NYSE Chair Says Survival of Digital Currencies Is ‘Unequivocal’

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) chairman Jeffrey Sprecher expressed optimism about the survival of digital currencies as an asset class, business news outlet Barron’s reported Nov. 27.

Speaking at the Consensus Invest conference, Sprecher — who is also the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — said that when he saw headlines asking “Will digital assets survive?,” he would say that “the unequivocal answer is yes.” “We’re kind of agnostic to price,” Sprecher added.

On stage at the Consensus Invest event in New York, Sprecher was accompanied by his wife and the CEO of cryptocurrency platform Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler. Bakkt is owned by ICE and anticipates its launch early next year.

Commenting on the Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract offering, Loeffler said that “the Bakkt futures contract will help Bitcoin traders establish a trusted price. Bitcoin now trades at different prices on different exchanges, many of which are unregulated.”

The NYSE and its parent firm ICE demonstrated a proactive approach to the cryptocurrency space. In January, ICE partnered with blockchain tech company Blockstream to bring “disciplined” BTC price information to major Wall Street investors. ICE then planned to pull data from 15 major exchanges and deliver it to big financial names, including hedge funds and professional trading firms.

Later in May, ICE announced plans to offer traders contracts that eventually result in customers owning BTC. ICE reportedly “has had conversations with other financial institutions about setting up a new operation through which banks can buy a contract, known as a swap, that will end with the customer owning Bitcoin the next day — with the backing and security of the exchange.”

Just earlier today, Cointelegraph reported on the establishment of an Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) to create a “code of conduct” for the cryptocurrency sector. Among ADAM’s founding members are former CEO of the NYSE Duncan Niederauer along with Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, global financial services firm BTIG, fintech firm Paxos and crypto liquidity solutions provider GSR.



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NYSE Operator’s Bakkt Confirms End of January Launch Date For Digital Assets Platform

The Bakkt digital assets platform, which was created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced in a Medium post today, Nov. 24, that they are now “targeting” Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the NYSE, announced the creation of Bakkt in August of this year.

Today’s Medium post notes that “given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place,” the company has settled on the Jan. 24, 2019 start date in order to “ensure that our participants are ready to trade on Day 1.”

Bakkt’s Medium post, written by CEO Kelly Loeffler, continues by noting that the company is working closely with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as they review the “Bakkt™ Bitcoin Daily Futures contract and the Bakkt Warehouse,” adding:

“These products represent a critical shift in the evolution of crypto markets toward more accessible, useful, and regulated instruments.”

The post concludes by sharing that Bakkt has “insurance for bitcoin in cold storage” and is currently in the process of “securing insurance for the warm wallet within the Bakkt Warehouse architecture,” adding that  “new features” will be shared in the upcoming weeks.

At the end of October, ICE had announced that they would list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading on Dec. 12, 2018, and that the product would be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. More recently, unconfirmed rumors reported that U.S. regulators could approve Bakkt’s physically delivered futures product as soon as the beginning of November.



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NYSE Parent Company Reveals Launch Date for Bitcoin Futures on Bakkt Platform

The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), has announced the launch date for Bitcoin (BTC) futures on its platform Bakkt, according to a document released Oct. 22.

Bakkt is a platform for trading, storing, and spending digital assets that was established earlier this year by global exchange operator ICE.

Per the document, ICE will list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading on Dec. 12, 2018. The product will be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. The notice further explains:

“Each futures contract calls for delivery of one bitcoin held in the Bakkt Digital Asset Warehouse, and will trade in U.S. dollar terms. One daily contract will be listed for trading each Exchange Business Day.”

The announcement is backed by a previous statement in September that the company’s “first contracts will be physically delivered BTC futures contracts versus fiat currencies” against U.S. dollars, pounds sterling, and euro.

As previously reported, Bakkt will not support margin trading for its BTC contract. By refraining from allowing for margin, leverage and cash settlement, the platform will reportedly better support market integrity and enable the “trusted price formation” that it says is the key to “advancing the promise of digital currencies.”

