Here is the story of Longfin Corp., a fin-tech-ish company that was listed on Nasdaq on Wednesday and then announced on Friday that it was acquiring, "a blockchain-empowered global micro-lending solutions provider," causing its stock to go up by more than 1,200 percent and giving it a market capitalization of some $6.2 billion as of yesterday's close. LongFin's offering circular is a fun read -- it describes its founder and chief executive officer, who also happens to be the controlling shareholder of, as "a financial wizard" and "a true believer in disruptive technologies" who "believes that every piece of information is worth millions" -- but even better is the press release describing the Ziddu acquisition:
I am not your guru. I’m a crypto enthusiast, not a professional trader, and I make plenty of mistakes. There are a huge amount of ‘gurus’ and ‘experts’ out there but the truth is that many of them haven’t got a fucking clue what they are talking about. Opinions in cryptocurrency are like assholes, everybody’s got one. It’s extremely easy to predict the market and hell, everybody seems like an expert, when cryptocurrency is experiencing a bull run.
Each of the Exchanges has established limitations governing the maximum number of call or put options on the same index which may be bought or written (sold) by a single investor, whether acting alone or in concert with others (regardless of whether such options are written on the same or different Exchanges or are held or written on one or more accounts or through one or more brokers). Under these limitations, option positions of all investment companies advised by the same investment adviser are combined for purposes of these limits. Pursuant to these limitations, an Exchange may order the liquidation of positions and may impose other sanctions or restrictions. These position limits may restrict the number of listed options which a Fund may buy or sell; however, the Advisor intends to comply with all limitations.
Bitcoin trading occurs on exchanges. These exchanges accept your fiat currencies (like USD and EUR) in exchange for a cryptocurrency (like BTC). These exchanges maintain a liquid pool of bitcoin, allowing users to withdraw their bitcoin at any time. Investors who wish to trade on that exchange can deposit bitcoin into their personal wallet on the exchange, or make a wire transfer to the exchange’s bank account. The exchange notices this transfer, then credits your account.
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.
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.
On September 15, 2015, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors finalized their proposed model regulatory framework for state regulation of participants in “virtual currency activities.” The Conference of State Bank Supervisors proposed framework is a non-binding model and would have to be independently adopted, in sum or in part, by state legislatures or regulators on a case-by-case basis. In July 2017, the Uniform Law Commission (the “ULC”), a private body of lawyers and legal academics from the several U.S. states, voted to finalize and approve a uniform model state law for the regulation of virtual currency businesses, including bitcoin (the “Uniform Virtual Currency Act”). Having been approved by the ULC, the Uniform Virtual Currency Act now goes to each of the U.S. states and territories for their consideration and would have to be independently adopted, in sum or in part, by state legislatures or regulators on a case-by-case basis.

Assume it is January 3, 2015. Bob and Ann both want to trade at Bitcoin Futures Exchange (BFE). BFE offers 3 different contracts: one expiring and settling on Friday January 9 ('weekly'), another expiring Friday January 16th ('biweekly'), and finally one expiring in March 27 ('quarterly').  Each contract is worth 1 bitcoin notionally.  BFE has a policy that traders have to put 20% of margin down to enter a trade, so Bob and Ann deposit 0.2btc to their BFE accounts as they only want to trade 1 contract.

