ICE announces no Bitcoin Futures this year – could this mean no Santa Claus rally?

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will not be listing the new Bakkt Bitcoin Futures this year. Instead, the launch has been postponed until at earliest late January next year.

According to an announcement from NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the product – dubbed Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract – is now expected to be listed for trading on 24th of January 2019, rather than the initial date of 12th of December next month:

“ICE Futures U.S., Inc. will list the new Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract for trading on trade date Thursday, January 24, 2019, subject to regulatory approval. The new listing timeframe will provide additional time for customer and clearing member onboarding prior to the start of trading and warehousing of the new contract.”

The Bakkt product is designed to provide investors with the opportunity to trade a physically-settled cryptocurrency contract or futures product on a regulated exchange. As ICE explains in detail:

“ICE Futures U.S. offers physically delivered daily futures contracts on Bitcoin traded in BTC/USD (subject to regulatory approval). These contracts will be traded on ICE’s electronic trading platform, which offers industry-leading speed and reliability, regulated by the CFTC. All trades are cleared and guaranteed by ICE Clearing US, the central counterparty for all ICE cleared forex futures trades. Trades will result in physically delivered Bitcoin in the regulated Bakkt Warehouse. Market participants are eligible to transact with any other market participants. ICE physically delivered bitcoin futures offer trading and hedging opportunities.”

The launch of the product is hoping to send prices of the market upwards and analysts have been predicting that the launch of the product in December could helped see to a “Santa Claus” rally. With this delay, however, Christmas might have to come a little later than anticipated.

Although a delay might be a bad thing in the short-term, it might be beneficial in the long-term and could ultimately cultivate a healthy, sustainable crypto-ecosystem.


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Author: Rebecca Leighton
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Starbucks and ICE’s Bakkt partnership: Does it mean anything for cryptocurrency space?

New York Stock Exchange parent, Fortune 500 and Fortune Future 50 company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced in August its plans to create a new firm, Bakkt, which intended to utilize Microsoft Cloud solutions to create an open and regulated worldwide ecosystem for digital assets.

The new firm is collaborating with such organizations as Microsoft, BCG, Starbucks and others to develop an integrated platform that allows for institutions and consumers to purchase, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless worldwide network.

Federally regulated markets and warehousing along with consumer and merchant apps are expected to make up the Bakkt ecosystem. The first use cases of the ecosystem will be for trading and conversion of bitcoin versus fiat currencies.

Does Starbucks’ involvement in this project mean anything for the digital currency sector? I asked Sheri Kaiserman, 20+ year Wall Street veteran and principal advisor & co-founder at Maco.la, and Jason Davis, former senior UX designer at Wells Fargo and CEO of Hoard, a platform that allows for seamless integration and management of both crypto and fiat currencies. (Thanks to Lauren Epstein and account supervisor Stephanie Rosenblum at PR agency 5W for coordinating).

Starbucks and ICE’s Bakkt partnership: Does it mean anything for cryptocurrency space?

Sheri Kaiserman

Kaiserman: “I think it is premature if everyone is thinking that people will start using their crypto to make purchases at Starbucks.  First of all, from what I understand, Starbucks’s role in this partnership is more as a consultant to help develop crypto related applications for customers.

Second of all, even if Starbucks did accept crypto as payment, I would not expect many people to pay with it, certainly not in the US, where most of the people who own crypto hold it for speculative purposes.

There are a lot of expensive lessons the community is able to learn from the people who spent their bitcoin in the early days.  The first purchase that was made with Bitcoin was for 2 pizzas costing 10,000 bitcoin. I’d be happy to buy someone a cup of coffee for just one tenth of a bitcoin!”

Starbucks and ICE’s Bakkt partnership: Does it mean anything for cryptocurrency space?

Jason Davis

Davis: “The press release issued by Starbucks pertaining to customer purchases using cryptocurrency is nothing more than hype. Starbucks customers are already spending their bitcoin, as well as many other cryptocurrencies, at Starbucks retail locations using crypto-backed Visa debit cards. In fact, digital currency holders are making similar purchases all over the world and have been for years. The most exciting thing we can gleam from the press releases is Starbucks is talking about Bitcoin to the general public. This is a positive direction for the retail sector.

However, what this announcement didn’t emphasize is the corner merchants are still backed into. With every consumer purchase, merchants are beholden to 3 percent transaction fees AND 3 to 5 day settlement times. Cryptocurrencies, and companies like Hoard that support crypto-commerce see a different future. One where merchants aren’t subject to a single medium of exchange backed by a slow and centralized intermediary. Instead, they can transact directly with the counterparty and settle the transaction in seconds without paying exorbitant fees.

