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SEC officially approves spot Ether ETFs

The SEC's recent approval follows yesterday's vote by the US House on a bill seen by many as bringing much-needed clarity to crypto regulations

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: May 24, 2024 03:03:25 PM IST
Updated: May 24, 2024 03:09:07 PM IST

SEC officially approves spot Ether ETFsImage: Shutterstock

On Thursday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved proposals from Nasdaq, CBOE, and NYSE to list exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on Ether. This means that these products could potentially start trading this year. However, individual ETF applications still need separate approval.

The SEC's decision on Thursday was a welcome surprise for both the cryptocurrency industry and the firms involved. The industry had previously expected rejection as recently as Monday.

The clock was ticking on the SEC's decision for VanEck's Ether ETF filing, with Thursday as the deadline. Given the SEC's lack of communication, most market players expected rejection. However, in a surprising turn on Monday, the SEC threw everyone a curveball. They requested the exchanges (Nasdaq, CBOE, and NYSE) to revise their filings quickly. This last-minute request meant the industry had to scramble and condense weeks of work into just a few days.

Getting the green light for the 19b-4 forms is a big step, but there's still a hurdle to clear before these Ether ETFs can start trading. Each issuer (like VanEck or BlackRock) needs separate SEC approval for their S-1 registration statements. This could take anywhere from days to months, according to industry analysts. Interestingly, the SEC reportedly requested these applications be expedited on May 20th. One fundamental change across many filings seems to be the removal of staking features, which are likely to address regulatory concerns.

The SEC's approval hinges on its careful review of the proposals submitted by the exchanges (Nasdaq, CBOE, and NYSE). Its analysis, including how the price of Ether tracks other assets, assured it that these Ether ETFs comply with relevant regulations for national securities exchanges.

There seems to have been a bit of a snafu with the SEC's initial announcement on Ether ETFs. The filing went live briefly, then pulled down, possibly due to a premature leak. Considering their previous reluctance towards crypto, the SEC might have wanted to delay this decision. However, this paves the way for Bitcoin and Ether ETFs to enter the US market. The approval of individual ETF applications from issuers such as VanEck and BlackRock is still pending.

The SEC's approval for Ether ETFs comes hot on the heels of a favourable vote in the House of Representatives. The Financial Innovation and Technology Act aims to bring much-needed clarity to crypto regulations by defining the SEC and CFTC roles. However, it's still early – the bill needs Senate approval and the President's signature to become law.

Ether's price has surged by almost 21% in the past week, currently trading at around $3,600.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist.
Twitter: @bhardwajshash