Someone is poorly impersonating the highly anticipated bitcoin futures trading platform Bakkt in an apparent attempt to bilk people out of their bitcoin.
On Wednesday night, the CoinDesk news team received an email (subject line: “Bakkt News!”) claiming that the platform was set to launch on March 12. The email, sent from a gmail address and written in broken English, further stated that Bakkt would be seeking to raise $50 million in a second financing round and directed readers to a website, bakktplatform.io.
There, prospective investors are invited to register by entering their name and email address. After going through this process, visitors are presented with a bitcoin address to send their money and asked to provide their own address to receive their “profits” from the investment.
As of Thursday morning, no funds had been sent to the wallet.
The site (registered just a week ago through WhoisGuard, a domain owner-obscuring service in Panama, according to a WHOIS lookup) is a fake.
A spokesperson for Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Bakkt’s parent company, told CoinDesk: “that is not a Bakkt website and we wouldn’t have communicated in that way.”
Further, the email’s claims about Bakkt are dubious at best.
No launch date
For starters, Bakkt has no official launch date right now.
The platform is still waiting on regulatory approval to begin listing its futures product, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is nowhere near such an approval.
Indeed, the CFTC has not even published Bakkt’s self-warehousing proposal for comment. Once that proposal is released, the general public will have 30 days to respond. After the comment period ends, the CFTC’s commissioners will likely take a few days to review the feedback before voting to approve or deny the proposal.
In that light, a March 12 launch date would be an aggressive target – and just to be clear, Bakkt has made no such commitment.
Even more implausible, however, is the email’s announcement of a “Second Financing Round.”
First, Bakkt just raised $182.5 million at the close of 2018, less than two months ago. And it strains credulity to imagine that a regulated institutional platform would solicit funds from the general public through a website, require just a name and email address to invest (though “company” and “industry” are optional fields on the registration form) and accept bitcoin only.
“We are at the stage of completing the testing of Blockchain on our platform, our tests have shown high results of efficiency and manufacturability using Blockchain technology in contrast to Fiat,” the bogus Bakkt website explains (sorta). “Тhe near future we plan to create the first regulated exchange of the institutional class in a developing industry and much more [sic].”
If that pitch isn’t persuasive enough, the site promises investors a return within three days of the platform’s launch (so by March 15, presumably). Perhaps appealing to FOMO, it says the platform will conclude its fundraising effort on Feb. 25, unless it hits the target before that date.
In all seriousness, please don’t send funds to this platform. Investors who do are unlikely to see their bitcoin again.
“What this Bakkt” and bitcoin address signup screenshots from bakktplatform.io