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. Therefore, the value of the bitcoin futures contracts held by the Fund should not be expected to track the price of bitcoin on the Bitcoin Exchange Market.
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To illustrate the point, recall that futures markets are just counterparty contracts. Let's say I want to SHORT the market and profit off a decline in BTC/USD. If I put an order to sell Weekly futures contract at $400, and someone buys that offer, then we have created a futures contract. If it goes down, I profit and he loses, if it goes up, he profits and I lose. However, what if price goes down really fast, and my counterparty only had a little margin backing his position? Well, he gets margin-called when it goes down enough, and the system takes his contract and forces it to be sold to a different counterparty that wants to take the LONG side of my contract.
• Theft, loss or destruction. Transacting on a blockchain depends in part specifically on the use of cryptographic keys that are required to access a user’s account (or “wallet”). The theft, loss or destruction of these keys impairs the value of ownership claims users have over the relevant assets being represented by the ledger (whether “smart contracts,” securities, currency or other digital assets). The theft, loss or destruction of private or public keys needed to transact on a blockchain could also adversely affect a blockchain company’s business or operations if it were dependent on the ledger.
While cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are managed through advanced encryption techniques, many governments have taken a cautious approach toward them, fearing their lack of central control and the effects they could have on financial security. Regulators in several countries have warned against cryptocurrency and some have taken concrete regulatory measures to dissuade users. Additionally, many banks do not offer services for cryptocurrencies and can refuse to offer services to virtual-currency companies. Gareth Murphy, a senior central banking officer has stated "widespread use [of cryptocurrency] would also make it more difficult for statistical agencies to gather data on economic activity, which are used by governments to steer the economy". He cautioned that virtual currencies pose a new challenge to central banks' control over the important functions of monetary and exchange rate policy. While traditional financial products have strong consumer protections in place, there is no intermediary with the power to limit consumer losses if bitcoins are lost or stolen. One of the features cryptocurrency lacks in comparison to credit cards, for example, is consumer protection against fraud, such as chargebacks.
There are many groups on Facebook where you can find likeminded folks who will happily talk crypto all day but the problem is that 99% of these groups are filled with people who have only a very basic understanding of cryptocurrency and the knowledge available here is not particularly strong. I have recently left almost every single group on Facebook as, in my opinion, they are largely filled with FUD.
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.
Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
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Note that the market value of the contract fluctuates before settlement. You are not forced to hold the contract to expiration. As the spot market moves, the traded futures contract price also moves. There is a live orderbook of traders placing buy and sell orders and you are able to realize your profit or loss prior to expiration, just as if you were buying and selling a stock.
Cryptocurrency is also used in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road. The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.
Government regulation could adversely impact the operation of the Bitcoin Network or the use of bitcoin. As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and in market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users and related issues. Although currently bitcoin is not regulated or is lightly regulated in most countries, including the United States, some countries have, and one or more countries may in the future, take regulatory actions that severely restrict the right to acquire, own, hold, sell or use bitcoin or to exchange bitcoin for fiat currency. Regulation in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions may restrict the use of bitcoin or otherwise materially impact the global demand for bitcoin. Regulation of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and other cryptocurrencies may have an impact the price of bitcoin. If Bitcoin Exchanges become subject to regulation, that may also impact trading in bitcoin as trading may be concentrated in a smaller number of regulated exchanges, which may impact price, volatility and trading volumes. Also, most Bitcoin Exchanges currently require bitcoin trading accounts to be fully funded, but if margin trading is introduced, there may be additional risks, including
You will then be able to trade futures contracts just like they are bitcoin spot. If price goes up on spot, a good futures exchange will have its contracts also going up in price, and then you can sell and get out. However, the price of the futures contract is dependent on others trading it. So if nobody else is trading it and bringing the market price of the contract along with changes in the underlying asset, then it's useless and you are forced to hold it until settlement to realize any of the profit/loss from the position.
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The most common way to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency derivatives today is through contract-for-difference (CFD) contracts. These CFD contracts are usually traded over the counter (OTC), meaning that they are not traded on exchanges but directly between participants. Due to the high volatility (exceeding 1.5-2x std from the mean) most of the OTC platforms do not provide leverage on bitcoin and other cryptos CFDs.