US SEC Approves spot Ethereum ETFs: Crypto’s Rise Continues

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the sale of spot Ether Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). A welcome surprise for the crypto market?

In what is being called a surprising move, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the sale of spot Ether Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). 

The approval comes after the SEC combined proposals from the Nasdaq, NYSE and CBOE exchanges, which asked for changes to existing rules so that Ethereum Exchange-Traded Products (ETPs) and ETFs are allowed. 

The SEC’s approval of spot Ether ETFs follows the approval of Bitcoin ETFs and ETPs in January this year after a lengthy process, but one which saw Bitcoin’s price rise to an all-time high.

Despite the law change being granted for the trade of spot Ether ETFs, trading will not immediately begin. Issuers first need the SEC to approve individual ETF registration statements with details of investor disclosures. 

It is not yet clear how long the SEC’s approval process might take. 

Ethereum ETFs: Industry reaction

The swift approval of spot Ether ETFs comes as a surprise to many in the industry, given the SEC’s historic hostility towards crypto and the lengthy process it took for spot Bitcoin ETFs to be approved. 

Reacting to the SEC’s first stage approval of Ethereum ETFs, Alex Saleh, Head of Partnerships at Coincover, says: “This is a welcome surprise given the challenges of the Bitcoin ETF approvals and the SEC’s historical hostility towards crypto. 

“The US is the largest market for ETFs in the world, and where the US moves, others usually follow. The launch of Ethereum ETFs still needs to go through a second stage of approval, but if given the green light, would represent a major vote of confidence in the role that digital assets will play in our financial system and open the floodgates to more of these products.”

Moreover, the SEC’s move may be a nod to the trading success of spot Bitcoin ETFs so far, with crypto becoming highly popular among straight-edge investors happy to take higher risks in what has otherwise been a struggling investment landscape over the past two years.

Alex continues: “The SEC’s move is another sign of the growing appetite for crypto ETFs and could introduce fresh demand pressure on Ethereum spot prices since exposure to Ethereum would be opened to a wider pool of investors.

“This is an exciting moment for the crypto community, but there are still risks that come with any new financial instrument. Volatility is a given, and widespread adoption of Ethereum ETFs would lead to fund managers accumulating large amounts of Ethereum across a range of custody methods. This will be a prime target for hacks, attacks, and possible human error. 

“We anticipate greater expectations around risk mitigation and security capabilities, meaning security is paramount and must be a top priority for ETF managers.”

Not all reaction to the SEC’s latest announcement has been uniform, however, and where Alex Saleh sees the introduction of spot Ether ETFs as a welcome surprise, Bitpanda Co-founder and CEO, Eric Demuth, while welcoming the announcement, calls it “well overdue”.

Eric Demuth, Bitpanda

He says: “Despite the SEC’s stance that ETH is somehow a security, we are seeing another key part of the crypto industry unlocked for institutional investors. 

“It’s yet another sign of how the crypto industry is changing and another step towards crypto rightly being treated the same as any other asset class. 

“This approval means new institutional investors from the US, less volatility, and more evidence for crypto’s long-term future in the world of finance. 

“But let’s be honest: Even a rejection would not have changed much about the positive future for ETH and the entire crypto space.”

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