“I am pleased to confirm that we have completed our first round of funding of $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors who, like us, believe in the future of digital assets,” posted Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler. The heavily Wall Street-connected firm is set to enter the crypto space as a bridge between institutional finance and money’s future.
Bakkt Raises $182.5 Million in First Funding Round
Announcing its first capital raise completed, Loeffler titled her post, “Bakkt looks forward after a bellwether year.” The dozen investors include Galaxy Digital, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), and Pantera Capital.
Originally, Bakkt was supposed to have already entered the market, providing the first physically settled bitcoin futures contracts in competition with its spot price. The firm declared needing more time before launch, and effectively punted to a late January release.
Bakkt is a subsidiary of ICE, itself owner of exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) … arguably the most important market of its kind in the world. The funding round’s success is surprising to observers for a few reasons. Cryptocurrency markets are still nursing wounds from a brutal bear market, gutting it severely, and several headlines have carried notions of institutional investors begging off.
“Our work today is centered on driving institutional access for digital assets,” Loeffler continued, “along with merchant and consumer uses, and we’re already expanding on this vision, collaborating with great companies like Starbucks in these efforts.”
First Institutional Grade Regulated Exchange
She was also sure to mention Coinbase defector, Adam White, now Bakkt COO, and how they’re working to bring “the industry’s first institutional grade regulated exchange, clearing and warehousing services for physical delivery and storage” into reality. Of major concern for all legacy investment is the issue of regulation.
Loeffler addressed how she and her team are working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the better part of 2018 “to establish warehoused, physically delivered bitcoin. “We have filed our applications,” she noted, “and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process.
Describing the creation of such new markets as “rarely linear,” she described the process in psychological terms Loeffler believes will eventually lead to acceptance. “Twenty years ago, it was controversial to suggest that commodities or bonds could trade electronically on a screen, and many steps were required for that evolution to play out,” Loeffler insisted.
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