC filed a civil enforcement action in federal court against a New York corporation and its principal, charging them with fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in connection with a Ponzi scheme involving investments in bitcoin, which the CFTC asserted is a commodity subject to its jurisdiction.
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."
A futures contract is a technique to hedge positions and reduce the risk of the unknown. It is also used for arbitrating between current spot and future contracts. In the case of bitcoins, futures have been more associated with miners who face the risk of unknown future prices. OrderBook.net (formerly iCBIT), a futures marketplace operating since 2011, sells millions of futures contracts each month. The standard contract size (or tick size) is $10. A typical instrument would look like this: BTC/USD-3.14. Here "BTC/USD" signifies the rate of exchange between Bitcoin and US dollar, "3" means the month of March, and "14" signifies the year 2014. The trading symbol for the same instrument will be BUH4. Each month has a trading symbol like March is H (as per Chicago Mercantile Exchange), the "B" is taken from BTC and the "U" from USD, and "4" signifies the year.
In general, dividends of net investment income received by corporate shareholders of a Fund may qualify for the 70% dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations to the extent of the amount of eligible dividends received by the Fund from domestic corporations for the taxable year. A dividend received by a Fund will not be treated as a dividend eligible for the dividends-received deduction (1) if it has been received with respect to any share of stock that the Fund has held for less than 46 days (91 days in the case of certain preferred stock) during the 91-day period beginning on the date which is 45 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date in the case of certain preferred stock) or (2) to the extent that the Fund is under an obligation (pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. Moreover, the dividends received deduction may otherwise be disallowed or reduced (1) if the corporate shareholder fails to satisfy the foregoing requirements with respect to its shares of the Fund or (2) by application of various provisions of the Code (for instance, the dividends-received deduction is reduced in the case of a dividend received on debt-financed portfolio stock (generally, stock acquired with borrowed funds)). The corporate alternative minimum tax may disallow the dividends received deduction in certain circumstances.

But… it's also possible that the institutional investors that are negative on bitcoin's prospects (and there's no shortage of those) may use the futures markets to put money behind their conviction. It's much easier to sell a futures contract with a lower-than-market price than it is to actually short bitcoin. These investors may well send signals to the actual bitcoin market that sends prices tumbling.
  •   Ownership of bitcoin is pseudonymous and the supply of accessible bitcoins is unknown. 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, 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 its bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Fund.
Example: If the futures contract price is $400, then you can buy 0.5btc worth of this and if the price of bitcoin goes up to $450 the futures contract price will go up, and the value increases from 0.5 BTC and you can just sell for a profit. Trading a synthetic derivative rather than spot bitcoin allows you to use margin leverage to more easily buy and sell -- the contracts are just a facilitation of the value.
You could imagine the spread going the other way, though. If everyone really was clamoring to short bitcoin, and if the futures offered a more convenient way to do it than the bitcoin exchanges, then you'd expect the short sellers to pay a premium to short via futures. Instead of selling a bitcoin at $18,000 today, they'd be willing to sell a synthetic bitcoin for $17,500, paying the spread to an arbitrageur who was willing to do the actual shorting for them. But the fact that the spread is mostly positive, and that bitcoin's price has been mostly going up, suggests that the demand has mostly been for synthetic long positions, not short.
Futures markets create an immense amount of flexibility. They enable investors to readily bet on an asset or bet against it (go long or go short), and they are usually characterised by an immense amount of leverage. In the case of bitcoin, this means one can trade a high volume of coins while only paying for a fraction of them, essentially operating with borrowed money. Leverage is used to amplify profits on a small volume of assets, but it is a double-edged sword in that it also amplifies losses.

and the FTSE Developed Europe Index (the “Indices”) (ii) the figure at which an Index is said to stand at any particular time on any particular day or otherwise, or (iii) the suitability of the Index for the purpose to which it is being put in connection with the ProShares Ultra, Short and UltraShort FTSE China 50 and Ultra and UltraShort FTSE Developed Europe. None of the Licensor Parties have provided or will provide any financial or investment advice or recommendation in relation to the Index to ProShares or its clients. The Index is calculated by FTSE or its agent. None of the Licensor Parties shall be (a) liable (whether in negligence or otherwise) to any person for any error in the Index and (b) under any obligation to advise any person of any error therein.
The CFE has determined that if the Bitcoin Network is forked and a new blockchain is created, the form of bitcoin on which CFE bitcoin futures contracts and their final settlement values will be based is the form of bitcoin in U.S. dollars traded on the Gemini Exchange. The Gemini Exchange has indicated that it will support the network that has the greatest cumulative computational difficulty for the forty-eight hour period following a given fork. If the Gemini Exchange is unable to make a conclusive determination about which network has the greatest cumulative computational difficulty after forty-eight hours, or Gemini determines in good faith that this is not a reasonable criterion upon which to make a determination, the Gemini Exchange will support the network which it deems in good faith is most likely to be supported by a greater number of users and miners. The Gemini Exchange has indicated it will consult with CFE in the event of a fork. If the Gemini Exchange were to offer trading in multiple forms of bitcoin in U.S. dollars, the CFE would designate the form of bitcoin traded on the Gemini Exchange that would serve as the basis for CFE bitcoin futures contracts and their final settlement values.