The Index Receipt Agent makes available through the NSCC on each Business Day, either immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange or the night before, the list of the names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security to be included in the current Portfolio Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day) for each applicable Fund. Such Portfolio Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, in order to effect purchases of Creation Units of Shares of such Fund until the next-announced Portfolio Deposit composition is made available.
An Authorized Participant that wishes to place an order to purchase Creation Units outside the Clearing Process must state that it is not using the Clearing Process and that the purchase instead will be effected through a transfer of securities and cash directly through DTC or as described below for Global Funds (defined below). Purchases (and redemptions) of Creation Units of the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds settled outside the Clearing Process will be subject to a higher Transaction Fee than those settled through the Clearing Process. Purchase orders effected outside the Clearing Process are likely to require transmittal by the Authorized Participant earlier on the transmittal date than orders effected using the Clearing Process. Those persons placing orders outside the Clearing Process should ascertain the deadlines applicable to DTC and the Federal Reserve Bank wire system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depository institution effectuating such transfer of Deposit Securities and Balancing Amount (for the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds), each as applicable and at the discretion of the Advisor, or of the Cash Purchase Amount together with the applicable Transaction Fee.
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.
A Fund’s current obligations under most swap agreements (total return swaps, equity/index swaps, interest rate swaps) will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by segregating or earmarking cash or other assets determined to be liquid, but typically no payments will be made until the settlement date. In connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “buyer”, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid by the Advisor, with a value at least equal to the Fund’s maximum potential exposure under the swap (e.g., any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by the Fund to any clearinghouse counterparty). In connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “seller”, however, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid by the Advisor, 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 cleared transaction). This segregation or earmarking is intended to ensure that a Fund has assets available to satisfy its potential obligations with respect to the transaction. Each Fund reserves the right to modify its asset segregation policies in the future, including modifications to comply with any changes in the positions articulated by the SEC or its staff regarding asset segregation. Swap agreements that cannot be terminated in the ordinary course of business within seven days at approximately the amount a Fund has valued the asset may be considered to be illiquid for purposes of the Fund’s illiquid investment limitations.
ProShare Advisors is also responsible for the general management and administration of each Subsidiary, pursuant to separate investment advisory and management agreements. Under those advisory and management agreements, ProShare Advisors provides each Subsidiary with the same type of services under essentially the same terms (except at no cost to such Subsidiary) as are provided for its respective Parent Fund.
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.
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.
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
Basically, if you trade margin spot on a site like Kraken or Bitfinex, you will pay financing fees while you hold the position open. The same goes for CFD sites like WhaleClub or 1Broker. With bitcoin futures, you are able to trade margin without expending interest, because counterparties to the contract pay a fee to open and close the contract, and the exchange just manages the risk, so no money is really being lent!
general obligations of the issuer and are typically guaranteed by such issuer. Despite this guarantee, such debt securities are subject to default, restructuring or changes to the terms of the debt to the detriment of security holders. Such an event impacting a security held by a Fund would likely have an adverse impact on the Fund’s returns. Also, due to demand from other investors, certain types of these debt securities may be less accessible to the capital markets and may be difficult for a Fund to source. This may cause a Fund, at times, to pay a premium to obtain such securities for its own portfolio. For more information related to foreign sovereign, sub-sovereign and supranational securities, see “Foreign Securities” and “Exposure to Securities or Issuers in Specific Foreign Countries or Regions” above.
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.
Bitcoin futures contracts are a new type of futures contract that began trading in December 2017. Unlike the established futures markets for traditional physical commodities, the market for bitcoin futures contracts is in the developmental stage and has very limited volume, trading and operational history. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a new and developing asset class subject to both developmental and regulatory uncertainty. Ownership of bitcoin is thought to be very concentrated and the supply and liquidity of bitcoin is limited. The price of bitcoin could drop precipitously for a variety of reasons including but not limited to regulatory changes, a crisis of confidence in the bitcoin network or a change in user preference to competing cryptocurrencies. As such, bitcoin futures contracts and the market for bitcoin futures contracts may be riskier, less liquid, more volatile and more vulnerable to economic, market, industry, regulatory and other changes than more established futures contracts and futures markets. There is no assurance that a liquid market will emerge or be sustained for bitcoin futures contracts. The liquidity of the market for bitcoin futures contracts will depend on, among other things, the supply and demand for bitcoin futures contracts, the adoption of bitcoin and the commercial and speculative interest in the market for bitcoin futures contracts. The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of sudden and high volatility and, as a result, the price of bitcoin futures contracts also may experience periods of sudden and high volatility. Margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts currently are, and may continue to be, materially higher than the typical margin requirements for more established types of futures contracts. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the market for Fund shares.
The Trust’s website has information about the premiums and discounts for each Fund. Premiums or discounts are the differences between the NAV and market price of a Fund on a given day, generally at the time NAV is calculated. A premium is the amount that a Fund is trading above the NAV. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the NAV.
During the market slump last week, there was some banter on Reddit that the crash was going to end Wednesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM EST when the markets closed the first Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE expired at $10,900 per Bitcoin. There was even a countdown posted by one Reddit user. While the price of Bitcoin did not rocket back up in the immediate aftermath, altcoins started to rebound hours after the futures contracts expired.
Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. In many of these instances, the customers of such Bitcoin Exchanges were not compensated or made whole for the partial or complete losses of their account balances in such Bitcoin Exchanges. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks but the existence of these risks has created a higher barrier of entry for new Bitcoin Exchanges. The loss of confidence in new and smaller Bitcoin Exchanges and in the Bitcoin Exchange Market overall can slow down the mass adoption of bitcoin. Further, the failure of the Bitcoin Exchange Market or any other major component of the overall bitcoin ecosystem can have consequences for the Bitcoin Network, have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and could have a negative impact on the Bitcoin Instruments in which certain of the Funds invest.

The consideration for purchase of a creation unit of a Fund may, at the discretion of the Advisor, consist of the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (“Deposit Securities”) constituting a representation of the index for the Fund, the Balancing Amount, and the appropriate Transaction Fee (collectively, the “Portfolio Deposit”). The “Balancing Amount” will be the amount equal to the differential, if any, between the total aggregate market value of the Deposit Securities (or in the case of redemptions, the total aggregate market value of the Fund Securities as defined below) and the NAV of the Creation Units being purchased and will be paid to, or received from, the Trust after the NAV has been calculated. The Advisor may restrict purchases of Creation Units to be on an in-kind basis at any time and without prior notice, in all cases at the Advisor’s discretion.
Each Independent Trustee is paid a $185,000 annual retainer for service as Trustee on the Board and for service as Trustee for other funds in the Fund Complex, $10,000 for attendance at each quarterly in-person meeting of the Board of Trustees, $3,000 for attendance at each special meeting of the Board of Trustees, and $3,000 for attendance at telephonic meetings. Trustees who are also Officers or affiliated persons receive no remuneration from the Trust for their services as Trustees. The Officers, other than the CCO, receive no compensation directly from the Trust for performing the duties of their offices.

•   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.
Hey Will. Thanks for the helpful guide! I’ve just gotten into crypto and found this info extremely useful. Just a question regarding how you keep your alt coins safe. As far as I can tell, you can’t keep many of these alt coins on a Trezor hard wallet, so do you just use something like My Ether Wallet instead? Cheers mate! Here’s to a cracking 2018!!
In order to make sure that you actually have money in your margin account to settle the difference with Mortimer every day, you are required to put up an initial margin at the beginning of the contract. A lower sum, the so-called minimum margin or maintenance margin, is also defined by the broker. If the money in your margin account falls from the initial margin to the maintenance margin, it triggers a margin call: The broker requests you to fill up your margin account to at least the initial margin (of course, you may also put up more).