Cryptocurrency News

ICE CEO: Bakkt Will Launch Bitcoin Futures In ‘Very Near Future’

Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt is gearing up to launch soon, the head of its parent firm said Thursday, although he did not set a firm timeline.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, speaking during a quarterly earnings call, said Bakkt is “working to develop a regulated ecosystem that services the evolving needs of [participants] around the world,” adding:

“Subject to final regulatory approvals, we plan to launch our physically settled bitcoin futures in the very near future.”

Sprecher did not provide a specific timeline.

ICE first announced Bakkt in August, unveiling an ambitious plan to offer physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts and additional work with Microsoft, Starbucks and BCG Consulting.

While the company initially planned to launch the platform in December 2018, Bakkt was delayed a number of times, and does not currently have a firm launch date.

Bakkt initially intended to have the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which oversees derivative products in the U.S., approve its futures contracts, but ultimately self-certified.

The company is now waiting on a trust charter from the New York Department of Financial Services. Once NYDFS approves Bakkt’s warehouse, the company will be able to launch its new product.

The company is facing competition, however: TD Ameritrade-backed ErisX is also planning to launch physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts, and LedgerX announced Wednesday that it had already gone live with a product.

Bakkt aside, ICE generated $1.3 billion in revenue across the second quarter, according to a release.

ICE chief financial officer Scott Hill said ICE intends to launch its ETF Hub, a single portal for traders to take part in the exchange-traded fund market, in the coming months. The company believes the ETF market might double in the next few years.

Jeffrey Sprecher image via CoinDesk archives

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