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SEC Chair Anticipates Approval of Spot Ether ETFs This Summer

ByDayne Lee

Jun 16, 2024

SEC Chair Anticipates Approval of Spot Ether ETFs This Summer

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler has indicated that the SEC may approve the listing and trading of spot Ether (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) within the next three months. This development could mark a significant milestone for the cryptocurrency industry.

During a Senate Banking Committee hearing on June 13, 2024, focused on U.S. President Joe Biden’s 2025 budget requests for the SEC, Gensler discussed the potential timeline for the approval of spot Ether ETFs. He mentioned that the SEC expects to approve S-1 registration statements for asset managers “sometime over the course of this summer.”

This comes after the SEC approved 19b-4 filings from eight companies on May 23, allowing them to proceed with their applications for trading these ETFs on U.S. exchanges. However, before these ETFs can officially begin trading, they require final approval through the S-1 registration process.

Congressional Inquiry and Regulatory Perspectives

Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty pressed Gensler on why the SEC had not fully approved Ether ETFs. Hagerty suggested that the SEC was not providing a clear regulatory framework for the crypto industry. While Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Rostin Behnam classified Ether as a commodity, aligning it under CFTC oversight, Gensler focused on the status of Ether ETF applications instead of directly addressing the commodity classification.

Gensler responded, “The Ethereum exchange-traded product filings that were in front of us from stock exchanges — I think there were eight or nine of them — were all jointly approved. Individual issuers still are working through the registration process that’s working smoothly, and I would envision sometime over the course of this summer…”

Progress and Predictions for Ether ETF Launch

In a prior interview on June 5, Gensler had mentioned that while the approval of 19b-4 filings was a step forward, the final green light for spot Ether ETFs would require additional time. Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas has suggested that these products might launch on U.S. exchanges as early as June, with final SEC approvals potentially happening by July 4.

James Seyffart, another ETF analyst, echoed these sentiments, stating on social media platform X: “July was and is a complete guess. But I was more confident in saying that ETH ETFs will launch at some point this summer. That was sort of a given.”

Bitcoin ETF Approvals

The anticipated approval of spot Ether ETFs follows a similar trajectory to that of Bitcoin (BTC) ETFs. On January 10, 2024, the SEC approved 194-b filings for spot Bitcoin ETFs, with these investment vehicles starting to trade on January 11. One of the notable Bitcoin ETFs to begin trading was BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust on the Nasdaq. Other firms such as Fidelity, Grayscale, Bitwise, VanEck, Ark, Invesco Galaxy, and Franklin Templeton have also had their applications approved.

Despite these approvals, it remains unclear which company will first launch its spot Ether ETF once the SEC finalizes the S-1 registration statements.

January 10, 2024SEC approves 194-b filings for spot Bitcoin ETFs.
January 11, 2024Spot Bitcoin ETFs begin trading, including BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust.
May 23, 2024SEC approves 19b-4 filings for eight companies to proceed with Ether ETF applications.
June 5, 2024Gensler indicates spot Ether ETF approvals will require more time post-19b-4 filings.
June 13, 2024Gensler suggests during Senate hearing that Ether ETF approvals may come by summer 2024.
July 4, 2024Analysts predict possible final approval and launch of spot Ether ETFs.

The approval of spot Ether ETFs could significantly impact the cryptocurrency market, providing more opportunities for institutional investors and potentially driving up market liquidity. Ether’s inclusion in the ETF space aligns with growing institutional interest in diversified crypto assets and enhances the credibility of Ethereum as a cornerstone of the DeFi ecosystem.

Moreover, as regulators and lawmakers continue to scrutinize and develop frameworks for crypto assets, the approval of these ETFs might also prompt further discussions on regulatory clarity and the classification of digital assets.

The prospect of the SEC approving spot Ether ETFs by the end of summer 2024 represents a pivotal moment for the cryptocurrency industry. As companies finalize their S-1 registration statements and prepare for potential market entry, investors and stakeholders eagerly await the final approvals. This development not only underscores the evolving regulatory landscape for digital assets but also highlights the increasing integration of cryptocurrencies into mainstream financial markets.

Featured image credit: Rubaitul Azad via Unsplash

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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