Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency—a digital or cryptocurrency secured through cryptography, or codes that can’t be read without a key. Traditional currencies are made up of paper bills and coins. Unlike traditional currencies, the bitcoin is not issued by any central government. Rather, a computer algorithm determines how many bitcoins are produced and added to the economy. This is much different than a traditional currency, where central banks typically determine how much money to print.
On 21 November 2017, the Tether cryptocurrency announced they were hacked, losing $31 million in USDT from their primary wallet. The company has 'tagged' the stolen currency, hoping to 'lock' them in the hacker's wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a new core for its primary wallet in response to the attack in order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.
Although certain securities exchanges attempt to provide continuously liquid markets in which holders and writers of options can close out their positions at any time prior to the expiration of the option, no assurance can be given that a market will exist at all times for all outstanding options purchased or sold by a Fund. If an options market were to become unavailable, the Fund would be unable to realize its profits or limit its losses until the Fund could exercise options it holds, and the Fund would remain obligated until options it wrote were exercised or expired. Reasons for the absence of liquid secondary market on an exchange include the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the OCC may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options) and those options would cease to exist, although outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.
Currently the front month future is the January contract which at last check could be sold for $17,600. This contract settles in a cash transfer based on the 4:00 pm eastern bitcoin auction price on Wednesday January 17, 2018 established by Gemini who is partnering with Cboe Global Markets. The bitcoin price at Gemini is close to $16,600 so I will use that for the underlying bitcoin price in this example.
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Each Fund may invest in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). Equity REITs invest primarily in real property, while mortgage REITs invest in construction, development and long-term mortgage loans. Their value may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property of the REIT, the creditworthiness of the issuer, property taxes, interest rates, and tax and regulatory requirements, such as those relating to the environment. REITs are dependent upon management skill, are not diversified and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers, self-liquidation and the possibility of failing to qualify for tax-free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain exempt status under the 1940 Act.
the option to purchase the asset underlying the option at the exercise price if the option is exercised. During the term of the option, the writer may be assigned an exercise notice by the broker-dealer through whom the option was sold. The exercise notice would require the writer to deliver, in the case of a call, or take delivery of, in the case of a put, the underlying asset against payment of the exercise price. This obligation terminates upon expiration of the option, or at such earlier time that the writer effects a closing purchase transaction by purchasing an option covering the same underlying asset and having the same exercise price and expiration date as the one previously sold. Once an option has been exercised, the writer may not execute a closing purchase transaction. To secure the obligation to deliver the underlying asset in the case of a call option, the writer of a call option is required to deposit in escrow the underlying asset or other assets in accordance with the rules of the Options Clearing Corporation (the “OCC”), an institution created to interpose itself between buyers and sellers of options. The OCC assumes the other side of every purchase and sale transaction on an exchange and, by doing so, gives its guarantee to the transaction. When writing call options on an asset, a Fund may cover its position by owning the underlying asset on which the option is written. Alternatively, the Fund may cover its position by owning a call option on the underlying asset, on a share-for-share basis, which is deliverable under the option contract at a price no higher than the exercise price of the call option written by the Fund or, if higher, by owning such call option and depositing and segregating cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the difference between the two exercise prices. In addition, a Fund may cover its position by segregating cash or liquid instruments equal in value to the exercise price of the call option written by the Fund. When a Fund writes a put option, the Fund will segregate with its custodian bank cash or liquid instruments having a value equal to the exercise value of the option. The principal reason for a Fund to write call options on assets held by the Fund is to attempt to realize, through the receipt of premiums, a greater return than would be realized on the underlying assets alone.
The first U.S. bitcoin futures are here. Bitcoin futures opened for trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC (CFE) on December 10, 2017. This is one of the biggest milestones for bitcoin since it emerged in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Bitcoin futures will bring much-needed transparency, greater liquidity and efficient price discovery to the ecosystem. Cboe will be soon joined by CME Group as it prepares to launch bitcoin futures contracts on December 18, 2017.
If the Funds engage in offsetting transactions, the Funds will incur a gain or loss, to the extent that there has been movement in forward currency contract prices. If forward prices go down during the period between the date a Fund enters into a forward currency contract for the sale of a currency and the date it enters into an offsetting contract for the purchase of the currency, the Fund will realize a gain to the extent that the price of the currency it has agreed to sell exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to buy. If forward prices go up, the Fund will suffer a loss to the extent the price of the currency it has agreed to buy exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to sell.
Blockchain technology builds on the innovations of the blockchain and adopts it for many business, recreational and personal applications. Although initially associated with digital commodities like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology can be used to track tangible, intangible and digital assets and companies in all business sectors. Blockchain technology may, in the future, be used to support a wide array of business applications in many different industries and markets. It is an emerging technology that has the potential to redefine how records of value are transacted. Blockchain technology seeks to facilitate the process of recording transactions and tracking assets (e.g., cryptocurrency, contracts, information, etc.) through solving challenges of counterparty trust and alleviating the need for a central repository or ledger. It is designed to provide a transparent and secure process to transfer and digitally record information or property on a shared transaction database through a secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer distributed ledger.
