Distributions of investment income are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains are determined by how long a Fund owned the investments that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her shares. In general, a Fund will recognize long-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for more than one year, and short-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for one year or less. Tax rules can alter a Fund’s holding period in investments and thereby affect the tax treatment of gain or loss on such investments. Distributions of net capital gain – the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards – that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable to shareholders as long-term capital gains includible in net capital gain and taxable to individuals at reduced rates. Distributions of net short-term capital gain (as reduced by any net long-term capital loss for the taxable year) will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
The regulation of bitcoin, digital assets and related products and services continues to evolve. The inconsistent and sometimes conflicting regulatory landscape may make it more difficult for bitcoin businesses to provide services, which may impede the growth of the bitcoin economy and have an adverse effect on consumer adoption of bitcoin. There is a possibility of future regulatory change altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Funds or the ability of the Funds to continue to operate. Additionally, to the extent that bitcoin itself is determined to be a security, commodity future or other regulated asset, or to the extent that a United States or foreign government or quasi-governmental agency exerts regulatory authority over the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin trading or ownership in bitcoin, the price of bitcoin and the value of the Bitcoin Instruments may be adversely affected, which may have an adverse effect on the value of your investment in the Funds. In sum, bitcoin regulation takes many different forms and will, therefore, impact bitcoin and its usage in a variety of manners. The European Union has recently agreed to rules designed to reduce anonymity of bitcoin transactions, which may impact the supply and demand for bitcoin and 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.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid. IOTA was the first cryptocurrency not based on a blockchain, and instead uses the Tangle. Many other cryptocurrencies have been created though few have been successful, as they have brought little in the way of technical innovation. On 6 August 2014, the UK announced its Treasury had been commissioned to do a study of cryptocurrencies, and what role, if any, they can play in the UK economy. The study was also to report on whether regulation should be considered.
An Authorized Participant who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus the amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. An Authorized Participant who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate market value of any securities received plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The IRS, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons purchasing or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction.
If a Fund were a QIE, under a special “look-through” rule, any distributions by the Fund to a foreign shareholder (including, in certain cases, distributions made by the Fund in redemption of its shares) attributable directly or indirectly to (i) distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier RIC or REIT that the Fund is required to treat as USRPI gain in its hands and (ii) gains realized on the disposition of USRPIs by the Fund would retain their character as gains realized from USRPIs in the hands of the Fund’s foreign shareholders and would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the foreign shareholder being required to file a U.S. tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a foreign shareholder, including the rate of such withholding and character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or USRPI gain), would vary depending upon the extent of the foreign shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund.
The Board is currently composed of four Trustees, including three Independent Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Funds, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (each an “Independent Trustee”). In addition to four regularly scheduled meetings per year, the Board holds executive sessions (with and without employees of the Advisor), special meetings, and/or informal conference calls relating to specific matters that may require discussion or action prior to its next regular meeting. The Independent Trustees have retained “independent legal counsel” as the term is defined in the 1940 Act.
• 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.
A Fund will be a personal holding company for federal income tax purposes if 50% or more of the Fund’s shares are owned, at any time during the last half of the Fund’s taxable year, directly or indirectly by five or fewer individuals. For this purpose, the term “individual” includes pension trusts, private foundations and certain other tax-exempt trusts. If a Fund becomes a personal holding company, it may be subject to a tax of 20% on all its investment income and on any net short-term gains not distributed to shareholders on or before the fifteenth day of the third month following the close of the Fund’s taxable year. In addition, the Fund’s status as a personal holding company may limit the ability of the Fund to distribute dividends with respect to a taxable year in a manner qualifying for the dividends-paid deduction subsequent to the end of the taxable year and will prevent the Fund from using tax equalization, which may result in the Fund paying a fund-level income tax. Each Fund intends to distribute all of its income and gain in timely manner such that it will not be subject to an income tax or an otherwise applicable personal holding company tax, but there can be no assurance that a Fund will be successful in doing so each year.
