Several factors may affect a Fund’s ability to achieve a high degree of correlation with its benchmark. Among these factors are: (i) a Fund’s fees and expenses, including brokerage (which may be increased by high portfolio turnover) and the costs associated with the use of derivatives; (ii) less than all of the securities underlying a Fund’s benchmark being held by the Fund and/or securities not included in its benchmark being held by a Fund; (iii) an imperfect correlation between the performance of instruments held by a Fund, such as futures contracts, and the performance of the underlying securities in a benchmark; (iv) bid-ask spreads (the effect of which may be increased by portfolio turnover); (v) holding instruments traded in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (vi) a Fund’s share prices being rounded to the nearest cent; (vii) changes to the benchmark that are not disseminated in advance; (viii) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with investment restrictions or policies or regulatory or tax law requirements;
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).
Distributions of investment income are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains are determined by how long a Fund owned the investments that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her shares. In general, a Fund will recognize long-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for more than one year, and short-term capital gain or loss on investments it has owned for one year or less. Tax rules can alter a Fund’s holding period in investments and thereby affect the tax treatment of gain or loss on such investments. Distributions of net capital gain – the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards – that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable to shareholders as long-term capital gains includible in net capital gain and taxable to individuals at reduced rates. Distributions of net short-term capital gain (as reduced by any net long-term capital loss for the taxable year) will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
In contrast, if you are “going short” on Bitcoin, you assume that Bitcoin prices will fall. Buying put options will enable you to sell Bitcoin at some point in the future at a price that is higher than the future price you expect. In analogy to the example above, if the current Bitcoin price is 5,000 USD and you expect it to fall to 2,000 USD in 6 months, then put options allowing you to sell Bitcoin for 5,000 USD in 5 months (when everyone else is selling for 2000 USD) are very valuable.
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.
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.
The value of such Creation Unit for the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the Hedge Replication ETF, the Merger ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF, the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF, the UltraPro Short Financial Select Sector ETF, the UltraShort FTSE Europe ETF, the UltraPro Financial Select Sector ETF, and the Ultra High Yield ETF as of each such Fund’s inception was $2,000,000.
• Risks Associated with Bitcoin – The Fund is exposed to risks associated with bitcoin. Investing in or gaining exposure to Bitcoin may provide the Fund with increased risk. Various global factors may negatively impact the Fund’s performance including legal, regulatory, political, social, regional and economic events. These risks, which could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the trading price of Fund shares, include the following:
• Rolling Futures Contract Risk — The Fund will invest in and have exposure to bitcoin futures contracts and is subject to risks related to “rolling” such contracts. Rolling occurs when the Fund closes out of a futures contract as it nears its expiration and replaces it with a contract that has a later expiration. The Fund does not intend to hold futures contracts through expiration, but instead intends to “roll” its futures positions. When the market for these futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby contract would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures contract prices for longer expiration contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant contract. This pattern of higher futures prices for shorter expiration futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.” Extended periods of contango could cause significant losses for the Fund. The Advisor will utilize active management techniques to seek to mitigate the negative impact or, in certain cases, benefit from the contango or backwardation present in the various futures contract markets, but there can be no guarantee that it will be successful in doing so.
A key attribute of a futures market is how its contract’s prices vary by expiration date. The succession of futures prices over time is called the “term structure”. If supply is stable (no seasonality or shortages) then typically futures prices will increase with expirations further in the future. This term structure configuration is called “contango” and it accounts for the fact that carry costs (e.g., time value of money) and profit expectations increase with time. Unless there are big changes in interest rates or the way that Bitcoin exchanges work I expect the level of contango in the Bitcoin futures term structure to be small. Bitcoins don’t cost much to hodl (once you have your hardware wallet) and there’s no apparent seasonality. The chart below from VIX Central shows a typical Bitcoin term structure (click on chart to get current data):
Non-Diversified Status (All Funds, except 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 the ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF, and the ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF)
In the normal course of business, a Fund enters into standardized contracts created by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (“ISDA agreements”) with certain counterparties for derivative transactions. These agreements contain, among other conditions, events of default and termination events, and various covenants and representations. Certain of the Fund’s ISDA agreements contain provisions that require the Fund to maintain a pre-determined level of net assets, and/or provide limits regarding the decline of the Fund’s NAV over specific periods of time, which may or may not be exclusive of redemptions. If the Fund were to trigger such provisions and have open derivative positions, at that time counterparties to the ISDA agreements could elect to terminate such ISDA agreements and request immediate payment in an amount equal to the net liability positions, if any, under the relevant ISDA agreement. Pursuant to the terms of its ISDA agreements, the Fund will have already collateralized its liability under such agreements, in some cases only in excess of certain threshold amounts. With uncleared swaps, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such default occurs, the 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 rights as a creditor. Thus, a Fund will typically only enter into uncleared swap agreements with major, global financial institutions that meet the Fund’s standard of creditworthiness. The Funds seek to mitigate risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, in an amount approximately equal to what the counterparty owes the Fund subject to certain minimum thresholds, although the Funds may not always be successful. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to the risks described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.
