Intercontinental Exchange Acquires Crypto Custodian in Latest Effort to Offer Bitcoin Futures
ICE, which operates the New York Stock Exchange, made waves last August by announcing grand plans to enter into the Bitcoin sector.
However, bureaucratic postponements hampered those goals, spurring ICE to publicly state a number of measures on Monday to leap its endeavours. Most specifically, ICE took over a company offering crypto-custodian service.
In a blog article, Bakkt revealed it had taken over Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) and organized for its cryptocurrency affiliate— known as Bakkt — to become an approved trust with New York State.
These initiatives aim to lay the groundwork for ICE to list Bitcoin futures agreements that settle in Bitcoin instead of cash. Such agreements have yet to bear fruit, largely because the Commodity Futures Trading Commission opposed Bakkt’s previous aim to hold Bitcoin in a safe, high-tech “warehouse.”
If New York allows Bakkt’s to function as a trust, ICE will have a “qualified custodian” status, eliminating regulatory barriers to storing cryptocurrency assets linked to futures contracts.
While DACC’s indigenous backing of 13 blockchains and 100 + assets is supposed to “serve as a major accelerator,” the whole DACC group will also participate Bakkt, as former exective of Coinbase and new Bakkt COO Adam White wrote in Monday’s blog post.
Bakkt, who amassed $182.5 million from ICE and tactical investors like Microsoft’s venture subsidiary and Boston Consulting Group, did not reveal how much it shelled out for New Jersey’s Digital Asset Custody Company, but said it would continue to employ the CEO and its entire staff.
In the same official release, White disclosed that Bakkt has applied to the New York Department of Financial Services to function as a trust company, enabling the firm to carry out duties as a Qualified Digital Asset Custodian. Particularly, Bakkt said the firm plans to introduce physically delivered Bitcoin (BTC) futures, with agreements laid down to be bought and sold on ICE Futures US (IFUS) and settled on ICE Clear US (ICUS), a federally regulated exchange and clearinghouse governed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission of the United States (CFTC).
Bloomberg recently stated that ICE was contemplating purchasing a New York BitLicense to introduce Bitcoin futures, quoting unnamed industry sources. Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler supposedly asserted the company is not altering its approach, but is explaining its position in the cryptocurrency sector, as Fortune reports.
Loeffler told Fortune:
“There is no pivot. From the ground up what ICE has been building for two years is the safest version of a custody solution for digital assets.”
ICE, which owns, runs and administers 23 well-known global exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced the introduction of Microsoft’s “open and regulated global digital asset ecosystem” Bakkt in August 2018. Initially set to open in January 2019, Bakkt consequently postponed the launch due to continued US consultations with the CFTC. Jeff Sprecher, ICE CEO, said early February that he anticipates Bakkt to go live in later half of 2019.