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News/Ethereum ETFs: ARK Invest, VanEck, and 21Shares Are Breaking New Ground

Ethereum ETFs: ARK Invest, VanEck, and 21Shares Are Breaking New Ground

Sep 7 2023

9 months ago3 minutes read
Robot juggling Ethereum coins, SEC papers, and mini CBOE building on a tightrope

Entering the U.S. Ethereum ETF Jungle

Written by Van

This narrative seeks to unravel the coiling complexity of the U.S. spot Ethereum Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) landscape. Home to a labyrinthine combination of regulatory procedures, critical governmental deadlines, and fluctuating market conditions, it's the setting for a riveting saga of cryptocurrency developments. 

Navigating the Regulatory Conundrum

Maze of Ethereum tokens leading to ETF Approval exit point (1).webp

The tale begins with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) initiating this regulatory adventure. Their tightrope walk involves filing two core 19b-4 applications with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

These filings aspire to reunite ARK 21Shares Ethereum ETF and VanEck Ethereum ETF with a blossoming listing on CBOE’s BZX Exchange. As Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart projects, the SEC's final verdict may not see the light until around May 23, 2024, etching this date in the cryptocurrency calendar as one to watch meticulously.

Interpreting the Regulatory Script

The regulatory journey isn't just about marking milestones but also deciphering the signposts correctly. A 19b-4 form isn't merely an administrative afterthought; it dictates a call to change the rules to the SEC. In contrast, being distinguishable from an S-1 form, it's more than a firm expressing its wish to list a product on an exchange. 

For instance, ARK Invest and 21Shares raised their S-1 regulation flag on September 6, 2023, while VanEck's trail was initiated with an S-1 submission in July 2021. This makes 19b-4 filings somehow more momentous as they set the SEC's adjudicative wheel in motion.

Crypto Market Undergoing Tectonic Shifts

As Ethereum market cap continues to show resilience, the ETF applications have negotiated the tumultuous crypto market with a calculated calm, while the SEC’s delay over Bitcoin ETFs has contributed to noticeable market tremors. 

Amid their commitment to postponing the verdict on seven Bitcoin ETF applications, the SEC’s readiness to wave the flag for Ethereum Futures investment products becomes a beacon for investors, fueling their anticipation.

Deciphering the Custody and Partnership Matrix

ARK Invest and 21Shares, along with VanEck, entrusted Coinbase Custody to act as their custodian, protecting their Ether reserves from market storms. Arming themselves further, ARK Invest and 21Shares formed an alliance with the Bank of New York Mellon, underlining the institutional backing they now possess. 

Similarly, VanEck's ETH trust's administrative responsibilities are assigned to the seasoned State Street Bank, signifying another pivotal institutional involvement.

Chalking Out the Investment Pathway

chart (1).webp

Investment products embodying convenience and cost-effective solutions, these proposed ETFs offer a meticulous strategy for Ethereum investors. Such a course bypasses the complexities associated with trading Ether directly. 

The spotlight is placed firmly on Ether, side-stepping the distractions of derivative investments. VanEck's filing further clarifies that each share will represent a fraction of the trust's net assets, primarily comprising ETH.

A Pulse on the Market Situations and Economy

The journey also provides a glimpse into the fluctuating conditions of the cryptocurrency landscape, visible through real-time cryptocurrency charts. Unfortunately, U.S. interest rates have catapulted from a near-zero position to a robust 5%, affecting the risk appetites of certain investors. 

Crypto price prudence is mirrored in Bitcoin’s performance, which is up by 55% this year but still lingering 60% below its Q4 of 2021 high. Some believe this market caution stems from SEC's apprehension rooted in the lack of a sufficiently regulated crypto market that could deter potential market manipulation.

Eye on the Road Ahead

The future path hinges on the SEC's decision, influenced by the rising demand for these products and the macroeconomic climate that impacts crypto coin prices. Additionally, the 'halvening' event in April 2024 is luring investors, despite its potential impact remaining speculative.

Grayscale's Courtroom Triumph Sparks Spot Ether ETF Onslaught

The robot is juggling three distinct items, shimmering Ethereum coins, a stack of SEC documents, and a miniature model of the CBOE building (1).webp

The journey of U.S Ethereum Exchange Traded Funds took a fascinating turn in August when Grayscale Investments emerged victorious in a lawsuit against the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The consequent filing episodes for spot Ether ETFs suggest an influenced industry trend. Observers anticipate that SEC’s potential affirmation for Ether futures coupled with spot Bitcoin funds would build a robust foundation for spot Ether ETFs.

