30.10.2020

Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina Steps Down 4 Months After Taking Role

Blandina was named the CEO in December 2019, succeeding now-U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who helmed the company since its launch in August 2018 until her appointment to the U.S. Congress. He is moving to take on a role at JPMorgan, an individual familiar with the situation told CoinDesk. Blandina did not immediately return a request for comment. A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment. Blandina’s future plans were not mentioned in the press release beyond that he was “leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity.”

Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina is stepping down from his role, an individual familiar with the situation told CoinDesk.

He will be replaced by David Clifton, vice president of M&A and integration at Bakkt parent company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Adam White, the company’s president, will maintain his role. The move was announced internally at an all-hands meeting.

Clifton participated in ICE’s 2013 acquisition of NYSE Euronext, according to the press release, and will now focus on Bakkt’s integration of Bridge2 Solutions, the loyalty program provider the company acquired in February.

In a statement, ICE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said, “David Clifton has been deeply engaged in many of our most important initiatives over the years and, after helping to lead the acquisition of Bridge2 to accelerate the rollout of Bakkt’s consumer application, I know he will provide outstanding leadership for Bakkt as its Interim CEO.”

Bakkt, which currently offers bitcoin futures and options contracts to institutions worldwide, is in the middle of building a retail-focused payments and rewards app. The company is already testing an integration with Starbucks, and intends its final app to support a range of rewards, such as airline miles, and vendors.

Arab Bank’s Swiss Arm Is Launching Cryptocurrency Services

The Swiss branch of one of the top financial institutions in the Middle East is launching a suite of cryptocurrency-based services.

Arab Bank (Switzerland) announced on Thursday that it will offer clients a range of services including custody and brokerage of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

The bank – based in the canton of Zug in Switzerland, sometimes dubbed “Crypto Valley” – said the launch comes following demand from “existing and younger clients who seek to include digital assets as one asset class in their diversified portfolios.” It said clients include serving high-net worth clients such as “business leaders and family entrepreneurs.”

Serge Robin, CEO of Arab Bank (Switzerland), said:

“We firmly believe that blockchain will disrupt the financial industry as we know it and we intend to be amongst the first banks to offer digital asset services to our clients in a secure and regulated environment.”

For its crypto services, the bank has partnered with digital assets-focused Taurus Group – also based in Switzerland – and will utilize the firm’s a custody platform. Taurus also assisted the bank prepare operational policies and procedures for the new crypto services.

Supporting “innovative players” like Arab Bank (Switzerland) developing infrastructure to support digital assets “is a necessary step to
ensure that the next generation of financial market infrastructure is based on blockchain,” said Lamine Brahimi, managing partner at Taurus Group.

A number of Swiss banks have now launched services for crypto assets, including Julius Baer, UBS and Falcon Group.

The CEO of UBS previously come out as an advocate for blockchain technology, saying it’s “almost a must” for business.

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