Capital markets News

ICE’s Bakkt to launch ECN crypto trading venue for institutions. Partners Crossover


Yesterday Bakkt announced that its planned Electronic Communication Network (ECN) for cryptocurrencies, BakktX, will use technology from Crossover Markets.

Listed Bakkt was founded in 2018 by New York Stock Exchange owner ICE, which still controls more than 55% of the stock.

“As institutional interest in crypto grows, further expanding Bakkt’s capabilities is a key priority,” said Ray Kamrath, Chief Commercial Officer at Bakkt. “With the development of BakktX, we are positioning ourselves as an ideal partner for institutions seeking a compliant, qualified trading venue. This will be a truly groundbreaking solution that fulfills a currently unmet need in the U.S. market.”

This is the latest of several company pivots, but one of the most logical ones given the ICE heritage.

Bakkt’s journey has been marked by strategic shifts. It initially entered the market by offering futures that settled in Bitcoin, a move that set it apart from competitors CME and CBOE. It then transitioned to a rewards offering and launched a consumer app in 2021, following its acquisition of loyalty firm Bridge 2 Solutions. In 2022, it diversified its offerings by acquiring Apex Crypto, a provider of white-label crypto trading apps to fintechs. However, in 2023, it made the decision to close its consumer app.

Since its early days the company has provided digital asset custody using its New York Trust Charter. It has more than $1 billion in assets under custody.

As the company continues to make losses, it announced a $50 million direct offering in late February. Last month, it laid off 28 employees, representing 13% of its staff.

Meanwhile, Crossover Markets has its own CROSSx execution only ECN,which claims to have a sub-20 microsecond matching engine. The startup has a handful of high profile backers including Nomura’s Laser Digital, hedge fund Two Sigma and Flow Traders.

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