Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Chief Confident About Future for Bakkt and Crypto 

The ongoing regulatory delays and hurdles imposed by the US government have not dampened the enthusiasm for crypto related products such as the highly anticipated Bakkt launch.
Bakkt Will be a ‘Moonshot Bet’
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has recently announced its fourth quarter earnings which have beat some Wall Street predictions. Chief executive Jeffrey Sprecher took the opportunity to speak on the sterling performance and shed some light on the Bakkt crypto project. Seeking Alpha ran a full transcript of the conference call in which Sprecher referred to Bakkt as a “moonshot bet”.
Over a billion dollars has been spent on strategic investments in 2018, including the Bakkt crypto futures project, according to CFO Scott Hill. Sprecher added that Bakkt had raised over $180 million from ICE and twelve other investors and partners including Fortress Investment Group and Susquehanna International Group. He said that “as we look to 2019 and beyond we’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, not only for our core business but also for newer initiatives,” which includes Bakkt.
The launch delays have been largely the fault of the US government shutdown imposed by president Trump. The highly anticipated product has been seen as a major on-ramp for crypto as it includes some major players. The firm aims to create a crypto ecosystem to bring huge companies such as Starbucks and Microsoft into the crypto industry. Sprecher stated;
“That infrastructure has attracted a lot of very, very interesting companies that have come — some that have invested in Bakkt, some are just working with Bakkt to try to tap into that infrastructure for some new use cases that will involve blockchain and digital assets and other things that we can provide these people. Obviously, we’ve announced the Starbucks — our work with Starbucks and Microsoft. We have very, very large retail franchises global connectivity to end users that we hope will be brought into that ecosystem and could create a very, very valuable company out of that initiative if our business plan plays out.”
Regarding the Bakkt launch date there were no specifics mentioned, only that it is expected ‘later this year’. Last month the company revealed more details about its Bitcoin futures products. The Bakkt BTC (USD) Daily Future will be a 1 BTC contract that will be physically delivered.
Bakkt also announced the acquisition of assets from Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG) last month. The ‘back office’ infrastructure will be needed to develop the crypto ecosystem and ensure full security and a trusted fintech solution for its clients.
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Bakkt to Foster Institution & Consumer Participation, No Leverage & Margin on Bitcoin Contracts

Bakkt, the digital asset platform by NYSE’s owner and backed by Microsoft and Starbucks is working hard at building a transparent and an institutional quality ecosystem for digital assets. CEO Kelly Loeffler explains that they are offering full collateralized or pre-funded bitcoin buying and selling meaning there will be no leverage or margin involved.
NYSE owner’s Bakkt hard at work
It’s been only two weeks that NYSE’s owner, Intercontinental Exchange announced the “launch of regulated, physical Bitcoin futures contract and warehouse planned for November 2018.” Bakkt, a global platform “designed to bring digital assets to the mainstream and help unlock the potential of this important technology.”
In its latest official blog, Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of Bakkt is talking about being already at work on creating an open and regulated ecosystem for digital assets. She shared how in 1999, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman has predicted the emergence of e-cash and “now are we seeing the promise of a true digital currency.”
From regulated, institutional trading and security solutions to offering more transaction choices to a customer, Bakkt is working on the wider application of digital assets.
The news of the Bakkt has been seen as one of the most important ones for the investors and experts alike. And given the giants viz. Microsoft and Starbucks included in this, it certainly holds a lot of potential for the future of the crypto market. Loeffler acknowledged the “very strong” response they received from worldwide.
People are certainly feeling positive as Mike Strutton of Ironwood shared:
“We may think #ETFs are the big story for #Bitcoin. I believe @Bakkt & “physical” bitcoin futures are going to drive the price – their vision for institutional and consumer retail sounds strong. November will be exciting. Congrats to CEO Kelly Loeffler, woman in crypto.”
Also, read: PwC & NYSE Top Executives Quit to Join BitcoinFirms
Fully collateralized Bitcoin buying & selling
Talking about the widespread need for a trusted infrastructure for storing, spending and trading cryptocurrencies. In order to achieve this, they are working on the “proven framework” comprising of, a consistent regulatory construct, transparent, efficient price discovery, and an institutional quality pre- and post-trade infrastructure.
With a special emphasis on “price discover”, she shares that “trusted price formation is a fundamental part of advancing the promise of digital currencies.” She further talks about not allowing margin or leverage on their contracts stating:
“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. This supports market integrity and differentiates our effort from existing futures and crypto exchanges which allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement.”
She further adds:
“Coupled with a secure, regulated warehouse solution, you can begin to see how this market infrastructure can help more institutions and consumers participate in the asset class.”
However, some were quick to point out as did Caitlin Long, a Wall Street veteran,
“Interesting response from @Bakkt today. For #bitcoin this is good news/bad news. First the good–Bakkt disclosed it’s not using margin or leverage (explicitly). That’s positive. But then the bad–it was silent about hidden leverage, which is subtle…”
The blog also points out the fact that the market cap recently dropped below $200 billion but ICOs, corporate R&D and venture investing is still going strong in this arena. This potential has the team excited about the upcoming launch.
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Source: CoinGape

