JP MORGAN COIN: DIMON DOLLARS: JP Morgan Creates Stable Coin To Process Blockchain Payments, Per CNBC

In a scoop snatched by CNBC earlier this morning, JP Morgan has created a stable coin to process payments at hyper speed and scale. The ‘JP Morgan coin’ has been under development for months and has been widely tested internally at one of the worlds largest banks.

As word spreads across financial media and crypto media alike, the term ‘Dimon Dollars’ has been used. Jamie Dimon, a noted Bitcoin and crypto skeptic, is now the first major global investment bank to use/issue an in-house and native token.

Per CNBC:

The lender moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called ‘JPM Coin,’ the digital token created by engineers at the New York-based bank to instantly settle payments between clients.”

“J.P. Morgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, moves to the blockchain. That’s the database technology made famous by its first application, bitcoin. But in order for that future to happen, the bank needed a way to transfer money at the same dizzying speed that those smart contracts closed, rather than relying on old technology like wire transfers.”

We’ve maintained, even amongst skepticism and some disbelief, that JP Morgan was actively engaging in both blockchain and crypto technology. They have designs on using Bakkt as a resource for client involvement in crypto, and you can bet that sooner rather than later, their JP Morgan coin will be marketed to clients.

How that plays out is anyone’s guess at the moment. But if JP Morgan is good at anything it is marketing it’s in-house products to HNW and UHNW clients.

What does this mean for some of JP Morgan’s competitors? Is it that far fetched to foresee a Goldman Coin in the works? And other coins connected to global investment banks?

You can ‘bank’ on it.

RELEASE: SEC ICO GUIDANCE: Securities And Exchange Commission Issues New Guidance For Investors, Bullet Points On Coin Offerings For Public Consumption

On a sleepy Sunday morning the SEC decided to issue a grab bag of commentary on ‘coin offerings’. The timing is interesting, but it certainly didn’t get past the peering eyes of crypto twitter. The initial paragraph of the release, which looks and feels almost like a carefully coordinated press release (colorful, easy to digest snippets, drop down menus, etc), was an introduction to the guidance positioned for retail investor public consumption:

“Companies and individuals are increasingly considering initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a way to raise capital or participate in investment opportunities. While these digital assets and the technology behind them may present a new and efficient means for carrying out financial transactions, they also bring increased risk of fraud and manipulation because the markets for these assets are less regulated than traditional capital markets.”

The crypto ecosystem continues to wait with breathless anticipation as regulatory agencies craft the constructive architecture that will either move the industry quickly forward or dramatically slow it down.

To view the entire release:

https://www.sec.gov/ICO

MT. GOX DRAMA: PIERCE VERSUS KARPELES: Argument Over Purchase And Revival Plan Of Infamous Exchange Plays Out In Twitter ‘Slap-Fight”

Brock Pierce and Mark Karpeles won’t be breaking bread any time soon. That much become increasingly evident throughout the late evening last night as they engaged in a back and forth as to Brock Pierce’s stated intentions to revive Mt. Gox.

As many media outlets have reported over the past 72 hours, Pierce has designs on acquiring the remaining assets and accompanying intellectual property of the defunct exchange and turning it back into a functioning entity again. He’s even detailed his purchase plan, intimating that it was all but a done deal.

It seems that the ‘done’ part of the deal may have been premature.

In a Twitter mentions back and forth, that quickly became very public (how very ‘crypto twitter’ of the two of you) both men stuck to specific positions. Pierce stating that he had an agreement in place and that the transaction was essentially done/imminent. Karpeles vehemently denying any such agreement, defaulting back to bankruptcy statutes and court appointed trustees. Both men staking out diametrically opposed positions.

It left many wondering where each was getting their best information. Accusations flew back and forth throughout the Twitter conversation. Here are a few highlights:

  1. Brock Pierce claiming that a purchase agreement was in place.
  2. Karpeles responding by denying any purchase agreement was even drafted.
  3. Karpeles claiming that Pierce had threatened to take their argument public, which occurred.
  4. Pierce stating that Karpeles had sold his 88% stake and was now backpedaling.
  5. Pierce claiming that Karpeles was attempting to pocket the $700-800 million surplus.
  6. Pierce claiming that Karpeles has a partner who had ‘secretly’ been doing the negotiating.
  7. Pierce finished the Twitter argument by asking Karpeles “aren’t you about to go back to prison?”

