WSJ Says Bakkt Is Coming, but Is This More Manipulation

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The Wall Street Journal has delivered beleaguered Bitcoin holders an early Christmas present by revealing that Bakkt, the Starbucks and Microsoft backed Bitcoin futures venture, is set to receive regulatory approval. This represented its final hurdle before launching in January 2019. The Journal, which has never been cryptocurrency’s biggest fan, claims that the platform is “expected to soon get regulatory approval”, although it cites no sources for this information, and indeed mentions nothing further about the promised approval in the rest of the article.
Given the suspicion around Wall Street’s involvement in helping grind the price of Bitcoin down to current levels this year, the combination of a bullish headline with little substance just at a time when Bitcoin is staging a recovery might have the same undertones. Indeed, some have already come to the conclusion that this news is just another attempt at manipulation.

CFTC Negotiations

The Journal claims that the company behind Bakkt, Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE), has been working with regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in recent months in order to ensure it is in compliance with CFTC regulations. The CFTC is expected to vote in early 2019 on whether to approve the project, with the public then offered 30 days to respond, much like with the recent ETF applications. Bakkt has already been delayed twice, but approval from the CFTC should help them meet their latest deadline, January 24, 2019.

Hopes Remain High for Bakkt Bounce

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler stated last month at Consensus that Bakkt was working with Starbucks to find a way for it to accept cryptocurrencies, principally Bitcoin. Seeing as the ubiquitous ‘coffee shop purchase’ remains the key test for cryptocurrencies to go mainstream, Bakkt’s off-chain transaction method represents the best chance cryptocurrencies have yet seen of mainstream everyday adoption.
Hope remains high that Bakkt’s launch, and possible collaboration with a global monster like Starbucks, will have a positive effect on the market, although many remain wary of it being a false dawn resulting in a resumption of the bear market once the hype has died down.