Any distribution of income that is attributable to (i) income received by a Fund in lieu of dividends with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction or (ii) dividend income received by a Fund on securities it temporarily purchased from a counterparty pursuant to a repurchase agreement that is treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a loan by the Fund, will not constitute qualified dividend income to individual shareholders and will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate shareholders.
FOREIGN SOVEREIGN, SUB-SOVEREIGN, QUASI SOVEREIGN AND SUPRANATIONAL SECURITIES. The Funds may invest in fixed-rate debt securities issued by: non-U.S. governments (foreign sovereign bonds); local governments, entities or agencies of a non-U.S. country (foreign sub-sovereign bonds); corporations with significant government ownership (“Quasi-Sovereigns”); or two or more central governments or institutions (supranational bonds). These types of debt securities are typically
Lawrence Pines is a Princeton University graduate with more than 25 years of experience as an equity and foreign exchange options trader for multinational banks and proprietary trading groups. Mr. Pines has traded on the NYSE, CBOE and Pacific Stock Exchange. In 2011, Mr. Pines started his own consulting firm through which he advises law firms and investment professionals on issues related to trading, and derivatives. Lawrence has served as an expert witness in a number of high profile trials in US Federal and international courts.
By now you may ask yourself, “If I think that the price of an asset is going to rise, why should I buy a call option and not the asset itself?” The answer is this: Options give you leverage. That means that with a limited amount of capital, you can profit much more by buying options than assets – but also lose much more. This is because a small difference in the price of the underlying asset immediately leads to a substantial change in the price of the derivative. For example, when pork belly prices rise from 1,000 USD to 1,100 USD (an increase of 10%), call options for 1,000 USD suddenly become much more valuable – their prices may rise from 10.5 USD to 105 USD. Thus, if you have invested all of your capital in pork bellies, you will win 10% – if you have invested in pork belly call options, you will pocket a 1,000% profit.
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.
The table below shows a performance example of a Short ProShares Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of an index. In the chart below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance.
NO PERSON HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED TO GIVE ANY INFORMATION OR TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATIONS NOT CONTAINED IN THE PROSPECTUS OR IN THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, WHICH THE PROSPECTUS INCORPORATES BY REFERENCE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE OFFERING MADE BY THE PROSPECTUS AND, IF GIVEN OR MADE, SUCH INFORMATION OR PRESENTATIONS MUST NOT BE RELIED UPON AS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED BY PROSHARES TRUST. THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFERING BY PROSHARES TRUST IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH AN OFFERING MAY NOT LAWFULLY BE MADE.
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
Because of the wide range of types and maturities of corporate debt securities, as well as the range of creditworthiness of its issuers, corporate debt securities have widely varying potentials for return and risk profiles. For example, commercial paper issued by a large established domestic corporation that is rated investment-grade may have a modest return on principal, but carries relatively limited risk. On the other hand, a long-term corporate note issued by a small foreign corporation from an emerging market country that has not been rated may have the potential for relatively large returns on principal, but carries a relatively high degree of risk.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of each period. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your approximate costs would be:
• Developmental risk. Blockchain technology is not a product or service within an individually attributable revenue stream. Blockchain technology may never develop optimized transactional processes that lead to realized economic returns for any company in which the Fund invests. Blockchain Companies that are developing applications of blockchain technology applications may not in fact do so or may not be able to capitalize on those blockchain technologies. The development of new or competing platforms may cause consumers and investors to use alternatives to blockchains.
pursuit of its investment strategies will potentially be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify for such treatment and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to so qualify. The Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, the Fund were to fail to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a RIC and its shareholders, and were ineligible to or were not to cure such failure, the Fund would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax on all its income at the fund level. The resulting taxes could substantially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of income available for distribution. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions.
• Credit Risk — The Fund could lose money if the issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income instrument or a counterparty to a derivatives transaction or other transaction is, or is perceived to be, unable or unwilling to pay interest, repay principal on time, or defaults. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning as a result of issuer defaults or actual or perceived changes in the credit ratings of the Fund’s portfolio investments or to an issuer’s financial strength.
In order to qualify for the withholding exemptions for interest-related and short term capital gain dividends, a foreign shareholder is required to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing the applicable W-8 form or substitute form). In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund reports all or a portion of a payment as an interest-related or short-term capital gain dividend to shareholders. Foreign shareholders should consult their tax advisors or intermediaries, as applicable, regarding the application of these rules to their accounts.
