- Adam White, Coinbase’s fifth employee who built out its institutional exchange GDAX, is joining Bakkt, people familiar with the situation told The Block.
- Bakkt, the cryptocurrency trading platform run by ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, is set to launch in November.
- White will serve as COO of the new venture.
Adam White, Coinbase’s fifth employee and the person who led the development of its institutional-aimed businesses, is joining Bakkt, the cryptocurrency venture at ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, people familiar with the hire tell The Block.
Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that White was leaving Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange operator. Now, The Block can report that White has been hired by Bakkt to serve as its chief-operating officer, reporting to Kelly Loeffler, the chief executive officer of the new cryptocurrency venture.
White, who joined Coinbase in 2013, built out its institutional exchange, previously called GDAX, as well as a number of institutional businesses aimed at luring Wall Street to crypto. Under his leadership, Coinbase expanded into New York to serve Wall Street clients’ prime broker and trading needs. And it hired myriad former Wall Streeters including many previous employees of the New York Stock Exchange, including Christine Sandler, former global head of sales at NYSE Euronext, and Eric Scro, previously head of finance at NYSE.
Bakkt, which ICE announced in August, is set to launch in November. The new project, which ICE is partnering with Microsoft and Starbucks to build out, aims serve as a “ecosystem for digital assets,” per a press release on the platform.
To start, the Bakkt will offer trading of a physically delivered bitcoin futures product. Still, it’s unclear exactly when that product will launch. Currently, Bakkt is being run by a small team, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person said if the firm meets its November deadline, it will only have a few client firms trading.
ICE spokeswoman Kristen Kaus didn’t respond to several messages seeking comment, nor did a Coinbase spokesman.
White could not be reached by telephone.