The back and forth held the attention of much of crypto twitter. All sorts of interested parties began searching for information to either back up claims that were made or discredit them.

This document showed up in that search that seemed to be of interest, although it doesn’t have any labeling or signatures that would identify it as being some sort of definitive barometer:

The document does reference several different elements of the Mt. Gox debacle at the time (2014) and the interest from ‘Sunlot Holdings Limited’. But those interests were never consummated and ownership of the entities remains in the hands of bankruptcy court trustees.

A bizaare argument and conversation, publicly displayed, doesn’t move the idea of Mt. Gox being revived forward in any meaningful way. Instead, it will only prove to push the possiblity back.

While we understand the idea behind the revival (name recognition alone denotes value) the complexity presented by bankruptcy court laws, the claims of creditors, and the mountain of BTC involved was never going to allow a transaction to be as simple as the headlines claiming, “Brock Pierce to Buy Mt. Gox”.

The twitter slap fight between these two guys is also an embarrassment in and of itself. These sorts of discussions mean absolutely nothing outside of any sort of legal agreement, courtroom, arbitration or any other such legal entity that would have to pass along approval to allow Mt. Gox to be privately held and operated once again as an exchange. Why media reports didn’t think that through is a mystery.

Neither Karpeles or Pierce are well-served by the back and forth, and did nothing more than waste their time and key strokes in an effort to one up the other.

Beyond that, there are some legitimate questions left to be answered. Is there a real purchase agreement out there somewhere? What would any purchase price look like? What sort of assets would be acquired? Specifically, whither the BTC currently managed by the court appointed trustee?

This story isn’t over.

BEYOND RESEARCH: MORGAN STANLEY CRYPTO: Morgan Stanley Is Discussing Several Different Institutional Bitcoin And Ethereum Products

Morgan Stanley released a report late last year that described their take on Bitcoin and made passive mention of the crypto ecosystem in general. The report was widely reported on and it seems that the headline of choice was Morgan Stanley proclaiming that Bitcoin isn’t as much a store of value as it is an institutional asset class set to take on trading, and presumably, volatility needs at big banks and family offices across the globe.

While this language is and should be offensive to Bitcoin maximalists and anyone who believes in the original mission of Bitcoin – it certainly isn’t a surprise. If institutional (and a plurality of retail) clients ask enough times for something these institutions are going to give it to them, pure and simple. There is serious money to be made by creating expensive structured products wrapped around the guise of crypto volatility. The key words there are expensive and volatility. Expensive and volatility.

Morgan Stanley doesn’t have any interest in building out a warehouse facility or cold storage vault to house private keys and racks of hard wallets. There isn’t any money in it. At least not the kind of money that Tier 1 institutions have an interest in earning on that type of investment.

Instead, they are focused on several structured product initiatives that we’ve been made aware of that should be of interest to anyone attempting to get an understanding about how a powerhouse global investment bank is attempting to meet client demands.

Based on extensive discussions yesterday afternoon and again this morning we’ve heard three specific initiatives that are being *discussed* at Morgan Stanley (FYI – much like Goldman Sachs is in *internal discussions* regarding an Ethereum product to satisfy demand) and could come to market in 2019:

  1. A dedicated institutional trade desk that handles futures, OTC transactions, NDF like products that clients traffic across other Tier 1 institutions (Goldman, Citi).
  2. Internal discussions are ongoing as to whether Morgan Stanley uses Bakkt infrastructure *exclusively* with respect to Bitcoin futures transactions or using every resource that exists by 2019 (Bakkt, ErisX, CME, CBOE).
  3. Leadership in Morgan Stanley’s trading divisions are discussing whether or not to go all in on a Bitcoin NDF as well as an Ethereum product that has yet to be given a trading classification.

**Not included in the above list was a less prominently mentioned discussion point that included where does Morgan Stanley fall once a Bitcoin ETF product is created, as well as other SEC approved products throughout 2019. Discussions remain active as to whether or not Morgan Stanley creates their own branded products that are functionally identical to competitor products, or simply offer competitive products and whatever premium fee structures are inherent in the products themselves.

The discussions moving through trading rooms and in strategy sessions at the firm is not whether or not crypto is sustainable or a ‘flash in the pan’ bubble that will eventually fade. The discussion is focused on regulatory approvals and guidance, strategies to benefit from those new rules, and how to best position Morgan Stanley’s crypto products (should they choose to create native structured products) and services to its largest clients.

