The SEC has quietly begun the process of weighing whether to approve an exchange-traded fund (ETF) for the cryptocurrency ether (ETH).
The backers of the EtherIndex Ether Trust first filed in July 2016, seeking to launch an ETF backed by a cache of ethers on the NYSE Arca exchange. NYSE Arca then filed for a proposed rule change clearing the way for the ETF listing in December, according to a notice published in January.
A new notice from the SEC reveals that the agency has begun weighing whether it will approve the proposed ETF.
The agency remarked in the notice:
"Institution of such proceedings is appropriate at this time in view of the legal and policy issues raised by the proposed rule change. Institution of proceedings does not indicate that the Commission has reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues involved. Rather, as described below, the Commission seeks and encourages interested persons to provide comments on the proposed rule change."
The potential launch of an ether ETF – though subject to final approval – would mark the latest development in the ether's market, following recent price increases that have seen the value of 1 ETH rise above $50.
The SEC is also seeking comments and feedback on which approach it should take, though notably, a previous comment solicitation went unanswered, according to the agency.
It remains to be seen whether the SEC moves to approve the proposed ETF. In the past month and a half, the SEC has rejected rule changes that would have cleared the way for two bitcoin ETFs, citing concerns over market surveillance and insufficient regulation.
A representative for EtherIndex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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