The race for the United States’ first spot Ethereum exchange-traded fund has officially begun after new 19b-4 filings by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), which will “ultimately start the clock” for an SEC decision.  

On Sept. 6, the CBOE filed two 19b-4 applications to the United States securities regulator, requesting for the ARK 21Shares Ethereum ETF and VanEck Ethereum ETF investment products to be listed on CBOE’s BZX Exchange.

In a series of tweets, Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart noted that as opposed to the previously submitted S-1 filings, the 19b-4 filings mean that the countdown for a decision by the SEC is now in motion.

“The Spot #Ethereum ETF Race is officially on,” Seyffart declared, estimating a final deadline around May 23, 2024.

A 19b-4 form is filed by self-regulatory organizations — such as a stock exchange — to request a rule change to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, while an S-1 filing only indicates a firm’s intention to list a particular investment product on a national exchange.

The securities regulator is now obligated to review the 19b-4 filings and make a decision, though the SEC can also delay the decision as it has for spot Bitcoin ETFs. 

ARK Invest and 21Shares teamed up to file an S-1 to the SEC on Sept. 6, though VanEck’s S-1 filing dates back to July 2021.

Meanwhile, Seyffart expects more spot Ethereum ETF filings to come in the coming days.

Related: Ether ETFs pending — Grayscale, VanEck and others file SEC applications

On Aug. 17, the securities regulator reportedly signaling its intention to approve Ethereum Futures investment products while several firms including Grayscale Investments and BlackRock are currently fighting to get a spot Bitcoin ETF approved.

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