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Why Bakkt Continues to Be in Limbo

March 18, 2019



Last December was supposed to herald the launch of Bakkt, which not only plans to offer a regulated Bitcoin futures exchange, but also a cloud-based platform to which businesses can connect to accept payments in crypto.


The reason for all the hype surrounding Bakkt is simple. The entity behind this platform has a lot of power, to say the least, since they are the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange. Furthermore, Bakkt has already partnered with heavyweights like Microsoft and a Starbucks, which has already yielded the support of Microsoft’s cloud service as well as a supposedly planned pilot of Bakkt in Starbucks, during which customers will be able to pay in Bitcoin.


At this point, the only problem is that United States regulators seem reluctant to let the platform launch at all.


In their article today on the subject, CoinDesk speculated that this could be due to a mixture involving the significant backlog that offices like the CFTC are experiencing, as well as the fact that Bakkt’s planned method of “delivering” their futures contracts.


Essentially, what this seems to be referencing is that Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which is the parent company in question, wants to effectively own almost all of the parts involved in this process, including the futures platform, and the settlement service through which Bitcoin is delivered to customers.


In other words, it appears that ICE may want to control the entire futures process in a confusing fashion that makes the Bakkt platform difficult to regulate. This includes keeping the custody service directly in ICE’s office, while dealing with the contracts with Bakkt as a separate service. If this sounds confusing, then for now, it should, because no one seems to be clear on the subject.


For now, think about the difficulty of regulating a futures platform where a firm attempts to have them settled physically, as might be done with traditional money or a hard commodity, except the asset in question is digital. Perhaps, in the end, ICE will have to change Bakkt settlement method in order to gain regulatory acceptance.




By: BGN Editorial Staff


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