The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has announced a delay in the launch of its Bitcoin futures trading platform. ICE unveiled their first flagship product, Bakkt, in August. But a company blog post published Tuesday has placed the launch January 24th2019. On that date, the Bakkt platform is expected to go live, concurrently with warehouse operations.
Given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place, we will now be targeting January 24, 2019 for our launch to ensure that our participants are ready to trade on Day 1
— Bakkt (@Bakkt) November 20, 2018
Bakkt CEO, Kelly Loeffler, took to Medium to expand upon the announcement, citing both “the volume of interest” and “the work required to get all the pieces in place” as reasons for the delay. ICE had initially hoped to launch Bakkt by the end of the year, with a tentative release date of December 12th. The January launch date is still dependent upon regulatory approval, suggesting that Bakkt have not yet sought or received such approval.
The intention for the platform is to offer physically-settled bitcoin futures at launch. This means that once customer’s contracts expire, they will receive a Bitcoin payout, rather than the cash equivalent. Loeffler’s post also hinted at the possibility of expanding their offerings beyond Bitcoin. Her post referred to “taking opportunities in [their] startup phase to expand [their] offering.”
ICE are expected to announce further details regarding the Bakkt platform in the coming weeks, but we already know that the company has insured their Bitcoin held in cold storage, with plans to obtain insurance for their warm wallet holdings as well. The company’s confidence in their concept is clear, Loeffler referred to Bakkt as “a significant step in building confidence in this asset class.”
Bakkt has previously announced partnerships with a number of businesses who are assisting in the development of the platform. Among the big names supporting ICE’s venture are Starbucks, Microsoft, and Starbucks. The backing of big-name retailers could prove to be the vital ingredient for Bakkt’s success assuming regulatory approval.