Bakkt — the highly anticipated digital assets platform — raised $182.5 million in a funding round that included 12 partners. Detailed in a Medium post by CEO Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt’s fundraising round included partners such as Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, and Pantera Capital.
Bakkt is backed by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is well-known as the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Bakkt’s funding announcement coincides with a separate announcement stating that the much-anticipated launch of the platform will be delayed again past the originally expected January 24th launch.
Institutional-Grade Exchange for Digital Assets
Many cryptocurrency investors and legacy financial participants have been looking forward to the launch of the Bakkt platform as it provides a familiar institutional-grade, regulated and clearinghouse infrastructure for physical delivery of Bitcoin and other digital assets.
The platform has already been delayed once, which is unsurprising considering the scope of what it’s striving to accomplish. Bakkt is working closely with the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) leading up to its launch to be fully regulatory compliant and is waiting on the regulatory review of their application with the commission.
It remains unclear when the platform will officially launch, but, pending no more delays, should happen in Q1 2019.
Many investors and cryptocurrency pundits believe that Bakkt’s launch will provide a turning point for the extended bearish sentiment in the markets. Institutional money will feel much more comfortable with a regulated infrastructure for getting their feet wet with Bitcoin.
Conversely, Bitcoin’s price tends to correlate closely to its transaction volumes, and the proliferation of its second layer Lightning Network — as well as applications built on top of it — may provide a more organic growth metric for the network’s price than a regulated custodial investment framework.
Nonetheless, Bakkt will become the first major institutional-grade platform for Bitcoin under clearcut regulatory guidelines by the CFTC. Fortunately, the CFTC has shown a predilection for being open to the development of the cryptocurrency space under chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo rather than pursuing aggressive and stifling regulation.
Bakkt is an intriguing proposition for the future convergence of legacy finance and digital assets, and its eventual launch will provide a useful gauge for institutional interest in the young cryptocurrency field.