Institutional investors are said to be the hope of the bearish crypto market today. In 2018, regulatory changes changed the way things were going for the crypto market. Bitcoin that was trading near $20K by the end of 2017 lost more than half of its all-time high value.
Slowly, institutional investors getting involved in the market is a positive sign for the crypto industry. This means that regulatory clarity is slowly happening that institutional investors are now becoming confident to dabble in cryptos. Intercontinental Exchange teamed up with Microsoft and Starbucks to form Bakkt. Given Wall Street ties, it plans to bring a Bitcoin mutual fund and ETF to the US 401K’s.
From Coinbase to Bakkt
Adam White who is one of the key players who made Coinbase what it is today is now set to join Bakkt. Coinbase today has 25 million customers. The announcement happened last October 15 from Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler has worked with his husband ICE founder and chief Jeff Sprecher. Here, she gained experience working with highly regulated equities, commodities and ETFs.
According to Coinbase spokesperson, “We wish Adam all the best, and are proud of what we call the ‘Coinbase Mafia’—an increasingly impressive group of alumni who are driving the crypto space forward”.
Effort to Step Up The Competition
This recent move to Bakkt is simply a sign that old school finance is now looking to work with cryptocurrencies. In the past years, New School startups such as Coinbase dominated the crypto niche primarily targeting individual and retail investors. However, with this move, old guards and new guards are looking to compete in order to clinch institutional investors.
Bakkt offers something that can be promising when it comes to attracting the institutional investors considering that it offers experience working with regulators.
Crypto Revolution Imminent?
According to Bakkt CEO, “The digital market is fragmented like the energy market in the early 2000s. ICE was the pioneer attracting more and more institutions to trade energy, which is what created today’s liquid market”. She also added that “We’re about to see a revolution on the same scale in cryptocurrencies”.
What Bakkt is going to do is to avoid unpopular leveraged and non-custodial trading. And because of this, it has alleviated some concerns that Bitcoin is going to lose its essence. Loeffler clarified that “These points should also eliminate misconceptions regarding commingling, leverage, and rehypothecation, which are not features of our offering”.
Coinbase is also aiming towards attracting institutional investors at this time. It has plans of launching a Coinbase Pro platform and has confirmed to build functions with new crypto assets in the future. ICE is now competing against the likes of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to name a few that already expressed their interest in the crypto market.
The crypto market is now evolving. Aside from Bakkt, the crypto market is also anticipating the approval of a Bitcoin ETF that could change the way institutional investors go after cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, the US Securities and Exchange Commission had some hesitations citing price manipulation in the market as a reason for rejecting recent applications.