New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner-operators Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) have made yet another big move to bootstrap the launch of its much-hyped Bakkt cryptocurrency platform.
Bakkt chief operating officer Adam White announced as much on April 29th, declaring in a Medium post that the forthcoming crypto exchange‘s owners had acquired crypto custodian startup Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC).
The development comes after the Wall Street Journal reported last month that Bakkt, which has already missed several previously set launch deadlines, was being held up over concerns at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that the platform needed to take further steps to optimize its custody plans.
Thus taking another stride toward making its planned physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts a reality, Bakkt has purchased DACC, which will help build out the platform’s operational infrastructure and assuage the CFTC’s hesitations.
To that end, White said DACC would help speed up Bakkt’s actualization:
“The team’s experience integrating multiple blockchains and operating cutting-edge consensus mechanisms is a valuable addition to our team and future product line. As we look to scale and support custody of additional digital assets, DACC’s native support of 13 blockchains and 100+ assets will serve as an important accelerator.”
In the same announcement, the Bakkt COO also noted that the platform would be working with major bank and holding company BNY Mellon, which will provide “geographically-distributed storage of private keys.” The bank notably counts itself as a member of both the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and the Token Taxonomy Initiative.
For now, there’s no precise word on when Bakkt will finally go live, but cryptoeconomy stakeholders will continue to watch its progress with intrigue. The platform’s owners, ICE, are operators of some of the largest clearing houses and traditional exchanges in the world and have been accordingly hailed as having the potential to help crypto go mainstream.
DACC isn’t first crypto-minded acquisition in the ICE-Bakkt stable, either. Earlier this year, Bakkt purchased several administrative departments from Rosenthal Collins Group, a futures commission merchant.
Specifically, the deal entailed Bakkt acquiring portions of the group’s customer service, risk management, and treasury staff. The new employees were thus eyed as instant transplants to build out the crypto exchange’s back offices.
“This acquisition underlines the fact we’re not standing still as we await regulatory approval by the CFTC for the launch of regulated trading in our crypto markets,” Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said at the time.
Bakkt Brings in Product Vet and Sets Board of Directors
The ICE-backed platform has been making the hires necessary to become one of the cryptoeconomy’s most elite institutions.
The latest example of that came earlier this month when Bakkt hired Mike Blandina as its new chief product officer. In his new position, Blandina, who had previous stints at Google and PayPal, will be responsible for helping the company leverage bitcoin and crypto toward real-world use cases.
As CEO Loeffler then explained:
“Mike joins us with more than 25 years of experience in payments across product, engineering, strategy and operations. He was most recently with OneMarket, where he was CTO and led product & engineering. Previously, Mike served as head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and director of engineering for Google Wallet at Google.”
At the end of last month, the coming crypto exchange and bitcoin futures provider also introduced its board of directors, which included executive luminaries like cybersecurity expert Tom Noonan, Goldfinch Partners’s Sean Collins, Softbank’s Akshay Naheta, and ICE and NYSE Chairman Jeff Sprecher.
As such, the platform’s leadership has made the personnel moves necessary to prep the exchange for its big launch. When that will be, though, remains up to the CFTC.