Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), plans to launch a digital assets platform and a Bitcoin futures product.
The new platform, dubbed Bakkt, was announced in an August 3 press release as an “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.” Bakkt will enable consumers and institutions to “buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.”
According to the press release, the Bakkt ecosystem will include “federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications.” ICE says that Bakkt will “support transaction flows” in the $270 billion digital asset marketplace, and facilitate its “secure” and “efficient” evolution, encouraging additional participation.
The first use cases for Bakkt will focus on trading and conversion of Bitcoin versus fiat currencies. ICE’s futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a “1-day physically-delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing” in November 2018, pending review and approval of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The physical delivery of Bitcoin futures would be a first in the industry, as current Bitcoin futures contracts, such as those offered by CBOE or CME, are ultimately settled in cash.
Corporate partners including BCG, Microsoft and Starbucks are providing expertise on risk management and consumer experience for the project.
Investors in Bakkt include M12, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, and Susquehanna International Group LLP, among others.