Bakkt Bitcoin Futures Market Launch Faces Possible Delay

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Bakkt, ICE
Photo Credit: Medium

The proposed January launch for the much awaited Bakkt exchange may have had another setback as Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, is likely to postpone the launch once more.

Although the company had initially announced Jan. 24 as the proposed launch date, but lack of approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) threatens to delay the launch of bakkt.

To be clear, the delay in approval doesn’t mean that the CFTC wouldn’t ultimately approve the plan at the end of the day. As a matter of fact, sources who know how the agency operates says that a January 30th launch was still possible.

Having submitted an exemption request as part of its approval plan, the CFTC must now grant an exemption for Bakkt plans to custody bitcoin on behalf of its clients. To this end, the CFTC normally requires that customers fund be held in a bank, trust company or futures commission merchant (FCM).

According to sources in the know, staffs of the agency have finished reviewing Bakkt’s application for exemption and have summarily passed it to the commission. What remains now is for the agency’s commissioners to vote on whether to put it out for public comment. After 30 days of comment, the agency’s commissioners will take some days to read comments and proceed to vote on the proposal.

But here’s the catch, with Monday and Tuesday now officially announced employee holidays, it would be difficult to get officials to agree on a vote to pass it to public comment, so as things stand now, the earliest date the commissioners are likely to vote on a public comment would be Wednesday.

That alone already pushes any positive decision past the agreed Bakkt launch date of January 24. More so, with the possibility of a U.S government shut down, it shows that approval for Bakkt may further be delayed. So we expect the exchange to issue an updated launch target date in the coming days.