- Bakkt is pushing back the start date for its bitcoin futures to 2019
- But a direct source says that doesn’t mean the project isn’t on track for phase two, which includes a partnership with Starbucks
Bakkt, the cryptocurrency platform led by Intercontinental Exchange, announced earlier Tuesday that it would push back the start date for its bitcoin futures product to 2019.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the project isn’t on track, a direct source told The Block. Bakkt, which was first announced in August, will begin trading a bitcoin futures contract in January, a month after the original target date of December 12. “Given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place, we will now be targeting January 24, 2019 for our launch to ensure that our participants are ready to trade on Day 1,” CEO Kelly Loeffler, said in a Medium article.
“As is often true with product launches, there are new processes, risks and mitigants to test and re-test, and in the case of crypto, a new asset class to which these resources are being applied,” she said. A number of Chicago prop shops are considering trading on the platform as is Goldman Sachs, as The Block previously reported.
Still, Bakkt’s ambitions do not end at its derivatives product.
When it launched, ICE announced partnerships with big commerce brands including Microsoft and Starbucks to build an ecosystem for digital assets. Starbucks will leverage the platform to allow its customers to convert digital assets into U.S. dollars at their coffee shops, the firm said in August. That aspect of the plan is six months out, according to a direct source. The source said the recent crypto market sell-off isn’t connected to Bakkt pushing back the start date for its derivative product. Rather, market participants want more time given the original launch date fell smack dab in the middle of the holiday season.
Loeffler confirmed an earlier report by The Block that the firm is staffing up to build out its platform. “Yes, inquiries may be sent to [email protected],” Loeffler said. “We are focused on building a nimble, entrepreneurial team with a focus on serving our customers and delivering results. Key success factors in our culture include collaboration, problem solving, communication, integrity, and professionalism, and leadership.”
The Block first reported the firm brought on Adam White, a Coinbase executive who led its institutional business, as COO. He started earlier in November. Brian Cooper, a 10-year ICE veteran, has joined the project’s team as director of operations, according to a person familiar with the situation. Laura Edelman, a financial sales representative at ICE, is focusing on the launch of Bakkt’s futures product.