Since the announcement in August 2018, crypto enthusiasts and institutional investors have been waiting for the launch of Bakkt. The launch of the platform is expected to lead to a new growth spurt, but Bakkt now faces a number of hurdles.
Initially, Bakkt would already be launched on 12 December 2018. That launch was then postponed to January 24, 2019, after which the launch was postponed again. However, after the most recent delay, Bakkt no longer gave a specific date. What exactly is going on?
Bakkt has particular difficulty in persuading the Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) to license the platform for Bitcoin futures. As these contracts will be handled physically, this means that after the expiry of such a futures contract, the investor will receive bitcoins in his wallet.
This means that Bakkt must manage investor bitcoins for a certain period. And since the CFTC requires such funds to be managed by a trust company or bank, Bakkt faces a problem here. Bakkt now thinks it has the solution.
It has applied for a license from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). With that license, it could officially operate as an asset manager within the United States. Bakkt hopes to receive approval from the CFTC in this way.
For now it remains to be seen whether Bakkt will receive the permit. Until then, Bakkt and the various regulators will work closely together to figure out how the platform can ultimately be launched. Bakkt’s CEO, Kelly Loeffler, said in a blog post:
Although we cannot give a launch date yet, we are making significant progress in the process of bringing the first physical Bitcoin contracts to the US, where pricing will take place in federally regulated, transparent markets.