The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again delayed its decision on whether to approve or not a joint spot Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Invesco and Galaxy Digital.
This marks the second postponement after a similar delay in December and aligns with the SEC’s recent trend of pushing back deadlines for Ethereum ETF proposals.
SEC to Institute Proceedings
According to a Tuesday filing, the SEC indicated that it was “instituting proceedings,” delaying the decision-making process on the proposed ETF.
“Institution of proceedings is appropriate at this time in view of the legal and policy issues raised by the proposed rule change,” the filing stated.
The agency has also extended deadlines for other spot Ethereum ETF proposals, including one from Grayscale Investments. Similar to its inquiry with Grayscale, the SEC raised questions regarding Ethereum’s proof-of-stake mechanism and the potential for concentration of control or influence by a few entities. These factors could pose unique concerns related to fraud and manipulation.
The SEC can extend the Invesco-Galaxy spot Ethereum ETF review period for up to 240 days before reaching a final decision. Invesco filed the proposal with the commission in October 2023, and it was published in the Federal Register in November, setting the deadline for the SEC’s decision to July 2024.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have a limited time to submit their comments on the Invesco-Galaxy Ethereum ETF proposal. Comments are due within 21 days, followed by a 35-day rebuttal period, according to the SEC.
Market Analysts Remain Uncertain
The delay in approving spot Ethereum ETFs has left market analysts uncertain when such investment vehicles might gain approval.
While some analysts at Standard Chartered suggest that approval could come as soon as May 23, others, like Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart, anticipated the recent delay, stating, “100% expected, and more delays will continue to happen in coming months.”
— James Seyffart (@JSeyff) February 6, 2024
Seyffart emphasized that the critical date for spot Ethereum ETFs remains May 23, which is VanEck’s final deadline for approval.
The SEC’s recent decision to approve several spot Bitcoin ETFs prompted speculation about a similar approach toward Ethereum-based investment vehicles. However, Gensler clarified in a statement that the SEC’s move last month was specific to that cryptocurrency and should not be interpreted as a broader endorsement of cryptocurrency ETFs.