SEC EXPECTED TO REJECT ETHEREUM ETFS IN MAY 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly unlikely to approve Ethereum (ETH) spot ETFs for public trading next month, potentially delaying any such products until at least December 2024, which would place Ethereum significantly behind Bitcoin in Wall Street adoption.

Reasons for Potential Ethereum ETF Denial

According to sources cited by Reuters, interactions between the SEC and parties interested in launching Ethereum ETFs have been largely non-constructive. The SEC staff have refrained from engaging in detailed discussions about the ETF proposals, despite the approaching deadline for applications from companies like VanECK and ARK.

This situation contrasts sharply with the period leading up to the approval of Bitcoin spot ETFs in January, during which the SEC actively engaged with applicants to refine their proposals, including discussions on specific operational aspects like in-kind versus in-cash redemptions.

“The regulatory landscape is still unclear, and it looks more probable that any approval could be postponed until later in 2024 or beyond,” noted Todd Rosenbluth, head of ETF analysis at VettaFi.

Arguments from ETF issuers that the SEC should approve the products hinge on the October listing of Ethereum futures ETFs, which they claim establishes a precedent for the safety of Ethereum-based investment vehicles in public markets.

This reasoning echoes the arguments made by Grayscale in its 2022 lawsuit against the SEC over Bitcoin spot ETF rejections, a legal battle Grayscale won a year later, which prompted the SEC to approve those ETFs.

Nevertheless, the SEC’s lack of detailed inquiries suggests a disinterest in the applications, leading industry experts to anticipate a likely denial.

Potential for Future Legal Challenges

Sources indicate that the approval of ether ETFs might eventually occur, but likely only after an initial rejection and subsequent legal challenge.

Eric Balchunas, a Bloomberg ETF analyst, speculated earlier this month that Grayscale might hesitate to finance another lawsuit given the potentially lower financial benefits compared to their previous legal victory.

“The investment in time and resources might not justify the potential returns, given the expected smaller amount of assets under management,” Balchunas stated.

SEC chairman has been vocally skeptical about cryptocurrencies, often criticizing their limited unique applications beyond enabling illegal financial activities and their inherent centralization.

Bitwise’s Chief Investment Officer, Matt Hougan, suggested that the SEC might cite insufficient review time as a reason to defer a decision on Ethereum ETFs, expressing a desire for more data before proceeding.

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