ARK and 21Shares drop staking plans from Ethereum ETF proposal

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ARK Invest and 21Shares removed their staking plans from their updated spot Ethereum ETF proposal, submitted on Friday, May 10.

In the updated filing submitted on Friday, there is a noticeable absence of a clause stating that 21Shares would stake a portion of the fund’s assets through third-party providers. It said, “Sponsor may, from time to time, stake a portion of the Trust’s assets through one or more trusted Staking Providers.”

In their Feb. 7 filing, the companies included a clause stating that 21Shares anticipated receiving ETH as a reward for staking and intended to classify the resulting earnings as income generated by the fund.

However, the latest filing removes the relevant section, but it maintains broader comments, including losses due to slashing penalties, temporarily inaccessible funds during bonding and unbonding, and potential impacts on the price of ETH.

According to Bloomberg ETF analyst Erich Balchunas’ Friday post on X, the update may be an effort to refine the application in response to potential SEC feedback despite the absence of official comments.

Alternatively, Balchunas suggests that the change could be a last-ditch effort (“Hail Mary”) or a strategic move to limit the information available for the SEC to base a potential rejection on.

In September, ARK Invest and 21Shares submitted an application for a spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF). The fund aims to provide direct exposure to Ether and will trade on the Cboe BZX Exchange. The exchange will utilize the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate – New York Variant.

Related: JPMorgan reports holding shares of several spot Bitcoin ETFs

21Shares is the sponsor, Delaware Trust Company is the trustee, and Coinbase Custody Trust Company holds the Ether assets, while ARK Investment Management serves as a sub-adviser, marketing the Shares.

The SEC has been delaying making decisions on spot Ethereum ETF proposals in recent weeks. The agency delayed making a decision on the Invesco Galaxy spot Ethereum ETF proposal and also pushed back deadlines for other proposals from Grayscale, Franklin Templeton, VanEck, and BlackRock.

The regulator must decide on VanEck’s spot Ethereum application by May 23, followed by Ark and 21Shares’s application on May 24.

The SEC approved the listing and trading of spot Bitcoin ETFs on U.S. exchanges in January. However, optimism for the approvals of spot Ethereum ETFs has dwindled in recent months, with Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas lowering his estimate of the chances of a spot Ethereum ETF approval by late May from about 70% to 25%.

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