The Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) cryptocurrency platform Bakkt has been handed approval to launch its physically-delivered Bitcoin futures on 23 September.
According to a blog post written by CEO, Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures contracts have been given the green light by the US Commodities Trading Futures Commission (CFTC) and user testing has begun for the physically-delivered daily and monthly Bitcoin futures contracts.
At the same time, Bakkt has gained approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services to establish its cryptocurrency custodian, known as the Bakkt Warehouse, which will custody Bitcoin for the contracts.
“Providing a trusted ecosystem is our first objective,” said Loeffler. “To do that we are setting a higher standard, including an institutional compliance and anti-money laundering program, settlement prices that are distinct from unregulated spot prices, comprehensive market oversight, a guaranty fund contribution and insurance. The trading and risk management tools that make all of this possible have been centuries in the making.”
The Bakkt Bitcoin futures will be exchange-traded on ICE Futures US and cleared on ICE Clear US. They will also be covered by the existing guaranty fund at ICE Clear US, with an additional $35 million due to be contributed to the fund following the launch of the contracts. The Bakkt Warehouse is also covered by $125 million in insurance.
ICE was due to launch the Bakkt platform in November last year, but was forced to delay the launch until January, and then again until some stage in ‘early 2019’. The plans to launch the cryptocurrency platform were announced in August last year, with support from other major organisations including Microsoft and Starbucks, to launch a federally-regulated market and warehouse for digital assets.