The long-awaited launch of the Bakkt trading platform, focused on institutional investors, is once again postponed. The reasons are not disclosed.

Investments instead of launch

Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operator of the New York Stock Exchange, could not specify the date of the Bakkt cryptocurrency trading platform launch. He limited himself to a general statement that Bakkt is quite an ambitious task for ICE, since it is not a typical product for it. Sprecher stressed that Bakkt was able to attract such large organizations as Microsoft and Starbucks.

“It’s a bit of a moonshot bet and it’s been organized in a manner that is very different than the way ICE typically does businesses.”

Although the launch date of Bakkt is still unknown, ICE plans to invest in the development of the platform up to $25 million by the end of this year, said ICE Chief Financial Officer Scott Hill. During the teleconference devoted to the financial results of the 4th quarter of 2018, he clarified that ICE will spend on Bakkt from $20 million to $25 million.

“And finally, our investment in Bakkt will generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter. We will update you on progress and the level of investment as we move through the year.”

Last time, the launch date of Bakkt was postponed in December 2018. At that time, ICE announced that instead of the previously planned 12 December, Bakkt will start working not earlier than 24 January 2019, while ICE still reserved the possibility to postpone this launch date as well. Bakkt obviously was not launched on 24 January. The firm is currently awaiting approval from the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

About Bakkt

Bakkt is supposed to introduce a new derivative instrument pegged to bitcoin. It will offer bitcoin futures with physical delivery of bitcoins after the expiration of the contract. One contract will be equal to one bitcoin. The minimum block will be 10 lots, and the maximum one will be 100,000 lots.

ICE announced plans to launch Bakkt in early August 2018. The project is developed in partnership with Microsoft, Starbucks and BCG. Bakkt will use Microsoft's cloud solutions to create an open and regulated global digital asset ecosystem. It will allow retail investors and institutions to trade, store and effect payments using digital assets.

Many crypto enthusiasts, including billionaire Mike Novograz, hoped that the launch of Bakkt would attract large-scale institutional investments to the falling crypto market and the bitcoin price would start to rise again, reaching and even surpassing the level of December 2017.

But there is another opinion among crypto enthusiasts. Jackson Palmer, Dogecoin creator, believes that the emergence of institutional money will deprive the crypto world of its main advantage that is the decentralization.