In brief

  • No cryptocurrency ETFs are available in the US.
  • VanEck has filings for both a Bitcoin ETF and Ethereum ETF.

Asset management firm VanEck has filed a proposal for an Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC has been inundated with Bitcoin ETF filings but has yet to approve any type of crypto ETF, unlike Canada, which this year gave the green light to several for the first time. Van Eck's own Bitcoin ETF filing is being reviewed by the SEC, which is expected to decide by June 17 or extend its deadline.

An ETF is a financial product that allows people to invest in an asset, in this case Ethereum, without buying it directly. Investors can buy and sell what amounts to a stock version of Ethereum that tracks ETH's price. Shares in the VanEck Ethereum Trust would be calculated daily using prices from five Ethereum exchanges.

Traditional investors with wealth already have avenues for getting exposure to crypto assets without taking on the burden of storing them, most notably Grayscale. That firm controls more than 3% of the Bitcoin in circulation and has a comparable stake in the Ethereum market. However, ETFs are more open to middle-class investors, who can easily integrate them into a retirement portfolio.

As the filing puts it, "The Trust provides investors with the opportunity to access the market for ETH through a traditional brokerage account without the potential technical barriers to entry or risks involved with holding or transferring ETH directly, mining it, or acquiring it from an exchange."

The inclusion of three Bitcoin ETFs and three Ethereum ETFs earlier this year on the  Toronto Stock Exchange has given fresh hope to investment firms south of the border. An ETF is so desirable that Anthony Scaramucci's SkyBridge Capital, whose Bitcoin fund attracted $370 million within weeks of opening, applied for one knowing that it would put its current fund "out of business."