Set forth below is a general discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax issues concerning the Funds and the purchase, ownership, and disposition of a Fund’s Shares. This discussion does not purport to be complete or to deal with all aspects of federal income taxation that may be relevant to shareholders in light of their particular circumstances, nor to certain types of shareholders subject to special treatment under the federal income tax laws (for example, life insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, and IRAs and other retirement plans). This discussion is based upon present provisions of the Code, the regulations promulgated thereunder, and judicial and administrative ruling authorities, all of which are subject to change, which change may be retroactive. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors with regard to the federal tax consequences of the purchase, ownership, or disposition of a Fund’s Shares, as well as the tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, foreign country, or other taxing jurisdiction.


If Bitcoin futures prices get too high relative to spot arbitragers are natural sellers and if the futures prices get too low they are natural buyers. Their buying and selling actions naturally counteract price distortions between markets. If they’re somehow prevented from acting (e.g., if shorting Bitcoin was forbidden) then the futures market would likely become decoupled from the underlying spot price—not a good thing.
“Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He further added, “As the world's largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
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.
Total Return Swaps. Total return swaps are used either as substitutes for owning the physical securities that comprise a given market index or as a means of obtaining non-leveraged exposure in markets where securities are not available. “Total return” refers to the payment (or receipt) of an index’s total return, which is then exchanged for the receipt (or payment) of a floating interest rate. Total return swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to a market or sector index by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.

"It's certainly not a scam," cryptocurrency startup Centra's general counsel said last month about its $30 million initial coin offering, which is not a sentence you'd ideally want your general counsel to have to say to the press. (He said it after Centra's co-founders left the company due to a New York Times profile describing their run-ins with the law and pointing to possibly inaccurate statements about their ICO, which was touted by Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled and which, again, raised $30 million.)

•   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. 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. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming directly with the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, trading spreads and the resulting premium or discount on the Fund’s shares may widen and the Fund’s shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting.
The Funds may purchase and write options on indexes to create investment exposure consistent with their investment objectives, to hedge or limit the exposure of their positions, or to create synthetic money market positions. An index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the assets included in the index. Options on indexes give the holder the right to receive an amount of cash upon exercise of the option. Receipt of this cash amount will depend upon the closing level of the index upon which the option is based being greater than (in the case of a call) or less than (in the case of a put) the level at which the exercise price of the option is set. The amount of cash received, if any, will be the difference between the closing price level of the index and the exercise price of the option, multiplied by a specified dollar multiple. The writer (seller) of the option is obligated, in return for the premiums received from the purchaser of the option, to make delivery of this amount to the purchaser. All settlements of index options transactions are in cash.
  •   An interruption in Internet service or a limitation of Internet access could have a negative impact on bitcoin. The Bitcoin Network relies on users access to the Internet. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity could impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect the price of bitcoin. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests. In addition to technical disruptions such as cyber-attacks, the potential elimination of the net neutrality regulations in the U.S. may have a negative impact on bitcoin and the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Investment income and gains received by a Fund from foreign investments may be subject to foreign withholding and other taxes, which could decrease the Fund’s return on those investments. The effective rate of foreign taxes to which a Fund will be subject depends on the specific countries in which its assets will be invested and the extent of the assets invested in each such country and, therefore, cannot be determined in advance. If more than 50% of a Fund’s assets at year end consists of the securities of foreign corporations, the Fund may elect to permit shareholders to claim a credit or deduction on their income tax returns for their pro rata portions of qualified taxes paid by the Fund to foreign countries in respect of foreign securities that the Fund has held for at least the minimum period specified in the Code. In such a case, shareholders will include in gross income from foreign sources their pro rata shares of such taxes paid by the Fund. A shareholder’s ability to claim an offsetting foreign tax credit or deduction in respect of foreign taxes paid by the Fund is subject to certain limitations imposed by the Code, which may result in the shareholder’s not receiving a full credit or deduction (if any) for the amount of such taxes. Shareholders who do not itemize on their U.S. federal income tax returns may claim a credit (but not a deduction) for such foreign taxes. Even if a Fund were eligible to make such an election for a given year, it may determine not to do so. Shareholders that are not subject to U.S. federal income tax, and those who invest in a Fund through tax-advantaged accounts (including those who invest through individual retirement accounts or other tax-advantaged retirement plans), generally will receive no benefit from any tax credit or deduction passed through by the Fund.
  •   Intellectual property claims. A proliferation of recent startups attempting to apply blockchain technology in different contexts means the possibility of conflicting intellectual property claims could be a risk to an issuer, its operations or its business. This could also pose a risk to blockchain platforms that permit transactions in digital securities.
Bitcoin futures promise more flexibility for investors and potentially a more stable price. Yet, there is a chance that volatility could increase in the interim and while strategies like shorting and using leverage hold a lot of potential when used within the right infrastructure, they can be detrimental to smaller investors and, in the worst case scenario, could derail the market in dangerous ways.
Crypto Facilities and the CME Group  have been calculating and publishing the Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) since November 2016. Such an official rate is a prerequisite of options trading in the traditional markets. The BRR is calculated based on the rates from the biggest exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit, and Kraken. More concretely, it is calculated based on all Bitcoin vs. USD trades on the participating exchanges between 3 and 4 p.m. London time. To calculate the BRR, the hour between 3 and 4 is divided into 12 intervals of 5 minutes. For each interval, the volume-weighted median of the Bitcoin price is calculated (statistically, the median, in contrast to the average, prevents single outliers from distorting the price). The BRR is then the average of these 12 median values. More details about the calculation of the BRR can be found in the BRR whitepaper.
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