Bakkt brings on Google payments expert as it builds its consumer app for spending cryptocurrency

Quick Take

  • Bakkt hired a former Google payments veteran to help broaden its brand and assist with the roll-out of a new app
  • Bakkt Pay could be released in the next couple of months

Bakkt has brought on a former Google consultant as it inches closer to releasing a product.

Chris Petersen, formerly a payments product strategist, joined cryptocurrency venture Bakkt earlier this month as the firm works on rolling-out a mobile application for a digital asset wallet, dubbed Bakkt Pay, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Bakkt, the brainchild of Intercontinental Exchange’s Kelly Loeffler and Jeff Sprecher, was announced with great fanfare in August 2018, promising a platform that would help people invest bitcoin in their 401(k)s. To start, Bakkt said it would launch a physically-delivered futures product tied to bitcoin, but regulatory headwinds have pushed the launch date back by several months

The firm is still working on getting the much talked-about future off the ground, but at the same it is working on its mobile application for possible release in the next couple of months, according to sources. Petersen, who worked for Google for 7 years from 2008 to 2015, is helping Bakkt expand its brand outside of its role as a futures provider. He is involved in the roll-out of the app. 

At Google, Petersen was involved in Google Wallet’s solution design, according to his LinkedIn. 

The hire was confirmed by several sources at Intercontinental Exchange and its partners. 

The firm hinted at its ambitions to build a mobile app in a January job posting for a mobile app developer for the “Bakkt product suite.” It also revamped its website to better reflect the businesses it is involved in:

A spokesman for ICE did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Bakkt, which raised $182 million from investors such as Galaxy Digital and CMT Digital, is under pressure to ship a product. Recently, COO Adam White said in a blog post that it would begin testing its bitcoin futures product on July 22. The blog post revealed new details about Bakkt’s platform, including its intention to insure the custody of bitcoin for as much as $100 million. 

Still, it is unclear when any product from Bakkt will be released, leaving market observers wondering “When Bakkt?”

A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Bakkt’s new hire as Christopher Peterson. The firm actually hired Christopher Petersen, who in spite of having a similar name and also being a Google alum, is in fact a separate individual.