Spot Ether ETF Applications Decisions Delayed by SEC

Grayscale and BlackRock are among the companies trying to bring spot ether ETFs to market.

AccessTimeIconJan 25, 2024 at 5:22 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 8:31 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission delayed an application by Grayscale Investments to convert its Ethereum trust product (ETHE) into an exchange-traded fund (ETF). One day earlier, the agency did the same regarding BlackRock's application for a similar vehicle.

The SEC has traditionally opposed spot crypto ETF products, only allowing a flurry of spot bitcoin ETFs to go live in the U.S. for the first time earlier in January. Thursday's delay of any decision on Grayscale's application is unsurprising, as is its delay of the BlackRock bid.

In the run-up to the SEC approving spot bitcoin ETF applications, issuers and exchanges began filing updated documents addressing various questions from the regulator. It's unclear whether the spot ethereum ETF applications have progressed to this stage.

However, this week's filings pose a number of questions for the general public to weigh in on, including one about whether a spot ethereum ETF might be similar to a spot bitcoin ETF.

"Do commenters agree that arguments to support the listing of Bitcoin ETPs apply equally to the Shares," the filing asked. "Are there particular features related to ETH and its ecosystem, including its proof of stake consensus mechanism and concentration of control or influence by a few individuals or entities, that raise unique concerns about ETH’s susceptibility to fraud and manipulation?"

Other questions focus on market manipulation, whether spot and futures markets are correlated and whether the CME futures market is of significant size – similar questions to those the SEC has asked about bitcoin when reviewing those applications.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.