The tax rules are uncertain with respect to the treatment of income or gains arising in respect of commodity-linked exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and certain commodity-linked structured notes; also, the timing and character of income or gains arising from ETNs can be uncertain. An adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect a Fund’s ability to qualify for treatment as a regulated investment company and to avoid a Fund-level tax.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses").[53] Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain.[53] Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.[53]
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).

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.
  negative impact on the price of such contracts. In order to comply with such limits, the Fund may be required to reduce the size of its outstanding positions or not enter into new positions that would otherwise be taken for the Fund. This could potentially subject the Funds to substantial losses or periods in which the Fund does not accept additional Creation Units.
R-1 (high) – Short term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality, and indicates an entity which possesses unquestioned ability to repay current liabilities as they fall due. Entities rated in this category normally maintain strong liquidity positions, conservative debt levels and profitability which is both stable and above average. Companies achieving an “R-1 (high)” rating are normally leaders in structurally sound industry segments with proven track records, sustainable positive future results and no substantial qualifying negative factors. Given the extremely tough definition which DBRS has established for an “R-1 (high)”, few entities are strong enough to achieve this rating.
Each Fund, except for the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, is a “non-diversified” series of the Trust. A Fund’s classification as a “non-diversified” investment company means that the proportion of the Fund’s assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer is not limited by the 1940 Act. Notwithstanding each Fund’s status as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act, each Fund intends to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, which imposes its own diversification requirements on these Funds that are less restrictive than the requirements applicable to the “diversified” investment companies under the 1940 Act. A Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy may be limited by that Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC and its strategy may bear adversely on its ability to so qualify. For more details, see “Taxation” below. With respect to a “non-diversified” Fund, a relatively high percentage of such a Fund’s assets may be invested in the securities of a limited number of issuers, primarily within the same economic sector. That Fund’s portfolio securities, therefore, may be more susceptible to any single economic, political, or regulatory occurrence than the portfolio securities of a more diversified investment company.

The ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF contains portfolio investments that are primarily listed on foreign markets. To the extent the Fund’s portfolio investments trade in foreign markets on days when the Fund is not open for business or when the primary exchange for its shares is not open, the value of the Fund’s assets may vary on days when shareholders may not be able to purchase or sell Fund shares and Authorized Participants may not be able to create or redeem Creation Units. Also, certain portfolio investments may not be traded on days the Fund is open for business.
•   Active Management Risk — The performance of actively managed funds reflects, in part, the ability of ProShare Advisors to select investments and make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. ProShare Advisors’ judgments about the Fund’s investments may prove to be incorrect. If the investments selected and strategies employed by ProShare Advisors fail to produce the intended results, the Fund may not achieve its investment objective and could underperform other funds with a similar investment objective and/or strategies.
  •   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.

risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such a default occurs, a 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 right as a creditor. The counterparty risk for cleared swaps is generally lower than for uncleared over-the-counter swaps because generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared swap agreement and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations. However, there can be no assurance that the clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to a Fund. Upon entering into a cleared swap, a Fund may be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents in the range of approximately 3% to 6% of the notional amount for CDS on high yield debt issuers and 1% to 5% for CDS on investment grade debt issuers (this amount is subject to change by the clearing organization that clears the trade). This amount, known as “initial margin,” is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the cleared swap and is returned to a Fund upon termination of the swap, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the swap fluctuates, making the long and short position in the swap contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” The premium (discount) payments are built into the daily price of the swap and thus are amortized through the variation margin. The variation margin payment also includes the daily portion of the periodic payment stream.
Sections 1471-1474 of the Code and the U.S. Treasury and IRS guidance issued thereunder (collectively, “FATCA”) generally require a Fund to obtain information sufficient to identify the status of each of its shareholders under FATCA or under an applicable intergovernmental agreement (an “IGA”). If a shareholder fails to provide this information or otherwise fails to comply with FATCA or an IGA, a Fund or its agent may be required to withhold under FATCA at a rate of 30% with respect to that shareholder on ordinary dividends it pays to such shareholder and 30% of the gross proceeds of share redemptions or exchanges and certain Capital Gain Dividends it pays to such shareholder after December 31, 2018. If a payment by a Fund is subject to FATCA withholding, the Fund or its agent is required to withhold even if such payment would otherwise be exempt from withholding under the rules applicable to foreign shareholders described above (e.g., Capital Gain Dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, and interest-related dividends).

