The Intercontinental Exchange’s pending bitcoin platform Bakkt plans to begin testing its two futures contracts on July 22 of this year.
In a blog post that likened Bakkt’s launch to the Apollo 11 moon landing, chief operating officer Adam White wrote Thursday that the platform will “initiate user acceptance testing” for its bitcoin futures contracts, which will be listed and traded by its parent company. Bakkt announced last month that it would begin testing in July, though it did not provide a specific date at the time.
Both contracts will see a minimum price fluctuation of $2.50 per bitcoin (with each contract containing one bitcoin). Trades may be executed at $0.01 per bitcoin, with a listing cycle that can last for as long as 12 months (for the monthly contract) or 70 consecutive eligible contract dates (for the daily contract).
Final settlement for both contracts will be at the Bakkt Warehouse.
Stepping back, ICE announced last year that it would be launching physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. Unlike cash-settled contracts, such as what CME Group offers, customers receive an actual bitcoin on the contract’s expiration, and not the fiat equivalent to bitcoin’s price.
On Thursday, White wrote that Bakkt’s mission is “ to support the development of trusted infrastructure for securely transacting in the new market for digital assets.”
The exchange initially announced potential launch dates last year and January of this year, though both were delayed due to a lack of regulatory approvals. The delay appears to stem in part from Bakkt’s plan to warehouse its own bitcoin and clear trades through the ICE clearinghouse.
Bakkt has not yet announced a final launch date.
The company first revealed last month it was self-certifying its futures contracts, which included a daily contract that was previously announced and a monthly contract that was not.
“This is no small step,” White wrote Thursday. “This launch will usher in a new standard for accessing crypto markets.”
“Compared to other markets, institutional participation in crypto remains constrained due to limitations like market infrastructure and regulatory certainty. This results in lower trading volumes, liquidity, and price transparency than more established markets like ICE’s Brent Crude futures contract, which has earned global trust in setting the world’s price of crude oil.”
Adam White image via CoinDesk archives
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