Under a Rule 12b-1 Distribution Plan (the “Plan”) adopted by the Board, each Fund may pay its distributor and financial intermediaries, such as broker-dealers and investment advisors, up to 0.25% on an annualized basis of the average daily net assets of a Fund as reimbursement or compensation for distribution related activities with respect to the Funds. Because these fees are paid out of each Fund’s assets on an on-going basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. For the prior fiscal year, no payments were made by the fund under the Plan.
Distributions are taxable whether shareholders receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional shares. Distributions are also taxable to shareholders even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before a shareholder’s investment (and thus were included in the price the shareholder paid for the Fund shares). Investors should be careful to consider the tax implications of buying shares of a Fund just prior to a distribution. The price of shares purchased at this time will include the amount of the forthcoming distribution, but the distribution will generally be taxable.
Disclaimer: Trading carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to invest you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.
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.
Other countries are not as accommodative of bitcoin. For example, the Chinese government on December 3, 2013 issued a notice that classified bitcoin as legal and “virtual commodities;” however, the same notice restricted the banking and payment industries from using bitcoin, creating uncertainty and limiting the ability of Bitcoin Exchanges to operate in the then-second largest bitcoin market. Then on September 15, 2017, the Chinese government and local financial regulators officially requested some Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges and digital asset trading platforms to shut down by the end of September 2017. In addition, the Central Bank of Bolivia banned the use of bitcoin as a means of payment in May 2014. Further, in July 2016, the Russian Ministry of Finance indicated it supports a proposed law that bans bitcoin domestically but allows for its use as a foreign currency. In September 2017 the head of the Russian central bank stated that it is categorically against regulating cryptocurrencies as money, as a means by which payment can be made for goods and services, and against equating them with foreign currency. Most recently, South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination released a wide variety of proposed regulations which range from the imposition of capital gains taxes on profits realized from cryptocurrency trading, to banning minors from registering on South Korean bitcoin exchanges, and even prohibiting financial institutions from investing in digital assets. These restrictive stances towards digital assets may reduce the rate of expansion of bitcoin use or even eliminate the use of bitcoin entirely in these geographies.
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.
Upon entering into a futures contract, each Fund will be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents in the range of approximately 5% to 10% of the contract amount for equity index futures and in the range of approximately 1% to 3% of the contract amount for treasury futures (these amounts are subject to change by the exchange on which the contract is traded). This amount, known as “initial margin,” is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the futures contract, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the index underlying the futures contract fluctuates, making the long and short positions in the futures contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” At any time prior to expiration of a futures contract, a Fund may elect to close its position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate the Fund’s existing position in the contract.
The validity of each cryptocurrency's coins is provided by a blockchain. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
To assist the Advisor in its responsibility for voting proxies and the overall proxy voting process, the Advisor has retained Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) as an expert in the proxy voting and corporate governance area. ISS is a subsidiary of Vestar Capital Partners VI, L.P., a leading U.S. middle market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. The services provided by ISS include in-depth research, global issuer analysis and voting recommendations as well as vote execution, reporting and record keeping. ISS issues quarterly reports for the Advisor to review to assure proxies are being voted properly. The Advisor and ISS also perform spot checks intra-quarter to match the voting activity with available shareholder meeting information. ISS’s management meets on a regular basis to discuss its approach to new developments and amendments to existing policies. Information on such developments or amendments in turn is provided to the Proxy Committee. The Proxy Committee reviews and, as necessary, may amend periodically the Guidelines to address new or revised proxy voting policies or procedures.
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.
The idea is simple; if the future is trading above the underlying asset (Bitcoin) today, we buy the asset and sell the future, thus receiving cash and locking in a profit. Then on the delivery date, we sell the bitcoin to cover the costs of settling the futures contract. For the deal to be profitable, the price difference has to be large enough to cover interest between today and the delivery date as well as all costs fees.
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Each Fund, from time to time, in the ordinary course of business, may purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis (i.e., delivery and payment can take place between 30 and 120 days after the date of the transaction). These securities are subject to market fluctuations and no interest accrues to the purchaser during this period. At the time a Fund makes the commitment to purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis, the Fund will record the transaction and thereafter reflect the value of the securities, each day, in determining the Fund’s NAV. Each Fund will not purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis if, as a result, it determines that more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in illiquid securities. At the time of delivery of the securities, the value of the securities may be more or less than the purchase price.
In September 2015, the establishment of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ledger (ISSN 2379-5980) was announced. It covers studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh. The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.
• 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;
• Investments by a Fund in options, futures, forward contracts, swap agreements and other derivative financial instruments are subject to numerous special and complex tax rules. These rules could affect the amount, timing or character of the distributions to shareholders by a Fund. In addition, because the application of these rules may be uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future Internal Revenue Service guidance with respect to these rules may affect whether a Fund has made sufficient distributions, and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements, to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid fund-level tax.
The Funds may invest in equity securities. The market price of securities owned by a Fund may go up or down, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Securities may decline in value due to factors affecting securities markets generally or particular industries represented in the securities markets. The value of a security may decline due to general market conditions not specifically related to a particular company, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates, or adverse investor sentiment generally. A security’s value may also decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. The value of a security may also decline for a number of reasons that directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage and reduced demand for the issuer’s goods or services. Equity securities generally have greater price volatility than fixed income securities, and the Funds are particularly sensitive to these market risks.
The Advisor, with the assistance of ISS, maintains for a period of at least five years a record of each proxy statement received and materials that were considered when the proxy was voted during the calendar year. Information on how the Funds voted proxies relating to portfolio securities for the 12-month (or shorter) period ended June 30 is available without charge, upon request, (1) by calling the Advisor at 888-776-3637, (2) on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com, and (3) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
Commodity Swaps. Commodity swaps are used either as substitutes for owning a specific physical commodities or as a means of obtaining non-leveraged exposure in markets where a specific commodity is not available. Commodity swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to commodities by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Parent Funds and the Subsidiaries are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of a Parent Fund and/or its respective Subsidiary to operate as described in this SAI and could negatively affect a Parent Fund and its shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiaries. If Cayman Islands law changes such that a Subsidiary must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Parent Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns. See “Taxation” below for more information.
On May 7, 2014, the SEC published an investor alert that highlighted fraud and other concerns relating to certain investment opportunities denominated in bitcoin and fraudulent and unregistered investment schemes targeted at participants in online bitcoin forums. On July 25, 2017, the SEC issued a Report of Investigation or Report which concluded that digital assets or tokens issued for the purpose of raising funds may be securities within the meaning of the federal securities laws. The Report emphasized that whether a digital asset is a security is based on the particular facts and circumstances, including the economic realities of the transactions. This was reiterated in a December 11, 2017 Public Statement emphasizing the risks of investing in digital assets such as bitcoin and noting the possibility that bitcoin and other digital assets may be deemed to be securities. The SEC continues to take action against persons or entities misusing bitcoin in connection with fraudulent schemes (i.e., Ponzi scheme), inaccurate and inadequate publicly disseminated information, and the offering of unregistered securities.
• In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, a Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from “qualifying income,” meet certain asset diversification tests at the end of each taxable quarter, and meet annual distribution requirements. A Fund’s 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. A Fund can make certain investments, the treatment of which for these purposes is unclear. If, in any year, a 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. Please see the Statement of Additional Information for more information.