As the possibility of U.S. spot Ethereum (ETH) ETFs becomes more realistic, experts are questioning whether their approval will have a significant impact on the market, similar to that of Bitcoin (BTC) ETFs. According to Bitwise, the world’s largest crypto index fund manager, the impact will not be as substantial. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this assertion and explore the differences between BTC and ETH that contribute to this anticipated outcome.
Juan Leon, an analyst at Bitwise, highlights the fact that even institutional investors who are knowledgeable about Bitcoin often struggle to understand the distinct qualities of Ethereum. This lack of differentiation becomes a hindrance when considering the role of these cryptocurrencies in an investment portfolio. Leon explains that advisors find it helpful to view BTC as a comparable asset to gold and ETH as a comparable asset to a high-growth tech stock. This distinction allows for a clearer understanding of their respective allocations within a portfolio.
Chief Investment Officer Matt Hougan from Bitwise argues that BTC ETFs are likely to have a more significant impact on the market compared to ETH ETFs. He believes Bitcoin will be prioritized and dominate the attention. Additionally, Hougan states that Bitcoin’s utility aligns better with what an ETF can offer, as it serves as a store of wealth outside the traditional fiat system. On the other hand, Ethereum’s main appeal lies in its functionality as a smart-contract platform, which the ETF does not directly impact. This difference in utility further strengthens the case for BTC ETFs to have a more pronounced effect on the market.
Ethereum is widely recognized for its programmability, surpassing Bitcoin in its ability to host complex applications such as decentralized exchanges and lending services. The digital oil analogy describes ETH’s role as a power source for the network, as it is required for executing transactions. Leon highlights that financial advisors who comprehend these merits increasingly see the value of Ethereum, particularly in terms of staking. Ethereum’s staking feature provides investors with dividend-like cash flows that BTC lacks. Additionally, the platform’s role as a robust decentralized app store further solidifies its appeal as a smart-contract platform.
Although Ethereum-based funds have experienced lackluster inflows this year, Leon believes that institutional interest in ETH will grow over time. The subdued attention surrounding Ethereum is only temporary. The low inflows to Ethereum futures ETFs in October can be attributed to historically low overall crypto volumes during that period and media distractions related to Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial. Leon adds that until recently, many investors were unaware of the crypto market’s rebound and the impressive performance of BTC as the best-performing asset of the year.
While the approval of Ethereum ETFs is an exciting prospect, experts predict that their impact on the market will be less significant compared to Bitcoin ETFs. The challenges in differentiating between BTC and ETH, coupled with Bitcoin’s stronger alignment with the functionality of an ETF, contribute to this forecast. Nonetheless, as understanding of Ethereum’s programmability and potential increases among financial advisors, institutional interest in ETH is expected to grow. The current subdued state surrounding Ethereum is likely temporary, and the digital oil that powers the decentralized app store will eventually command the attention it deserves.