US SEC expected to deny spot Ether ETFs next month

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will most likely deny spot Ether (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETF) in May, according to a new report.

Reuters reported on April 24 that U.S. issuers and other firms expect the SEC to reject spot Ether ETF applications next month following meetings with the regulator in recent weeks, citing four people who participated in the meetings.

The four persons, who asked to be anonymous due to the private nature of the discussions, said recent meetings between issuers and the SEC have been one-sided, and agency staff have not discussed substantive details about the proposed products.

The sources opposed the unsuccessful talks regarding Ether ETFs to detailed discussions between issuers and the agency in January, weeks before it approved spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Before the historic approval, the SEC rejected spot BTC ETF filings for over a decade. It only changed its stance after Grayscale Investments won a court victory against the securities regulator in August 2023.

Many analysts agree that the SEC is likely to further delay possible approval of Ether ETFs.

“It seems more likely that approval will be delayed until later in 2024, or longer,” VettaFi ETF data analyst Todd Rosenbluth reportedly said, adding that the regulatory landscape is still too “cloudy.”

Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas previously estimated chances of the SEC approving a spot Ether ETF in May at around 35% in March. He also noted that he’d sourced “good intel” to suggest that the SEC may be giving the silent treatment to prospective fund issuers on purpose.

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Balchunas also mentioned that SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s stance on Ether could also impact the decision process as Gensler has refused to give clarity on whether Ether was a security.

While the U.S. is apparently set for another delay, some global jurisdictions have been moving forward with plans to start trading ETF products.

On April 24, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) officially approved the first batch of spot Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether ETFs, including three BTC and three ETH ETFs by China Asset Management’s (ChinaAMC), Harvest Global Investments and Bosera.

Following approval, Hong Kong’s crypto ETFs are expected to start trading on April 30.

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