Oh, the timing…
Amid a crypto bear market sell-off, which sparked Bitcoin’s foray under $4,500, one of this industry’s most-awaited, to-be-launched platforms have claimed that it will be formally delaying its launch. This announcement, frankly, couldn’t have come at a worse time.
ICE-endorsed Bakkt “Target” January Release For Crypto Futures
Since the announcement of Bakkt in early-August, a number of crypto investors have optimistically claimed that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)-backed venture could revive the somewhat lifeless cryptocurrency market. However, after a multi-month hype cycle, Bakkt, a crypto-centric initiative backed by household names like Microsoft and Starbucks, has divulged that it has fallen victim to an unfortunate road bump.
Through a Medium post on the matter, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, formerly of ICE, revealed that her startup is now “targeting” January 24th, 2019 as its inaugural day in business. This announcement comes just weeks after ICE, a key participant in Bakkt, noted that the platform would launch its physically-backed Bitcoin futures contract on December 12th.
Loeffler, evidently aiming to calm investors’ fears about Bakkt, explained that “given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all our pieces in place,” a delay would be in order to ensure that Bakkt’s clients and partners are adequately prepared.
The startup representative added that product launches aren’t cut and dried, subsequently explaining that crypto’s status as a new technology hasn’t done much to alleviate qualms. Loeffler, who once acted as ICE’s head of communications, elaborated:
“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.”
The 40-day delay aside, Bakkt has maintained that it is hell-bent on putting its nose to the grindstone, so to speak.
Just recently, the American crypto startup, which is aimed at retail, institutional, and merchant players alike, hired Adam White, Coinbase’s fifth hired employee and former institutional product head. White’s experience in the institutional crypto subindustry, along with his rolodex of industry contacts, will likely aid Bakkt’s efforts to bring cryptocurrencies to the mainstream.
Related Reading: Former Coinbase Executive Joins Bakkt Amid Crypto Futures Launch, Massive Anticipation
Loeffler, wed to ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher, then noted that the “level of collaboration at the exchange, customer, and regulatory levels are unprecedented in terms of engagement and effort,” indicating that crypto’s dismal market conditions haven’t fazed the “BUIDLers,” a moniker given to this industry’s diehard believers.
Concluding the post, it was noted that Bakkt is looking into expanding its offerings, but Loeffler was hesitant to give details on those “new features” at the time of press. However, what the CEO did reveal is that Bakkt has secured cold storage insurance for its Bitcoin (BTC) holdings, a claim-to-fame that is likely to entice institutional investors into crypto.
Still, while the Medium message ended on a high note, with Loeffler conveying a silver lining, the bottom line is that Bakkt’s futures vehicle isn’t poised to go live. And, as alluded to earlier, the timing couldn’t have been much worse. Some pessimists have argued that Bakkt’s recent announcement imbued the cryptocurrency market with more skepticism. But, considering the tumultuous market condition, no one can be all too sure.
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