Which leads us to the dialogue in the Morgan Stanley research report making the rounds today. It adds context to the discussions internally as the firm positions itself for 2019; a year that those we spoke to believe will produce massive adoption, new (and relatively tame) regulations in the US, and trading volumes set to skyrocket.

The ‘money quote’ in the report, as it was told to us (to pay particular attention to) is this:

The net dollar amount in crypto hedge funds in 2016 was $380MM. Today it stands at over $6B.

You don’t need any other explanation for Institutional ‘fomo’ than those hard numbers. Those are funds that are eschewing fiat based products and diving into crypto, even in the midst of a bear market.

Morgan Stanley wants to be a real player in this market. They are working overtime to figure out just how to do it. Regulatory and legal hurdles need to be appropriately approached and handled, but when that happens they are planning to be at the forefront of what they believe will be a highly profitable new ‘super asset class’.

BITCOIN ETF: RESUBMITTED: Van Eck Hits Reset, Bitcoin ETF Shot Clock Restarts

After the VanEck Solid X Bitcoin ETF was pulled from consideration during the US government shutdown speculation regarding why ran its way through crypto circles around the world.

Was it headed for an obvious denial based on the US government shutdown? Was it headed for a denial simply on the merits?

Neither question was answered, but VanEck wasted little time in resubmitting the ‘rule change’ connected to its Solid X partnership Bitcoin ETF.

As shown below, the resubmission occurred yesterday: http://cdn.cboe.com/resources/regulation/rule_filings/pending/2019/SR-CboeBZX-2019-004.pdf 

The newly minted submission was announced by VanEck’s Digital Asset Director/Strategist Gabor Gurbacs, a fierce defender of the product and the crypto ecosystem itself.

The resubmission now brings about new questions. Does the regulatory clock go back to step one, or pick up somewhere else in the process? How likely is an approval, given there’d be no reason for a resubmission if a denial was in the offing?

Whatever the process looks like going forward this adds to the pent up bullish news set to grace the institutional space over the following months.

Those of you waiting/hoping that a Bitcoin ETF could serve as a bull run precursor, hope springs eternal it seems.

FIDELITY AND PHILAKONE: Crypto Twitter Spends The Day On Institutional News And Interpersonal Dumpster Fires

One of these things is not like the other. Isn’t that how the song goes? In a 24 hour period on crypto twitter, a known scammer seemed to out ‘ratio’ important institutional crypto news from one of the largest asset managers in the world.

Just in case you happened to miss it, Fidelity sources claimed that the firm has well laid out plans to launch its crypto ‘Digital Assets’ initiative in March. The timing seems to be well calculated, as well as some what correlated to Bakkt; as the two firms continue to compete for the blessing of institutional assets across the global investment banking spectrum.

Custody, a commonplace practice in conventional financial markets like stocks, involves a third party holding onto securities to reduce the risk they’ll be lost or stolen. But while a number of startups have sought to offer the safekeeping service, many Wall Street professionals have longed to work with a large financial services firm, a role Fidelity may fill. Others including Bank of New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Northern Trust Corp. have explored entering the field. Meanwhile, digital coins are constantly stolen, underscoring the need for better safeguards.”

The news connected to Fidelity made its way quickly around crypto twitter. Even though the crypto markets were unimpressed and didn’t seem to react in the way some would have hoped (bullish), the news still made an impact.

More of an impact than another issue that dominated the ‘CT’ debate throughout the day.

Philakone drama began to spread throughout tweets, retweets, subtweets, and the like. It seems that his claims of being hacked, or stolen from, or some other sort of drama had crypto twitter abuzz.

The short version was this: Philakone claimed to have had $1.6MM stolen from him as a result of a break up he had just suffered. This coming shortly after an avowed social media ‘break’ (of which he seems to take often) that was supposed to last until March 1.

Narrator: It didn’t last that long.

Philakone responded to the break up by outing his ex-girlfriends identity, calling for legitimate violence against her, and exhibiting behavior that doesn’t necessarily surprise many that have paid attention to his particular styling of ‘personal brand’.

The real issue was the threats of violence after a break up. Given the amount of avowed ‘baby whale’ followers that Philakone possesses, this was a dangerous stunt.

In response his ex-girlfriend outed him for buying tens of thousands of followers and being a fraud.

