Bakkt Taps Former IBM and Cisco Exec Tom Noonan to Chair Its Board

Nikhilesh De
Mar 29, 2019 at 19:19 UTC
Updated Mar 29, 2019 at 19:37 UTC
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Bakkt has tapped a former Cisco and IBM executive to lead its board of directors, according to an announcement Friday.

Chairing Bakkt’s board will be Tom Noonan, described as “a cyber expert” and the founder of Internet Security Systems (which IBM acquired in 2006), JouleX (which Cisco acquired in 2013) and Endgame. He will be accompanied by Akshay Naheta, managing partner at Softbank; Sean Collins, managing partner at Goldfinch Partners; ICE CEO and chairman Jeff Sprecher; and Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt’s head.

Noonan is already a member of ICE’s own board of directors.

Once approved by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Bakkt’s physically settled bitcoin futures contracts will be listed on ICE Futures US and ICE Clear US, “where global market participants already transact,” Loeffler wrote in a blog post Friday. “The price discovery function in these new physical delivery markets should contribute to building confidence in bitcoin prices.”

She described Bakkt’s pending products as “the first physical delivery price discovery contracts for bitcoin to the U.S., where price formation will occur in federally regulated, transparent markets.”

Moreover, she added:

“Similarly, just as digital asset custody is at the core of Bakkt’s infrastructure development, secure custody is at the heart of our physical delivery bitcoin futures contracts.”

However, Loeffler’s update did not contain any specific about when it may go live, saying only that, “We’ll share more about our custody platform shortly, as we work to set a new standard in digital asset security.”

The platform – whose launch has already been delayed twice – does not have a firm date yet on when it may go live. The company is waiting on the CFTC to approve its plan to custody bitcoin on behalf of its clients. In Friday’s post, Loeffler said Bakkt has “worked closely” with the CFTC in recent months.

Typically, regulations require that customer funds are actually held by banks, trust companies or futures commission merchants. While CFTC staff have been reviewing Bakkt’s proposal since last year, it is unclear where the process stands.

The CFTC is expected to publish Bakkt’s proposal for a 30-day public review period, after which the commissioners will vote to approve or disapprove. As such, Bakkt is unlikely to launch before May.

“We continue to work with regulators to address the emerging global landscape for digital assets,” Loeffler wrote.

Michael J. Casey, Kelly Loeffler and Jeffrey Sprecher image via CoinDesk archives

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