What is Bakkt?

In 2019, Bakkt announced that it had acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) to bolster its crypto asset custody and storage. At the same time, the company said it was also working closely with global bank BNY Mellon to develop private key storage solutions.

Bakkt is a bitcoin futures exchange and digital assets platform founded in 2018 by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The company initially planned to open its futures exchange in 2018, but postponed its launch due to the volume of interest and the work required to prepare its services. The launch of the futures exchange was subsequently delayed several times after due to regulatory issues, reportedly pertaining to asset custody. Bakkt began testing its platform in July 2019 while waiting for regulatory approval to take the platform live.

Bakkt partnered with multiple organizations to build its platform, including Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Microsoft and Starbucks. Bakkt’s goal is for people to use cryptocurrencies in everyday life seamlessly over its network. Furthermore, the company has partnered with major investment groups, including Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, and Susquehanna International Group, with the aim of building a path for major money managers to offer bitcoin mutual funds, pension funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Who is Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong?

Born in 1983, Brian Armstrong is the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States. Armstrong founded the exchange in 2012 with Fred Ehrsam. The company is based in San Francisco, California.

Prior to founding Coinbase, Armstrong worked as a software engineer at Airbnb, as a developer for IBM and as a consultant at Deloitte.

On June 20th, 2018, Armstrong announced that he had started givecrypto.org – a non-profit organization that aims to help unbanked people around the world gain access to financial services, and to “financially empower people by distributing cryptocurrency globally”. GiveCrypto reached their first milestone of $4 million in 2019.

Later in 2018, Armstrong signed The Giving Pledge – a campaign started by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates that encourages the wealthy to contribute a portion of their capital to philanthropic causes.

Armstrong made Fortune’s 40 under 40 in 2016 (most influential young leaders under 40 years old) and was valued at $1.6 billion in 2019.

Who is Jed McCaleb?

Jed McCaleb is an American programmer and entrepreneur. Born in 1975, McCaleb is well-known for creating one of the first bitcoin exchanges, the now defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox., which he eventually sold. He notably later co-founded blockchain companies Ripple and Stellar.

McCaleb launched Mt. Gox in 2010 with the intent of it becoming the largest bitcoin-to-dollar exchange. At its highest peak, Mt. Gox handled upwards of 80 percent of the global trading volume for cryptocurrencies becoming one of the most popular exchanges in the world. On February 7th, 2014, Mt. Gox was hacked and lost approximately 850,000 bitcoin (worth roughly $700 million at the time), leading to its eventual demise. In 2011, McCaleb sold the exchange to Mark Karpeles.

After selling Mt. Gox in 2011, Jed McCaleb turned his attention to Ripple Labs. Originally named OpenCoin, Ripple Labs is a San Francisco based company that was founded in 2012 by McCaleb and Chris Larsen. The company created the ripple protocol and the ripple payment network, which aim to improve cross-border payments and make transfers cheaper and more efficient.

McCaleb left Ripple in 2013 to focus on a new project, stellar, that launched in 2014. The stellar platform, an open-source and decentralized payment protocol, is intended to facilitate the fast and cheap transfer of cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.

Stellar’s native cryptocurrency, lumens (XLM) helps power the stellar network similarly to how ether (ETH) powers the ethereum blockchain.

In 2014, McCaleb took to an XRP Talk forum to announce that he planned to sell his 9 billion XRP tokens. His controversial announcement corresponded with caused a 40 percent drop in XRP’s price overnight. Ripple Labs subsequently worked with McCaleb to reach an agreement to prevent him from selling all 9 billion XRP at once.

The terms of the plan gave McCaleb the option to sell $10,000 worth of tokens a week for the first year and $20,000 a week the second, third and fourth years.

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