The long-awaited and highly anticipated Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt says it has received regulatory approval and is ready for launch.
Bakkt, which is a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, says its BTC futures and crypto custody warehouse will debut on September 23rd.
Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures will be cleared through ICE US, which is federally regulated by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The company has also gained the approval of Bakkt Trust Company LLC from the New York Department of Financial Services, which was the last hurdle the company was facing. The trust will allow Bakkt to operate as a qualified custodian, which is a crucial component of the company’s plan to physically settle contracts in BTC.
“We’re starting with the introduction of a regulated and secure qualified custodian for Bitcoin to support our futures contracts.
The Bakkt Warehouse, which is part of Bakkt Trust Company, is built using the cyber and physical security protections that support the world’s most actively traded markets, including the NYSE. In addition, the independent governance and compliance requirements of a qualified custodian mean that the Bakkt Warehouse is designed to meet the highest standards of oversight.”
Bakkt originally planned to launch in December of last year, but ran into regulatory issues in its attempt to launch a futures product that pays in Bitcoin instead of cash. Bakkt says it’s working to build a trusted institutional ecosystem around the leading cryptocurrency.
“Uniquely, Bakkt Bitcoin futures contracts will not rely upon unregulated spot markets for settlement prices, thus serving as a transparent price discovery mechanism for the benchmark price for Bitcoin. The importance of this differentiator is only amplified by reports of significant manipulative spot market activity, and other concerns such as inconsistent anti-money-laundering policies and weak compliance controls…
Providing a trusted ecosystem is our first objective. To do that we are setting a higher standard, including an institutional compliance and anti-money laundering program, settlement prices that are distinct from unregulated spot prices, comprehensive market oversight, a guaranty fund contribution and insurance. The trading and risk management tools that make all of this possible have been centuries in the making.”
Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures is part of its phase one rollout. The company has also partnered with Microsoft and Starbucks to launch a separate layer of its business model.
The company says it will utilize Microsoft’s cloud solutions to allow retail customers to purchase, hold and spend cryptocurrencies on a global network. The plan will also give Starbucks customers a way to convert crypto to US dollars to make purchases. Phase two was reportedly set to launch this summer. However, Bakkt has not officially released an update on the partnerships since last year.