Adam White, a veteran of cryptocurrency, is moving to Bakkt, which is promoted by an Intercontinental Exchange-led consortium. He was the key person in the biggest trading platform of virtual assets in the United States had helped Coinbase to add with about 25 million customers.
His joining a new firm as a chief operating officer comes at a time when the overall digital coin market is going through the sluggishness amidst tightening of regulations. In short, there are enough moves to bring the emerging asset class under regulations.
It is well known about Bakkt’s relations with the institutional investors in the United States. It is now aiming to extend itself in bringing in not only bitcoin mutual funds but also exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on 401(k)s, Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt CEO reported. As far as Coinbase is concerned, it does not seem to be worried and thinks that there is an impressive alumni group to fuel the crypto sector in the upcoming period.
The move of Bakkt and White could be interpreted as a signal from the old school of finance to play a key role in transforming digital coins into liquid. Most importantly, these old guards want to take advantage in the initial stage itself rather than waiting to see the space getting crowded. It is quite obvious that the ICE’s venture is keen to ensure that digital coins like bitcoin would be transformed into extensively trading currencies across the globe.
This is in contrast to what has been going on in the cryptocurrency space where the new school of thoughts or startups like Coinbase is enjoying their position dominantly. The entry of old school of finance meant that the crypto space is heating up to competition and are keen to attract institutional investors. Their objective appears to be clear, i.e., to attract big enterprises’ asset managers or hedge funds so that they could engage themselves in digital coins much like the way they do in commodities or stocks.
Institutional investors’ role in crypto will assume significance. For instance, early this year, Coinbase was able to witness institutional investors’ trading volume topping the retailers. This demonstrated that there is much to be tapped and both Coinbase and Bakkt are keen to address it effectively. Also, Bakkt might have an advantage since it could offer what other newcomers are lacking, i.e., trading on regulated exchanges.
Aside from these, institutional investors are keen to ensure that there are regulated custodial services for cryptocurrencies. This will mean that Bakkt is having the edge over Coinbase since institutions are particular about the safeguards and protection of transactions as cyber hackers are focusing more on digital currencies. The company’s hiring of White has its own objectives.
The main reason is that he worked on the institutional products arm in Coinbase. He said,
“I had a front-row seat for the last couple of years watching the money managers’ and other big investors’ evolving views of cryptocurrencies.”
He also said that there is a change of perception on cryptocurrencies as the interest level shifted to the institutions from retail. The main worry is the lack of infrastructure level. He disclosed that this was one of the reasons why he joined.
Featured image is courtesy of Bakkt