Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest digital currency asset manager, announced its decision to relinquish all rights to Ethereum‘s Proof-of-Work (PoW) tokens, known as ETHPoW. The announcement came on September 18, more than a year after Ethereum’s transition from a PoW to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) system, an event known as the Ethereum Merge. Grayscale cited the lack of meaningful liquidity and custodial support for ETHPoW tokens as the primary reasons for this move.
The Ethereum Merge, which took place on September 15, 2022, was a significant milestone in the crypto industry. However, it marked Ethereum’s full transition from a PoW to a PoS system, dividing the Ethereum blockchain into a main PoS-based Ether and a minor PoW-based EthereumPoW. Following this event, Grayscale spent an extended period evaluating whether to acquire EthereumPoW tokens on behalf of its record date shareholders.
After a year-long deliberation, the firm decided against it, citing uncertainties regarding the support of these tokens by digital asset custodians and trading platforms.
Unlike Grayscale, some investment firms like ETC Group attempted to launch dedicated EthereumPoW exchange-traded products (ETPs). However, these efforts were short-lived. ETC Group terminated its PoW-based ETP just six weeks after its launch due to the absence of eligible custody providers.
The future of Grayscale and Ethereum
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Grayscale’s decision to abandon ETHPoW comes at a time when the firm is reportedly launching a new Ether futures exchange-traded fund. Grayscale’s move to relinquish rights to ETHPoW tokens could be seen as a strategic decision to focus on more promising and supported aspects of the Ethereum ecosystem. The market cap of the old ETHPoW is currently around $140 million, a figure that pales in comparison to Ethereum’s PoS tokens.
Grayscale’s decision to abandon rights to ETHPoW tokens highlights the challenges and uncertainties that investment firms face in the ever-changing world of digital assets. With Ethereum’s transition to a PoS system, the relevance of its older PoW tokens has diminished, leading major investment firms like Grayscale to reevaluate their strategies.