Crypto ‘Winter’ Is Giving Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures Plan a Boost, ICE Chief Says

Crypto winter has been a boon for highly-anticipated bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt, an executive from its parent firm said Thursday.

Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), said during the company’s Q1 earnings call that the ongoing bear market has been “helpful” for Bakkt, which was initially scheduled to launch last December, then delayed to January, then again indefinitely.

“It’s really been helpful that the cryptocurrency [market] went into what they call a winter, [because] it took some of the heat off the timetable to launch,” Sprecher said, adding that this was just one benefit.

Another benefit is that many crypto startups’ valuations have declined, creating buying opportunities for Bakkt, he said, explaining:

“We’ve actually been looking at a number of different companies and acquired a company earlier this week that wouldn’t have been available to us if the market was really hot, because the valuations were really hot.”

Indeed, on Monday Bakkt announced it had acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC), which is developing a crypto-asset storage platform. (The price was not disclosed.)

That being said, the industry is continuing to mature, and Bakkt is working to help it do so, Sprecher said. The company has brought on a number of engineers through its recent acquisitions (Bakkt has also acquired some assets, including personnel, from Rosenthal Collins Group, an independent futures commission merchant).

“There’s a lot of interest still in this market,” he said.

Regulatory questions

One of the primary causes for Bakkt’s delays are regulatory in nature – specifically, it is widely believed that the firm’s plan to custody bitcoin itself under federal supervision and settle contracts through its parent firm’s clearinghouse have placed it in a regulatory gray area.

While Sprecher did not specifically address what the holdups were, he did note that regulators are still trying to…

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