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.
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.
• 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 increased volumes, higher volatility and higher risk that the exchanges would suffer counterparty defaults. Finally, the Bitcoin Exchanges may be required to comply with tax and other reporting obligations that make it more costly to transact in bitcoin (which may have an impact on price, volatility, or the trading of bitcoin more generally).
It bears repeating -- when trading futures on leverage, you are not "borrowing" the money, so you don't have to pay a financing rate on your positions. Even though you are 100x exposed, you don't have to pay 100x financing (unless you're trading the perpetual swap, which is not a futures contract, but has similar characteristics). Since bitcoin futures do tend to trade at a premium, you are in a way paying an implied interest rate in the contract, because if you want to go long, you have to pay above spot, so you pay the interest up front in the contract, in a way.
• 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.
Because only a few regulations implementing the straddle rules have been promulgated, the consequences of such transactions to the Funds are not entirely clear. The straddle rules may increase the amount of short-term capital gain realized by a Fund, which is taxed as ordinary income when distributed to shareholders. Because application of the straddle rules may affect the character of gains or losses, defer losses and/or accelerate the recognition of gains or losses from the affected straddle positions, the amount which must be distributed to shareholders as ordinary income or long-term capital gain may be increased or decreased substantially as compared to a Fund that did not engage in such transactions.
This post-effective amendment relates only to ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF and ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF, each a new series of ProShares Trust. No information relating to any other series or class of series of ProShares Trust is amended or superseded hereby.
• Lack of regulation. Digital commodities and their associated platforms are largely unregulated, and the regulatory environment is rapidly evolving. As a result, blockchain companies may be exposed to adverse regulatory action, fraudulent activity or even failure. Blockchain companies may face political or legal challenges from competitors, industry groups or local and national governments. New regulations may have a negative impact on blockchain technology and blockchain technology companies.
The CFTC, in conjunction with other federal regulators, also recently proposed stricter margin requirements for certain swap transactions. If adopted, the proposed requirements could increase the amount of margin necessary to conduct many swap transactions, limit the types of assets that can be used as collateral for such transactions, and impose other restrictions. The rule proposal may affect the ability of the Funds to use swap agreements (as well as futures contracts and options on futures contracts or commodities) and may substantially increase regulatory compliance costs for the Advisor and the Funds. As of the date of this SAI, the ultimate impact of the rule proposal on the Funds is uncertain. It is possible, however, that any adopted rule may adversely affect the Advisor’s ability to manage the Funds, may impair a Funds’ ability to achieve its investment objective and/or may result in reduced returns to Fund investors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each of ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, and ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury is based in whole, or in part, on the ICE U.S. 7-10 Year Bond Index, or ICE U.S. 20+ Year Bond Index, as applicable, owned by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. or its affiliates and is used by LICENSEE with permission under license by Interactive Data Pricing and Reference Data, LLC, an affiliate of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“Interactive Data”). ICE U.S. 7-10 Year Bond Index™ and ICE U.S. 20+ Year Bond Index™ (collectively, the “Indices”) are trademarks of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and its affiliates and used under license.
No Independent Trustee (or an immediate family member thereof) during the two most recently completed calendar years had: (i) any material interest, direct or indirect, in any transaction or series of similar transactions, in which the amount involved exceeded $120,000; or (ii) any direct or indirect relationship of any nature, in which the amount involved exceeded $120,000, with:
If a Fund were a QIE, under a special “look-through” rule, any distributions by the Fund to a foreign shareholder (including, in certain cases, distributions made by the Fund in redemption of its shares) attributable directly or indirectly to (i) distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier RIC or REIT that the Fund is required to treat as USRPI gain in its hands and (ii) gains realized on the disposition of USRPIs by the Fund would retain their character as gains realized from USRPIs in the hands of the Fund’s foreign shareholders and would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the foreign shareholder being required to file a U.S. tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a foreign shareholder, including the rate of such withholding and character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or USRPI gain), would vary depending upon the extent of the foreign shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund.
The fund performance for a Geared ProShares Fund can be estimated given any set of assumptions for the factors described above. The tables on the next five pages illustrate the impact of two factors, benchmark volatility and benchmark performance, on a Geared Fund. Benchmark volatility is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in the returns of a benchmark and is calculated as the standard deviation of the natural logarithm of one plus the benchmark return (calculated daily), multiplied by the square root of the number of trading days per year (assumed to be 252). The tables show estimated Fund returns for a number of combinations of benchmark performance and benchmark volatility over a one-year period. Assumptions used in the tables include: (a) no dividends paid with respect to securities included in the underlying benchmark; (b) no Fund expenses; and (c) borrowing/lending rates (to obtain leverage or inverse exposure) of zero percent. If Fund expenses and/or actual borrowing lending rates were reflected, the Fund’s performance would be different than shown.