All Shares of the Trust are freely transferable. The Shares do not have preemptive rights or cumulative voting rights, and none of the Shares have any preference to conversion, exchange, dividends, retirements, liquidation, redemption or any other feature. Shares have equal voting rights, except that, in a matter affecting a particular series or class of Shares, only Shares of that series or class may be entitled to vote on the matter. Trust shareholders are entitled to require the Trust to redeem Creation Units of their Shares. The Declaration of Trust confers upon the Board of Trustees the power, by resolution, to alter the number of Shares constituting a Creation Unit or to specify that Shares may be individually redeemable. The Trust reserves the right to adjust the stock prices of Shares to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any such adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits which would have no effect on the net assets of the applicable Fund.
On September 15, 2015, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors finalized their proposed model regulatory framework for state regulation of participants in “virtual currency activities.” The Conference of State Bank Supervisors proposed framework is a non-binding model and would have to be independently adopted, in sum or in part, by state legislatures or regulators on a case-by-case basis. In July 2017, the Uniform Law Commission (the “ULC”), a private body of lawyers and legal academics from the several U.S. states, voted to finalize and approve a uniform model state law for the regulation of virtual currency businesses, including bitcoin (the “Uniform Virtual Currency Act”). Having been approved by the ULC, the Uniform Virtual Currency Act now goes to each of the U.S. states and territories for their consideration and would have to be independently adopted, in sum or in part, by state legislatures or regulators on a case-by-case basis.
• A new competing digital asset may pose a challenge to bitcoin’s current market dominance, resulting in a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin. It is possible that other digital currencies and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than Bitcoin. The rise of such currencies could lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin.
Exchanges simply take a fee to facilitate the orderbook where its clients (the counterparties) create and trade futures contract with each other. They also have to manage the system's risk so that traders don't get overleveraged or manipulate the market. Since counterparties are only putting margin down that is a % of the contract value, the exchange also has to handle liquidation procedures in case the value of the margin is exceeded by the loss on the notional market value of the contract. For instance, BitMEX offers 100x leverage, so if you want to enter a $10,000 position you need to put down $100 worth of bitcoin. If the price moves just 0.5% against your favor, BitMEX will take over your position and execute it into the market, so that the person on the other side of the contract can have someone else who pays for the profit. In the event that the liquidation doesn't get passed off to another trader, an Auto-Deleveraging/Termination can occur, or Socialize Loss in the contract builds (we will discuss these issues in more detail later).
Market Spotlight – Bitcoin - A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure transactions, control creation, and verify transactions. The first such cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced in 2009. In 2017, the exchanges launched a Bitcoin futures contract. The CBOE contract launched on Sunday, December 10, while the CME contract launched on Monday, December 18.
Each Fund generally engages in closing or offsetting transactions before final settlement of a futures contract wherein a second identical futures contract is sold to offset a long position (or bought to offset a short position). In such cases, the obligation is to deliver (or take delivery of) cash equal to a specific dollar amount (the contract multiplier) multiplied by the difference between the price of the offsetting transaction and the price at which the original contract was entered into. If the original position entered into is a long position (futures contract purchased), there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting sell transaction is carried out at a higher (lower) price, inclusive of commissions. If the original position entered into is a short position (futures contract sold) there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting buy transaction is carried out at a lower (higher) price, inclusive of commissions.
Yields on U.S. government securities depend on a variety of factors, including the general conditions of the money and bond markets, the size of a particular offering, and the maturity of the obligation. Debt securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher yields and are generally subject to potentially greater capital appreciation and depreciation than obligations with shorter maturities and lower yields. The market value of U.S. government securities generally varies inversely with changes in market interest rates. An increase in interest rates, therefore, would generally reduce the market value of a Fund’s portfolio investments in U.S. government securities, while a decline in interest rates would generally increase the market value of a Fund’s portfolio investments in these securities.
BitMEX is a derivatives exchange that offers leveraged contracts that are bought and sold in Bitcoin. This is a platform that provides trading in bitcoin derivatives. The derivative traded is a perpetual swap contract, which is a derivative product similar to a traditional Futures Contract. Swap contracts trade like spots, tracking the underlying assets.
general obligations of the issuer and are typically guaranteed by such issuer. Despite this guarantee, such debt securities are subject to default, restructuring or changes to the terms of the debt to the detriment of security holders. Such an event impacting a security held by a Fund would likely have an adverse impact on the Fund’s returns. Also, due to demand from other investors, certain types of these debt securities may be less accessible to the capital markets and may be difficult for a Fund to source. This may cause a Fund, at times, to pay a premium to obtain such securities for its own portfolio. For more information related to foreign sovereign, sub-sovereign and supranational securities, see “Foreign Securities” and “Exposure to Securities or Issuers in Specific Foreign Countries or Regions” above.
