Coinbase CEO Demands Ether ETF Approval: “Follow the Law”

Uncertainty surrounds the approval of Ethereum ETFs in the US as regulators debate how to classify the cryptocurrency.

Brian Armstrong showing his love heart Ethereum pillow.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Coinbase CEO has been pushing for Ethereum ETFs to be approved similarly to Bitcoin ETFs.
  • Disagreement between the SEC and CFTC on classifying Ethereum has complicated the matter.
  • Similar to Bitcoin ETFs, legal action might be needed to move things forward.

The wait for Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. could be extended due to ongoing debate over how to classify the digital asset. Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong is calling for swift approval of ETH ETFs, arguing they should be treated similarly to the recently approved Bitcoin ETFs.

SEC and CFTC’s “Turf War” Holds Up Ether ETF Approvals

Armstrong’s comments come amidst a climate of uncertainty surrounding the regulatory status of Ethereum. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to explicitly classify ETH, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considers it a commodity. This discrepancy poses a challenge for firms seeking approval for ETH ETFs.

“I think the Ethereum ETFs very clearly should be approved, and everybody deserves equal treatment under the law,” Armstrong stated in a recent Bloomberg interview. He expressed concern about “politicization” within federal agencies and a potential “turf war” between the SEC and CFTC regarding the classification of ETH.


The SEC, led by Chair Gary Gensler, has remained tight-lipped on its stance towards ETH. While Gensler has acknowledged that many digital assets beyond Bitcoin might be considered securities, he hasn’t addressed ETH specifically. The CFTC, on the other hand, has signaled its view of ETH as a commodity.

Court Battle Over Ethereum ETFs Possible

Armstrong anticipates the possibility of court intervention, similar to the legal battle over Bitcoin ETFs. In August 2023, a court ruled that the SEC’s rejection of Grayscale’s application to convert its Bitcoin Trust into a spot ETF was “arbitrary and capricious.” According to Gensler, this ruling played a crucial role in the eventual green light for Bitcoin ETFs.

“If it does get delayed unfairly, I think the industry will have to follow a similar path to what happened with Bitcoin, which is they’ll essentially go to the courts and the courts will compel the regulators to follow the rules, follow the law and give equal treatment under the law. So it may take additional effort, but I think they really should be approved right away.” Armstrong stated.

The CEO emphasized the importance of fair treatment, suggesting that ETH ETFs deserve approval based on the precedent set by Bitcoin ETFs. However, with the classification issue unresolved, the path towards ETH ETFs in the U.S. remains unclear.

On the Flipside

  • Regulators might be cautious to avoid setting a precedent for easier approval of other cryptocurrency ETFs.
  • Court intervention, while potentially speeding up approval, could create uncertainty in the long run as the legal landscape of cryptocurrency continues to develop.

Why This Matters

The approval process for Ethereum ETFs in the US could hinge on how regulators classify the asset. Suppose Ethereum isn’t treated similarly to Bitcoin despite recent Bitcoin ETF approvals. In that case, it sets a concerning precedent for the future of cryptocurrency ETFs and creates uncertainty for investors hoping for easier access to Ethereum through traditional investment vehicles.


To learn more about the legal issues surrounding the Ethereum Foundation, read here:

Ethereum Foundation Under Investigation by Unknown Authority

To learn more about the SEC’s approach to crypto regulation and Coinbase’s lawsuit against them, read here:

Coinbase Slams SEC for “Oppressive” Approach to Crypto

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.