In this article, we will be covering the very basics and high-level points on the following questions: What is Bakkt? What product are they offering? What is the difference between their products and an ETF? What does this mean for crypto?
To begin, Bakkt is a company started by Jeffrey Sprecher, Founder, Chairman, & CEO, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), that will begin offering a federally regulated market for Bitcoin in November 2018. With the creation of Bakkt, ICE aims to evolve Bitcoin into a trusted global currency. They have other partners, including Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, and Susquehanna International Group. The goal of Bakkt is “to make Bitcoin a sound and secure offering.” Their goal is to pave the way for other money managers to create regulated mainstream investments such as Bitcoin mutual funds, pension funds, and ETFs.
“In an exclusive interview, Loeffler (pronounced “Leffler”) told Fortune that ICE and its partners have been “building the factory” that will power Bakkt in the strictest secrecy for the past 14 months. The name of the company was only decided in the past two weeks. Loeffler explains that “Bakkt” is a play on “backed,” as in “asset-backed securities,” and it’s meant to evoke a highly-trusted investment…The institutions saw that Bitcoin had lots of appeal as a store of value like gold or silver,” says Loeffler.”
Even though the company still hasn’t gone live, they have confirmed, on September 25th, that their first product will be a form of physical Bitcoin futures traded against USD, GBP, and EUR. When a customer purchases one USD/BTC futures contract, one Bitcoin will be delivered to that customer’s account. Unlike other platforms that offer this kind of trading, there will be no trading on margins because they didn’t want to “serve to create a paper claim on a real asset.”
“Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded. As such, our new daily bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset.” –Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt’s CEO
Many people are familiar with the Van Eck & SolidX Bitcoin ETF and that the SEC is currently in the process of determining if this product will be approved. But many people don’t know the difference between what Van Eck and Bakkt are offering. The biggest difference between the two is that Bakkt is delivering customers physical Bitcoin while the ETFs wouldn’t deliver any physical Bitcoin to customers.
Many people in the cryptocurrency world believe that institutional investors entering into the crypto markets is bad because Bitcoin was originally created as a peer-to-peer currency. Others welcome institutions into the cryptocurrency world because it will help their profit margins.
Me, I am a realist. While I believe the need for Bitcoin benefits the average person it is almost inevitable that institutions will end up entering the space. Where there is money to be made, you can be guaranteed that institutions will join the party.