Bakkt, the much-anticipated entry-point of institutional money into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, announced a delay to their platform yesterday. This delay brings to an end a temporary bounce in the crypto markets and drawing accusations of manipulation.
With many investors counting down to the December 12 launch, Bakkt tweeted that they would “now be targeting January 24, 2019” as the launch date, representing a second delay in their plans.
Bakkt, operated by New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange, will offer institutional clients a one-day futures contract with physical Bitcoin delivery when it launches.
It was announced in the summer and was held up by many as the best opportunity yet for institutional money to get their hands on Bitcoin. What it was able to was inject some hope into a market that was going through a perpetual drop in crypto prices. Last month the launch date was pushed back from November to December 12, and with three weeks to go it has been postponed once more, with the following explanation from CEO Kelly Loeffler:
As is often true with product launches, there are new processes, risks and mitigants to test and re-test, and in the case of crypto, a new asset class to which these resources are being applied. So it makes sense to adjust our timeline as we work with the industry toward launch.
Loeffler also stated that Bakkt will “continue to work closely with the CFTC as they conduct their thorough review of the Bakkt”, which might offer further insight into the delay.
Coincidence or Manipulation?
The timing of the announcement was interesting, coming as it did after one of the bloodiest weeks crypto has seen for some months. It happened with Bitcoin having lost 30% of its value in six days, and only hours after Bloomberg claimed that the DoJ is homing in on Tether and Bitfinex in regards to price-rigging in the 2017 bull run.
Having just bounced off a new annual low of $4,400, Bitcoin was looking good to move up to the $5,000 mark until the Bakkt news dropped, killing the momentum. Given that the Bloomberg report didn’t actually offer anything new in the way of information and the Bakkt news happened to come the same day, some speculated that the twin announcements were an attempt to drive the price of Bitcoin lower.
Time will tell if the news has a longer-term impact on the price. Speculation is rife that the price will now drop to the $3,000 region before BAKKT launches to enable their institutional customers to buy in cheaper.