Business 15 January 2019

Erik Gibbs

Bakkt acquires assets of futures merchant

Bakkt, the cryptocurrency trading platform expected to be introduced by Intercontinental Exchange, is potentially facing delays that might postpone, once again, the launch of its services. Initially expected to be introduced during the fourth quarter of last year, Bakkt announced a little over a month ago that it was setting a new target of January, based on the need to further enhance the platform and delays in its approval by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). It is most likely going to push back its launch date even further, but it is moving forward in other areas. Bakkt has announced that it will acquire “certain assets” of an independent futures commission merchant, Chicago-based Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG).

In a Medium post yesterday, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said that the acquisition will give the firm improved treasury and risk management operations and will also help it to better its Know Your Customer and anti-money laundering practices. She stated, “…I’m pleased to share that we have entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets of [RCG], an independent futures commission merchant with nearly 100 years of earning clients’ trust. In December, RCG announced the sale of all its customer accounts to Marex Spectron, one of the world’s largest commodity brokers. As part of that transaction, our aim was to purchase certain valuable assets related to developing our platform.”

Regarding the CFTC delays, Loeffler explained, “This acquisition underlines the fact we’re not standing still as we await regulatory approval by the CFTC for the launch of regulated trading in our crypto markets. Our mission requires significant investment in technology to establish an innovative platform, as well as financial market expertise to deliver the most trusted fintech ecosystem for digital assets.”

In order for Bakkt to roll out its own crypto custody solution, it must first receive approval by the CFTC. The exchange had updated its target launch date to January 24, but the commission won’t rule on the subject until after a 30-day comment period is opened. The CFTC, despite Bakkt having contacted the commission several months ago, has yet to open the comment period.

Bakkt recently received almost $183 million in a funding round. That money is expected to be used to help the company improve its infrastructure and the acquisition of the RCG assets are part of that goal.

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