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Ether Soars as US ETF Speculation Fuels Volatility

Crypto traders are closely monitoring the surging price of Ether (ETH), spurred by growing anticipation surrounding the potential approval of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the United States. Despite lingering doubts about the level of demand for these investment vehicles, bets on further gains in Ether are escalating.

The recent shift in stance by the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has triggered a notable 26% surge in Ether over the past seven days, marking its most significant weekly gain since the 2021 cryptocurrency bull market, according to Bloomberg data.

Investors are drawing parallels with the remarkable debut of US spot Bitcoin ETFs in January, which have quickly amassed $59 billion in assets. However, Ether, being less mainstream than Bitcoin, presents challenges in gauging investor interest.

One key distinction is that spot-their ETFs will not participate in staking, a process crucial for earning rewards by pledging tokens to support the Ethereum blockchain. This omission raises concerns about the attractiveness of these funds compared to direct token ownership.

While major players like BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity Investments await SEC approvals to launch Ether-related products, the timeline for such developments remains uncertain. As of Monday morning in London, Ether was trading around $3,900, with Bitcoin hovering near $68,500.

Chris Weston, Head of Research at Pepperstone Group, remains bullish on Ether, emphasizing that any pullbacks present buying opportunities.

Options markets indicate growing optimism, with significant concentrations of bullish bets targeting Ether reaching $5,000 or higher, as observed on the Deribit trading platform. The current spot-Ether record stands at $4,866, set in November 2021.

Volatility in Ether is expected to intensify, with the gap between the T3 Ether Volatility Index and its Bitcoin counterpart widening significantly since early 2023. This suggests that speculators anticipate greater price swings in Ether compared to Bitcoin.

Analysts are also scrutinizing the demand for Ether futures offered by Chicago-based CME Group Inc. as a barometer of institutional interest in regulated crypto exposure in the US. While open interest in CME Ether futures is rising, it remains substantially lower than that of CME Bitcoin futures, indicating comparatively lesser institutional involvement with Ether.

Noelle Acheson, author of the Crypto Is Macro Now newsletter, cautions that the modest participation from institutions, which are expected to flock to Ether ETFs upon launch, could lead to underwhelming initial inflows into these products.

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