In the course of managing the Fund’s investments, ProShare Advisors will need to periodically adjust the Fund’s holdings in order to maintain investment exposure approximately equivalent to the Fund’s assets. This process entails obtaining additional inverse exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing inverse exposure as the Fund experiences losses. The higher the volatility of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the more such rebalancing can adversely affect the Fund’s performance.


Since the introduction of futures, the price of bitcoin has gone up, suggesting that there were more As -- people who wanted to be long bitcoin synthetically -- than Cs -- people who wanted to be short synthetically -- though again it is still early. Crudely speaking, the arbitrage spread suggests that there are also more As than Bs: There are a lot of people who want to be long bitcoin without owning bitcoin, but not so many people who want to own bitcoin without being long bitcoin. (Which makes sense! If you bought a bitcoin and sold a futures contract when Cboe launched its futures last week, you could have locked in a risk-free arbitrage profit of something like $1,200. But if you had just bought a bitcoin, you'd be up about $3,000 by now.) The costs of trading actual bitcoins on bitcoin exchanges -- in terms of blockchain transaction costs, exchange withdrawal limits, etc. -- are significant enough that people who want bitcoin exposure are willing to pay about 2 percent to avoid them.

After the Transfer Agent has deemed an order for redemption outside the Clearing Process received, the Transfer Agent will initiate procedures to transfer the requisite Fund Securities and the Balancing Amount (minus a redemption Transaction Fee or additional charges for requested cash redemptions), which are expected to be delivered within two Business Days, and the Cash Redemption Amount (by the second Business Day (T+2) following the transmittal date on which such redemption order is deemed received by the Transfer Agent).
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.
Each Fund, except for the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, is a “non-diversified” series of the Trust. A Fund’s classification as a “non-diversified” investment company means that the proportion of the Fund’s assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer is not limited by the 1940 Act. Notwithstanding each Fund’s status as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act, each Fund intends to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, which imposes its own diversification requirements on these Funds that are less restrictive than the requirements applicable to the “diversified” investment companies under the 1940 Act. A Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy may be limited by that Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC and its strategy may bear adversely on its ability to so qualify. For more details, see “Taxation” below. With respect to a “non-diversified” Fund, a relatively high percentage of such a Fund’s assets may be invested in the securities of a limited number of issuers, primarily within the same economic sector. That Fund’s portfolio securities, therefore, may be more susceptible to any single economic, political, or regulatory occurrence than the portfolio securities of a more diversified investment company.
The Advisor and its affiliated persons may come into possession from time to time of material nonpublic and other confidential information about companies which, if disclosed, might affect an investor’s decision to buy, sell, or hold a security. Under applicable law, the Advisor and its affiliated persons would be prohibited from improperly disclosing or using this information for their personal benefit or for the benefit of any person, regardless of whether the person is a client of the Advisor. Accordingly, should the Advisor or any affiliated person come into possession of material nonpublic or other confidential information with respect to any company, the Advisor and its affiliated persons will have no responsibility or liability for failing to disclose the information to clients as a result of following its policies and procedures designed to comply with applicable law. However, each Matching Fund is managed using what is commonly referred to as an index strategy in an attempt to simulate either the daily movement or a multiple, the inverse or an inverse multiple of the daily movement of its index, and the use of such index strategies may reduce conflicts of interest compared to funds using non-index investment strategies.
For Caspian, creating a crypto trading system that meets the needs of institutional investors is a benefit not only to those traders, but to the entire crypto ecosystem. Providing the infrastructure that institutions need to confidently enter the crypto world sets the stage for a much larger market. This brings needed volume, scale, stability and liquidity — not to mention the kind of credibility that can encourage even more players. In the end, we believe that building an effective trading solution will raise all boats to help crypto live up to its vast potential.
