The cryptocurrency market has been waiting with bated breath to finally see Bakkt launch. Bakkt, a bitcoin futures and custody platform created by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), will most likely not meet their planned launch date on January 24th. Instead, it looks like this platform will see yet another delay.
At this point, ICE hasn’t seen the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) give them the approvals required to launch, and their slow pace suggests that they won’t be giving them anytime soon. However, before jumping to conclusions, that doesn’t mean that Bakkt won’t see approval. Instead, an insider believes that this delay will only be a matter of a few days, rather than months on end.
The approval that Bakkt needs is to receive an exemption to custody Bitcoin in a “warehouse” for users. The regulations set forth by CFTC would often mean that any consumer must place their funds with a bank, trust companies, or futures commission merchant (FCM). Presently, the CFTC appears to be concerned with the security of the industry, considering the abundance of cybercriminals (especially hackers).
At this point, the agency has already reviewed the exemption request, having sent it to the commission today. At this point, there will be a vote that will determine if the request is available for the public to comment on, which is a period that lasts for 30 days. Then, the commissioners would review the comments and vote, which would take several days.
Typically, there wouldn’t be any concerns about this timeframe, considering that it is the typical protocol. However, both the 24th and 25th of December are federal holidays, so the 30-day period for public comment would not even commence until December 26th. Essentially, the final vote won’t actually happen by the projected launch date, even without the time needed for public comments. With a U.S. government shutdown hanging in the balance, the reading of comments could take even longer.
An updated launch date is expected sometime next week, making this the second time that Bakkt has had to do so. Originally, the plan was to launch in December, but a delay was necessary to complete various work on the project.
This upcoming futures will set themselves apart from CME Group and Cboe, in that it will be physically settled with real Bitcoin instead of cash as contracts reach their expiration date.