A veteran and early employee of Coinbase is switching teams, moving to the up-and-coming cryptocurrency exchange platform, Bakkt. Adam White will be joining Bakkt as the exchange’s Chief Operating Officer, helping the platform to develop as it prepares for its imminent launch.
Many investors and analysts see Bakkt as being cryptocurrency industry’s next big platform that could usher in a new era of institutional and retail investors.
The exchange, which will be a direct competitor to Coinbase, has deep ties to Wall Street, and is backed by New York Stock Exchange parent company, ICE. It has already secured partnerships with major household corporations, like Starbucks and Microsoft, giving it an edge over the competition.
The platform, which is currently awaiting operational approval from the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), could potentially act as a compliant on-ramp that could bring about Bitcoin mutual funds and ETFs to retail investor’s 401(k)s.
Bakkt’s CEO, Kelly Loeffler, wrote about the addition of Adam White to the exchange in a recent Medium Post, saying that he is an excellent fit with the companies culture of “collaboration, problem solving, integrity and leadership,” adding that “Adam is a much anticipated addition to our busy team.”
A Coinbase spokesperson spoke to Fortune about White’s departure from the exchange, saying:
“We wish Adam all the best, and are proud of what we call the ‘Coinbase Mafia’ – an increasingly impressive group of alumni who are driving the crypto space forward.”
An Update on Bakkt’s Progress with Regulators
In addition to announcing the addition of a new member to Bakkt’s leadership team, Loeffler also gave an update on the progress of the exchange.
She explained that the platform is currently hard at work with members of the clearing house risk committee, and is working closely with their clearing house boards to meet the regulatory guidelines set forth by the CFTC and the US government.
Subject to CFTC approval, the exchange hopes to begin testing and onboarding in November, with trading starting the following month, in December.
Bakkt is also awaiting approval on a patent for their proprietary market model that aims to provide institutions with a regulated framework for offering cryptocurrency-related products to their clients.
“Our patent-pending market model is focused on mitigating risk while creating opportunities for institutions to serve their clients in a regulated framework for digital assets. This means creating a solution that both provides wanted exposure and limits unwanted exposure. A critical aspect of our model is ensuring that our clearing members are well protected from a risk perspective through a conservative market design…” Loeffler explained.
The aforementioned model will utilize three key requirements to ensure risk mitigation, including a requirement for full pre-funding for all Bitcoin trades, direct access to the warehouse, which means that clearing members will not have to handle cryptocurrency themselves, and a fund that ensures that non-default clearing member capital is never at risk.
Loeffler also explained that forming a regulatory framework for nascent industries is incredibly important, and that dialogues regarding regulation are already in full swing, specifically mentioning the attendance of regulators at the recent LabCFTC FinTech Forward conference.
Assuming the platform is approved by the necessary regulatory bodies, Bakkt could bring a significant amount of retail wealth into the cryptocurrency industry, possibly reversing the persisting bear market.
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