ICE’s Crypto Trading Platform Bakkt Eyes New York BitLicense

News | April 19, 2019 By:

Bakkt, a digital assets platform developed by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), is reportedly considering acquiring a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), launched Bakkt in August 2018 to bring digital assets to the mainstream and help unlock the potential of the technology. Bakkt wants to create a “seamless” global ecosystem for cryptocurrencies that would cover the spectrum from federally regulated markets and warehousing to merchant and consumer needs.

Bakkt has been working closely with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to obtain regulatory approval for its first product – a bitcoin futures that are physically delivered daily. In February of this year, the CFTC said it would “require disclosures of the venture’s business plan and a public comment period, which would have further delayed approval.” The regulator was also concerned about how Bakkt’s cryptocurrency assets will be stored and protected from possible theft and manipulation.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reported that Bakkt is now considering acquiring a license from the NYDFS that would permit the company to hold custody of customers’ tokens. According to the sources, the New York BitLicense could potentially allow Bakkt to list futures through a self-certification process since the CFTC recognizes state bank and trust licenses.

“Should ICE secure a state license it would still need sign-off from the CFTC on the broader Bakkt project,” a source said. “The CFTC could require a public comment on Bakkt or have an ICE panel that assess risks approve the futures contracts.”