David Clifton was recently appointed Interim CEO of Bakkt by the board replacing previous CEO Mike Blandina who has only held the CEO position for less than four months.
The move comes after Blandina replaced former CEO Kelly Loeffler during last December, as she opted to take a Senate seat for the state of Georgia.
Mike Blandina had come into his role with high expectations having previously held roles at PayPal and Google. However, he didn’t hold in the position at the popular Bitcoin futures platform for more than 120 days.
Mike Blandina, former CEO At Bakkt. Source: Medium
Largest Series B in History of Crypto
Bakkt is a company majority-owned by ICE the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearinghouses.
Clifton was previously ICE’s Vice President, M&A and Integration, and joined ICE in 2008, serving previously as Associate General Counsel, M&A, leading initiatives such as ICE’s acquisition bid for eBay.
After the reshuffling with Loeffler’s departure late last year, the company was able to raise a Series B in March.
The $300 million of capital from Intercontinental Exchange and other leading software companies and venture firms came from investors including Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s M12, PayU, Boston Consulting Group, Goldfinch Partners, CMT Digital, and Pantera Capital.
As part of that funding, Bakkt acquired Bridge2 Solutions, a provider to loyalty programs of 7 of the top 10 financial institutions and 2 of the largest U.S. airlines, in addition to supporting another 4,500 loyalty and incentive programs.
Clifton’s hiring as CEO may point to a shift in ICE’s priorities as the company seeks to focus on completing the integration of Bridge2 Solutions.
Bridge2 will help usher in two new Bakkt products, Bakkt Merchant Solutions and the Bakkt App, a digital wallet with loyalty point redemption capabilities that will launch later this year.
Bakkt’s Product Offerings
In 2019, Bakkt launched with ICE Futures U.S., the first fully regulated bitcoin futures and options market. That market was supported by Bakkt’s own regulated bitcoin custody offering.
Bakkt is now a team of 350 employees, yet it still has not emerged as a market leader in its previous core product of Bitcoin Futures and Options.
According to Skew, Bakkt had $9.4M in Physically Settled Volume, $7.9M in Cash Settled Volume, and $6.9M in Total Open Interest as of Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
This was compared to other top platforms for BTC Futures. OKEX had $685M in Bitcoin Open Interest, followed by BitMEX at $643M and Binance at $252M.
The company’s pivot and website rebranding as well as its new tagline: “Track, Spend & Send: Crypto, Rewards, Points & Cash” may point to a more direct to consumer model as the company seeks to find further product-market fit while leveraging its existing resources and new capital base.