When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, the Short Bitcoin Fund may buy the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a lower price and sell a longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a higher price, resulting in a positive roll yield (i.e., a gain). When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, the Short Bitcoin Fund may buy the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a higher price and sell the longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a lower price, resulting in a negative roll yield (i.e., a loss).
Traders do NOT need to wait until settlement in order to get out of position and profit from the trade. Bob or Ann can pass off their side of the future contract to someone else. So Bob, who is long, can sell the contract at a different price to Sally, who wants to hold the long side of the contract where Ann is short. So if Sally puts a bid order in the January 9 futures orderbook at $410, then Bob can sell his contract to Sally, earning a nice 2.5% return nominally, or 12.5% (5x) return on the 0.2 BTC initial margin used. In this sense, the contracts are just like trading spot!
The ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF contains portfolio investments that are primarily listed on foreign markets. To the extent the Fund’s portfolio investments trade in foreign markets on days when the Fund is not open for business or when the primary exchange for its shares is not open, the value of the Fund’s assets may vary on days when shareholders may not be able to purchase or sell Fund shares and Authorized Participants may not be able to create or redeem Creation Units. Also, certain portfolio investments may not be traded on days the Fund is open for business.
In order to make sure that you actually have money in your margin account to settle the difference with Mortimer every day, you are required to put up an initial margin at the beginning of the contract. A lower sum, the so-called minimum margin or maintenance margin, is also defined by the broker. If the money in your margin account falls from the initial margin to the maintenance margin, it triggers a margin call: The broker requests you to fill up your margin account to at least the initial margin (of course, you may also put up more).
If you want to speculate on the price of a cryptocurrency then the use of a Contract for Difference (CFD) is an option to consider. You won’t actually own the cryptocurrency, which means you don’t face the hassle and hurdles of trying to buy via one of the unregulated exchanges. Instead, a CFD is a financial instrument which allows you to speculate on price movements.
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):
While the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF and the Global Listed Private Equity ETF anticipate that, under normal market conditions, each Fund will invest primarily (i.e., at least 40% of its “assets” as defined above) in securities issued by issuers organized or located outside the United States (“foreign issuers”), to the extent that foreign issuers ever comprise less than 40% of such Fund’s assets for an extended period of time (i.e., six months), the Fund will take steps to: (i) either change its name; or (ii) change its benchmark.
Under Delaware law, the Trust is not required to hold an annual shareholders meeting if the 1940 Act does not require such a meeting. Generally, there will not be annual meetings of Trust shareholders. Trust shareholders may remove Trustees from office by votes cast at a meeting of Trust shareholders or by written consent. If requested by shareholders of at least 10% of the outstanding Shares of the Trust, the Trust will call a meeting of Funds’ shareholders for the purpose of voting upon the question of removal of a Trustee of the Trust and will assist in communications with other Trust shareholders.
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.
When a Fund purchases a put or call option on a futures contract, the Fund pays a premium for the right to sell or purchase the underlying futures contract for a specified price upon exercise at any time during the option period. By writing (selling) a put or call option on a futures contract, a Fund receives a premium in return for granting to the purchaser of the option the right to sell to or buy from the Fund the underlying futures contract for a specified price upon exercise at any time during the option period.
eToro is a social trading and multi-asset brokerage platform with offices in Cyprus, Israel and the United Kingdom. The platform allows users to watch trading strategies of others and copy them. The company’s products OpenBook and WebTraders allow traders to learn from each other. The features are user-friendly and simple to use while the fees depend on market dynamics.
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.
Traders A and B in the previous example are hedgers. However, futures contracts, once they exist, can also be bought and sold in their own right. This is where futures get interesting for speculators. Say that Speculator X believes the price of a ton of pork belly will rise to 1,200 USD in 3 months’ time, so buying the futures contract at 1,000 USD is a good deal. He can then sell the contract to bacon producers who want to buy pork bellies at 1,000 USD. The option to buy at a specified price in the future is known as a call option. The price of call options rise when traders assume that the price of the underlying asset will rise.