Digital assets platform Bakkt has raised $182.5M in a successful first funding round.
The company says it raised the money from 12 investors and partners, which include Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, Boston Consulting Group, Intercontinental Exchange and Microsoft’s venture capital arm.
“Our work today is centred on driving institutional access for digital assets, along with merchant and consumer uses, and we’re already expanding on this vision, collaborating with great companies like Starbucks,” said Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler in a blog post.
Bakkt says it has been working closely with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for much of 2018.
“We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process,” Ms Loeffler said.
“You may have seen the recent Wall Street Journal article — “First Futures Contract to Pay Out in Bitcoin Poised for Green Light” — noting Bakkt’s ongoing work with the CFTC.
“Clearing firms and customers have continued to join us as we work toward CFTC approval.
“We made great progress in December, and we’ll continue to onboard customers as we await the ‘green light.”
Building a new market
Bakkt says its people have built new market and products many times before.
“Those of us building Bakkt have earned our stripes by helping advance markets in once-nascent asset classes, from energy to credit derivatives and, now, Bitcoin,” Ms Loeffler said.
“The path to developing new markets is rarely linear: progress tends to modulate between innovation, dismissal, reinvention, and, finally, acceptance.
“Each step, whether part of discovery or adversity, ultimately strengthens the product.”
Bakkt says 2018 was the most active year for crypto in its ten-year history.
“This was evidenced by rising investment in distributed ledger technology and digital assets, as well as by blockchain network metrics such as daily Bitcoin transaction value and active addresses,” Ms Loeffler said.
“Yet, these milestones tend to be overshadowed by the more narrow focus on bitcoin’s price, which has been seen by some, as a proxy for the potential of the technology.
“Few innovations reached their full potential in their first decade of development.”
Bakkt’s launch was recently delayed, and it is likely to happen again.
In a notice, the company said it “expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract.”
“The launch had previously been set for January 24, 2019, but will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.”
Bakkt says its goal for this year is to establish infrastructure that builds confidence and grows participation in the sector.
“This is work that needs to be done, and we are excited to be part of this effort on a global scale as 2019 begins,” Ms Loeffler said.