A JPMorgan executive suggested on Jan. 12 that securities regulators are equally likely to approve or disapprove a spot Ethereum ETF in the coming months.

Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, a Managing Director for JPMorgan, told The Block:

“In our opinion, for the [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] to approve spot Ethereum ETFs in May, it would need to classify Ethereum as a commodity (similar to bitcoin) rather than a security … This is far from given, and I wouldn’t put more than a 50% chance to the SEC classifying Ethereum as a commodity before May.”

He added that the SEC is “still signaling that it continues to view all other cryptocurrencies outside bitcoin as securities.”

Panigirtzoglou’s comments allude to a statement from SEC chair Gary Gensler regarding spot Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) approvals on Jan. 11.

There, Gensler said that the latest approvals concern only ETPs holding Bitcoin (BTC) and identified Bitcoin as a non-security commodity. Gensler added that the approvals should not signal the SEC’s views on the securities status of other crypto assets; he also asserted that the “vast majority of crypto assets are investment contracts” and therefore under federal securities laws.

Other sources predict up to 70% approval odds

Despite Panigirtzoglou’s low approval estimate, some sources place higher odds on an upcoming spot Ethereum ETF approval. Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas has predicted a 70% chance of such an approval by May.

One prediction market on Polymarket suggests that there is a 57% chance of an Ethereum ETF approval by May 31. Those odds are based on over $15,000 worth of cryptocurrency bets rather than any individual’s personal stance.

Predictions largely focus on May because the SEC must decide on a spot Ethereum ETF application from VanEck by May 23. Other applicants including BlackRock, Fidelity, VanEck, ARK Invest, and Invesco Galaxy have also filed for spot Ethereum ETFs, but with later decision deadlines.

The SEC approved a number of ETFs that included Ethereum futures in October 2023 but has not yet approved a spot Ethereum ETF.

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