Ethereum Futures ETFs: Lackluster Start Despite High Expectations

Oct. 3, 2023
Ethereum Futures ETFs: Lackluster Start Despite High Expectations

The launch of nine new Ethereum future­s exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on Octobe­r 2, 2023, generated gre­at anticipation and enthusiasm. However, the­ initial trading results suggest that investors have­ not responded as expected, indicating a lackluster rece­ption.

These newly introduced ETFs were designed to mirror the performance of futures contracts tied to Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, Ether. Among the nine offerings, only five exclusively focus on Ether futures. The remaining four encompass a combination of Bitcoin and ETH futures contracts.

Commenting on the debut, Eric Balchunas, a senior analyst at Bloomberg ETF, expressed his underwhelming sentiments, stating, “Pretty meh day of volume.” Balchunas shared his thoughts on X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the tepid market response to the ETFs.

As of midday Eastern Time on their first day of trading, all nine Ethereum futures ETFs collectively accounted for less than $2 million in trading volume. Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF was the most prominent performer among them, including Bitcoin and Ether in its portfolio. It recorded a total trading volume of $882,000.

It’s worth noting that Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF had previously been trading as a Bitcoin-only futures ETF since October 2021. The decision to include Ether in its strategy is a recent development, reflecting the growing interest in Ethereum within the cryptocurrency space.

However, the inaugural trading volumes of Ether ETFs pale compared to the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. This ETF debuted in October 2021 during heightened cryptocurrency market activity. On its first day, the ProShares ETF garnered over $1 billion in trading volume. This highlighted the stark difference in investor enthusiasm between Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs.

Eric Balchunas offered some perspective on the situation, noting that the trading volumes seen in the Ethereum futures ETFs were still substantial compared to the launch of traditional financial ETFs. However, he acknowledged that investors typically favor spot ETF products over those based on futures contracts.

SEC’s Balancing Act for Ethereum ETFs

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) orchestrated the simultaneous launch of all nine ETFs, seemingly in an effort to prevent any single fund from dominating the market. This approach aims to promote fair competition and a balanced market landscape.

While various U.S. financial firms vied for a dominant position in the nascent Ether futures market, ETF provider Volatility Shares took a different route. The firm canceled listing plans for a similar product due to unfavorable market conditions.

The ne­wly launched Ethereum future­s ETFs didn’t meet the high e­xpectations set by the cryptocurre­ncy community in terms of trading activity. Although some ETFs performed better than others, the­ overall trading volume was disappointing compared to Bitcoin counte­rparts’ debut.

However, investors will closely monitor these ETFs in the coming days to asse­ss their ability to gain momentum. This evaluation is crucial as the­ market favors spot ETFs over future­s-based products.

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Ammar Raza

Associate editor
Skilled in crafting compelling content, with a deep enthusiasm for blockchain technology. I offer precise and easily comprehensible perspectives on cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, and the ever-evolving landscape. Count on me as a reliable resource to remain informed about the latest advancements in the world of crypto.