Coinbase’s CEO Wants to Manage Bitcoin Adoption Expectations

As the cryptocurrency markets suffer from what appears to be a prolonged bear market, investors are looking towards long-term prospects that could aid the price. However the CEO of Coinbase has a warning for anyone getting too excited about widespread Bitcoin adoption in the near future.
Bitcoin’s price is currently sitting at $6,400, up from weekly lows of $5,950 on Coinbase. As Bitcoin’s price fell, many altcoins were pushed to yearly lows, including Ethereum (ETH) whose price dropped to around $250, and Litecoin (LTC) whose price hit lows of $51 earlier this week.
Altcoin and Bitcoin investors alike are looking towards upcoming developments like the Starbucks, Microsoft, and ICE Bitcoin payment provider in order to maintain hope for future success.
Widespread Bitcoin Adoption Could Take Years
While speaking to Bloomberg at a San Francisco tech summit, Brian Armstrong spoke about cryptocurrency adoption, saying that he thinks “it will be quite some time before you cross the street to Starbucks in the U.S. and pay with crypto.”
On this front, Armstrong may be correct. Initially, it appeared that Starbucks was working with Microsoft and New York Stock Exchange parent company ICE to provide a digital payment platform that would allow users to pay for their orders using a Bitcoin wallet. After the reports became widespread, however, Starbucks clarified their plans, saying that, “Customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin.”
Armstrong also shared a common sentiment that most cryptos are only used for speculative investing, saying that around 10% of currently traded cryptos are used to make purchases or to conduct financial transactions.
Many people are concerned that the bear market may persist until major developments are made that bring regulatory clarity and widespread adoption. These include the acceptance of Coinbase Commerce on more websites and the approval of the highly anticipated Bitcoin ETF.
Armstrong optimistically said:
“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections, and each time it does that, it’s at a new plateau. People’s expectations are all over the map, but real-world adoption has been going up.”
Armstrong Bullish on Bitcoin Adoption in Countries in Economic Turmoil
Armstrong also spoke about regulation in some countries, explaining that he doesn’t feel that the amount of countries banning cryptocurrencies will negatively affect Bitcoin adoption any more than it did the adoption of the internet.
“Most places in the free world are adopting this technology. They rightly want to protect consumers though…There are going to be some countries in the world, just like the internet, where bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are restricted.”
Countries like India and China have notably banned crypto trading, which has unfortunately lowered trading volume significantly from where it could be otherwise.
Armstrong also shared his thoughts on the adoption of Bitcoin in countries going through economic crises and rapid currency inflation, explaining that citizens of those countries with internet and phone access will realize that it is more efficient to adopt Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of banking and payment.
“I’m bullish on countries that are going through economic crisis, over the next three to five years, where everyone has the internet and a smartphone, you could see people adopting bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as an alternative.”
Armstrong is referring to countries like Venezuela and Turkey, who have seen hyper-inflation of their currencies due to poorly executed social changes and economic issues.
Coinbase’s user registration rates are a good signal of the market health, but unfortunately, recent reports claiming that they were bringing on 50,000 new users per day were found to be inaccurate, and were figures pulled from the height of the 2017 crypto bull run. It is unknown what Coinbase’s current daily registration numbers are.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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What Has Caused the Bitcoin Price to Drop Below $7,000 in the Past 48 Hours?

Over the past 48 hours, the Bitcoin price has dropped by more than eight percent from $7,500 to $6,890, despite having seen some of the most positive developments in the history of the crypto market.
Bitcoin 1-day price chart, provided by Cryptowat.ch
OTC Sell-Off
The vast majority of short-term traders and casual investors utilize cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, Bitfinex, Binance, OKEx, Huobi, and UPbit to buy and sell major digital assets. Developments in the cryptocurrency sector pertaining to merchant adoption, institutionalization of cryptocurrencies, and technical breakthroughs can have a significant impact on the cryptocurrency exchange market.
However, according to Tabb Group’s report, the over-the-counter (OTC) market of Bitcoin is incomparably larger than its exchange market, by at least two to three-fold. Hence, if the cryptocurrency exchange market only accounts for 25 percent of the global market’s liquidity or volume, it is more likely that large-scale retail traders in the OTC market are manipulating the price of Bitcoin, rather than individual investors in the public exchange market.
If the OTC market’s dominance is accurately measured, then it also opens up an argument about the causation of price movements in the Bitcoin market. Specifically, it is difficult to justify the short-term movements of Bitcoin and other digital assets based on developments in the cryptocurrency sector because news can only have an impact on a market that moves swiftly and can reflect the result of timely events, such as the approval of an ETF or the integration of cryptocurrencies by a large retailer.
The OTC market, due to the sheer size of its orders, move slowly, often with the involvement of agents and brokers. Billionaire investors and institutions that intend to purchase at least several thousand BTC rely on the OTC market to process large orders, because doing so in the cryptocurrency exchange market could lead the price of Bitcoin to experience intensified movements on both the upside and downside.
If a large order in the OTC market is liquidated, it takes the public cryptocurrency exchange market a few days to reflect. As such, it is possible that most of the sell-offs seen in the cryptocurrency exchange market, as seen in the case of July 27 and August 7, are likely caused by the liquidation of large orders in the OTC market, rather than an abrupt switch in trend in the public cryptocurrency exchange market that cannot be tied to a certain event.
Market Manipulation
In the past 48 hours, the cryptocurrency sector has seen the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Starbucks, and Microsoft, the world’s largest stock market, coffee retailer, and technology conglomerate, lead a collaborative effort to increase the usability of digital assets for casual users and the mainstream.
The NYSE emphasized that Bitcoin has the potential to become the first worldwide currency of the world, competing against reserve currencies and government-backed fiat money.
”Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money. It has the potential to become the first worldwide currency,” ICE founder, Chairman, and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said.
It is plausible that the OTC market has substantially increased the volatility of the market with the liquidation of large buy and sell orders, and in a period like this, it can be said with certainty that developments and news are not affecting the cryptocurrency market and its valuation.
Featured Image From Shutterstock, Bitcoin Price Chart From Cryptowat.ch
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