Adam White, former Vice President and General Manager at Coinbase, will find a home at Bakkt, according to unnamed sources speaking to TheBlock.
White will become Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Bakkt, the new New York Stock Exchange-connected cryptocurrency platform, just as they prepare to launch the first physically-settled, U.S. government-regulated Bitcoin futures available on the market.
Many have asserted that Bakkt’s launch will obviate the need for a hotly anticipated — but not necessarily loved by all — Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). The effect of making bitcoin legally and abundantly available to the institutional financial world is a huge unknown, but is potentially enormous.
The news of White’s departure from Coinbase came only last week. White had been with the company since its inception in 2013, being one of its first five employees. Bloomberg reported that new hire Jonathan Kellner, late of fintech stalwart Instinet, would take over most of White’s previous duties at Coinbase.
According to Berkshire Hathaway’s Business Wire, Instinet, a subsidiary of giant Japanese holding company Nomura, is “an electronic trading pioneer, having established the world’s first significant electronic trading venue in 1969”. The company deploys “innovative electronic trading products” to offer fast, low-cost trading, in addition to conducting independent market research for customers.
Although White was already an accomplished figure upon joining Coinbase in 2013, he had very little experience in the world of fintech and had only just finished his MBA at Harvard.
Kellner’s record is strikingly different. He spent eleven years at Instinet, four as CEO and six as president, and prior to that held “several senior trading and technology positions” at Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley. Kellner therefore brings to Coinbase substantial experience in traditional finance, and in the origins of fintech..
Coinbase has had a notable lack of success in attracting the sort of institutional attention it had expected earlier this year – and the contrast between White and Kellner perhaps indicates Coinbase’s desire to court traditional finance more effectively.