Almost every crypto-list today starts off with the king – Bitcoin! Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin a long time ago, and it was the first cryptocurrency to step blinking into the bright light of the world! Bitcoin has surpassed all expecatations and continues to grow in value and popularity – despite recent setbacks and a lot of FUD from trolls and haters (read: traditional banks) online. Will Bitcoin continue to increase in value in 2018? Recent trends say: Yes! In my opinion, any cryptocurrency portfolio should hold some Bitcoin.
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of ProShares Trust (the “Trust”), dated October 1, 2017, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF each as may be amended or supplemented, each of which incorporates this SAI by reference. A copy of the Prospectuses and a copy of the Annual Report to shareholders for the Funds that have completed a fiscal year are available, without charge, upon request to the address above, by telephone at the number above, or on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 are incorporated by reference into and are deemed part of this SAI. The principal U.S. national stock exchange on which all Funds (except those noted below) identified in this SAI are listed is NYSE Arca. The S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Merger ETF, K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF are listed on the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. The UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro QQQ®, the Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the Equities for Rising Rates ETF are listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market.
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.
Consistent with a client’s investment objective, the Advisor may enter into guarantee close agreements with certain brokers. In all such cases, the agreement calls for the execution price at least to match the closing price of the security. In some cases, depending upon the circumstances, the broker may obtain a price that is better than the closing price and which under the agreement provides additional benefits to clients. The Advisor will generally distribute such benefits pro rata to applicable client trades.
• 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.
and other factors. Thus, to the extent a Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as the reference asset, that Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of correlation with its index as it would if the Fund used only swaps on the underlying index. The Advisor, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of the Funds’ transactions in swap agreements.
The Funds may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and unit investment trusts (UITs), to the extent that such an investment would be consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act or any exemptive order issued by the SEC. If a Fund invests in, and thus, is a shareholder of, another investment company, the Fund’s shareholders will indirectly bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory fees, in addition to both the management fees payable directly by the Fund to the Fund’s own investment adviser and the other expenses that the Fund bears directly in connection with the Fund’s own operations.
The Funds may engage in short sales transactions. A short sale is a transaction in which a Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. To complete such a transaction, a Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed by borrowing the same security from another lender, purchasing it at the market price at the time of replacement or paying the lender an amount equal to the cost of purchasing the security. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to repay the lender any dividends it receives, or interest which accrues, during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The net proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet the margin requirements, until the short position is closed out. A Fund also will incur transaction costs in effecting short sales.
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.
In the event that a Fund invests in an Underlying RIC that is not publicly offered within the meaning of the Code, the Fund’s redemption of shares of such Underlying RIC may cause the Fund to be treated as receiving a dividend taxable as ordinary income on the full amount of the redemption instead of being treated as realizing capital gain (or loss) on the redemption of the shares of the Underlying RIC.
A bitcoin exchange operates somewhat similarly to online stock trading brokers, where customers deposit their fiat currency (or bitcoins) to carry out trades. However, not all bitcoin exchanges offer such services. Some exchanges are more like wallets and thus provide limited trading options or storage of currency (both digital and fiat) for trading. The bigger and more elaborate exchanges offer trades between different cryptocurrencies, as well as between digital and fiat currencies. The number of currencies supported by an exchange varies from one exchange to another. (For more, see: Why Is Bitcoin’s Value So Volatile.)
As of September 16, 2017, the Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned outstanding shares that entitled them to give voting instructions with respect to less than one percent of the shares of any series of the Trust; except that Mr. Michael L. Sapir owned more than 25% of the outstanding shares of ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF and ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF.
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.
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.
As noted above, swap agreements typically are settled on a net basis, which means that the payment streams are netted out, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Payments may be made at the conclusion of a swap agreement or periodically during its term. The timing and character of any income, gain or loss recognized by a Fund on the payment or payments made or received on a swap will vary depending upon the terms of the particular swap. Swap agreements do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to swap agreements is limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make. If the other party to a swap agreement defaults, a Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments that such Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any. The net amount of the excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each swap will be accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or liquid assets, having an aggregate NAV at least equal to such accrued excess will be earmarked or segregated by a Fund’s custodian (though, as noted above, in connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “seller”, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid, with a value at least equal to the full notional amount of the swap (minus any variation margin or amounts owed to the Fund under an offsetting transaction)). Inasmuch as these transactions are entered into for hedging purposes or are offset by earmarked or segregated cash or liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, the Funds and their Advisor believe that these transactions do not constitute senior securities within the meaning of the 1940 Act, and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to a Fund’s borrowing restrictions.
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 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.
Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency—a digital or cryptocurrency secured through cryptography, or codes that can’t be read without a key. Traditional currencies are made up of paper bills and coins. Unlike traditional currencies, the bitcoin is not issued by any central government. Rather, a computer algorithm determines how many bitcoins are produced and added to the economy. This is much different than a traditional currency, where central banks typically determine how much money to print.
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.
The Board has appointed a chief compliance officer (“CCO”) for the Trust (who is also the Chief Compliance Officer for the Advisor). The CCO reports directly to the Board and participates in the Board’s meetings. The Independent Trustees meet at least annually in executive session with the CCO, and the Funds’ CCO prepares and presents an annual written compliance report to the Board. The CCO also provides updates to the Board on the operation of the Trust’s compliance policies and procedures and on how these procedures are designed to mitigate risk. Finally, the CCO and/or other officers or employees of the Advisor report to the Board in the event that any material risk issues arise.
