The owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), announced back in August that it will be launching a global platform and an ecosystem for digital assets called Bakkt. The project is handled in collaboration with marquee companies such as Microsoft, BCG, Starbucks, and others.
Speaking on the matter at the time, CEO Kelly Loeffler said that the platform is expected to launch in November 2018, subject to review and approval by the US Commodity and Futures Trading Commission.
However, in a notice issued on October 22, ICE confirmed that the platform will launch with one month delay, pending approval from US regulators.
In yet another push-back, ICE had posted an update that confirmed the platform will launch on January 24th as a new target date, as well as other updates. The reason for the delay is seemingly the same – regulators are yet to grant their approval.
Bakkt Milestones Ahead Of The Launch
The latest update from December 12 by ICE comes with a few important milestone targets which the platform should hit before the much-awaited deadline on January 24th.
First and foremost, on December 17th, the team will have the Bitcoin reference data set up and ready for download in production.
Just a day later, on the 18th, the project should have new digital assets multicast channels, while by the 10th of January, the clearing limits can be set up in production.
Also, the recent announcement has also shed some clarity on the matter of trading the daily Bitcoin contracts. ICE outlines how the platform will handle markets for each subsequent day:
Because the Bitcoin product is a daily contract, each day there will be a new market (i.e., market id) that becomes available as tradable on the exchange. Because of this behavior, we will list two subsequent days of markets that will be available in static data, but not tradable.
Bakkt Paves the Way for Institutional Money
According to CEO of LMAX Exchange, David Mercer, Bakkt’s 1-day futures contract which includes physically delivered bitcoin is an incrementally different and particularly important addition that the market has been looking for a long time.
Additionally, CFTC-approved warehousing, as well as, enhanced security and a guarantee fund provides a much-needed custody solution. According to many, Mike Novogratz included, this is what institutional investors are looking for to get involved in the market.
I think the next move up is going to need custody from a trusting source. It’s going to need a little more regulatory clarity. […] We wouldn’t take out $10,000 without those two things because that’s what brings the institutional investors in. But we’re going to get there. – Said Novogratz.
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