First Mover Americas: Slow Start for Ether Futures ETFs

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Oct. 3, 2023.

AccessTimeIconOct 3, 2023 at 2:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 3, 2023 at 2:04 p.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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It was a slow start for futures-based ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on their first day of trading. A total of nine of the ETFs offering exposure to ether futures came to market on Monday. Five will hold only ether futures, while four will hold a mix of bitcoin and ether futures. One of those funds, Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF) – soon to be renamed – has been in existence for about two years as a bitcoin-only fund, but is changing its strategy to include ether. The rest of the vehicles are new to market. “Pretty meh volume for the Ether Futures ETFs as a group,” said Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas. Among the more popular of the new ETFs today, VanEck’s Ethereum Strategy ETF (EFUT) traded just shy of 25,000 shares at a price roughly averaging $17 per share on Monday for a total dollar volume of just $425,000. For comparison, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) – which launched in October 2021 amid a raging crypto bull market – reported trading volume of more than $1 billion on its first day.

Grayscale Investments in conjunction with NYSE Arca has filed for approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to convert the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) to a spot ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF). Grayscale’s Ethereum trust is the largest ether investment product in the world, with almost $5 billion in assets under management. “At Grayscale, our unwavering commitment is to offer investors transparent and regulated access to crypto through product structures that are familiar,” said Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein in a statement. “As we file to convert ETHE to an ETF, the natural next step in the product’s evolution, we recognize this as an important moment to bring Ethereum even further into the U.S. regulatory perimeter.”

Former crypto boss Sam Bankman-Fried wants to stop the government from calling multiple witnesses, including company investors and a Ukrainian customer left bereft by the collapse of his FTX exchange, according to court filings made just hours before his trial is due to begin. Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of fraud after FTX filed for bankruptcy in November, doesn’t want former company insiders testifying about the meaning of supposedly “coded” expressions used as part of an alleged conspiracy to misuse customer funds. While prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice want former customers and investors to testify about how they understood FTX would safeguard their assets, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Mark Cohen said in a filing made public Tuesday that the request was “premature,” and would prompt members of the jury to conclusions they should draw for themselves.

Chart of The Day

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  • Historically October has been considered a bullish month for bitcoin with some analysts referring to it as "Uptober".
  • In October 2021 the cryptocurrency gained almost 40% and in October 2022 bitcoin saw monthly gains of 5%.
  • Source: TradingView.

- Lyllah Ledesma

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Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.