ICE's Bakkt Delays Bitcoin Futures Launch

Bakkt has delayed the launch of its bitcoin futures launch to January 2019.

AccessTimeIconNov 20, 2018 at 5:12 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:36 a.m. UTC

Intercontinental Exchange's bitcoin futures trading platform is delaying its formal launch.

Announced Tuesday via a company blog post, Bakkt's first product, unveiled in August, has now been postponed to Jan. 24, 2019. Trading and warehouse operations are both expected to begin on that date.

The platform explained that "the new listing timeframe will provide additional time for customer and clearing member onboarding prior to the start of trading and warehousing of the new contract."

In an announcement on Medium, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler expanded on this statement, saying that the "volume of interest" in the company and the "work required to get all the pieces in place" contributed to the delay.

She added:

"As is often true with product launches, there are new processes, risks and mitigants to test and re-test, and in the case of crypto, a new asset class to which these resources are being applied. So, it makes sense to adjust our timeline as we work with the industry toward launch."

Bakkt previously anticipated launching its futures trading next month, saying in a notice that it would launch the product on Dec. 12. The new date is still subject to regulatory approval, indicating that the platform may not have received such approval yet.

The platform previously revealed it would launch physically-settled bitcoin futures, meaning clients would receive bitcoin upon the expiration of their contracts, rather than the token's cash equivalent.

However, the company may offer more than just bitcoin futures, Loeffler hinted Tuesday. Later in her post, she noted that "we are taking opportunities in our start-up phase to expand our offering."

"We’ll share more about some of these new features in the coming weeks but as a start, I’m pleased to announce that we have insurance for bitcoin in cold storage and are in the process of securing insurance for the warm wallet within the Bakkt Warehouse architecture," she said.

The company is focused on building an institutional-grade cryptocurrency warehouse, she said, adding that "we ... believe this is a significant step in building confidence in this asset class."

As part of its efforts to develop the product, Bakkt previously announced it was working with BCG, Microsoft and Starbucks. The companies provided assistance in both customer experience and risk management for the product.

ICE image via ICE Data Services / Twitter


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