Fund manager VanEck filed for an ethereum-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Wednesday that would seek to sidestep U.S. regulators’ crypto ETF blockade by trading ether indirectly.
The Ethereum Strategy ETF would invest in ether futures contracts, Canada’s approved ether ETFs, private ether funds and exchange-traded products with exposure to ether. But it won’t buy the digital asset itself, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
VanEck has already filed to register a pure-play ether ETF. But that product’s fate remains unclear and is likely tied to that of over a dozen bitcoin ETF bids (all so-called “33 Act” products) that are also before the SEC.
By contrast, VanEck’s indirect ether ETF is a “40 Act” fund. That ETF structure likely carries more investor protections than its 33 Act counterpart, which may be an important distinction for SEC Chairman Gary Gensler.
Earlier this month, Gensler hinted the SEC may look more favorably upon bitcoin ETFs that only trade futures contracts. He didn’t comment more broadly on crypto ETFs. Ether and bitcoin are the only two crypto assets approved for futures trading in the U.S.
That VanEck’s proposed fund would trade a broad array of ether products might fall outside Gensler’s guardrails.
The company has also filed for a similar fund that would invest indirectly in bitcoin and for a more direct bitcoin ETF.