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SEC Postpones Decision on Fidelity’s Spot Ethereum ETF

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read
Ethereum Devcon 7
Source: Adobe Stock / Dennis

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its ruling on Fidelity’s spot Ethereum exchange-traded fund until March 5th, a new court filing reveals.

“Completely expected”

“The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein,” the Thursday filing reads in part.

News of the decision of the spot Ethereum ETF’s delay comes just a week after the SEC approved a long-awaited spot Bitcoin ETF, a decision which many in the crypto community feel will greatly increase greater mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency across the United States.

“Fidelity #ethereum ETF delayed just now. Completely expected. Dates that really matter are late May in my view,” Bloomberg ETF analyst, James Seyffart, posted to X.

Coinbase and the SEC faceoff in-court

News of the SEC’s delay comes amidst its legal fight against Coinbase, with the federal agency alleging the exchange sold unregistered securities on its platform.

However, Coinbase pushed back against the SEC’s allegations during Wednesday’s hearing, arguing that none of the platform’s tokens count as securities at all.

Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who is overseeing the case, refused to make a decision on it as of Wednesday afternoon, citing concerns of regulatory encroachment.

“I worry that I would be doing exactly the thing you’re alleging the Commission is doing here, which is to take power that I don’t have to stop activity I shouldn’t be stopping,” Judge Failla told a lawyer for Coinbase.

Under pressure

Meanwhile, the SEC is facing criticism for its extensive enforcement approach in regards to cryptocurrency. 

In an amicus curiae brief in support of Coinbase, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) claimed the federal agency’s desire to classify cryptocurrencies as securities “exceeds the SEC’s authority, encroaches on Congress’s lawmaking, and contravenes the separation of powers.”

Similarly, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse expressed his own disdain at the SEC’s leadership during a conversation at the World Economic Forum.

“I do think the chair of the SEC, Gary Gensler, is a political liability in the United States,” Garlinghouse told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal. “And I think he’s not acting in the interests of the citizenry, he’s not acting in the interests of the long-term growth of the economy, and I don’t understand it.”

It remains unclear what asset class the SEC will designate Ethereum as.