Companies presenting filings for spot Ether ETFs have identified Grayscale's judicial success as a primary propellant reinforcing their proposal. Nate Geraci, the president of The ETF Store, reckons that Grayscale’s victory is stimulating a regulatory makeover for spot crypto ETFs, urging other financial firms to follow suit.

The Watershed Announcements Trigger the Race

Recently, ARK Invest and 21Shares unveiled their blueprint to inaugurate a fund that secures Ether directly, as opposed to Ether futures. VanEck, which first signaled its intention to launch spot Ether ETF in 2021, rejuvenated its endeavor, coinciding with Grayscale's milestone ruling.

Cboe BZX Exchange, the proposed trading podium for the fund, submitted forms underscoring the SEC’s green light for Bitcoin futures ETFs and highlighting the regulated confines of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Bitcoin futures market.

The underpinning argument presented in the filings noted that the SEC's refusal to permit spot Bitcoin ETFs, grounded on the absence of a regulated market of significant size, was sufficiently countered in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, thus resolving that issue.

A Gateway to Numerous Filings

Assuming that the Grayscale victory stands as the primary instigator for the spot Ether ETF filings, subsequent filings are projected to join the rally. Lending credence to this forecast, the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs and Ether futures ETFs could prompt the SEC to acknowledge the demand for spot Ether ETFs.

However, if the Grayscale ruling withstands the regulatory tide and spot Bitcoin ETFs are permitted, the SEC would find it challenging to offer a substantial reason to deny the spot Ether ETFs. The unfolding saga of this regulatory ballet continues to intrigue the cryptocurrency sector, with every step a possible game-changer.

Conclusion: The Core Takeaway

The burgeoning U.S. spot Ethereum ETF landscape is an entwined tapestry of regulatory hurdles, market ripples, and institutional alliances. With high-profile entities like Coinbase and the Bank of New York Mellon prominently involved, the approval of these ETFs could symbolize a turning point for mainstream Ethereum investment. The SEC's looming decision, guided by shifting market conditions and various economic indexes, could either trigger or dampen this nascent market's growth.


1. How do the SEC's 19b-4 and S-1 filings differ in respect to Ethereum ETFs?

The 19b-4 and S-1 filings are distinctly different. A 19b-4 application is a request to the SEC for a rule change, which is critical for listing an ETF. For instance, CBOE made two 19b-4 filings for ARK 21Shares Ethereum ETF and VanEck Ethereum ETF. On the other hand, an S-1 form is filed by firms intending to list a product, signalling the initial step towards registration.

2. How has the deferment of Bitcoin ETF applications by the SEC induced market volatility?

The deferral of Bitcoin ETF decisions by the SEC has led to uncertainty and volatility in the crypto market. This postponement hindered investment momentum and consequently caused market corrections. Despite this, the SEC's openness to Ethereum Futures investment products adds another layer of anticipation, further stirring market dynamics.

3. Who have ARK Invest, 21Shares and VanEck chosen as custodians for their Ether reserves?

Coinbase Custody has been designated as the primary custodian to safeguard the Ether reserves for ARK Invest, 21Shares, and VanEck. This arrangement ensures secure custody and handling of these substantial cryptocurrency assets.

4. How are the proposed Ethereum ETFs slated to simplify the investment process for investors?

ETFs, as designed by ARK Invest, 21Shares, and VanEck, provide investors with a convenient and cost-effective method for investing in Ethereum. It bypasses the complexity of direct Ethereum trading and offers exposure to Ether through traditional investment channels. As such, the proposed ETFs aim to create a layout that allows each share to represent a fraction of the trust's net assets, primarily holding ETH.

5. What role are economic indicators like interest rates playing in the SEC's decision-making process concerning Ethereum ETFs?

Economic indicators such as interest rates are pivotal in influencing the SEC's decision-making. U.S. interest rates, for instance, have surged from near-zero levels to over 5%, affecting the risk appetite of investors and consequently the crypto market. High interest rates can make riskier assets like cryptocurrencies less appealing. Thus, the financial and economic climate will play an integral part in the SEC's upcoming verdict on Ethereum ETFs.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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