SEC should let VanEck launch its ether ETF first, firm exec says

Firm’s head of crypto research Matthew Sigel urges the agency to “respect the queue” ahead of anticipated decision


VanEck crypto research head Matthew Sigel | DAS 2022 New York by Blockworks


VanEck crypto research head Matthew Sigel has a message for the Securities and Exchange Commission: Let the first firm to file for an ether ETF be the first to launch.

That would be (you guessed it) VanEck. 

A New York-based fund group that manages roughly $100 billion in assets, VanEck first filed to launch a spot ether ETF in the US in 2021.

It re-upped its bid to launch such a product in September 2023. The SEC’s 240-day period to rule on the fund expires on May 23, a day ahead of the agency’s deadline to rule on a similar proposal by Ark Invest and 21Shares.

Others looking to launch such funds include BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale, Bitwise, Invesco and Hashdex.

SEC engagement with stock exchanges and fund issuers ramped up earlier this week — spurring optimism around possible ether ETF approval. VanEck said in a Tuesday X post that “the SEC comments are coming in.”

Read more: Politics, amendments, staking: Making sense of the ether ETF developments 

VanEck was the first to file our S-1 for this spot ethereum ETF and we fully expect to get our comments back first and go first,” Sigel said during a X Space Wednesday. 

He added: “A line ensures fairness…so we would urge the SEC to respect the queue.”

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An SEC spokesperson has declined to comment on the ether ETF proposals.

The US securities regulator allowed 10 US spot bitcoin ETFs to launch on the same day in January.

Four months later, BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) has substantially more assets than any other competing product — aside from the converted Grayscale Bitcoin Trust ETF (GBTC). IBIT and GBTC have roughly $19 billion and $20 billion in assets, respectively. 

The VanEck Bitcoin Trust (HODL), meanwhile, manages about $700 million in assets. 

This time around, the SEC should allow VanEck to respond to the agency’s comments first, Sigel argued. He added that the proposed VanEck Ethereum Trust should then be the first to hit the market.

“I just have a fundamental issue with…lining everyone up to go at the same time; that’s never how the process has worked,” Sigel said. “This administration seems to like to micromanage how the pie is divided up and in the process anoint winners — typically large incumbents — and yeah, we’ve got a problem with that.”

The stock exchanges that would list the planned ether ETFs amended what are known as 19b-4 documents on Tuesday.

Read more: Proposed ether ETFs would not stake their ETH, new filings clarify

Industry watchers have noted that even if the SEC approves those 19b-4 proposals, launches would likely not follow immediately. 

Before any such funds would be allowed to start trading, the securities regulator would also have to greenlight the S-1 registration statements filed by VanEck and the other issuers — a process some say could take weeks.

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