Twitter chose not to suspend his account, but did restrict several tweets that referenced the abhorrent behavior. Respected members of the crypto community came to the aid of the ex-girlfriend/victim and admonished Philakone along the way.

Several others commented on Philakone’s mental health and his need to carefully evaluate his life choices. Of course, others took the opportunity to meme Philakone in fresh new ways, as he seems to be an easy target.

Crypto twitter has found creative ways to psychologically cope with the ever lengthening bear market. And yesterday seemed to be one of the most creative yet. Many timelines were inundated with Fidelity and Philakone commentary from across the globe.

Never change crypto twitter, never change.

FIDELITY DROPS: MARCH CRYPTO DATE SET: Fidelity Sources Claim The Firm Has A Set In ‘Near Stone’ Launch Date

One could make the case that Fidelity’s involvement in crypto is even bigger than Bakkt. As a massive asset manager to the masses, Fidelity’s commitment (albeit from an institutional standpoint at first) will absolutely raise awareness amongst the investing public.

Several sources familiar with the roadmap at Fidelity’s digital assets group told us that the firm has set a date in March to bring their crypto strategy to market.

The crux of Fidelity’s ‘use case’ for their service has to do with custody and Wall Street names that are looking for a ‘named’ trustworthy partner to dip their toes into the crypto waters.

Per Bloomberg:

Custody, a commonplace practice in conventional financial markets like stocks, involves a third party holding onto securities to reduce the risk they’ll be lost or stolen. But while a number of startups have sought to offer the safekeeping service, many Wall Street professionals have longed to work with a large financial services firm, a role Fidelity may fill. Others including Bank of New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Northern Trust Corp. have explored entering the field. Meanwhile, digital coins are constantly stolen, underscoring the need for better safeguards.”

The other backdrop here is this – Bakkt and Fidelity could be on the cusp of a “Goliath versus Goliath” battle for the hearts and minds (and wallets) of institutional investors as they allocate assets into the crypto space. Fidelity passed on the opportunity to invest in Bakkt nearly a year ago; presumably because they knew they were about to launch their own likeminded solution.

And one marketing note…Fidelity has a leg up on Bakkt strictly from a name recognition standpoint. When you say ‘Fidelity’ very few, if any, investors are going to ask you “who’s that”? When you bring up Bakkt to even sophisticated investors you don’t get the same response – rather, you have to take time to describe what and who Bakkt is.

It remains of interest who hits the markets first. Both Bakkt and Fidelity look to be running neck and neck at the moment.

NOT NEW YORK: CRYPTO UNFRIENDLY: Why New York Won’t Be The Center Of Crypto Innovation And Leadership

New York, one of the first states to adopt virtual currency rules, has taken a relatively strict approach in the regulation of virtual currency activities. The rules, enacted on 24 June 2015, established a regulatory framework for virtual currency businesses that requires operations related to transactions involving any form of virtual currency to obtain a “Bitlicense” from the state.

The strict licensing requirements favor large virtual currency firms and financial institutions. The BitLicense application and licensing process is likely overly burdensome for small companies with limited access to capital and legal resources.

Overview of Bitlicense

Subject to certain exceptions, anyone engaging in any of the following activities is required to obtain a BitLicense from the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”):

• Virtual currency transmission

• Storing, holding, or maintaining custody or control of virtual currency on behalf of others

• Buying and selling virtual currency as a customer business

• Performing exchange services as a customer business

• Controlling, administering, or issuing a virtual currency.

Out-of-state businesses that engage in virtual currency activity involving New York State, or with persons within the state, must obtain a BitLicense to conduct their business.

Some of the regulatory requirements include:

• Minimum capital reserves

• Records of transactions must be kept for at least seven years

• Quarterly financial statements must be submitted within 45 days of the close of a quarter

• Background checks on all employees must be performed by an independent investigatory agency

• Appointment of a dedicated compliance officer

• Enforcement of written anti-fraud, anti-money laundering, cyber security, privacy and information security procedures

• Prior written approval from the superintendent of the  NYSDFS before the company introduces a “material change” to their business model, such as a new product or service

• Prior written approval from the superintendent of the NYSDFS before any merger with or acquisition of any company holding a BitLicense.

The application fee for a Bitlicense is $5000 and the applicant must complete a 31-page application form.

The one-size-fits-all” licensing process does not provide any exceptions for small virtual currency companies.

