SEC Pushes Spot Ethereum ETF Decision to March

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  • The SEC recently extended the decision deadline on Fidelity’s Ethereum ETF application until March
  • Fidelity is one of three applications, including ArkInvest and BlackRock
  • The SEC’s hesitancy with Bitcoin ETFs has raised concerns about the difficulty of approval

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently pushed the deadline for its decision on Fidelity’s Ethereum ETF application until March in a widely anticipated move. Fidelity was the second entity to file for a spot Ethereum ETF, doing so two months after ArkInvest’s September 2023 application, and the SEC has delayed a decision for two months, although experts believe that May will be the time when the decision on multiple applications will be made. The SEC’s reluctance to offer a Bitcoin ETF suggests that it will be harder for those applying for one to be successful, with some experts putting the odds of success at 50%.

No Surprise at SEC Delay

Fidelity filed for its Ethereum ETF in November last year, eight weeks after ArkInvest fired the starter pistol and right at the same time as ETF legends BlackRock filed for their own Ethereum ETF.

The matter has been complicated by the SEC’s prevailing view that all cryptocurrencies bar Bitcoin are securities, and even then it took multiple court defeats for SEC Chair Gary Gensler to buckle and approve the ETF, noting at the time that the awarding of a Bitcoin ETF was not support for the commodity itself.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that the SEC is pushing back its decision timeframe for Ethereum ETFs, with ETF analyst James Seyffart saying that the news was “Completely expected” and that the “Dates that really matter are late May in my view.” This is because VanEck’s Ethereum ETF application has been delayed until May 23, leading to expectations that BlackRock and Fidelity will meet the same fate.

Expectations Vary

Expectations of a final outcome vary between commentators, with another ETF specialist, ETF analyst Eric Balchunas telling Cointelegraph that “The Ether spot is tied to the hip of Bitcoin spot for sure. It’s gonna go wherever it goes. It’s basically like on a 15-foot rope following it.”

Others, however, aren’t so sure, with JPMorgan’s analysts believing that the situation is a little more precarious with Ethereum, saying, “While we are sympathetic to the above arguments we are skeptical that the SEC will classify ether as a commodity as soon as May.” The bank added that they believe the chances of approval of a spot Ethereum ETF by May this year is “not higher than 50%.”