Hey, Will, I like this! Thanx for the info. I’m somewhat new to cryptos but not to investing — my Dad invested in the stock market since I was a kid and as an adult I was a registered investment advisor representative for a large US institution. One conclusion I’ve come to is that the skills and approach for crypto investing are no different than those for the stock market. I use the same strategies and analyses I use for stocks and etf’s and feel completely at home in the crypto market. Yes, I deal with more brokerage accounts, etc., but the principles are the same.
• A decline in the adoption of bitcoin could have a negative effect on the price of bitcoin and bitcoin-related investments. Bitcoin’s adoption has been on a generally continuous climb since bitcoin first gained mass media attention in 2013. However, there can be no guarantees this growth will continue. Further, adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment has been limited when compared with the increase in the price of bitcoin, indicating that the majority of bitcoin’s use is for investment and speculative purposes. A lack of acceptance of bitcoin as a means of payment could negatively impact the price of the Bitcoin Futures contracts in which the Fund invests.
Each Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions as fundamental policies that cannot be changed without a “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund. The phrase “majority of outstanding voting securities” is defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a duly-called meeting of shareholders, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented by proxy; or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. (All policies of a Fund not specifically identified in this Statement of Additional Information or its Prospectus as fundamental may be changed without a vote of the shareholders of the Fund.) For purposes of the following limitations, all percentage limitations apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is the second fork from Bitcoin (i.e. the second version to stem from Bitcoin’s source code). It retains Bitcoin’s transaction history, meaning that if you owned Bitcoin before the fork, you now own the equal amount of Bitcoin Gold. This cryptocurrency aims to introduce an alternative mining algorithm that is less susceptible to ASIC-based optimization, therefore allowing users to earn more with their computer cycles.
Still elsewhere, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in a footnote, quoted me saying "Just because you mumble the word 'blockchain' doesn't make otherwise illegal things legal," which I hope is now an official CFTC position. And here is Tyler Cowen on bitcoin volatility and Siegel's paradox: "Volatility is a feature of Bitcoin, not a bug, and that is in part for reasons that have nothing to do with speculation or bubbliness, but rather follow from the contours of the utility function." And: "No, a Guy Didn't Scam $1 Million by Selling Chuck E. Cheese Tokens as Bitcoins."
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
Louis M. Mayberg, President of ProShare Advisors from inception to April 2012 and ProFund Advisors LLC from April 1997 to April 2012. Mr. Mayberg co-founded National Capital Companies, L.L.C., an investment bank specializing in financial services companies mergers and acquisitions and equity underwritings in 1986, and managed its financial services hedge fund. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance from The George Washington University.
DTC has advised the Trust as follows: it is a limited-purpose trust company organized under the laws of the State of New York, a member of the Federal Reserve System, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the New York Uniform Commercial Code and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the 1934 Act. DTC was created to hold securities of its participants (“DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the NYSE and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”). DTC agrees with and represents to DTC Participants that it will administer its book-entry system in accordance with its rules and by-laws and requirements of law. Beneficial ownership of Shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in Shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of Shares. The laws of some jurisdictions may require that certain purchasers of securities take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form. Such laws may impair the ability of certain investors to acquire beneficial interests in Shares.
Certain of a Fund’s investments in derivative instruments and foreign currency-denominated instruments, and any of a Fund’s transactions in foreign currencies and hedging activities, are likely to produce a difference between its book income and its taxable income. If such a difference arises, and a Fund’s book income is less than its taxable income, the Fund could be required to make distributions exceeding book income to qualify as a RIC that is accorded special tax treatment. In the alternative, if a Fund’s book income exceeds its taxable income (including realized capital gains), the distribution (if any) of such excess generally will be treated as (i) a dividend to the extent of the Fund’s remaining earnings and profits (including earnings and profits arising from tax-exempt income), (ii) thereafter, as a return of capital to the extent of the recipient’s basis in its shares, and (iii) thereafter as gain from the sale or exchange of a capital asset.
EDIT: #10 Bonus (Suggested by @kerstenwirth ) — always check the ticker symbol. Ticker symbols are not universal, and may vary from exchange to exchange in rare cases. Those cases, though, can come back to bite you. For example, Bitcoin Cash trades on some exchanges as BCH, while it trades on others as BCC. BCC is also the ticker symbol for BitConnect, which was recently outted as a Ponzi Scheme. If you bought BCC under the impression was Bitcoin Cash, you would’ve lost a lot of money.
• Credit Risk — The Fund could lose money if the issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income instrument or a counterparty to a derivatives transaction or other transaction is, or is perceived to be, unable or unwilling to pay interest, repay principal on time, or defaults. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning as a result of issuer defaults or actual or perceived changes in the credit ratings of the Fund’s portfolio investments or to an issuer’s financial strength.
You could imagine the spread going the other way, though. If everyone really was clamoring to short bitcoin, and if the futures offered a more convenient way to do it than the bitcoin exchanges, then you'd expect the short sellers to pay a premium to short via futures. Instead of selling a bitcoin at $18,000 today, they'd be willing to sell a synthetic bitcoin for $17,500, paying the spread to an arbitrageur who was willing to do the actual shorting for them. But the fact that the spread is mostly positive, and that bitcoin's price has been mostly going up, suggests that the demand has mostly been for synthetic long positions, not short.
There is no registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible, and in fact, reasonably likely, that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin from selling their bitcoin, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Funds which do not take a short position in bitcoin futures contracts.
Trader A is a producer of pork bellies. In order to insure herself against a price drop in pork bellies in the future, she enters a futures contract with Trader B. Trader B uses these pork bellies to manufacture sliced breakfast bacon. Thus, he is not worried that prices might fall in the future – his worry is that prices will go up. Both traders agree that Trader A will sell a metric ton of pork bellies for 1,000 USD 3 months from now. This increases security for both of their businesses. Because a futures contract is a binding contract between two parties, neither party can drop out of the contract: Even if the price for pork bellies is 1,200 USD at the time of execution, trader A is still contractually obliged to sell for 1,000 USD.