By CCN Markets: One of the major catalysts expected for the bitcoin price in 2019 is closer to becoming a reality. Bakkt, a bitcoin futures exchange owned by NYSE parent company ICE, will begin testing bitcoin futures trading next month. The regulated exchange made the announcement via a Medium blog post, and you could almost feel the crypto community breathing a collective sigh of relief. Bakkt execs stated:
“On July 22, two days after Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, Bakkt will initiate user acceptance testing for its bitcoin futures listed and traded at ICE Futures U.S. and cleared at ICE Clear US.”
According to Intercontinental Exchange, Bakkt’s products include Bitcoin (USD) Monthly Futures and Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures.
Bakkt hopes to be the solution to institutional investors’ concerns.| Source: Bakkt on Medium
No doubt it’s a groundbreaking event in the crypto industry, one that isn’t lost on Bakkt, which compared the event to Neil Armstrong “landing on the moon” half-a-century ago nearly to the day. ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher recently labeled the exchange’s bitcoin futures arm “a bit of a moonshot bet.”
Bakkt has been widely anticipated among fund managers and others for its potential impact on the market. The bitcoin futures exchange could be the lever to unlock sidelined institutional capital in the crypto space, including the likes of pension funds and endowments, for example.
LMAX Exchange Group Currency Strategist Joel Kruger told CNBC:
“It’s logical they [institutional investors] would want to be moving in this direction, especially considering their size and how much more there is at stake.”
Bakkt is planning to bring greater “trading volumes, liquidity, and price transparency” into crypto that is akin to the crude oil markets. The exchange also plans to provide “regulated custody as part of the futures contract,” which has been a sticking point for regulators and slowed the launch. Bakkt also plans to roll out the following features to incentivize big investors –
- “block trades”
- “a fee holiday through the end of the year to encourage trading”
- “market maker incentive programs to encourage liquid markets”
- “integrations with ISVs and regulated brokerage platforms”
Bakkt brings something to the cryptocurrency markets that big investors require, and that’s a regulated environment rather than one that represents the Wild West. Fidelity Digital Asset Services is already signing up hedge funds and other institutional investors for its crypto custody offering, and Bakkt rounds that out. The sooner Bakkt can launch the better because the bitcoin price is widely expected to continue its bullish run, potentially establishing a new peak in 2020.