U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts may aid institutional investor participation and enable hedging while also potentially helping digital assets develop into an asset class of their own. Currently digital assets trade on platforms that lack proper execution mechanisms, governance, and standard financial industry practices. Futures contracts push trading volume towards regulated exchanges with proper governance, controls and state of the art execution mechanisms. Futures contracts also remove the arduous requirement for investors to custody “physical” bitcoin, which is a major obstacle. In some ways, bitcoin futures are an early attempt to integrate digital assets into the mainframe financial system. With such integration, regulators might also gain a greater understanding of and steadier grasp on digital assets. This may enable the creation of more explicit guidance and regulation around the space. While it is early innings for digital assets, U.S.-listed bitcoin futures may pave the way for a potentially safer, more reliable, and better governed digital asset space and regulated investment vehicles.
• an investment company, or person that would be an investment company but for the exclusions provided by sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, having the same investment adviser or principal underwriter as the Trust or having an investment adviser or principal underwriter that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Advisor or principal underwriter of the Trust;
For hedging purposes, the Funds may invest in forward currency contracts to hedge either specific transactions (transaction hedging) or portfolio positions (position hedging). Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of forward currency contracts with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Funds in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. Position hedging is the sale of a forward currency contract on a particular currency with respect to portfolio positions denominated or quoted in that currency.
Currently, Bitcoin futures have very high margin requirements. The Cboe requires 40% of the notional amount for maintenance margin, the CME requires 43%. Your broker will likely require more than that. The culprit behind these high requirements is Bitcoin’s high volatility—until that calms down the exchanges will protect themselves by requiring a bunch of up-front money. If you don’t come up with the money for a margin call they want to close out your position without leaving a negative balance.
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.
uncleared swaps. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, a Fund could suffer significant losses on these contracts and the value of an investor’s investment in the Fund may decline. OTC swaps of the type that may be utilized by the Fund are less liquid than futures contracts because they are not traded on an exchange, do not have uniform terms and conditions, and are generally entered into based upon the creditworthiness of the parties and the availability of credit support, such as collateral, and in general, are not transferable without the consent of the counterparty.
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.
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.
There are two USA regulated Bitcoin futures exchanges in operation. The CME’s contract unit is five Bitcoins whereas the Cboe’s contract unit is one—that’s the biggest difference between these futures. The upfront money to buy or sell short a CME contract will be about five times higher than the Cboe contract. Larger investors won’t care but this will be an issue for smaller investors. Another difference is the spot/settlement process that the exchanges use. In the case of Cboe futures, the contracts will be settled to a 4 pm ET Gemini exchange auction price on the day of expiration, for the CME futures the settlement price is a complex calculation using an hour of volume weighted data from multiple exchanges (currently Bitstamp, itBit, Kraken, and GDAX). With the CME’s approach, it will be harder to manipulate the settlement price but it doesn’t give arbitrageurs a physical mechanism to trade their positions—possibly an issue.
The Trust, the Advisor and the Distributor each have adopted a consolidated code of ethics (the “COE”), under Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act, which is reasonably designed to ensure that all acts, practices and courses of business engaged in by personnel of the Trust, the Advisor and the Distributor reflect high standards of conduct and comply with the requirements of the federal securities laws. There can be no assurance that the COE will be effective in preventing deceptive, manipulative or fraudulent activities. The COE permits personnel subject to it to invest in securities, including securities that may be held or purchased by a Fund; however, such transactions are reported on a regular basis. The Advisor’s personnel that are Access Persons, as the term is defined in the COE, subject to the COE are also required to report transactions in registered open-end investment companies advised or sub-advised by the Advisor. The COE is on file with the SEC and is available to the public.
• Valuation Risk — In certain circumstances, portfolio holdings may be valued using techniques other than market quotations. The value established for a portfolio holding may be different from what would be produced through the use of another methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their value from one day to the next than would be the case if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund could sell a portfolio holding for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund would incur a loss because a portfolio holding is sold at a discount to its established value.
Words of caution are appropriate when talking about going short and using leverage. These strategies are incredibly effective because they allow investors to not only profit from a general upward trend in bitcoin but to profit from the fluctuations in the market. At first, it is hard to think of a more perfect asset than bitcoin for such purposes. The upward trends have been fast and extreme, yet fluctuations are very common and tend to be substantial.
As for why you should buy a put option instead of the asset itself, the answer is simple. By buying the asset itself, you can never profit from falling prices. With put options you can, simply because their value rises as the price of the underlying stock is falling. In addition to this feature, they offer the same kind of potential for leverage that calls options do, as described above. The price of put options is calculated in a similar manner, but with the important difference being that the intrinsic value is calculated as a predetermined price of the option minus the current market price of the asset – not the other way round as is the case for call options.