Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has announced plans to list physically-settled bitcoin futures. The exchange will be the custodian of the bitcoin assets. The ICE owns the New York Exchange and is deemed the biggest stock exchange operator in the world. The Exchange also has plans to set up a new company with the ultimate purpose of making bitcoin a mainstream financial asset.
ICE revealed that the platform, Bakkt, was formed out of a partnership with some major companies such as BCG, Starbucks and Microsoft. The Bakkt platform will reportedly integrate with the exchange’s U.S. futures markets as well as its clearinghouse. The ICE will also manage the physical warehousing of the physically-settled bitcoin futures product. The product is currently awaiting regulatory approval and is expected to launch in November. Reports also have it that the ICE will be the custodian for all assets stored on the platform.
With the ICE’s involvement, institutional investors are expected to be less skeptical about investing in
the asset class.
According to the CEO of Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler:
“Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility,”
Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the founder and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange and Kelly Loeffler of Bakkt have expressed their plans for the platform in an interview . They further mentioned that the platform will have its omnibus ledger that would operate on the Bitcoin blockchain. Both founders also highlighted that with the assistance of ICE, bitcoin could subsequently become a bona fide currency.
In addition, they noted that the digital currency had the likelihood of becoming a choice asset for international payments.
As noted by Sprecher;
“Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money,… it has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.”