|Key People||Kelly Loeffler, CEO|
|Products||Digital asset trading, storage and purchases|
Bakkt is a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange designed to create an open ecosystem that allows for the buying and selling of Bitcoin, as well as storage and consumer purchases using digital assets. It plans to launch a daily settled bitcoin futures contract and a monthly futures contract in 2019, with physical delivery of the digital asset.
The company announced in May 2019 that is will begin "user acceptance testing" for futures and its custody services in July 2019. Essentially, it will allow users to try out of the trading system and custody services. Contracts will be cleared by ICE Clear US.
Bakkt, which is partnered with Boston Consulting Group, Susquehanna International Group, Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Microsoft and Starbucks, will include a regulated market and warehousing service, as well as merchant and consumer applications.
Bakkt was started by ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher and Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, who developed the concept over five years before announcing the venture. ICE invested in Coinbase, a cryptcurrency spot market, with a minority stake in 2015 to learn how the cryptomarkets work. Bakkt aims to address several parts of the cryptocurrency space with "safe storage for digital currencies and on an institutional scale."
The three pillars of Bakkt, according to Loeffler, are: a consistent regulatory construct, transparent, efficient price discovery, and an institutional quality pre- and post-trade infrastructure.
In December 2018, Bakkt announced it had completed its first round of funding totaling $182.5 million from 12 partner firms including: Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures.
In January 2019, the firm announced the acquisition of the back office group of Rosenthal Collins Group, a subsidiary of Marex Spectron. Bakkt acquired the back office processing systems, treasury and compliance departments, which will be used to handle payments between customers and merchants on Bakkt.
The firm moved toward adding custody services in April 2019, announcing the acquisition of Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC). It also announced its application for a so-called BitLicense in New York, which would allow the company to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in that state. And it said it was applying for a trust charter with the New York Department of Financial Services, which is also connected in the safekeeping and delivery of cryptocurrencies.
The company also will put up $35 million of its own money into the clearinghouse, which serves as a risk waterfall.
Products and Services
The Bakkt system is expected to include federally regulated markets and institutional-grade warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications.
Its first use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin versus fiat currencies including a one-day physically delivered bitcoin futures contract. Bitcoin is today the most liquid digital currency.
- Launch Timeline for Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures to Be Clarified Early 2019: ICE. Cointelegraph.
- Bakkt Sets July Test Date for Bitcoin Futures. Coindesk.
- Bitcoin Futures & Custody: Bakkt’s differentiated approach. Coindesk.
- Intercontinental Exchange Announces Bakkt, a Global Platform and Ecosystem for Digital Assets. ICE.
- The NYSE's Owner Wants to Bring Bitcoin to Your 401(k). Are Crypto Credit Cards Next?. Forbes.
- Buying Your Starbucks Fix With Bitcoin Is Now Closer to Reality. Bloomberg.
- The NYSE's Owner Wants to Bring Bitcoin to Your 401(k). Are Crypto Credit Cards Next?. Fortune.
- Custody Battle Brewing Over Crypto Assets, and That’s a Good Thing. John Lothian News.
- An evolving market. Kelly Loeffler - Medium.
- First capital raise: complete. Kelly Loeffler - Medium.
- Bakkt Acquisition Accelerates Plan to Streamline Consumer Payments. Fortune.
- NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition. CCN.
- NYSE Owner Buys Crypto Custodian in Latest Push to Offer Bitcoin. Fortune.