The price of bitcoin has been subject to periods of high volatility. As a result, the CFE and CME have established margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts at levels substantially higher than the margin requirements for more established futures contracts. The increased margin requirements may result in much higher upfront costs for the Funds. Market participants may be deterred from incorporating bitcoin futures contracts into their investment strategies due to these higher costs and other limitations created by the high margin requirements, such as the limit on their ability to use leverage to invest in bitcoin futures contracts. A reduction in the adoption of the bitcoin futures contracts will negatively impact the market for bitcoin futures contracts and could negatively impact the performance of the Funds. In addition, the continued volatility in the price of bitcoin may result in further increases to the margin requirements for bitcoin futures contracts by the CFE and CME, as well as some FCMs imposing margin requirements on their customers in amounts that are steeper than the margin required by the exchanges.
Bitcoin (BTC) has been engaged in a predictable up and down pattern where it absolutely crashes at the beginning of any year and then sky-rockets as the year nears its end. Bitcoin held steady at around $19,000 in December 2017, and then sure enough – crashed big time to around $6,000 at the beginning of 2018. At the time of writing, March 8th 2018, the price of Bitcoin is relatively stable between $10,000 and $12,000. In my opinion, the price will run again soon.
New altcoins often make unsubstantiated claims about their products. Recently the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against two ICOs it says were sold on the basis of fraudulent claims. China has banned the sale of ICOs, and many individuals familiar with fraud, including the famed Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, have described ICOs as the biggest scam ever.
The CME Group contract (symbol “BTC”) began trading on December 18, 2017, building off of the success of the BRR and demand for a regulated trading venue for the digital asset market. The contract is cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are listed on and subject to the rules of CME.2
Each Fund may purchase illiquid securities, including securities that are not readily marketable and securities that are not registered (“restricted securities”) under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”), but which can be sold to qualified institutional buyers under Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. A Fund will not invest more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets in illiquid securities. The term “illiquid securities” for this purpose means securities that cannot be disposed of within seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the amount at which the Fund has valued the securities. Under the current guidelines of the staff of the SEC, illiquid securities also are considered to include, among other securities, purchased OTC options, certain cover for OTC options, repurchase agreements with maturities in excess of seven days, and certain securities whose disposition is restricted under the federal securities laws. The Fund may not be able to sell illiquid securities when the Advisor considers it desirable to do so or may have to sell such securities at a price that is lower than the price that could be obtained if the securities were more liquid. In addition, the sale of illiquid securities also may require more time and may result in higher dealer discounts and other selling expenses than the sale of securities that are not illiquid. Illiquid securities may be more difficult to value due to the unavailability of reliable market quotations for such securities, and investments in illiquid securities may have an adverse impact on NAV.
Look, you and I are sophisticated, and we get that "bitcoin's price increase is deflationary and makes it a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin, because "bitcoin is a bad currency" is not a good argument against bitcoin. (People keep making it though.) Bitcoin's value proposition -- much like that of gold -- is that it is an uncorrelated store of value, not that it is useful for buying a sandwich. But at the same time you have to watch out for business models that are based on the casual assumption that bitcoin works just like a currency. "Cryptocurrency-financed warehouse lending" has the word "cryptocurrency" in it, so it's worth billions of dollars, but I'm not sure it works as a business model.
Now, what if the Bitcoin price is rising? For example, if 1 BTC is worth 5,500 USD, you don’t want to fulfill this contract any more and sell cheap for 5,000 USD. In order to still make things fair for both participants, the exchange (here CME) will make sure that you can sell for the current market price of 5,500 USD if you so wish, but they will compensate your contract partner for this. How? They will take the difference – 500 USD – out of your so-called margin account and give it to Mortimer. This kind of settlement is not only performed on the fulfilment date of the futures contract, but on every trading day, according to the current price of the asset.
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