In December of last year, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Operations Exchange (CBOE) launched Bitcoin futures. This summer, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco wrote an Economic Letter stating that “the rapid run-up and subsequent fall in the price after the introduction of futures does not appear to be a coincidence” and “it is consistent with trading behavior that typically accompanies the introduction of futures markets for an asset.”



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NYSE Owner’s Bitcoin Market May Have ‘Hidden Leverage’: Wall St. Vet


When Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced that it was launching a bitcoin market, the move was met with enthusiasm by many within the cryptocurrency industry as a vindication of the legitimacy of the asset class. However, others, including some Wall Street veterans, warned that the “financialization” of bitcoin could introduce elements of the fractional reserve banking system into the cryptocurrency market.

Bakkt Says It Won’t Offer Leveraged Bitcoin Trading

Now, the head of Bakkt — ICE’s bitcoin market — is seeking to assuage some of those concerns. Writing in a blog post, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said that one of the platform’s key missions is to promote “efficient price discovery,” which means that the firm does not intend to allow clients to trade on margin or otherwise put a “paper claim on a real asset.”

She wrote:

“A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded. As such, our new daily Bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset. This supports market integrity and differentiates our effort from existing futures and crypto exchanges which allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement. Coupled with a secure, regulated warehouse solution, you can begin to see how this market infrastructure can help more institutions and consumers participate in the asset class.”

That bitcoin contract, as CCN reported, will be a one-day futures contract that is settled in BTC rather than cash. The reason it is structured as a one-day futures contract rather than a conventional BTC/USD trading pair is that futures contracts are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Per CFTC guidelines, Bakkt must provide a “warehouse” where the physical assets undergirding the products are stored.

Will ICE Secretly Offer ‘Hidden Leverage?’

bitcoin wall street nyse bakkt

Caitlin Long, who spent more than two decades on Wall Street and co-founded the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, said that she was partially-pleased by Loeffler’s post, which answered some questions that she and others had been asking about ICE’s handling of bitcoin, specifically about explicit leverage and margin trading.

However, she noted that the post was silent on what she calls “hidden leverage,” through which institutions commingle and rehypothecate different types of collateral (bitcoins, physical USD, securities, etc.), which involves substituting them for one another on their balance sheet as well as allow multiple parties to declare ownership of the same asset on their financial statements.

These practices, Long says, are standard on Wall Street and could serve to taint bitcoin’s fixed currency supply with elements of the wider financial system, which relies on fractional-reserve banking.

Images from Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Price Dips to $6,950 Despite Crypto Foray by NYSE and Starbucks,


On August 4, after rebounding from $7,200 to $7,500, the price of Bitcoin fell below the $7,000 mark for the first time since July 18.

Over the past three weeks, from July 18 to August 4, the price of Bitcoin has been relatively stable in the $7,200 to $7,500 region, recording limited volatility in the range of $300.

However, on August 4, for the first time in three weeks, the price of Bitcoin fell to $6,955, below the key $7,000 resistance level, as a result of a large sell-off on major cryptocurrency exchanges.

What Caused the Fall?

Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market undoubtedly had one of the best weeks in history in terms of merchant adoption and institutionalization of digital assets, given the announcement of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Microsoft, and Starbucks to create a cryptocurrency exchange and to accept digital assets as a payment method.

Maria Smith, vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, said:

“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks. As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”

Previously, former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said that Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies in existence cannot be considered as legitimate currencies and a major asset class due to the lack of support from merchants and retailers.

Following the logic of Schultz, if Starbucks integrates crypto into its payment system utilized by tens of thousands of its stores worldwide, it will bring the biggest coffee retailer to crypto, firmly establishing digital assets as a recognized form of payment.

