ICE-Owned Crypto Trading Exchange Bakkt Is Going Public

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ICE-Owned Crypto Trading Exchange Bakkt Is Going Public

Exchange of cryptocurrencies Bakkt, whose investors include NYSE-owner Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE), is going public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) via a merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings Inc., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).SPAC firms obtain funds from public markets specifically for the goal of combining with startups in a certain area and taking them public. Bakkt Holdings, Inc. will be the new name of the corporation.

Key Takeaways

  • Bakkt, the ICE-backed crypto futures trading platform, is going public at a $2.1 billion value.
  • Bakkt began as a trading platform for Bitcoin futures and options, but has subsequently shifted its focus to the development of consumer applications for digital currencies.

From Futures Platforms to Digital Wallets

Bakkt was founded in 2019 as a trading platform for Bitcoin futures and options. ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher and his wife, former senator Kelly Loeffler, who also served as the company’s first CEO, formed the company’s founding team.

While it is an end-to-end regulated trading platform, the business has struggled to generate significant trading volumes for its contracts in an industry headed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which debuted its futures contracts in 2019. Bakkt has subsequently shifted its focus from delivering “trust and transparency” to the digital asset ecosystem to producing consumer products. Last year, it introduced a digital wallet and tried “Bakkt cash” connection with Starbucks. The wallet’s capabilities were eventually extended to include all types of digital assets, such as reward miles and loyalty points. Bakkt paid $300 million for Bridge2 Solutions, a loyalty incentives startup, in May 2020.

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Bakkt has raised $482.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Aside from ICE, other investors in the New York-based firm include Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) venture capital affiliate M12, Boston Consulting Group, and Goldfinch Partners. Bakkt is worth $2.1 billion in public markets. Bakkt was rumored to have a value of more than $1 billion when it received $300 million from investors in May for the Bridge2 Solution purchase.

Bakkt’s announcement follows the filing of a draft registration statement for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase (IPO).

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