Institutional-tier offerings such as those detailed above are seen as much-needed catalysts to stimulate the flow of institutional money into the market, offering heavyweight financial players a less-risky way to buy into assets like bitcoin. For the same reason, custody services like those offered by Coinbase, BitGo and others are necessary for safely storing and managing these investments as well.
What’s important to consider as crypto evolves is to learn everything (or as much as possible) for yourself. Crypto coins all offer white papers to the public (though they’re not always easy to find). They’re for a scientific audience, but you’ve probably read worse if you have a university degree. Find them and read them. Don’t understand something, ask a question.
NYSs (or “direct shares”) are foreign stocks denominated in U.S. dollars and traded on American exchanges without being converted into ADRs. These stocks come from countries that do not restrict the trading of their stocks on other nations’ exchanges. Each Fund may also invest in ordinary shares of foreign issuers traded directly on U.S. exchanges.
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.
If Bitcoin futures prices get too high relative to spot arbitragers are natural sellers and if the futures prices get too low they are natural buyers. Their buying and selling actions naturally counteract price distortions between markets. If they’re somehow prevented from acting (e.g., if shorting Bitcoin was forbidden) then the futures market would likely become decoupled from the underlying spot price—not a good thing.
• The technology is new and many of its uses may be untested. Blockchain technology is a new and developing technology protocol that is relatively untested and unregulated. The mechanics of using distributed ledger technology to transact in other types of assets, such as securities or derivatives, is less clear. Blockchain technology may never develop optimized transactional processes that lead to realized economic returns for any company in which the Fund invests.
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.
William E. Seale, Ph.D., Chief Economist of ProShare Advisors since inception and ProFund Advisors LLC since 2005. Dr. Seale has more than 30 years of experience in the financial markets. His background includes a five-year presidential appointment as a commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and an appointment as Chairman of the Department of Finance at The George Washington University. He earned his degrees at the University of Kentucky.
Moody’s ratings for state and municipal notes and other short-term loans are designated Moody’s Investment Grade (MIG) and for variable rate demand obligations are designated Variable Moody’s Investment Grade (VMIG). This distinction recognizes the differences between short-term credit risk and long-term risk. Loans bearing the designation MIG-1/VMIG-1 are of the best quality, enjoying strong protection from established cash flows of funds for their servicing or from established and broad-based access to the market for refinancing, or both. Loans bearing/with the designation MIG-2/VMIG-2 are of high quality, with ample margins of protection, although not as large as the preceding group.
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"). Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.
Exchanges Operating in: US, Panama, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, China, Poland, EU, Indonesia, South Korea, UK, Russia, Seychelles, Mexico, Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Philippines, Ukraine, Turkey, Iceland, British Virgin Islands, Thailand, Germany, Cyprus, Chile, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, India, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, Tanzania, France, Taiwan, Vietnam, Argentina, Venezuela, Malta, Pakistan, Switzerland, Austria
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND PROSHARES, OTHER THAN THE LICENSORS OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES.
Total Return Swaps. Total return swaps are used either as substitutes for owning the physical securities that comprise a given market index or as a means of obtaining non-leveraged exposure in markets where securities are not available. “Total return” refers to the payment (or receipt) of an index’s total return, which is then exchanged for the receipt (or payment) of a floating interest rate. Total return swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to a market or sector index by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
Bitcoin relies on blockchain technology. “Blockchain” is a decentralized database. Transactions are grouped in blocks and then chained together through cryptographic links. Blockchain is designed so that the chain can be added to, but not edited. This structure is called a “distributed ledger.” Transactions in the distributed ledger are permanently recorded and can never disappear, although theft and loss of bitcoin can occur. While bitcoin has grown in popularity, it’s still not nearly as widely accepted as traditional currency.
