Grayscale looks to transform Ethereum Trust into spot ETF

In its latest filing with the U.S. SEC, Grayscale emphasized the potential benefits associated with allowing Ethereum in its trust to be staked.

The firm, known for its cryptocurrency investment products, is seeking to transform its Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) into an Ethereum (ETH) spot ETF following its successful conversion of its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust in January.

In a preliminary proxy statement, Grayscale proposed four significant changes to facilitate this transformation. Changes include utilizing the ETH backing shares for participation in staking via a Proof-of-Stake protocol, granting authorized participants the authority to create and redeem shares, moving to a daily fee assessment model from the current monthly scheme, and introducing a third-party custodian equipped to handle shares through an omnibus account.

Omnibus accounts combine funds for executing trades on behalf of multiple clients, effectively anonymizing the identities of individual investors.

Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein conveyed optimism regarding the proposed amendments, emphasizing the potential to streamline and enhance the experience for ETHE shareholders. The initiative is part of a broader industry trend, as indicated by a similar submission from Fidelity Investments, reflecting increased interest in Ethereum ETFs with staking functionalities.

“In consideration for any staking activity in which the Fund may engage, the Fund would receive certain network rewards of ether tokens, which may be treated as income to the Fund as compensation for services provided,” Fidelity’s filing stated.

Despite these developments, the outlook for the SEC’s approval of spot Ether ETFs remains uncertain. Analysts from Bloomberg have expressed skepticism, suggesting that the SEC might reject all pending applications. The skepticism stems from the SEC’s nuanced approach to digital assets, particularly its classification of Bitcoin (BTC) as the only commodity, leaving Ethereum’s regulatory status in a gray area.

The cryptocurrency community hopes that the approval of Ethereum ETFs could mimic the favorable market dynamics previously seen with Bitcoin ETFs, even as regulatory challenges persist.

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