TL;DR: Mike Blandina, Chief Executive Officer or Bakkt, offered bullish news for the cryptocurrency exchange, disclosing more than a quarter-billion dollars in new funding and a pivot toward a mobile smartphone application.
Bakkt Latest Funding Round: $300 Million
“Investors include Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s M12, PayU, Boston Consulting Group, Goldfinch Partners, CMT Digital, and Pantera Capital,” Blandina listed for the Series B round. “Bakkt launched two years ago with the vision of building trust in and unlocking the value of digital assets for institutions and consumers alike. Since then, we have been focused on delivering that vision. In 2019 we helped launch the first end-to-end regulated market for bitcoin and an institutional bitcoin custody offering too,” he recounted.
In late November of last year, Bakkt’s first CEO, who is also married to the ICE CEO, Kelly Loeffler became all but a shoo-in for a US Senate seat replacement in Georgia, signaling a major change for the ambitious company which seems to have struggled since her departure. Days later, in fact, analysts began to wonder at the credibility of the exchange’s business model, custody being among its secret sauce, as volumes plummeted to zero.
Undaunted, however, Bakkt launched an options product, and by Christmas Blandina was installed as the second CEO in the exchange’s short history. Along with the whopping $300 million number during a decidedly bear market turn, he also noted their having “updated our website with new details about the Bakkt app scheduled to launch this summer,” underscoring how “consumers still find digital assets to be difficult to access, confusing to keep track of, and challenging to use.”
The app aims to give “users control over their digital assets,” which include time-honored use cases such as loyalty points, retail purchases, and remittances. “I’m excited at our potential to unlock nearly $1 trillion of digital assets,” he insisted. “With the completion of our Series B financing and recent acquisition of Bridge2 Solutions, Bakkt is now a team of 350 employees and powers the loyalty redemption programs for 7 of the top 10 financial institutions and over 4,500 loyalty and incentive programs including two of the largest US airlines.”
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