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.
A Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. A Fund will realize a gain if the price of the security declines in price between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss will be increased, by the amount of the premium, dividends or interest a Fund may be required to pay, if any, in connection with a short sale.
Cryptocurrencies allow traders to diversify their investment portfolio, as their price is mainly determined by demand and supply; Their value has a low correlation to national economies or political scenarios. Once Bitcoin surpassed the price of gold in 2017, US markets introduced 2 ETFs on Bitcoin and drew more and more institutional money into the world of cryptocurrencies. In 2017, Indian PM Narendra Modi has announced the gradual replacement of paper currency with electronic currency; In March 2018, the Marshall Islands announced that they would be introducing a cryptocurrency to replace US dollars as their main currency; other central banks are investigating the adoption of blockchain-like technologies… in short cryptocurrencies are probably here to stay. A growing number of crypto investors all over the world have already discovered the benefits:
The Funds may be eligible to elect alternative tax treatment with respect to PFIC shares. Under an election that currently is available in some circumstances, a Fund generally would be required to include in its gross income its share of the earnings of a PFIC on a current basis, regardless of whether distributions were received from the PFIC in a given year. If this election were made, the special rules, discussed above, relating to the taxation of excess distributions, would not apply. Another election would involve marking to market a Fund’s PFIC shares at the end of each taxable year, with the result that unrealized gains would be treated and reported as though they were realized as ordinary income on the last day of the taxable year. Any mark-to-market losses and any loss from an actual disposition of PFIC shares would be deductible by the Fund as ordinary losses to the extent of any net mark-to-market gains included in income in prior years. Making either of these two elections may require a Fund to liquidate other investments (including when it is not advantageous to do so) to meet its distribution requirements, which also may accelerate the recognition of gain and affect the Fund’s total return. Dividends paid by PFICs will not be eligible to be treated as “qualified dividend income.” Because it is not always possible to identify a foreign corporation as a PFIC, the Fund may incur the tax and interest charges described above in some instances.
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of ProShares Trust (the “Trust”), dated October 1, 2017, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF each as may be amended or supplemented, each of which incorporates this SAI by reference. A copy of the Prospectuses and a copy of the Annual Report to shareholders for the Funds that have completed a fiscal year are available, without charge, upon request to the address above, by telephone at the number above, or on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 are incorporated by reference into and are deemed part of this SAI. The principal U.S. national stock exchange on which all Funds (except those noted below) identified in this SAI are listed is NYSE Arca. The S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Merger ETF, K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF are listed on the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. The UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro QQQ®, the Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the Equities for Rising Rates ETF are listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market.
In May 2018 Bitcoin Gold (and two other cryptocurrencies) were hit by a successful 51% hashing attack by an unknown actor, in which exchanges lost estimated $18m. In June 2018, Korean exchange Coinrail was hacked, losing US$37 million worth of altcoin. Fear surrounding the hack was blamed for a $42 billion cryptocurrency market selloff. On 9 July 2018 the exchange Bancor had $23.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen.
There are two USA regulated Bitcoin futures exchanges in operation. The CME’s contract unit is five Bitcoins whereas the Cboe’s contract unit is one—that’s the biggest difference between these futures. The upfront money to buy or sell short a CME contract will be about five times higher than the Cboe contract. Larger investors won’t care but this will be an issue for smaller investors. Another difference is the spot/settlement process that the exchanges use. In the case of Cboe futures, the contracts will be settled to a 4 pm ET Gemini exchange auction price on the day of expiration, for the CME futures the settlement price is a complex calculation using an hour of volume weighted data from multiple exchanges (currently Bitstamp, itBit, Kraken, and GDAX). With the CME’s approach, it will be harder to manipulate the settlement price but it doesn’t give arbitrageurs a physical mechanism to trade their positions—possibly an issue.
When you display any broker’s profile page on the CME list above, you will see on the right hand side this broker’s specialties (a list of industries and/or financial products). As of this articles publication (Nov. 24, 2017), only one broker has added Bitcoin to his list of specialties: Level Trading Field LLC. However, this does not mean that the other brokers won’t handle Bitcoin futures. We expect that more of them will adopt this specialty as soon as Bitcoin futures are on the market.