After bitcoin ETF approval, analysts remain divided on ETH ETF timetable

While some analysts think there could be an ether ETF decision in just a few months, others warn we may be years away

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Artwork by Crystal Le

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When will spot ether ETFs launch?

With spot bitcoin ETF approvals behind crypto, many are turning to what they believe is next: ether ETFs. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently delayed decisions on the handful of spot ether ETF applicants, which include Fidelity and BlackRock. 

However, experts aren’t aligned on when a spot ether ETF could hit the market. 

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart told Blockworks last week that he believes there’s a 60% chance that the SEC will opt to approve the potential ETFs in May.

TD Cowen expects a much longer path to an ether ETF and they don’t expect approval in 2024. 

Read more: BlackRock spot ether ETF decision delayed by SEC

“We still believe that action is unlikely until late 2025 or early 2026 as we believe SEC Chair Gensler wants to apply what is learned from the recently approved spot Bitcoin ETFs to spot Ethereum ETFs,” analysts led by Jaret Seiberg said in a note. 

The decision to approve or deny the ETFs is political, TD Cowen continued. 

“We believe there is no upside for SEC Chair Gary Gensler to approve a spot Ethereum ETF given how upset progressive Democrats were over the agency’s approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF earlier this month,” they wrote.

Standard Chartered, however, believes that ether ETFs could begin trading sooner rather than later. 

“Approvals are likely on 23 May,” analysts wrote. “We think the SEC’s dominant strategy for ETH ETF applications is to replicate the BTC process. This partly reflects structural similarities between the two.”

The path to a bitcoin ETF took several years — and some refilings from interested issuers — as well as a court battle, before the SEC voted 3-2 to approve them. 

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce previously said that the agency doesn’t plan to face another court case before approving a product such as ether ETFs.

She also noted that the SEC will “apply precedent,” though she offered no timeline.

TD Cowen said that they do believe the SEC will approve a spot ether ETF, most likely under Chair Gary Gensler.

Standard Chartered, however, believes it’s “highly likely” the agency will follow in the same footsteps as the bitcoin ETFs. 

The Standard Chartered note lines up with Seyffart’s beliefs. 

“So if the SEC wants to get geared up and ready to go and wants [the potential ETF issuers] to go at the same time, they’ll likely do it on May 23 unless they can figure out some way to deny or delay this whole process and do what they want,” he told Blockworks.

Van Buren Capital general partner Scott Johnsson also believes that, long-term, ether ETF approval “is almost guaranteed.”

But the SEC may need more time to “get up to speed with Ethereum versus Bitcoin,” he said in a post on X last week.


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