Former Google, PayPal Executive Joins Bakkt, ICE's Digital Asset Focused Subsidiary

Omar Faridi

Kelly Loeffler, the CEO at Bakkt, a digital asset focused company launched by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the world’s largest stock exchange with a market cap of over $30 trillion, has revealed that Mike Blandina, a former PayPal and Google executive has joined Bakkt as Chief Product Officer.

In a blog post published by Bakkt’s official Medium account on April 11th, Loeffler wrote that “the most important aspects of building Bakkt [aren't] technological.” She believes that having qualified personnel onboard will help the company build innovative products “from the ground up.”

Building Digital Asset Ecosystem For “Payments Use Cases”

Loeffler also noted that Blandina’s role as CPO at Bakkt will involve leading the firm’s “efforts to converge a trusted ecosystem for digital assets with payments use cases.” She explained that these are the two key elements that Bakkt focuses on, in order to “bring real-world application” to Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptoassets.

According to Bakkt’s announcement, Blandina has “more than 25 years of experience in payments across product, engineering, strategy and operations.” His most recent role, prior to joining Bakkt, involved working with OneMarket, as the company’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

Former Head Of Payments And Credit Engineering At PayPal, Director Of Engineering For Google Wallet

Blandina was also responsible for “leading product and engineering” at OneMarket. Before taking on a senior management role at OneMarket, Blandina served as Head of Payments and Credit Engineering at PayPal and also as Director of Engineering for Google Wallet at Google.

Notably, Blandina began working at Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, after the search engine giant acquired TxVia, a venture capital funded FinTech firm where he served as COO and also as a senior board member.

Focusing On Obtaining Regulatory Approvals

In addition to occupying executive roles at Google and PayPal, Blandina served as CTO at Blackhawk Network, a leading gift card and digital payment solutions provider. Blandina also served as founder of “several successful tech startups,” Loeffler wrote.

His career began as a software developer for the US Army. Notably, Blandina also served previously on Money2020’s advisory board.

Loeffler remarked:

As [Bakkt] works through regulatory approvals, [it’s] mindful that the infrastructure we are building has the potential to create more opportunities for digital assets to grow in relevance and trust — by being more secure, investible and useful.