Bakkt, a Bitcoin futures trading platform backed by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, will unlikely meet its target launch date on January 24, 2019. This would be the second launch delay for Bakkt. It appears that the delay is the fault of regulators. According to CoinDesk, the U.S. Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) has yet to give ICE the necessary approvals for Bakkt to launch.
According to CoinDesk’s sources, “the CFTC must grant an exemption for Bakkt’s plan to custody bitcoin on behalf of its clients in its own warehouse.”
Typically, the CFTC requires customer funds to be held by a trusted third-party intermediary like a bank, trust company, or futures commission merchant.
While CFTC staff members have finished reviewing Bakkt’s exemption request, the commission has yet to cast votes on whether or not the proposal should be put out for public comment. If the commission does vote for public comments for the proposal, there would be a 30-day comment period, followed by a review of these comments. Because Monday and Tuesday are federal holidays, the earliest date the commission would be able to vote is on Wednesday, December 26. A 30-day comment period starting on December 26, would be January 25, 2019 — a day over Bakkt’s target of January 24. Furthermore, this does not take into account the fact that the commission would still need to read the public comments, which would delay the launch even further.