Application Approval Process Slow, but Improving

The 2015 rules do not impose a deadline on the NYSDFS for completing the licensing process.

Since the enactment of the rules, the NYSDFS has approved only eleven charters or licenses for virtual currency companies.

The license for Genesis Global Trading was not granted for nearly three years, and a license for BitFlyer USA, Inc. was not granted for over a year.

The number of licenses issued will likely increase over the next 12-24 months.

Focus Remains on Consumer Protection: The 2018 New York Attorney General Report

In September, the New York Attorney General (“NYAG”) issued a report that concluded crypto trading platforms vary significantly in their risk management strategies and in the ways they fulfill customer responsibilities.

The NYAG identified three broad areas of concern: potential conflicts of interest; lack of serious efforts to impede abusive trading activity; and limited protections for customer funds.

The NYAG also referred three virtual currency exchanges- Kraken, Binance and Gate.io-to the state’s financial regulator for possible legal action and raised concerns over price manipulation and conflicts of interest on trading platforms.

The report concludes that “virtual asset trading platforms have yet to implement serious efforts to monitor and stop abusive or manipulative trading.”

Draft Virtual Currency Legislation Introduced into the State Assembly

Virtual currency bills have been introduced in the State Assembly this year. New York, however, will not likely amend existing rules or introduce major virtual currency legislation until 2020, after the State Assembly is able to review a task force report that must be completed by December 2019.

Bill on the Creation of Virtual Currency Task Force: The bill proposes the creation of a digital currency task force to provide the governor and the legislature with information on the potential effects of the widespread implementation of digital currencies on financial markets in the state. If passed, the bill would establish a group consisting of nine members which would be called on to submit a report to the governor, temporary president of the senate, and the speaker of the assembly by December of 2019. Additionally, the task force would be required to provide the number of digital currencies and exchanges operating in the state, information about large investors in the field, and the energy consumption necessary for coin mining operations. The task force would also provide a review of laws and regulations on digital currency used by other states, the federal government, foreign countries, and foreign political and economic unions to regulate the marketplace.

Bill on Virtual Currency: The bill proposes eliminating the BitLicense and licensing fees. In addition, the bill mandates that any virtual currency business or entity be subject to routine audits by a public or third-party depository service. Any entity in full compliance will receive a digital New York Seal of Approval to reassure consumers that the outlet is trustworthy and secure.

JP MORGAN CHATTER: BAKKT INFRASTRUCTURE: JP Morgan Eyes Bakkt (And ICE) Infrastructure ​As Easy On-Ramp​ For Crypto Exposure

Bakkt has set out to create a product that appeals to institutions in a way that other crypto exchanges and firms have yet to do – ultimately, trust.

Trust in the pricing process. Trust in the custody construct. Trust in the warehousing facility and deliverables. Trust in the narrative that Bitcoin (futures) will be handled on Bakkt’s systems in the same way that gold, silver, and oil futures are handled on their legacy global commodities exchanges. Exchanges where trillions of dollars of transactions change hands on a yearly basis (yes, that is trillions with a T).

The connection that JP Morgan is making with Bakkt is relatively simple – they trust the team, they trust the systems, they trust the history of Jeff Specher, Kelly Loeffler, and ICE. They transact billions in commodities trades on ICE systems already. They trust that Bakkt will be as efficient and transparent as those systems.

And that is exactly the narrative that Bakkt is selling as they talk to potential institutional clients and those that onboard early. Bakkt can be trusted, because ICE and the NYSE can be trusted.

JP Morgan (and more specifically Jamie Dimon) doesn’t want any sort of negative Bitcoin headline given his level of questions surrounding the asset. As stated a couple of months ago, he just “doesn’t want to talk about it.”

But that doesn’t mean several teams at one of the world’s largest banks aren’t preparing to treat Bitcoin like the commodity that the CFTC has dubbed it as, and trade it via Bakkt’s architecture. It is the one name that gives them a level of comfort that they find legally acceptable.

How visible these banks of scale will be with Bakkt from the outset will be very interesting to watch. Bakkt strategically announced themselves with partners like Microsoft, Starbucks and BCG. Massive names that add trust as a backdrop to whatever narrative lives inside the halls of JP Morgan.

