In an interview with Reuter, ICE’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Sprecher said,
“It’s really been helpful that the cryptocurrency industry sort of went into what they call winter. That took some of the heat off of the timetable to launch.”
Bakkt has been now in the works for about two years that is aimed at institutional investors by offering Bitcoin futures contracts that are physically settled. To be launched on the ICE's US futures exchange, the platform was originally set to roll out in January 2019 only to be delayed due to facing regulatory delays from the US Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC). The platform still not have a launch date yet but Sprecher had said in early February that he expects Bakkt to launch later in 2019.
Building Bakkt & Scooping Talent during Crypto Winter
Back in late 2017, Bitcoin surged to its all-time high at about $20,000 that prompted a flood of interest and a wave of crypto-focused companies in the market that attracted large valuations.
However, last year prices started plunging that at the end of 2018 saw Bitcoin at it's yearly low that led to shutdowns and layoffs in the crypto space. But this lull proved to be a blessing in disguise for some like ICE as it builds out Bakkt and picked up talent while making acquisitions.
“We’ve actually looked at a number of different companies and acquired a company earlier this week that wouldn’t have been available to us if the market had been really hot,”
In these past few months, Bakkt saw several important hires in the form of former engineering executive PayPal and Google Mike Blandina became the chief product officer, Coinbase veteran Adam White has been appointed as the COO and head of institutional custody and traded production, and Former cybersecurity expert at IBM and Cisco Tom Noonan joined as the Chairman of Bakkt’s board of directors.
Earlier this week itself, ICE announced another acquisition of crypto custody firm Digital Asset Custody Co for an undisclosed amount. It has been also revealed that the firm has filed an application with the New York Department of Financial Services to operate as a trusted company, this will enable the firm to serve as a qualified custodian for crypto assets.