$182 Million: ICE's Bitcoin Startup Bakkt Announces Massive Fundraise

The New York Stock Exchange–affiliated Bakkt completes its first fundraising round, with 12 partners.

AccessTimeIconDec 31, 2018 at 4:50 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:43 a.m. UTC

Bakkt has raised $182.5 million to build out its global digital assets platform and bitcoin futures product.

The round, which is Bakkt's first, included 12 partners, according to a Medium post by CEO Kelly Loeffler. The crypto startup is owned by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is best known as the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Investors in the funding round included Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, ICE, M12 (Microsoft's VC fund), Pantera Capital and Protocol Ventures.

Loeffler wrote:

"We are focused on opportunities to provide new infrastructure, including the industry’s first institutional grade regulated exchange, clearing and warehousing services for physical delivery and storage."

In a separate announcement Monday, Bakkt disclosed that its planned bitcoin futures market has been delayed again. CoinDesk had previously warned that such a delay was likely. It had been expected to launch on Jan. 24. A new date has not been announced.

Loeffler first announced Jan. 24 as the target launch date in a previous delay announcement issued in November.

The release ascribed the delay to consultation with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, estimating a new launch date should be announced early in the new year.

While these delays may engender impatience on the part of bitcoin holders who had hoped a new institutional-grade product could relieve some of the pain of crypto winter, today's fundraising announcement leans heavily on a message of patience.

Noting that the Bakkt team has been built from veterans of other new and nascent financial markets, Loeffler wrote, "The path to developing new markets is rarely linear: progress tends to modulate between innovation, dismissal, reinvention and, finally, acceptance."

Moving too soon, she notes, has its own dangers:

"While access to information as technology innovation occurs is extremely valuable, the risk is a 'marking to market' of innovations before they have a chance to mature. Few innovations reached their full potential in their first decade of development."

Bakkt declined to give additional comment.

"Pantera is excited to support Bakkt in its journey to provided needed infrastructure for both institutional and retail investors," Pantera Capital partner Paul Veradittakit told CoinDesk. "Regulated physically settled bitcoin futures is the first step of many to bring more regulated and ease of access to cryptocurrencies."

Updated with comment from Pantera Capital.


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