Ethereum ETFs: BlackRock Gets $10M Seed Investment and Grayscale Adds Coinbase Custody

Both BlackRock and Grayscale have updated their U.S. spot Ethereum exchange traded fund (ETF) filings to add a seed investor and establish a custodian. 

BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, has received $10 million in capital from the seed investor who bought shares in its upcoming iShares Ethereum Trust, filings show. The S-1 form, filed late Wednesday with the SEC, states that the seed investor bought 400,000 shares at $25 and will act as a “statutory underwriter.” 

A seed capital investor initially funds an ETF to get it off the ground and trading on a stock exchange. 

This comes after the SEC approved spot Ethereum ETFs last week, in a stunning change in attitude towards the investment products. Just a week prior, experts had seemingly written off the possibility of an ETH ETF in the U.S. But after fund issuers dropped language around staking, the SEC had a swift change of heart. 

BlackRock are among the nine investment firms that have filed to offer spot Ethereum ETFs. But all of them are still wrapping up paperwork and waiting for the final go-ahead to begin trading. 

Another one of those firms is Grayscale, the manager of the largest Bitcoin spot ETF, which recently established centralized exchange Coinbase as its fund custodian, according to a Wednesday filing.

An ETF, or exchange-traded fund, allows investors to buy shares that track the price of an underlying asset like gold, foreign currencies, or crypto. Much like the spot Bitcoin ETF, these spot Ethereum ETFs will hold Ethereum and give investors exposure to the digital asset. 

Coinbase is the custodian for 90% of the total assets stored in U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs. With this new Grayscale filing, it has officially secured the same role for what will likely be one of the largest spot Ethereum ETFs.

Experts have expressed centralization concerns in the wake of the SEC approval of spot Ethereum ETFs. Coinbase is already the second largest Ethereum validator and is set to be the custodian of at least six out of the nine firms planning to launch an Ethereum ETF. In turn, experts have warned these centralization and concentration risks could pose a “serious risk to security.”

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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