Still, despite the positive news coming from the US market, the price of Bitcoin has fallen to its monthly low. While the majority of analysts are yet to provide a reason behind the fall of Bitcoin, it is likely that the over-the-counter (OTC) market, which Tabb Group, a research firm in the US, said to be two to three times larger than the size of the cryptocurrency exchange market.

If the findings of Tabb Group are accurate, then positive news and developments in the cryptocurrency sector will only impact short-term traders in the exchange market, which accounts for less than 30 percent of the entire cryptocurrency market, increasing the probability of the OTC market and its unusual behaviour causing the market to fall with large sell orders liquidated.

Where Does Bitcoin Go From Here?

Due to the overly strong downtrend of Bitcoin, it is highly likely that Bitcoin test a major support level at $6,800, possibly $6,500 if the volume of the market fails to support a short-term corrective rally. While some investors have claimed that Bitcoin could bottom out in the lower region of $6,000, most of the predictions that have emerged in the past few hours are a result of recency bias, and investors will need to observe the market to understand the nature of its recent drop.

Featured image from Shutterstock. Charts from TradingView.

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NYSE Trader Following Bakkt Launch: ‘Bitcoin Is Very Iffy’

A New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) trader told to Yahoo Finance in an interview Aug. 3, that at the moment Bitcoin (BTC) is “very iffy” following the launch of a new regulated BTC exchange Bakkt by the Intercontinental Exhange (ICE), the parent company of NYSE.

Alan Valdes, a senior partner at international advisory firm Silverbear Capital and NYSE trader, raised concerns about BTC, when asked if the launch of Bakkt may be a sign that Wall Street is serious about crypto. Valdes said:

“How do you protect your Bitcoin? These wallets seems very iffy at best. If someone hacks into them, it’s like losing cash, you are out. So, I think Bitcoin [has] a long way to go for the average person to get involved. Maybe in some emerging markets you’ll see it take hold with that currency could be a little stronger, it might work. But I think here for trade, I mean, we had at $20,000. Will it get there again? Anything is possible. But I’m not so sure.”

The ICE announced its plans to establish a Microsoft cloud-leveraged “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” earlier today. First use cases will be for trading and conversion of BTC versus fiat currencies.

Bakkt will reportedly include federally regulated markets and warehousing” alongside “merchant and consumer applications.” The ICE says that it intends to design Bakkt to “support transaction flows” in the $270 billion digital asset marketplace, and facilitate its “secure” and “efficient” evolution.

Wall Street investors’ sentiment in regards to digital assets has been changing. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who had repeatedly stated that BTC “is not for him,” said in May that a dedicated research team was examining how Goldman could provide a range of cryptocurrency-based products in the wake of customer demand.

Last month, the world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider BlackRock announced the formation of a working group to assess potential involvement in BTC. While a spokeswoman said that the company has been “looking at blockchain for several years” she did not mention cryptocurrency.



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NYSE Operator Announces New Global Digital Assets Platform, Plans Bitcoin Futures Launch

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced plans to create a Microsoft cloud-powered “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets,” according to a press release published August 3.

The operator of NYSE is forming a new company, dubbed “Bakkt,” and will work alongside a marquee group of enterprises that includes BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks, and others, to create the new ecosystem.

The intention is to create an integrated platform that enables retail and and institutional clients to buy, sell, store, and spend digital assets on a “seamless global network,” the press release notes.

First use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin (BTC) against fiat currencies, which ICE notes is currently “the most liquid cryptocurrency.” The ecosystem is expected to include “federally regulated markets and warehousing” alongside “merchant and consumer applications”:

“As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval.

These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies. In addition, the clearing house plans to create a separate guarantee fund that will be funded by Bakkt.”

By mobilizing trusted market infrastructure, ICE says it intends to design Bakkt to support transactions in the $270 billion digital asset marketplace, and facilitate its “secure” and “efficient” evolution.

Cointelegraph will update this story as more details are forthcoming.



