Last night, Cboe XBTSM Bitcoin Futures commenced trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange. The launch was smooth, although our website experienced some issues due to an overwhelming number of hits looking for the trading data. Now that the futures are up and running, it may be time for a brief explanation of how an owner of bitcoins may use futures to hedge their position.
As discussed in more detail below, FATCA (as defined below) generally imposes a reporting and 30% withholding tax regime with respect to certain U.S.-source income (“withholdable payments”) paid to “foreign financial institutions” and certain other non-U.S. entities when those entities fail to satisfy the applicable account documentation, information reporting, withholding, registration, certification and/or other requirements applicable to their status under FATCA. A Subsidiary will be subject to the 30% withholding tax in respect of any withholdable payment it receives if it fails to satisfy these requirements, as may be applicable to the Subsidiary. Each Subsidiary expects to satisfy these requirements, as may be applicable to it, so as to avoid this additional 30% withholding. See “Certain Additional Reporting and Withholding Requirements” below for more discussion of these rules.
Bitcoin has a very limited history of operations and there is no established performance record for the price of Bitcoin on the Bitcoin Exchange Market that can provide an adequate basis for evaluating an investment in bitcoin or Bitcoin Instruments such as Bitcoin Derivatives, ETNs and Bitcoin Securities. Although past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, if bitcoin had an established history, such history might (or might not) provide investors with more information on which to evaluate an investment in the Funds.
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.
Let’s say Larry owns one bitcoin and the current price is $16,600, be believes the price is overdone to the upside for a short period of time. This is a fictional example, so don’t beat me up on the outlook, you can criticize Larry, but he’s made up too. Larry has a futures account and sees that he can sell short a January XBT Future at $17,600. He decides to do this and is now short 1 January XBT Future at $17,600.
“Bitcoin Improvement Proposals”, or “BIPs.” If accepted by a sufficient number of miners, BIPs may result in substantial changes to the Bitcoin Network, including changes that result in “forks.” Such changes may influence the price of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Futures Contracts. In particular, it is possible that the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts subsequent to a “fork” may be linked to the price of bitcoin on only one of the resulting Bitcoin Networks, rather than the aggregate price of bitcoin on all resulting Bitcoin Networks. The CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) have announced different protocols for addressing forks.
The information in this Prospectus is not complete and may be changed. Shares of the Funds may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This Prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of mortgage assets. The Funds will only invest in SMBS whose mortgage assets are U.S. government obligations. A common type of SMBS will be structured so that one class receives some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class receives most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, each Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities. The market value of any class that consists primarily or entirely of principal payments generally is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
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. In addition, the securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the Exchange. Because the Fund generally values such securities as of its local market closing time, the daily net asset value (“NAV”) may vary from the market performance of the Fund as of the Exchange close (typically at [ ] p.m., Eastern Time). Furthermore, liquidity in such securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. This may cause wider spreads and larger premium and discounts than would otherwise be the case if each market was open until the close of trading on the Exchange. 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.
As a general matter, the Short ProShares Funds, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF and the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF respond differently in response to market conditions than the Matching ProShares Funds, the Ultra ProShares Funds, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF or the Crude Oil Strategy ETF. The terms “favorable market conditions” and “adverse market conditions,” as used in this SAI, are Fund-specific.
Each Fund may be required to withhold federal income tax (“backup withholding”) from dividends and capital gains distributions paid to shareholders. Federal tax will be withheld if (1) the shareholder fails to furnish the Fund with the shareholder’s correct taxpayer identification number or social security number, (2) the IRS notifies the shareholder or the Fund that the shareholder has failed to report properly certain interest and dividend income to the IRS and to respond to notices to that effect, or (3) when required to do so, the shareholder fails to certify to the Fund that he or she is not subject to backup withholding. The backup withholding rate is 28%. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules may be credited against the shareholder’s federal income tax liability.
COVERED BONDS. The Funds may invest in covered bonds, which are debt securities issued by banks or other credit institutions that are backed by both the issuing institution and underlying pool of assets that compose the bond (a “cover pool”). The cover pool for a covered bond is typically composed of residential or commercial mortgage loans or loans to public sector institutions. A covered bond may lose value if the credit rating of the issuing bank or credit institution is downgraded or the quality of the assets in the cover pool deteriorates.
In the normal course of business, a Fund enters into standardized contracts created by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (“ISDA agreements”) with certain counterparties for derivative transactions. These agreements contain, among other conditions, events of default and termination events, and various covenants and representations. Certain of the Fund’s ISDA agreements contain provisions that require the Fund to maintain a pre-determined level of net assets, and/or provide limits regarding the decline of the Fund’s NAV over specific periods of time, which may or may not be exclusive of redemptions. If the Fund were to trigger such provisions and have open derivative positions, at that time counterparties to the ISDA agreements could elect to terminate such ISDA agreements and request immediate payment in an amount equal to the net liability positions, if any, under the relevant ISDA agreement. Pursuant to the terms of its ISDA agreements, the Fund will have already collateralized its liability under such agreements, in some cases only in excess of certain threshold amounts. With uncleared swaps, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. Thus, a Fund will typically only enter into uncleared swap agreements with major, global financial institutions that meet the Fund’s standard of creditworthiness. The Funds seek to mitigate risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, in an amount approximately equal to what the counterparty owes the Fund subject to certain minimum thresholds, although the Funds may not always be successful. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to the risks described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.
While volatile movements take away the attractiveness of any asset, a certain amount of swing in price creates trading opportunities. This is something that many traders and speculators have been taking advantage of by buying the digital currency and then selling at a profit through an exchange. The whole process makes bitcoin exchanges an important part of the ecosystem since it facilitates the buying and selling of bitcoins, as well as futures trading.
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.
• Tax Risk — In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and its shareholders, the 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. The 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. 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.
There are also purely technical elements to consider. For example, technological advancement in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin result in high up-front costs to miners in the form of specialized hardware and software. Cryptocurrency transactions are normally irreversible after a number of blocks confirm the transaction. Additionally, cryptocurrency can be permanently lost from local storage due to malware or data loss. This can also happen through the destruction of the physical media, effectively removing lost cryptocurrencies forever from their markets.
Gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates that occur between the time a Fund accrues income or other receivables or accrues expenses or other liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and the time the Fund actually collects such receivables or pays such liabilities generally are treated as ordinary income or ordinary loss. Similarly, on disposition of some investments, including debt securities and certain forward contracts denominated in a foreign currency, gains or losses attributable to
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of unregulated online exchanges and brokerage firms offering cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency trading products. Investors should be wary of too-good-to-be-true promotions and promises of quick riches. Once you deposit money, many of these firms will charge you outrageous commissions or make it very difficult to withdraw funds. Some of the worst offenders will simply steal your money.