Friday Newsletter

Explore the latest trends, gain valuable insights, and stay informed in the dynamic cryptocurrency ecosystem.

24 May 2024

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved spot Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on May 23, but unlike the spot Bitcoin ETFs, the approval did not involve a vote from the five-member committee, including SEC chief Gary Gensler. Instead, the approval was granted by the SEC’s Trading and Markets Division.

This marks a distinct process compared to the spot Bitcoin ETFs, which were approved in January through a voting process by the entire SEC committee, including Gensler. For the spot Ether ETFs, the SEC approved 19b-4 filings from prominent firms like BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale, Bitwise, VanEck, Ark, Invesco Galaxy, and Franklin Templeton without extensive commentary beyond the official filing statement:

“For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.”

Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart explained that such procedural differences are normal and that requiring an official vote for every decision would be impractical. However, some in the crypto community speculate that this method was used to obscure political affiliations within the SEC.

An X user suggested that a commissioner might challenge the decision within the next 10 days, hinting at potential political motives behind the delegated authority. Another user linked the SEC’s decision to political pressures, upcoming elections, and new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) regulations.

A notable difference between the approval processes is that the spot Bitcoin ETFs started trading immediately after approval, having already secured S-1 form clearance. In contrast, spot Ether ETFs may take weeks or months to hit exchanges as the filers await S-1 SEC registration.