The CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) expects the firm’s digital asset platform Bakkt to launch later in 2019. The comment was made by ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher during an earnings call Thursday, Feb. 7.
The call was dedicated to ICE’s financial results for Q4 and the full year of 2018. Sprecher explained that the company spent over $1 billion on strategic initiatives, including on the launch of the digital asset platform.
ICE operates 23 leading global exchanges, along with the New York Stock Exchange.
The company’s CFO, Scott Hill, further revealed his expectations on the expenses Bakkt is set to bring, based on its current financial performance:
“And finally, our investment in Bakkt will generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter. We will update you on progress at Bakkt and the level of investment as we move through the year.”
When asked about the expected returns or revenue growth from recent investments, including Bakkt, Sprecher characterized the crypto platform as a “moonshot bet” for ICE:
“So it's a bit of a moonshot bet and it's been organized in a manner that is very different than the way ICE typically does businesses […] They're well along in building out an infrastructure that I think you'll see launch later this year.”
Sprecher added that Bakkt exists independently from ICE, as it has its own offices, management team and infrastructure. He stressed that the project’s infrastructure has already attracted a number of high-profile investors and partners, including Starbucks and Microsoft — as Cointelegraph previously reported.
Hill concluded that Bakkt is more of a long-term project rather than a 2019-focused agenda. “I think Bakkt is really an investment […] That's more about the future and revenue and market opportunities that we see in the future and less about 2019 topline,” Hill said.
ICE first announced the launch of its digital asset platform in August 2018. The company was set to launch in early 2019, but the date was delayed due to the ongoing consultations with the United States Commodity Futures and Trading Commission.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, ICE announced that it has finalized its first acquisition of assets in futures commission merchant Rosenthal Collins Group, which was first announced in mid-January.