Gary Gensler Says Spot Ether ETF Launch Will Take Time

Gensler accused crypto exchanges of trading against their customers.

By: Samuel Haig Loading...

Gary Gensler Says Spot Ether ETF Launch Will Take Time

The Ethereum community may be waiting longer than initially expected for spot Ether ETFs to enter the market.

In a June 6 appearance on CNBC, Gary Gensler, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said it will “take some time” for the agency to greenlight spot Ether ETF applicants’ S-1 registration statements.

The S-1 forms’ passage is the final obstacle standing in the way of the funds going live after the SEC approved the prospective funds’ 19b-4 filings on May 23. However, Gensler gave no indication that the S-1 filings would ultimately be knocked back.

“Ethereum [futures] had been traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange… for three plus years, and the staff looked at that closely,” Gensler said. “The underlying exchange-traded products still need to go through a process to have the disclosure about that, and that will take some time, but they are working on that right now.”

Gensler comments suggest that some analysts may have been overly optimistic in predicting that the spot Ether ETFs could launch within a matter of weeks. Eric Balchunas, an ETF analyst at Bloomberg, recently predicted that the funds could debut sometime around early July.

By contrast, Nate Geraci, co-founder of the ETF Institute, posted that it could take up to three months for the spot Ether ETFs to begin trading.

The SEC’s abrupt preliminary approval of spot Ether ETFs came as a shock to analysts and traders last month.

For several months, onlookers anticipated that the funds would be rejected, citing a lack of cooperation from the SEC when meeting with applicants in the months leading up to the May deadline.

The SEC has notoriously pursued a regulation-by-enforcement campaign targeting the web3 industry since Gensler's appointment in 2021, with the agency also appearing determined to classify Ether as a securities asset in recent years.

However, Gensler has far from warmed to the web3 industry since approving the Ethereum ETFs' 19b-4 filings, with the SEC chairperson criticizing the broader digital asset markets for failing to maintain adequate disclosure and transparency.

“Right now, without prejudging anyone, these tokens… have not given you the disclosures that you not only need to make your investment decisions, but are also required by the law,” Gensler told CNBC.

Gensler went on to accuse cryptocurrency exchanges of failing to abide by the same regulations expected of platforms facilitating trade in mainstream assets, even accusing digital asset venues of actively trading against their users.

“What President Roosevelt did was he created [the SEC] so that you, the investors, get disclosure… and secondly, that exchanges… get properly regulated to protect against fraud and manipulation," Gensler said. “These crypto exchanges are doing things we would never allow The New York Stock Exchange to do — our laws don’t allow you to trade against your customers.”

The SEC has brought charges against several leading cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken.