Bakkt, the Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) cryptocurrency-related venture, has recently revealed it’ll start testing the trading of its bitcoin futures contracts on July of this year, after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
On a blog post, Bakkt’s chief operating officer Adam White likened Bakkt to the moon landing, noting the ICE’s chairman and CEO Jeff Sprecher claimed it was a “bit of a moonshot bet” in February of this year.
White added that bitcoin price discovery “requires diligent testing before launch,” and announced the date in which the platform will start testing its bitcoin futures contracts:
On July 22, two days after Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, Bakkt will initiate user acceptance testing for its bitcoin futures listed and traded at ICE Futures U.S. and cleared at ICE Clear US.
Per his words, the launch of Bakkt’s bitcoin futures contracts will “usar in a new standard for accessing crypto markets,” as right now institutional investors are limited when it comes to participating in the cryptocurrency space, over regulatory uncertainty and market infrastructure.
White added this means cryptocurrency markets end up having low liquidity, trading volumes, and price transparency when compared to established markets. It’s worth noting that earlier Bakkt revealed it was going to offer a daily and a monthly contract.
Both contracts will have a minimum price fluctuation of $2.5 per BTC, with each containing one bitcoin. Trades will be executable at $0.01 per bitcoin, and listing cycles will last 12 months for the monthly contract, and 70 consecutive eligible contract dates for the daily contract.
The ICE’s platform will reportedly launch physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. These, unlike cash-settled contracts offered by the CME Group, will see traders receive actual BTC at the contract’s expiration date, and not the fiat equivalent to its price.
Our mission is to build the first integrated, institutional grade exchange-traded markets and custody solution for physical delivery of digital assets— Bakkt (@Bakkt) January 16, 2019
In its blog post, Adam White added that Bakkt will also bring in other features for institutional investors, including a fee holiday through the end of the year, market maker incentive programs, and block trades. These are set to encourage liquidity in the market.
He noted the company’s move is “no small step” as it’ll “usher in a new standard for accessing crypto markets.” It’s worth pointing out Bakkt itself hasn’t announced a final launch date yet.