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According to the CEO of ICE, Bakkt’s parent company, the launch of the firm’s physically settled Bitcoin futures, is on the horizon. The CEO has said that they are waiting for NYFDS approval.
Jeffrey Sprecher, the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) – Bakkt’s parent company – disclosed this during a quarterly earnings call. According to him, one of the reasons Bakkt is yet to launch is that the firm has been working behind closed doors, to establish a properly defined and regulated ecosystem which will fully cater to the needs of all of its members, wherever they are in the world. Sprecher also suggested that the firm was expecting authorization but did not give a particular launch date.
“Subject to final regulatory approvals, we plan to launch our physically settled bitcoin futures in the very near future.”
Bakkt first came to the fore back in August 2018, when ICE published a statement announcing its goal to use the Azure cloud service from Microsoft to “create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets”. The new service, would support regulated markets and extend its reach to various auxiliary services. It was also announced that it intends to service a $270 billion dollar annual marketplace.
The platform was supposed to be fully launched in December 2018. However, it was delayed more than a few times and even now as Sprecher has said the firm was only waiting for regulatory approval, there still is no specific date for its launch. The approval is expected from the New York Department of Financial Services and it is hoped that the platform would be fully launched as soon as that is achieved.
The news of Bakkt’s upcoming launch has been met with a few mixed reactions. While some might breathe sighs of relief, there are others who think that the firm will be playing in the field with too much risk. According to some, the guaranty funds – usually set aside to cover risky positions – set by Bakkt is a little too small to be of any major significance or help if such a problem occurs.
Bakkt should also prepare for some direct competition in the industry. Firstly ErisX, fully backed by TD Ameritrade, is currently concluding plans to begin its own service, offering physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts.
Secondly, also, LedgerX – a Bitcoin derivatives provider – as now announced it has officially launched the U.S.’ first physically-settled Bitcoin futures contract. This means that trading futures contracts for Bitcoin is now possible for every person in the U.S. who possesses a government-issued means of identification. The firm also announced that these trades would be open to all interested entities, whether institutional or retail. LedgerX has officially bit Bakkt to the game.
ICE, according to its second-quarter records, officially pulled in revenue up to $1.3 billion.