BAKKT, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Bitcoin vehicle that has been lauded as the catalyst for the next crypto bull market, will go live December 12th, ICE have announced. Pending regulatory approval, which ICE presumably thinks is a formality, BAKKT will start offering physically settled daily Bitcoin contracts to encourage “institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets”.
Any Port in a Storm
BAKKT was initially slated for a November launch, but the slight delay hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm with which the news has been greeted, against a backdrop of failed ETFs throughout a generally dismal 2018 for cryptocurrency markets. CNBC’s Cryptotrader presenter Ran Neu-Ner was one such positive voice, stating, “Bakkt, TD Ameritrade….you really think they are investing in the space with $200bn in mind? They know it’s very temporary and that over a Trillion is coming soon!” The sentiment within the cryptocurrency community was generally positive, with many believing that the arrival of institutional money might be enough to kick the bear market into touch and offer enough impetus to launch the next cycle upwards. This enthusiasm may of course be heightened because of desperation by investors to grasp onto any positive news, but at the very least it should see the flow of capital into the space increase.
Forget the Bitcoin Whales, Here Come the Wall St Sharks
The imminent arrival of BAKKT isn’t being greeted warmly by all however. Dogecoin founder Jackson Palmer tweeted, “The institutionalization of cryptocurrency will heavily re-centralize both power structures and token distribution. So you can say goodbye to much of the original vision for the technology.” This argument stirs up the debate that has struck up ever since institutions became interested in Bitcoin. Since it is technically anti-bank and therefore anti-institution, should financial institutions be ‘allowed’ to enter the space? Is there a possibility that they would simply use their financial might to crush the market into non-existence? Super_Crypto, author of the much discussed ‘Bitcoin Manipulation Cartel’ article, certainly thinks so:
Financial elite has recognized that Bitcoin and Crypto in general is a threat to their existence. What do powers do when they see anything as a threat or enemy? You got it, they try to destroy the enemy (by all means). Therefore, It is extremely important for the Financial-elite to stop bitcoin’s rise so their show can continue.
All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating
Whether the arrival of BAKKT and the institutional money it is likely to bring with it is ultimately to cryptocurrency’s benefit or detriment remains to be seen. It seems likely however that the buildup to the December 12th launch might create the kind of buzz the space has been missing since the 2017 bull run. Let’s not forget however that the price of Bitcoin topped out just days after institutions were able to short Bitcoin for the first time…