Ethereum ETF Launch Date Depends On Issuers, Not SEC: Gensler

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Jun 08, 2024 - 04:50 PM

Authored by Felix Ng via,

The approval of United States spot Ether exchange-traded funds (ETF) will depend on how quickly issuers can respond to comments from the Securities and Exchange Commission, says chairman Gary Gensler. 

Gensler’s comments appear to put the onus for approvals on issuers and indicate the SEC will not drag the process out as some feared.

On May 23, the SEC approved eight 19b-4 filings to list spot Ether ETFs on various U.S. exchanges, though they can’t start trading until they have the required S-1 registration statement approvals.

“These registrants are self-motivated to be responsive to the comments they get, but it’s really up to them how responsive they are,” said Gensler in a June 6 report from Reuters.

The comments shed new light on Gensler’s comments only a day earlier on CNBC — where he said the next steps would “take some time.” Some believed this to mean the commission would take their time signing off on the S-1 Forms.

Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas has said previously the process could take weeks or months, though he’s tipped the first week of July as his base case.

Grayscale challenge influenced Ethereum ETF decision

The SEC is yet to explain why it appeared to change its tone on spot Ether ETFs just days before the first decision deadline.

However, Gensler hinted to Reuters that the move was influenced by Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF legal challenge last year.

Grayscale successfully argued in court that because the SEC had approved Bitcoin futures ETFs, there should be no reason to deny spot Bitcoin ETFs — which became instrumental in their approval.

Speaking to Reuters, Gensler said that Ethereum’s case was similar and that the SEC staff “looked at these [Ether] filings, looked at the various correlations... the correlations are relatively similar to the correlations in the Bitcoin space.”

Alternate theory: Nancy Pelosi-linked SEC Commissioner

Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart — who was caught flat footed by the approval after predicting its low likelihood for months — shared an alternate theory on X. He suggests the reversal on Ether ETFs was influenced by SEC Commissioner Jamie Lizárraga, who has previous ties to an influential member of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi.

Source: James Seyffart

“What I heard from other people was that this could have come from Lizarraga who spent, I don’t even know, a very long time working — he used to be Nancy Pelosi’s right hand man,” said Seyffart in a Bits+Bips podcast with Unchained.

“And a lot of what I was hearing, even leading up to the ETH stuff was that Dems in the Senate and the House really concerned with how the crypto polling was showing up and how many people own it.”

Pelosi was one of many House Democrats who supported the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21) crypto bill, which passed a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 22 in a “watershed moment” for crypto.