ICE’s Bakkt Institutional Crypto Platform To Launch ‘Later This Year’


Investors are looking forward to Bakkt, a digital asset platform by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). However, they may now have to wait a little longer before seeing its official launch.

Jeff Sprecher, the CEO of ICE said on Thursday that the firm now expects the platform to launch later in the year. Sprecher made this comment during the firm’s earnings call on February 7.

The Thursday call focused on ICE’s Q4 and 2018 financial results. The chief executive explained that over $1 billion had been spent on the company’s strategic initiatives in the year, with one of the big ones being its digital asset platform Bakkt.

The company’s chief financial officer Scott Hill has also divulged some of the expectations ICE has on Bakkt in terms of the expenses it is likely to attract when pegged on the platform’s current financial performance.

The CFO noted that the firm’s investment in Bakkt is expected to “generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter.”

He added that the company would give progress updates on Bakkt, including the level of investment put in throughout the year.

With so much spent on investments in 2018 (including on Bakkt), questions about ICE’s projected returns or revenue growth featured at the call.

Sprecher’s response on Bakkt was that it is a “moonshot bet” for the company, adding that it had “been organized in a manner that is very different [from] the way ICE typically does businesses.”

He added:

“They’re well along in building out an infrastructure that I think you’ll see launch later this year.”

According to Sprecher, the Bakkt investment is independent of ICE, with its own offices, a separate management team as well as its own infrastructure.

The CEO added that the crypto platform’s infrastructure is already seeing massive interest from leading companies around the world. He noted that giants like Starbucks and Microsoft were among the many high-profile investors and partners already looking at Bakkt’s infrastructure.

Hill reiterated that the company views Bakkt as an investment, with the focus being on its future development, revenue, and market opportunities. He, therefore, sees the digital asset platform as a long-term project that is more than just its launch in 2019.

ICE is the owner of the world’s leading stock marketplace the New York Stock Exchange and operates 23 other leading global exchanges.

The company announced its Bakkt platform in August 2018, with an initial launch date of January 2019. However, the company was forced to delay its launch following consultations with the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC).

In January, ICE announced that it had acquired certain assets in Rosenthal Collins Group, a futures commission merchant. On Saturday, February 9, the company announced it had finalized that acquisition.

Earlier this week, Bakkt rival ErisX said that it expects to launch its spot trading marketplace in Q2, and announced the hiring of former Barclays executive Robert Thrash as its COO. Two other tech veterans from Youtube and the Cboe also took up executive positions at the firm.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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