Bakkt, a digital asset exchange that is an offshoot of the Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), has raised $182.5 million in their first funding round. The news was revealed in a New Year’s Eve blog post by Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler. ICE is the parent company of the NYSE.
When the new marketplace was announced, Bakkt stated their ecosystem will “include federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications.” The first use cases are expected to be a product for Bitcoin versus fiat currencies. Bakkt said it is addressing the “evolving needs in the estimated $270 billion digital asset marketplace.”
Loeffler reported that 12 partners and investors backed the crypto focused platform. Investors included high profile names; the Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures.
Bakkt is “centered on driving institutional access for digital assets.” The company recently delayed the launch of their Bitcoin futures product and crypto custodial warehouse until January 24th, 2019. But Loeffler still expects to provide the industry’s first “institutional grade regulated exchange, clearing and warehousing services for physical delivery and storage.”
“To that end, our team has been working closely with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the better part of 2018. At an industry level, regulatory approval for physically delivered and warehoused Bitcoin will establish and amplify the voice of U.S. authorities as the digital asset market evolves globally. We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process. You may have seen the recent Wall Street Journal article — “First Futures Contract to Pay Out in Bitcoin Poised for Green Light” — noting Bakkt’s ongoing work with the CFTC,” stated Loeffler.
Bakkt is not alone in its pursuit of a digital asset marketplace and issuance platform. The objective is global with platforms emerging around the world and in the US to utilize blockchain tech to trade and manage securities.