While “physical” delivery of Bitcoins as part of a futures contract would certainly be possible it raises regulatory and security issues in today’s environment where the cybercurrency exchanges are mostly unregulated, somewhat unreliable, and theft due to security hacks is distressingly common. By selecting cash settlement the CME and Cboe completely avoid the transfer of custody issues and shift those problems to somebody else—namely the market makers and arbitrageur.
If an investor gets the timing of the oscillations right, they can make money at every point along the way, going long when the market goes up and short when it drops. However, it is also difficult to come across any reliable strategy that has thus far been able to predict which events influence the price of bitcoin to which extent. The initial calling off of the Segwit2x fork is a good example of that. Shortly after the news broke, the market appeared to be divided into two camps – those who saw less value because they would not receive the equivalent amount of their holdings in the new currency (“dividends”), and those who saw the news as a consolidation of bitcoin’s strength. The two camps pushed the price in opposite directions in a way that made it hard to predict which side would have the upper hand at which point in time.
Each Fund may purchase or sell futures contracts and options thereon as a substitute for a comparable market position in the underlying securities or to satisfy regulatory requirements. A physical-settlement futures contract generally obligates the seller to deliver (and the purchaser to take delivery of) a specified asset on the expiration date of the contract. A cash-settled futures contract obligates the seller to deliver (and the purchaser to accept) an amount of cash equal to a specific dollar amount (the contract multiplier) multiplied by the difference between the final settlement price of a specific futures contract and the price at which the agreement is made. No physical delivery of the underlying asset is made. The Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF will each invest in cash-settled futures contracts where commodities are the underlying asset. The Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF intend to achieve this exposure through investment in the ProShares Cayman Portfolio I, the ProShares Cayman Crude Oil Portfolio, the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio and ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, respectively, which may invest in futures contracts and options thereon.
impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network and adversely affect the price of bitcoin. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests. In addition to technical disruptions such as cyber-attacks, the potential elimination of the net neutrality regulations in the U.S. may have a negative impact on bitcoin and the Bitcoin ecosystem.
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):
Categorize your investments and look at the long picture. In the process of your research, you’ll eventually realize you’re coming across a few different categories of coins. For some of them, you believe they have good teams, great vision, amazing publicity and a track record for successful execution. Great! Put these into medium or long-term holds and let them marinate into a delicious tenderloin. When the price dips, don’t even consider panic selling because anything in your medium or long-term portfolio should remain untouched for a set amount of time. BNB is a good example of a coin Miles considers a long hold. Recently, it dipped 20% for a while, and within our community, we witnessed some sell-offs to preserve investments. A week later, it jumped up almost 3x for a period of time.
The Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.07%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this investment advisory fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
Equity/Index Swaps. In an equity swap, payments on one or both sides are linked to the performance of equities or an equity index. Equity swaps are normally used to (1) initiate and maintain long or short equity exposures either in an index or a specific stock portfolio; (2) temporarily eliminate exposure to an equity portfolio without disturbing the underlying equity position; or (3) increase, reduce, or eliminate market exposure to a single issue or a narrow stock portfolio or obtain greater diversification for a limited period of time without disturbing an underlying position.
Don’t FOMO. This is a spot that people most frequently lose money on. A dash of manipulation, two tablespoons of media hype, a cup of CME and CBOE announcements, and a generous handful of FOMO drove Bitcoin prices from $10,000 to $20,000 in December. Since that time, Bitcoin fell to a low of $9,000 and is currently sitting at around $11,000. It’s easy to look back and say, “if only I waited one month, then I could’ve bought at $9,000 instead of waiting for Bitcoin to hit $20,000 again for me to break even.” But the reality is, the combination of 1) being greedy, 2) investing blindly, and 3) FOMO were likely large contributors to the purchase at an all-time-high. Even in the crazy world of cryptocurrency, if a coin pumps that quickly, it will correct — it’s a matter of time. Speculative pumps are almost always followed by dips. While trying to jump onto a train going full speed sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie, I’m sure most of us can agree we would probably save some limbs if we just waited for it at the next stop.
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.