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Bakkt to start bitcoin futures testing in July

Tue, 14 May 2019, 11:20 am UTC

Crypto futures exchange Bakkt has announced that bitcoin futures will be listed on a federally regulated futures exchange in the coming months.

In its latest update on the launch of bitcoin futures, Bakkt said that it has worked closely with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to develop contracts that meet customers’ needs for trading, transparency, and market certainty, while ensuring compliance with Federal regulations.

The bitcoin futures contracts developed by Bakkt in collaboration with ICE Futures U.S. and ICE Clear US.

“In conjunction with our exchange and clearing partners at ICE, we’ll be working with our customers over the next several weeks to prepare for user acceptance testing (UAT) for futures and custody, which we expect to start in July,” Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said in an online post.

According to the ICE Futures U.S. filing with the CFTC, Bakkt will be listing two futures contracts – a daily settlement bitcoin future allowing customers to transact in a same-day market, and a monthly bitcoin futures contract that will enable trading in the front month and across the forward pricing curve.

CoinDesk explained that Bakkt will self-certify its bitcoin futures products through ICE. This means that the CFTC will have to examine the proposals for possible violation of laws. If no issues are found within 10-days, the products will move ahead.

Last month, COO Adam White announced the acquisition of Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) by Bakkt and said that they have filed with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to become a trust company and serve as a Qualified Custodian for digital assets.

Loeffler said that the work on that front is continuing and will enable custody for delivery of bitcoin futures.

“For physical delivery and secure storage of bitcoin, an integrated custody service will be fulfilled by Bakkt’s qualified custodian, subject to regulatory approval. Safekeeping will be supported by insurance, cybersecurity, and comprehensive compliance, including an anti-money-laundering program and blockchain analytics,” she said.

Loeffler also said that Bakkt will contribute $35 million into the clearinghouse risk waterfall, which will put “our own ‘skin in the game’ and aligns our interests for market integrity and safety with market participants.”

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