Ark Invest, 21Shares join the rush to launch ether futures ETFs

Firms viewed by many as leading contenders in the bitcoin ETF race are also keen on launching funds associated with ether futures contracts.

Ark Invest and 21Shares are listed as sub-advisers on the proposed ARK 21Shares Active Ethereum Futures ETF (ARKZ) and the ARK 21Shares Active Bitcoin Ethereum Strategy ETF (ARKY), according to a Thursday filing. 

The fund adviser on both planned products is Empowered Funds, a subsidiary of white-label ETF platform Alpha Architect.

The document notes that ARKZ would invest at least 25% of its total assets in cash-settled ether futures contracts, such as those traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). It may also invest in US Treasury securities, money market instruments and repurchase agreements. 

ARKY would be similar, but would invest in both bitcoin futures and ether futures contracts, as well as its own planned ETFs that hold such contracts.  

The funds mirror similar filings launched by a range of issuers in recent weeks. Sources told Blockworks earlier this month that the Securities and Exchange Commission is now ready to consider approving ether futures ETFs. This comes after reports in May suggested the regulator had requested issuers to pause its efforts in introducing such products to the market.

Read more: SEC now ready to consider ETH futures ETFs, sources say — but what’s changed?

Ark Invest and 21Shares first partnered to launch a spot bitcoin ETF in 2021. The SEC blocked its first two attempts and is currently reviewing the companies’ latest proposal. 

The firms most recently re-filed for such a product in April — two months before BlackRock revealed plans to try to launch a bitcoin ETF, spurring other fund issuers to jump back into the race. 

The SEC said on Aug. 11 that it would “institute proceedings” to determine whether it should approve or deny the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF.

After the SEC delayed its decision on the spot bitcoin ETF proposal, Ark Invest and 21Shares shared plans to try to launch three types of bitcoin futures ETFs, including one that would also invest in crypto- and blockchain-related equities.

Empowered Funds was also listed as the adviser of that planned product trio.

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