Fundstrat: Bakkt’s Launch Expected by Late Q3, Could Be ‘Huge Accelerator for Market Growth’

Siamak Masnavi
  • 20 Jul 2019

Sam Doctor, a Managing Director and Quantamental Strategist at Independent research boutique Fundstrat Global Advisors, released on Friday (July 19) a report on Bakkt Institutional Digital Asset Summit (July 18); one of the many interesting takeaways was that the full launch of the Bakkt platform is expected is to take place later this quarter.

A Bit of Background on Bakkt

On 3 August 2018, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges, clearing houses, data and listings services, announced that it planned to form a new subsidiary named Bakkt that would be creating "an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network." 

Mopre specifically, ICE said that "as an initial component of the Bakkt offering," ICE's "U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval." 

Until the Bakkt Institutional Digital Asset Summit on July 18, what we knew (according to a blog post by Bakkt COO Adam White) was that on July 22, Bakkt planned to start user acceptance testing (UAT) for its Bitcoin futures products. 

We also knew from Bakkt's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide that:

  • The first two contracts to be listed by ICE Futures U.S. are "Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures" and "Bitcoin (USD) Monthly Futures".
  • In order to provide "regulated custody in the Bakkt Warehouse, Bakkt has filed with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for approval to form a limited-purpose trust company that would serve as a qualified custodian of bitcoin under applicable law."
  • Bakkt expected to launch its platform in H2 2019 following the completion of UAT and "receipt of regulatory approval from NYDFS."

Fundstrat's Key Takeaways From Bakkt's July 18th Summit

Here were the tidbits from the key takeaways of Fundstrat's "Bakkt Institutional Digital Asset Summit takeaways" report that we found most interesting:

  • There were over 150 "investors and institutional service providers" at the event.
  • Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, ICE Executive Vice Chairman Betty Liu, and Bakkt COO Adam White had conversations with Dawn DeBerry Stump, a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Ari Paul, CIO of BlockTower Capital, and Dan Morehead, CEO of Panteral Capital Management.
  • The full launch of the Bakkt platform is expected "late in the current quarter."
  • The CFTC is "seeing growing demand and interest for Bitcoin futures from the public."
  • The CFTC "expects more tokens and contracts beyond cash-settled Bitcoin products (currently exploring ETH products)."
  • It seems that there is "a critical mass of adopters" (such as brokers, market makers, proprietary trading desks, and liquidity providers) who are ready to participate from the first day of the launch of the Bakkt platform.
  • Fundstrat's Quantamental Strategist Sam Doctor believes that the Bakkt launch "could be a huge accelerator for market growth," and Funstrat's Head of Research Thomas Lee shares this sentiment, tweeting that this launch could be "HUGE for institutional adoption of Bitcoin." 

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