BlackRock plans for ethereum trust fuel speculation about ETF filing

FILE PHOTO: A trader works as a screen displays the trading information for BlackRock on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Suzanne McGee

(Reuters) -Asset management giant BlackRock registered to create an ethereum trust, a potential first step toward asking regulators to approve an exchange-traded fund tied to ether, the second-largest digital token.

BlackRock registered the iShares Ethereum Trust as a Delaware statutory trust on Thursday. Nasdaq also filed a proposal on Thursday to list and trade shares of the trust.

The price of ethereum was last up 9.18% at around $2,062.8, its highest level since April. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, was up 2.56% at $36,553, hovering around an 18-month high.

Earlier this year, BlackRock registered a bitcoin trust in the same manner and a week later filed an application with the SEC to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. BlackRock declined to comment on the trust's creation or on any plans for an ETF filing.

To date, roughly a dozen ETF providers have filed to create spot bitcoin ETFs, or convert existing products into spot ETFs, helping fuel the recent rally in the cryptocurrency.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has so far not approved any other than ETFs tied to futures contracts, with SEC Chair Gary Gensler arguing that the spot bitcoin market is prone to fraud and manipulation.

Several other ETF providers that have applied for spot bitcoin ETFs also have sought SEC approval for spot ether ETFs, including Ark Investment Management, Invesco and VanEck.

(Reporting by Suzanne McGee; additional reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili, David Evans and Daniel Wallis)