The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is attempting to facilitate the launch of its delayed Bakkt platform by obtaining a New York cryptocurrency license to seemingly bring about a more favorable outcome, according to Bloomberg’s report.
The much-lauded physically delivered Bitcoin futures platform – Bakkt – which is expected to further the adoption of Bitcoin to both institutions and retail investors, has been delayed for five months, with currently no date set for launch, as CEO Kelly Loeffler hinted:
“While we’re not yet able to provide a launch date, we’re making solid progress in bringing the first physical delivery price discovery contracts for Bitcoin to the .S, where price formation will occur in federally regulated, transparent markets.”
The delay has been for the most part due to custody concerns from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which considered the custody infrastructure currently in place to be inadequate. Moreover, the regulator’s rules require clearinghouses to deposit customer funds at a bank or trust company – none of which Bakkt is, according to the report. Although, the CFTC had earlier suggested Bakkt register as a trust company to circumnavigate the concern.
CFTC had granted Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) self-certification based on the fact that they settled their futures contract in cash, unlike in the case of Bakkt where settlements will be in Bitcoin, which raised the initial concerns of custody given the nature of asset theft in the cryptocurrency industry. Moreover, the regulator alongside CME and CBOE agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers.
ICE hopes a New York crypto license will influence the regulator’s decision positively, given that the license grants the Bakkt platform permission from New York’s Department of Financial Services to hold tokens.
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