The Bitcoin Network and bitcoin, as an asset, currently hold a “first-to-market” advantage, often referred to as a “network effect,” over other digital assets. This first-to-market advantage has resulted in the Bitcoin Network evolving into the most well developed network of any digital asset. The Bitcoin Network enjoys the largest user base of any digital asset and, more importantly, the largest combined mining power in use to secure the Bitcoin Blockchain. Having a large mining network enhances user confidence regarding the security of the Bitcoin Blockchain and long-term stability of the Bitcoin Network. Despite the marked network effect advantage of the Bitcoin Network over other digital assets, it is possible that real or perceived shortcomings in the Bitcoin Network, technological, regulatory or other developments could result in a decline in popularity and acceptance of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Network.
When a Fund purchases or sells a futures contract, or buys or sells an option thereon, the Fund “covers” its position. To cover its position, a Fund may enter into an offsetting position, earmark or segregate with its custodian bank or on the official books and records of the Fund cash or liquid instruments (marked-to-market on a daily basis) that, when added to any amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant as margin, are equal to the market value of the futures contract or otherwise “cover” its position. When required by law, a Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the value of the Fund’s total assets committed to the consummation of such futures contracts. Obligations under futures contracts so covered will not be considered senior securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
Whether a Fund realizes a gain or loss from futures activities depends generally upon movements in the underlying currency, commodity, security or index. The extent of a Fund’s loss from an unhedged short position in futures contracts or from writing options on futures contracts is potentially unlimited, and investors may lose the amount that they invest plus any profits recognized on their investment. The Funds may engage in related closing transactions with respect to options on futures contracts. The Funds will engage in transactions in futures contracts and related options that are traded on a U.S. exchange or board of trade or that have been approved for sale in the U.S. by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).
All three DBRS rating categories for short term debt use “(high)”, “(middle)” and “(low)” as subset grades to designate the relative standing of the credit within a particular rating category. The following comments provide separate definitions for the three grades in the Prime Credit Quality area, as this is where ratings for active borrowers in Canada continue to be heavily concentrated.
The BofA Merrill Lynch Marks are trademarks of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated or its affiliates and have been licensed for use by Trust. S&P, MSCI and Russell, respectively, are trademarks of Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, MSCI, Inc. and Frank Russell Company and have been licensed for use by BofA Merrill Lynch.
When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, a Bitcoin Fund may sell the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a lower price and buy a longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a higher price, resulting in a negative roll yield (i.e., a loss). When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, a Bitcoin Fund may sell the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a higher price and buy the longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a lower price, resulting in a positive roll yield (i.e., a gain).
With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, each Fund is susceptible to operational and information security risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber attacks include, but are not limited to gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites. Cyber security failures or breaches of a Fund’s third -party service provider (including, but not limited to, index providers, the administrator and transfer agent) or the issuers of securities in which the Funds invest, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. The Funds and their shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result. While the Funds have established business continuity plans and systems to prevent such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Funds cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by issuers in which the Funds invest.
The Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.07%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this investment advisory fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
As a result of compounding, for periods greater than one day, the use of leverage tends to cause the performance of a Fund to vary from its benchmark performance times the stated multiple or inverse multiple in the Fund’s investment objective, before accounting for fees and fund expenses. Compounding affects all investments, but has a more significant impact on geared funds. Four factors significantly affect how close daily compounded returns are to longer-term benchmark returns times the fund’s multiple: the length of the holding period, benchmark volatility, whether the multiple is positive or inverse, and its leverage level. Longer holding periods, higher benchmark volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each can lead to returns farther from the multiple times the benchmark return. As the tables below show, particularly during periods of higher benchmark volatility, compounding will cause longer term results to vary from the benchmark performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective. This effect becomes more pronounced as volatility increases.
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.
Each Fund intends to invest in bitcoin futures contracts. The Funds will not invest directly in bitcoin and are not benchmarked to the current price of bitcoin. The value of the bitcoin futures contracts is generally based on the expected value of bitcoin at a future point in time, specifically, the expiration date of the bitcoin futures contracts. Other factors, such as cost of mining, storing and securing bitcoin may affect the value of bitcoin futures. A change in the price of bitcoin today (sometimes referred to as the “spot” price) will not necessarily result in a corresponding movement in the price of the bitcoin futures contracts since the price of the bitcoin futures contracts is based on expectations of the price of bitcoin at a future point in time. Additionally, there is no one centralized source for pricing bitcoin and pricing from one bitcoin exchange to the next can vary widely. Additionally, each Fund has the ability to invest in, or take a short position in, bitcoin futures contracts offered by CFE or CME, each of which uses a different exchange, or exchanges, to determine the value of bitcoin, which may lead to material differences in the value of the bitcoin futures contracts offered by CFE and CME. As a result, each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the performance of the spot price of bitcoin (or the inverse of such performance) over all periods of time.
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.
So be aware of the premium or discount that is on longer dated contracts, this can allow you some arbitrage opportunities if you are patient and have the coins to apply to it. In general, we recommend that you trade any contract that has good liquidity and high volume. This is the most important characteristic of ANY product for a trader. If you can't get in and out reliably, and have a price that reasonably follows the spot market behavior, then it's not worth trading.
For each intervening holiday in the applicable foreign market that is not a holiday observed by the U.S. equity markets, the redemption settlement cycle will be extended by the number of days of such intervening holiday. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a foreign market, including due to regulatory action, may also prevent a Fund from delivering securities within the normal settlement period.
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.