Will Ethereum Spot ETF Approval Accelerate Changes in the Domestic Cryptocurrency Market?

An Ethereum spot Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) is set to be listed on the U.S. stock market in the second half of this year. This follows the entry of Bitcoin into mainstream finance and raises the question of whether domestic spot ETF offerings for cryptocurrencies might also be allowed.

On the 26th, industry sources reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the 19B-4 filing for Ethereum spot ETF listings submitted by eight asset management firms, including BlackRock, Grayscale, VanEck, and Fidelity, on the 23rd. This approval comes just four months after the approval of Bitcoin spot ETFs in January. However, approval of the S-1 registration statement is still pending, so actual trading may take several more months.

The SEC’s decision was unexpected, as pessimism prevailed due to the belief that Ethereum’s staking capabilities would classify it as a security, thus lowering its chances of approval. Nonetheless, the SEC allowed the approval on the condition that the staking feature is excluded.

This move significantly raises the possibility of domestic spot ETF listings for cryptocurrencies. Analysts suggest that the proactive steps taken by the U.S. might act as a catalyst for domestic financial authorities. Currently, major advanced economies, including the U.S., Canada, and Germany, are already trading Bitcoin spot ETFs, and Hong Kong has become the first in Asia to approve Bitcoin and Ethereum spot ETFs.

However, domestic financial authorities remain cautious about approving cryptocurrency ETFs. Despite Bitcoin spot ETFs being traded in the U.S., they are not yet available through domestic securities firms. The authorities have faced criticism for “restricting investor choices, which contradicts market economy principles.” Recently, Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Governor Lee Bok-hyun visited the SEC and discussed the background of the Bitcoin spot ETF approval with Chairman Gary Gensler.

‘Gary Gensler (SEC), Lee Bok -hyun (FSS)’

Political circles are also sensing a shift. The majority Democratic Party has pledged to approve Bitcoin spot ETFs as part of their campaign promises for the upcoming general elections. They plan to request a legal interpretation again next month. This is expected to positively influence the implementation of the Virtual Asset User Protection Act in July.