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Coinbase advocates for SEC nod on Ethereum ETF listing

TL;DR

  • Coinbase has formally requested the SEC to approve Grayscale’s proposed spot ether ETF, emphasizing Ethereum’s classification as a commodity.
  • Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal highlighted the consensus view of Ethereum as a commodity, especially after it transitioned to a proof-of-stake mechanism.
  • The push for spot ether ETFs aligns with growing institutional interest in regulated, investment-grade cryptocurrency products.

Coinbase has publicly urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve listing Grayscale’s proposed spot ether ETF. Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer, took to the social media platform X to announce the company’s formal response to the SEC’s request for comments. Coinbase’s submission detailed the legal, technical, and economic justifications supporting the approval of the ETF, emphasizing the classification of Ethereum (ETH) as a commodity rather than a security.

The discourse around the nature of ETH has been a topic of regulatory and market analysis, particularly in its treatment by key regulatory bodies such as the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Grewal’s statement highlighted a consensus view reinforced by the market’s response to Ethereum, especially after the network transitioned to a proof-of-stake mechanism known as the Merge. This transition has further solidified the argument against ETH being considered a security.

The case for spot Ether ETFs

The push for the approval of spot ether ETFs comes when the cryptocurrency market is witnessing increased institutional interest. Grayscale, alongside NYSE Arca, filed a request last October to convert its Ethereum trust into a spot ether ETF. This move was paralleled by similar filings from financial behemoths such as BlackRock and Fidelity, indicating a growing appetite for regulated, investment-grade cryptocurrency products. Spot ether ETFs, if approved, would enable investors to speculate on the price movements of Ethereum without the need to purchase or hold the underlying digital asset directly.

Coinbase’s letter to the SEC articulated a strong case for the approval of Grayscale’s spot ether ETF, drawing parallels to the regulatory body’s previous green light for spot bitcoin ETFs. The letter outlined several key market characteristics of Ethereum, including its market depth, the tightness of spreads, and the consistency of price correlation across various trading platforms. According to Coinbase, these factors demonstrate Ethereum’s market’s resilience to fraud and manipulation, with its trading volume surpassing that of many S&P 500 stocks when adjusted for market value.

Implications for Coinbase and the crypto market

The approval of spot ether ETFs holds significant implications for Coinbase, particularly for its custodial business. The company is a custodian of the most recently approved U.S. Bitcoin ETFs. It is named a staking institution by several of the largest ether-staking ETFs outside the United States. Approval of Grayscale’s spot ether ETF would bolster Coinbase’s position in the cryptocurrency custody space and potentially catalyze broader institutional adoption of Ethereum.

Analysts from S&P Global Ratings, Andrew O’Neill and Alexandre Birry, have underscored the potential impact of such regulatory approval on the market. The approval of spot ether ETFs could enhance the liquidity and stability of the Ethereum market, making it more attractive to a wider range of investors, including those seeking exposure to digital assets through regulated investment vehicles.


Coinbase’s advocacy for the SEC’s approval of Grayscale’s proposed spot ether ETF marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing dialogue between the cryptocurrency industry and regulatory authorities. The outcome of this request could set a precedent for the treatment of other digital assets and pave the way for increased institutional participation in the cryptocurrency market.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Mutuma Maxwell

Maxwell especially enjoys penning pieces about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He started his venture into blogging in 2020, later focusing on the world of cryptocurrencies. His life's work is to introduce the concept of decentralization to people worldwide.

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