The anticipation and excitement for the launch of Bakkt last year was long-lived as the platform took a full year of regulatory checks to launch. It was predicated as a new effort to get institutional interest in Bitcoin up as it offered futures contracts that were settled in BTC.
However, since its launch, it has been slow going in terms of adoption and pick up with the cash-settled CME playing much better into the hands of the institutional investors which have far higher volume — but also a much longer period of activity.
While Bakkt still holds much promise, and the belief is that it could lead to a new wave of understanding and adoption in the future, there may be a bit of a leadership crisis looming as the platform has now seen two CEOs move on in a span of only four months.
First, Kelly Loeffler, who was at the helm when it launched, moved on to have a more political career as she made it to the Senate — but not without controversy in part to her trading before the market collapse.
But now, the man who replaced Loeffler, Mike Blandina has stepped down after four months. There has been no official reason for his resignation, but it was stated he wants to pursue other opportunities.
Under Loeffler, Bakkt looked to take off running with its well regulated physically settled Bitcoin futures contracts, but she met quite a slow uptake in interest with volume breaking its own early records in the first few months, but not really impressing in comparison.
In November last year, as the price of Bitcoin fell coincidentally, Bakkt recorded 1,741 BTC ($15.5 million) worth of contracts. A decent figure, but in comparison to CME, as well as the big four of the crypto derivatives market which are trading in the billions, it is very low.
While Loeffler was drawn away from her position by political aspirations and a chance to make an impact in the Senate, this latest resignation from a CEO does not spell good signs for the digital asset platform.
In Blandina’s stead, David Clifton has been appointed to the interim CEO of the company. Some of the rumours circulating the industry suggest that Blandina will be moving to the investment bank giant JP Morgan Chase.
The founder and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, Jeffrey Sprecher spoke on the departure of Blandina, he said
“David Clifton has been deeply engaged in many of our most important initiatives over the years and, after helping to lead the acquisition of Bridge2 to accelerate the rollout of Bakkt’s consumer application, I know he will provide outstanding leadership for Bakkt as its Interim CEO.”