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NYSE Parent ICE’s New Futures Contract Will Deliver Real Bitcoin

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the Atlanta-based firm that owns the New York Stock Exchange, announced Friday that it plans to launch a digital assets platform and a bitcoin futures product.

Called Bakkt, the platform will leverage Microsoft’s cloud to build “an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets,” according to a press release. Effectively, it will allow consumers and institutions to trade, store and spend digital assets over a worldwide network.

The company said that it believes that the regulated venues will create new protocols for managing “the specific security and settlement requirements” of cryptocurrencies.

Notably, ICE also plans to offer a one-day “physical” bitcoin futures contract – meaning bitcoin is actually delivered on a specified date, unlike other offerings that are settled with cash. The product is expected to launch in November, pending U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approval, ICE states.

The firm adds that major companies including BCG, Microsoft and Starbucks are providing expertise on risk management and consumer experience for the project.

Jeffrey Sprecher, founder and chairman of ICE, said in the release:

“In bringing regulated, connected infrastructure together with institutional and consumer applications for digital assets, we aim to build confidence in the asset class on a global scale, consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets.”

“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,” said Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt.

The release also indicates that M12, Microsoft’s VC arm, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard and Pantera Capital are among the firms who have either invested in, or are expected invest in, the project.

NYSE image via Shutterstock

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Winklevoss’ Gemini Exchange Recruits NYSE Chief Information Officer

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) has announced that former Chief Information Officer of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Robert Cornish has joined the company, according to a press release published July 6. Cornish will join Gemini, which was founded by the Winklevoss brothers, as its first-ever Chief Technology Officer.

Cornish has previously held various senior positions at the International Securities Exchange, and was named by Institutional Investor as a “Trading Technology Top 40” Financial Services executive. At Gemini, Cornish will be responsible for leading technology initiatives and monitoring the deployment of Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance technology, which will let Gemini control all of its order books and Gemini Auctions.

Tyler Winklevoss, Chief Executive Officer of Gemini, said in the statement that Cornish will “ensure that Gemini continues to deliver the best platform experience to our customers as possible and set the standards of excellence for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.”

With this move, Cornish jumped on the wave of Wall Street executives migrating to blockchain and crypto projects. This year, former Goldman Sachs Executive Director Priyanka Lilaramani joined HOLD, a Maltese crypto startup, as a new CEO. Head of Central Europe at Fujitsu Dr. Rolf Werner joined IOTA Foundation. Last year, Crypto exchange Coinbase appointed former PayPal and Facebook executive David Marcus to its board of directors.

In April, Gemini announced it would begin offering crypto block trading outside of their regular order books. Investors interested in trading on the Gemini Block Trading marketplace are reportedly able to purchase and sell large amounts of digital currencies. In December last year, Gemini partnered with the Chicago Board Options Exchange to launch Bitcoin futures, which let them bring the traditional market instruments into the crypto space.



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Crypto Exchange Gemini Hires Former NYSE Tech Chief

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has hired former New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) chief information officer Robert Cornish to serve as its first chief technology officer.

The exchange, founded by investor-brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, announced Friday that Cornish would be in charge of Gemini’s technology team and strategy, according to a press release. Further, Cornish will be overseeing the deployment of Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance, a benchmark for “real-time and T1” solutions for market surveillance.

The market surveillance project will “enable Gemini to monitor across all of its order books as well as Gemini Auctions, which are used to determine the settlement price for the Bitcoin (USD) Futures Contracts that trade on Cboe Futures Exchange, LLC,” Gemini explained.

Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said in a statement:

“Rob is a tremendous addition to our team. He will ensure that Gemini continues to deliver the best platform experience to our customers as possible and set the standards of excellence for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.”

The news comes two months after Gemini received approval to expand its cryptocurrency offerings from the state of New York, adding zcash to its list of tradeable coins.

Gemini currently operates under a banking charter in the state, though it has not received the state’s landmark BitLicense, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

Taxi image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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