Are Ethereum ETFs Being Hamstrung by SEC’s Securities Claim?

Despite Bitcoin ETF success, Ethereum ETF approvals face delays due to regulatory uncertainty surrounding its classification.

Traffic moving toward Ethereum ETF.
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  • The CFTC and SEC have been debating the classification of Ethereum as a security.
  • The CFTC Chairman has been working with the SEC Chairman to determine how to classify ETH.
  • Analysts have predicted that the SEC’s ambiguity has prolonged Ethereum ETF approval.

The success of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and the subsequent price rally have turned the market’s attention to Ethereum (ETH) ETFs. However, unlike Bitcoin, the approval process for ETH ETFs is facing significant delays. Could this be due to the lack of clarity on classification and the mixed stances between regulators?

Ethereum ETFs Held Back by Lack of Clarity

The core of the issue lies in Ethereum’s classification. While the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considers ETH a commodity, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to take a definitive stance, leaving the industry in a state of uncertainty. 

This ambiguity has particularly impacted businesses offering ETH-related products and services, hindering the approval of spot Ethereum ETFs. The recent activities of Prometheum, a crypto startup planning to launch a trading desk and custodial service for ETH, have further highlighted the need for regulatory clarity. 


By obtaining a special license overseen by the SEC, Prometheum has implicitly suggested that ETH should be classified as a security under U.S. securities law. This stance has sparked concern within the industry, as classifying ETH as a security could have significant implications for various crypto companies and potentially disrupt the established regulatory landscape.

In response to these developments, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam has emphasized the potential negative consequences of redesignating ETH as a security. 

He warned that such a move would create additional regulatory hurdles for market participants and could disrupt the smooth functioning of existing ETH-related products.

SEC’s Silence on ETH Classification

While the SEC has not explicitly stated its position on ETH, its ongoing review of multiple applications for spot Ethereum ETFs suggests a potential shift towards classifying it as a security. 


However, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has declined to comment on the specific case of ETH, reiterating the agency’s approach of evaluating each crypto asset based on its characteristics.

The SEC’s lack of a definitive stance has led analysts to predict further delays in the approval process for spot Ethereum ETF applications. This approach appears similar to the SEC’s cautious handling of spot Bitcoin ETFs, which were only approved in January 2024 with significant reservations expressed by Chair Gensler.

On the Flipside

  • While Prometheum obtaining an SEC license suggests they consider ETH a security, it doesn’t necessarily represent the stance of the entire crypto industry.
  • Despite reviewing multiple applications, the SEC’s refusal to comment on ETH specifically keeps individual proposals in limbo.

Why This Matters

While Bitcoin’s classification as a commodity paved the way for successful ETFs, the ongoing debate around Ethereum’s classification as a security or commodity creates uncertainty for businesses and could potentially disrupt the regulatory landscape for the entire crypto market.

To learn more about the SEC’s decision on Ether ETFs, read here:

SEC Extends ETH ETF Wait with BlackRock and Fidelity Delays

To learn more about the legal battle between Binance and the SEC, read here:

SEC’s “Mortal Blow” to Binance Slashes Revenue and Workforce

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.