With all eyes on bitcoin ETF decision, SEC kicks ether can down the road

The regulator extends its time to rule on ether funds proposed by Hashdex, Ark Invest, Grayscale and VanEck — and is requesting public input


Nenad Novaković/Unsplash modified by Blockworks


The US Securities and Exchange Commission — expected to rule on planned spot bitcoin ETFs next month — is pushing its decisions on similar funds focused on ether. 

The regulator said it needed more time to rule on an ether ETF proposed by Brazil-based fund group Hashdex in a filing Monday — adding it “encourages” public comments on the proposal. 

If approved, the Hashdex Nasdaq Ethereum ETF would hold ether futures contracts, as well as ether directly. The SEC had last postponed its ruling on the product last month. 

Nasdaq — the exchange on which the new fund would trade — makes similar arguments in the Hashdex ether proposal as those made in spot bitcoin ETF applications, the Monday disclosure notes.

“Do commenters agree that arguments to support the listing of Bitcoin ETPs apply equally to the shares?” the filing says. “Are there particular features related to ether and its ecosystem…that raise unique concerns about ether’s susceptibility to fraud and manipulation?”

Read more: Grayscale court victory used in arguments for spot ether ETF

The SEC published similar filings Monday indicating it would “institute proceedings” for the planned Ark 21Shares Ethereum ETF, Grayscale Ethereum Futures Trust and VanEck Ethereum ETF.  

The Monday filings came after the SEC postponed its decision on the Invesco Galaxy Ethereum ETF last week. It designated Feb. 6 as the date by which it would rule on the product, or again reveal an intention to take more time. 

The SEC has until Jan. 10 to rule on a proposed spot bitcoin ETF by Ark Invest and 21Shares. It could approve or deny other similar proposals at the time.  

Neena Mishra, director of ETF research at Zacks Investment Research, previously told Blockworks that if spot bitcoin ETFs are approved, “the debut of ether spot ETFs would not be far behind.”

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart added last month: “Assuming we do get a spot bitcoin ETF and we are right about that, I think the SEC will be very hard-pressed to find a way to deny spot Ethereum ETFs.”

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