The price of bitcoin may change sharply while the market for certain Bitcoin Instruments is closed or when the exchange on which Fund shares are traded is closed. Although the Funds will not invest directly in bitcoin, such price changes could impact the price and volatility of the Bitcoin Instruments in which the Funds invest and, therefore, could have a negative impact on your investment in the Funds.
• Any distributions from income or short-term capital gains that you receive generally are taxable to you as ordinary dividends for federal income tax purposes. Ordinary dividends you receive that a Fund reports as “qualified dividend income” may be taxed at the same rates as long-term capital gains, but will not be considered long-term capital gains for other federal income tax purposes, including the calculation of net capital losses.
One of the biggest issues for institutional investors is the fragmented nature of the market, requiring them to operate on several exchanges. Often, this forces them to come up with customized ways to deal with the limitations of each exchange — a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. Not only that, but this can lead to liquidity and slippage problems, as even small trades can consume liquidity and cause prices to slip.
If a Fund that writes an option wishes to terminate the Fund’s obligation, the Fund may effect a “closing purchase transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written by the Fund. The effect of the purchase is that the writer’s position will be canceled by the OCC. However, a writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after the writer has been notified of the exercise of an option. Likewise, a Fund which is the holder of an option may liquidate its position by effecting a “closing sale transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased by the Fund. There is no guarantee that either a closing purchase or a closing sale transaction can be effected. If any call or put option is not exercised or sold, the option will become worthless on its expiration date. A Fund will realize a gain (or a loss) on a closing purchase transaction with respect to a call or a put option previously written by the Fund if the premium, plus commission costs, paid by the Fund to purchase the call or put option to close the transaction is less (or greater) than the premium, less commission costs, received by the Fund on the sale of the call or the put option. The Fund also will realize a gain if a call or put option which the Fund has written lapses unexercised, because the Fund would retain the premium.
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.
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.
Each Fund, except for S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, Long Online/Short Stores, DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, Global Listed Private Equity ETF, Large Cap Core Plus, S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, Equities for Rising Rates ETF, High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, Hedge Replication ETF, Merger ETF, RAFI® Long/Short, and Inflation Expectations ETF (each, a “Matching ProShares Fund” and collectively, the “Matching ProShares Funds” or “Matching Funds”), Managed Futures Strategy ETF, Crude Oil Strategy ETF, CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF, and Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF is “Geared” in the sense that each is designed to seek daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to the performance of a daily benchmark such as the inverse (-1x), multiple (i.e., 2x or 3x), or inverse multiple (i.e., -2x or -3x) of the daily performance of an index for a single day, not for any other period (for purposes of this SAI, the term “index” includes
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.
reduce the amount of the Fund’s borrowings to the extent necessary to meet this 300% coverage requirement. Maintenance of this percentage limitation may result in the sale of portfolio securities at a time when investment considerations would not favor such sale. In addition to the foregoing, the Funds are authorized to borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes in amounts not in excess of 5% of the value of each Fund’s total assets. This borrowing is not subject to the foregoing 300% asset coverage requirement. The Funds are authorized to pledge portfolio securities as ProShare Advisors deems appropriate in connection with any borrowings.
Municipal notes with maturities of three years or less are usually given note ratings (designated SP-1 or SP-2) to distinguish more clearly the credit quality of notes as compared to bonds. Notes rated SP-1 have a very strong or strong capacity to pay principal and interest. Those issues determined to possess overwhelming safety characteristics are given the designation of SP-1+. Notes rated SP-2 have a satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest.
The audited Financial Statements, for each Fund that commenced operations prior to May 31, 2017, and the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, as independent registered public accounting firm, for the fiscal year ended May 31,2017, that appear in the Annual Report to shareholders dated May 31, 2017, are hereby incorporated by reference in this SAI. The Annual Report to shareholders is delivered with this SAI to shareholders requesting this SAI.
“Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He further added, “As the world's largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
Cryptocurrency is based on knowledge sharing on a distributed platform. The entire transactional history is for everyone to see. One blockchain is one thread of transaction. One unit or one block stores many transactions. The size of the block is 1MB and generally stores around 1000 to 2000 transactions. The data entered cannot be altered, nor can it be removed, enabling a system of complete transparency and trust. The entire money flow for the working model is beyond the traditional practices of controlling tax rates, credit usage, and money supply in the market.
The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of shares that appear to attempt to take advantage of potential arbitrage opportunities. The Board believes this is appropriate because ETFs, such as the Funds, are intended to be attractive to arbitrageurs, as trading activity is critical to ensuring that the market price of Fund shares remains at or close to NAV.
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.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have evolved from a playful experiment among technical experts to an established and growing branch of the global financial industry. This means that the times in which cryptocurrency traders and investors only concerned themselves with straightforward buying and selling are over. Derivatives are now entering the picture.