Lastly, the partnership with Bakkt and Bakkt’s capabilities are still to be seen. Cryptocurrency companies make many claims yet very few are viable at this time. From what we know, buying Bitcoin through Bakkt consists of a futures contracts. Until that futures contract is converted into real asset ownership, consumers won’t be in full possession of their bitcoin. This is in direct opposition of the original position of the Bitcoin white paper, an electronic peer-to-peer cash system. I’m interested to see how this plays out but I know first-hand far more robust and integrative financial solutions are coming to retail consumers. This deal isn’t it.”

Image credits:

Starbucks headquarters – Public domain image by Wesley2048 at the wikipedia project

Photos of Davis and Kaiserman – Via 5W


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Author: Tabish Faraz
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When the next crypto bull run happens, it’s going to be epic

The current overall market cap for the crypto space is a shadow of what it once was. 2018 has tested the patience and skill of everyone involved. Crypto asset prices are down at least 75% across the board for the most part. But strangely enough, institutions and mainstream entities continue to gain interest and involvement. Logically, all this interest should make the next bull run huge (when the market finally turns around).

Significant Mainstream Interest

The Elusive Bitcoin ETF

The approval of a Bitcoin ETF seems to be the most referenced topic in crypto this year. The Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) appears to be getting closer to a decision on approving a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has reviewed numerous Bitcoin ETF proposals this year, with no approvals yet.

A possible decision may come in late December for the Van Eck/SolidX ETF, which appears to have the best chance for success.

A Bitcoin ETF would provide a way for institutional (wealthy) players to enter the market and feel that their funds are safe. The market cap all-time high for the cryptocurrency industry has never surpassed $1 trillion, which is not very high, considering global involvement. The crypto space needs more people and money in order to grow. A Bitcoin ETF is a way to increase people’s involvement in crypto, offering an option with regulatory backing (by the SEC).

Ethereum Futures Coming

Everyone in crypto last year remembers the impact Bitcoin futures made on the market, starting last year’s end of year bull run. Money flooded into the crypto space like never before. Bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) showed significant mainstream interest in the crypto space and resulted in the legitimization of cryptocurrency (to a degree).

This year, the CBOE plans to launch Ethereum futures, possibly before the end of the year. This shows that institutional interest is still growing and that Bitcoin futures were not simply a failed experiment. People still want to become more involved in crypto, even after a tough year.

Nasdaq Crypto Exchange Interest

Earlier this year in late April, Adena Friedman (Nasdaq CEO) made comments expressing interest in possibly becoming a crypto trading platform.

Nasdaq further states they will likely wait for regulation to be sorted out, and for the crypto space to mature. But the point is – the interest is there from one of the most prominent financial entities. A Nasdaq crypto exchange would make the crypto space even more legitimate.

Crypto Hedge Funds

90 crypto hedge funds have launched so far this year, with another thirty estimated before years end. 600 hedge funds total are projected to launch this year (including traditional markets). If 120 of those 600 are crypto hedge funds, that means crypto would comprise 20% of that.

It makes sense that these hedge funds are only launching as the result of interest in the crypto space. Crypto hedge funds also provide another on-ramp to crypto involvement for traditionally-minded people.

IBM’s Food Blockchain

IBM is another giant in the world of traditional markets. They are currently developing a method to track food using blockchain technology. IBM Food Trust as it’s called, is also collaborating with giants such as Nestle, Walmart, and Kroger.

Mainstream business giants see the potential in blockchain and crypto, and are becoming involved. More involvement leads to greater blockchain solutions to world difficulties (such as food origins and tracking).

ICE and the Bakkt Platform

ICE stands for International Exchange. They plan to launch Bitcoin futures trading in November, on a platform/ecosystem called Bakkt.

The big news is that these Bitcoin futures will be settled in actual Bitcoin, as opposed to the current CME and CBOE options that are cash settled. This would require the actual purchase of Bitcoin, causing more demand for Bitcoin holdings.

Bitcoin only has a total supply of 21 million coins. ICE will need to buy large amounts of Bitcoin for trading on the Bakkt platform. If entities like ICE continue to buy Bitcoin, less supply is available for the general public. Less supply could mean greater demand and higher price for Bitcoin.

Ripple, xRapid, And The Banks

Ripple/XRP is a touchy subject in the crypto space. Some people like it, and some see its centralization as a problem that goes against one of cryptocurrencies best qualities – its decentralization. Whether in support of Ripple or against it, Ripple news is still a sign that mainstream use and interest is building.

At its swell conference this year, Ripple announced the launch of xRapid – a product to change global remittance payments. There is said to be a significant amount of interest for xRapid’s potential from financial institutions.

It seems as though most of this information has not significantly impacted crypto asset prices (with the exception of Bitcoin ETF speculation in July). It will be interesting to see what happens when the crypto market finally turns around, and people start seeing the price action relating to such interest.


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Author: Benjamin Pirus
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