Bakkt, the highly anticipated digital assets platform spearheaded by Intercontinental Exchange [ICE] reached a valuation point of $740 million in its Series A funding round, reported The Block Crypto.
In August 2018, ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange announced Bakkt to “create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.” Since then, the virtual currency community has been eagerly awaiting its launch which has been delayed to later this year.
The platform’s first round of funding, in December 2018, saw it raise $182.5 million to build its digital assets service and Bitcoin [BTC] futures product. Investors in this round included the likes of the Boston Consulting Group, Goldfinch Partners, ICE, Microsoft’s VC fund, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures and Galaxy Digital.
Bakkt’s current post-money valuation estimate of $740 million would mean that just under 25 percent of shares to external investors have been sold off. Included in this list are the likes of Microsoft, Starbucks, Galaxy, and Pantera.
Initially expected to launch in January 2019, the CEO of ICE confirmed that the project will be pushed to later in the year. The project is still hanging in the balance, with no confirmation from the United States’ Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC].
The hanging $740 million post-Series A valuation will draw into question how investors will make a cut on their initial investment, considering the lack of a confirmed launch date and the hesitancy the CFTC has exhibited with respect to decentralized currency.
Further, the fee charges by Bakkt, $0.5 per contract is meager when compared to other cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges and US stock markets.
Earlier this year, Scott Hill, CFO of Bakkt stated,
“And finally, our investment in Bakkt will generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter.”
The digital assets platform will have to hit the ground running in order to maintain the present valuation and keep a hold of investors. Bakkt is also spending a significant sum on recruitment and acquisition. Back in January, Bakkt acquired Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), a futures commissions merchant, welcoming RCG’s employees under its wing, while also increasing its recruitment cost.
A source quoted by TheBlockCrypto stated,
“A lot of things will need to line up for investors to receive returns that they would typically expect for a Series A.”
Further, ICE stated that investors have a right to equity redemption, as per their filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]. This would mean that if the platform did not deliver, investors could pull out their money, rather than waiting for regulators to ease off and allow functioning of the exchange.
The source summed up the Bakkt conundrum stating,
“If I was looking to buy a piece in the emergent regulated US digital assets derivatives game today, I would look at cheaper alternatives which are further ahead in execution.”
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Graduate of Finance and Economics, interested in the intersection of the world of decentralized currency and global governance.