While investors await a spot bitcoin ETF, the SEC accelerated its rollout of ether futures ETFs. So far, issuers have launched five ether futures ETFs and four combined ether + bitcoin strategies. One of those four is a strategy conversion. See initial coverage here. On the first trading day (Monday, October 2) these ETFs traded only around $6.5 million total. In comparison, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF, traded around $550 million on its first day in October 2021. But despite limited fanfare, the launch of ether futures ETFs is still significant for the overall crypto ETF market. The following are major takeaways from the ether futures ETF rollout.
- Spot vs. futures and BTC vs. ETH are large differentiators. Investors have been hearing for months about the advantages of spot vs. futures ETFs. So the launch of more crypto futures ETFs isn’t the most exciting news. Additionally, despite a weaker crypto market, bitcoin still has significantly more popularity than ether (49.3% vs. 18.4% market dominance, according to CoinMarketCap). That also explains the limited trading activity. Another big difference is that BITO launched near the peak of the crypto bull market in 2021, while the crypto market itself now has significantly less popularity.
- ETH alone is not as attractive. Because ETH is less popular than BTC, it makes sense that a combined strategy could be more interesting to investors. This is probably one of the reasons BTF had more trading activity compared to the pure ether ETFs.