- The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced yesterday the execution of the first block trade of the Bakkt Bitcoin Futures.
- The private-negotiated trade was executed between the crypto investment fund Galaxy Digital and the OTC trading company XBTO.
The Intercontinental Exchange, Inc, the holding company of the Bitcoin exchange Bakkt, announced in an official press release yesterday that the exchange has successfully completed its first block trade. The trade, which was submitted on Tuesday, took place between the crypto investment fund Galaxy Digital and the OTC trading company XBTO. A block trade is a privately negotiated trade. It was submitted to Bakkt and settled via ICE Clear US. No details were given about the size of the Bitcoin (BTC) trade.
Despite the slow start of Bakkt, the parent company ICE speaks of a further milestone that Bakkt has reached since its launch last week. Trabue Bland, President of ICE Futures U.S. said in the press release:
Since launching last week, the Bakkt Bitcoin Futures have achieved several milestones, including first physical delivery of bitcoin against a futures contract, and now the first block trade. Each of these achievements, on top of tight bid/offer spreads and a growing base of participants and clearing firms, are contributing to the first end-to-end regulated futures contract.
The Bakkt Bitcoin futures are physically delivered, meaning that at the end of the futures contract, the payment is made in Bitcoin (BTC) instead of US dollars. XBTO stated in the press release that the first physical delivery under the existing laws had worked perfectly:
Last week, we bought the first Bakkt Bitcoin Daily Futures contract and took the first physical delivery of a digital asset under existing commodity futures laws and regulations. This week, we executed the first block trade. We’re pleased to report that the launch was successful and can accommodate large trades.
Slow start for Bakkt
The launch of the Bakkt Bitcoin futures was more than a disappointment for many experts. As CNF reported, the trading volume was well below the expectations. Compared to the US dollar-based Bitcoin Futures introduced by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) in December 2017, the trading volume of the Bakkt Bitcoin Futures were disappointingly low.
While the CME had a volume of $460 million in its first week, Bakkt had a trading volume of only $5.8 million in its first week. The current comparison shows that the CME, with around 2,000 contracts currently traded, has over 43 times more contracts than Bakkt with only 46 BTC Futures contracts.
The disappointing start to the extremely hyped product is seen by many experts as a driver of Bitcoin’s recent price drop. However, as one Galaxy Digital representative said, the company remains bullish towards Bakkt:
Galaxy Digital Trading views futures as a critical institutional market tool for managing risk. As the digital asset class continues to mature, we view the launch of Bakkt as a foundational piece of market infrastructure.
However, some experts, including crypto venture capitalist Lou Kerner, point out that Bitcoin does not need large institutional players. As some studies show, the bull run at the end of 2017 was not dominated by institutions but by individual investors. Accordingly, Kerner pointed out in an appearance on CNBC that the Bitcoin market can reach new highs even without institutional investors:
I have always thought that Bitcoin is not about institutions. Actually, it is the opposite of institutions. So we don’t need institutions to come to this party for Bitcoin to break out again.