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Bakkt and ErisX are not the same, clarify Adam White and Thomas Chippas


Bakkt, the digital asset platform spearheaded by Intercontinental Exchange [ICE] and ErisX, the cryptocurrency exchange, are often clubbed together because of their converging visions for publicly traded Bitcoin products. However, their executives recently came forward to clearly demarcate the two.

The two platforms are launching their own Bitcoin Futures soon, prior to which they want to clear the air, so that customers know what they’re getting into with each service.

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At a recent conference, Adam White, the COO of Bakkt, and Thomas Chippas, the CEO of ErisX, spoke about the growth of digital assets, and its foray into the mainstream realm of financial products.

White stated that Bakkt’s goal was to further cryptocurrency adoption, while also creating a wider market through which the public can trade cryptocurrencies. He added that the digital assets platform should not be considered business for institutional infrastructure alone.

The COO stated,

“To me, it is not enough just to say we are going to invest a ton of money into market infrastructure and hope someone else figures out why we’re going to use [virtual currencies]”

White added that the need for wider cryptocurrency application was key to thee growing adoption of the underlying blockchain technology. He stated,

“We are going to see volumes continue to flatten, price probably to trend to zero, because everyone is baking in that the future public blockchains are going to be more efficient, they are going to be cheaper, they are going to be faster … but it requires companies building actual use cases and applications on top of that.”

The Bakkt COO brushed off any concerns about the delay in regulatory approval, which was expected in January, 2019. White also stated that the complexities of the cryptocurrency space cannot be understood within a short period, stating,

“It’s partnering and working with the regulators to help them understand what is hard fork, what a deep chain reorg is, why one blockchain or public blockchain may be sufficient and capable while another one isn’t.”

Contrarily, the CEO of ErisX, Thomas Chippas, stated that his exchange wanted to cement itself as a marketplace. Referring to virtual currencies as “commodities,” Chippas said that the creation of a marketplace was a pertinent precursor to the development of the larger asset-class.

In his own words,

“Our view more is we want to provide a marketplace where these commodities can be traded, futures can be provided so that others can actually go develop.”

According to Chippas, Bakkt is also on a path to the development of the cryptocurrency market. However, it is taking a different route, he said. Veering away from being solely a marketplace for digital assets, Bakkt, in Chippas’ opinion, will play the dual role of being a payment intermediary, as well as a clearing house.

He added,

“Bakkt believes that being both a clearing house as well as a payment processor in competition with Visa and MasterCard is the way to go because they think they need to push the development.”

ErisX’s application for a DCO license was still awaiting approval from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], at press time. However, Chippas remained patient, stating,

“The right answer is going to be when the regulators are ready and they feel that the requirements have been met.”


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