The Bakkt Bitcoin futures trading product will not go live in 2018 as the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) pushes the launch to January 2019. This announcement comes even as the cryptocurrency market continues to experience a decline with BTC trading below $5,000.
Reasons for the Delay
In an official ICE press release published on Tuesday (November 20, 2018), the operators of the operators of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced that its BTC futures trading platform would launch on January 24, 2019, pending regulatory approval. This news means a delay for the Bakkt launch which was initially expected to happen in mid-December 2018.
According to the press release, the extended timeframe for the launch allows for more time to ensure proper customer onboarding and warehousing for the new product. Commenting further on the delay, Bakkt CEO, Kelly Loeffler, in a Medium post also published on Tuesday said:
As is often true with product launches, there are new processes, risks and mitigants to test and re-test, and in the case of crypto, a new asset class to which these resources are being applied. So, it makes sense to adjust our timeline as we work with the industry toward launch.
As with the original mid-December 2018 plan, the January launch date is still subject to approval from the necessary regulators. In late October, reports indicated that Bakkt could obtain approval for its BTC futures trading product back when the December 12, 2018 timeline was still in effect.
Bakkt Delay – A Blow for Bitcoin Hopefuls?
This news of the launch postponement comes as BTC and the rest of the cryptocurrency market continues to experience massive price drops. On Tuesday, the top-ranked cryptocurrency briefly fell to $4,200 before staging a minor rally to circa $4,700.
Some stakeholders like Tom Lee had earlier pointed to the Bakkt launch as a possible catalyst for an end-of-year price rally similar to that of 2017 when the CME and CBOE BTC futures trading debuted.
ICE trying to kick the markets when they're down. Wouldn't it be nice if the news of Bakkt delay marks the bottom for Bitcoin?
— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) November 20, 2018
With this announcement, it appears the Wall Street-enabled pump envisaged by Lee and others won’t happen, at least not in 2018. Since Wednesday (November 15, 2018), BTC has dropped nearly $2,000 with its market capitalization falling to $79 billion.
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Image courtesy of Live Bitcon News archives and Twitter (@MatiGreenspan).