One JP Morgan trader took a few moments to give us a little color on how they see and talk about Bakkt:

“Bakkt is the only place we’d approach Bitcoin and the crypto space. Any and all other ‘set ups’ just don’t rise to the legal standard that is acceptable risk for us. Bakkt is the only place that passes that test. Whether we are there as soon as the door opens, or window shop for a few months, it is the only name we are considering in terms of client funds finding their way into crypto.”

It doesn’t surprise us that firms of scale will be cautious with Bakkt and the volume with which they ‘dip their toes in’. Executives will have to get comfortable seeing line items on P&L spreadsheets with the term ‘Bitcoin’ on them – when just a year ago global investment banks were all decrying $BTC as the devil.

Financial markets are constantly evolving, though, and Bakkt seems uniquely positioned to capitalize on the idea of Bitcoin as digital gold. That is the thesis that Bakkt’s roster of All-Star investors believes.

We will find out soon enough.

BAKKT: BEHIND THE PENDING LAUNCH: Faced With An Unexpected Delay, Bakkt Prepares Massive Roll Out And Marketing Blitz

Bakkt has been the talk of the crypto water cooler for nearly six months now. Conversations about it being a “bear market buster” abound, and it just may be. But it has to be approved by the CFTC before that can happen. And as of today, the lights are a bit dim in CFTC offices in Washington, DC – per the US government shutdown.

But that reality isn’t slowing down the inner workings of Bakkt, its staff, and the teams built around the global commodities exchanges controlled by Intercontinental Exchange. The ‘buzzing’ that can be heard amongst those connected to the Bakkt launch is loud and growing. Work is being done and preparations are in full gear.

The clear expectation is that CFTC approval will follow shortly after the reopening of operations at the CFTC following the end of the shutdown. And the Bitcoin initiative known as Bakkt, partnered with Microsoft and Starbucks, will launch like a rocket.

Take a step back and consider the huge venture capital names committed to Bakkt at the moment. A few names connected to their first round of funding read like an All-Star team of sorts: Fortress, Galaxy Digital, Horizon Ventures, M12 (Microsoft’s own venture fund), and a host of others.

The investment is not necessarily a play on Bakkt trading volumes or the price of Bitcoin, but rather on adoption and daily use that Bakkt plans on pursuing. Here is a portion of that case stated by Maria Smith, Vice President, Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks:

“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks. As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”

In other words, the play for flagship institutional investors is not the volatility associated with Bitcoin, but rather the real world application of it when you walk into Starbucks and order a Grande Cordusio. With a swipe of a finger and a push of a button, Bitcoin is deployed and used for purchase at one of the largest retail chains in the world.

So what is happening today as Bakkt prepares to launch an entirely new asset into the commodities space?

The Bakkt team is working furiously as they prepare for a marketing and execution blitz that they believe will produce tremendous volumes and attract all manner of institutional clients very, very quickly.

One source familiar with Bakkt’s preparations had this to say about what they expect once CFTC approval occurs:

“Take a close look at the increased public dialogue that Bakkt is having with the crypto and financial community. Whether it is a Medium post by Kelly (Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt) or social media posts meant to continue to build a Bakkt narrative, the PR and marketing ramp up is preparing for launch and all that comes with it.”

“Once launch occurs you can expect Bakkt leadership to be all over the airwaves and in front of TV cameras preaching the Bakkt gospel. And that can be characterized as the safety, custody, and daily use case ecosystem that Bakkt provides to investors. Kelly is uniquely qualified to tell that story and will be a media darling.”

More color on where Bakkt is headed once approval is finalized from sources we spoke with familiar with the firm. The Starbucks initiative is a 2020 project and will be carefully talked about in conjunction with reps at the behemoth coffee company. ‘Message discipline’ will be important with respect to Starbucks so as not to fall into the trap of overpromising and underdelivering.

At launch much more will be made of Bakkt’s familial connection to ICE and their technology partnership with Microsoft. Those will be highlighted early and often as they are trusted names amongst institutional investors and global investment banks.

Further, you can expect Bakkt to be more an more visible at larger financial and technology conferences of note. Also expect the Bakkt message to be spread in the largest of media organizations like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, Bloomberg and the like. Bakkt wants to build a lock-tight institutional seriousness around digital assets and the safety they plan to provide to investors. They believe keeping messaging to legacy outlets will send that message.

Messaging, optics, partnerships, adoption, safety, real-world use cases, ICE, Microsoft, Starbucks, and ‘more digital asset products to come’. Maybe Bakkt is the bear market slayer we all hope it to be?