The race to launch the first Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States is now officially underway. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has filed two applications, known as 19b-4 filings, to request the listing of the ARK 21Shares Ethereum ETF and the VanEck Ethereum ETF on its BZX Exchange. These filings mark a significant development in the ETF approval process, as they initiate the countdown for a decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Unlike the previously submitted S-1 filings, which only indicate a firm’s intention to list an investment product, the 19b-4 filings prompt the SEC to review the applications and make a decision. Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart tweeted that this signifies the official start of the race for the first spot Ethereum ETF in the U.S., estimating that the final deadline for the SEC’s decision could be around May 23, 2024.
The 19b-4 form is used by self-regulatory organizations, such as stock exchanges, to request a rule change to the SEC. This is different from an S-1 filing, which simply signals a firm’s intent to list a specific investment product on a national exchange. The SEC now holds the responsibility of reviewing the CBOE’s 19b-4 filings and determining whether to approve the Ethereum ETFs. However, similar to the case of spot Bitcoin ETFs, the SEC may also choose to delay the decision.
ARK Invest and 21Shares joined forces to file an S-1 to the SEC on September 6, indicating their intention to launch a spot Ethereum ETF. On the other hand, VanEck’s S-1 filing dates back to July 2021, putting them ahead in terms of timing. While these two ETFs are now in the running for approval, Seyffart expects more spot Ethereum ETF filings to come in the following days.
The announcement of these ETF filings comes after the SEC’s signal of intent to approve Ethereum Futures investment products on August 17. This move has generated increased competition among firms like Grayscale Investments and BlackRock, who are currently vying for approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF. The SEC’s decisions on these ETFs will have significant implications for the cryptocurrency market and could potentially open the doors for institutional investors to gain exposure to these digital assets.
In conclusion, the race for the first spot Ethereum ETF in the U.S. has officially begun with the CBOE’s 19b-4 filings for the ARK 21Shares Ethereum ETF and VanEck Ethereum ETF. The SEC will now review these filings and make a decision, potentially by May 2024. This development follows the SEC’s signal of intent to approve Ethereum Futures investment products and marks a key milestone in the ongoing efforts to bring cryptocurrency ETFs to the U.S. market.