Kelly Loeffler, ICE’s former head of digital assets, who also serves as CEO of its crypto arm Bakkt, is set to leave her position after she was appointed this week to a soon-to-be-vacated United States Senate seat in Georgia.
Loeffler, who is married to founder and chairman of ICE Jeff Sprecher, has led the platform owned by the New York Stock Exchange owner since its inception last year until it created a crypto unicorn that recently launched the first regulated physically-settled Bitcoin futures.
The brainchild of NYSE’s CEO also works on rolling-out a cryptocurrency mobile application for retail consumers, as well as a merchant portal.
The choice of Kelly Loeffler to fill the seat adds a congresswoman who is definitely biased towards the cryptocurrency. While only a few members of the Senate and House were supportive for the use of digital assets, most policymakers are adamant about not letting crypto become mainstream.
Loeffler replaces Johnny Isakson, a Republican senator who is experiencing health problems, in anticipation of a primary election to fill the Senate seat next year. As such, the wealthy business executive would serve until then, allowing her to run for the final two years as an incumbent.
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Loeffler, who submitted her application just hours before the online portal was closed, was considering a run for the seat if she wasn’t appointed. However, Georgia governor Brian Kemp picked her to the seat despite Donald Trump’s endorsement of another Republican candidate.
While Loeffler will remain at the helm of the company until December 31, Bakkt is set to announce another executive to step in as interim chief executive, while the company finds a replacement.
“Loeffler will relinquish this post before being sworn in as the next United States Senator from Georgia, with Bakkt’s senior management team continuing to work closely with the ICE senior management team, building on the innovations and progress achieved in the past year,” the ICE said in a statement.
Loeffler led the company since Intercontinental Exchange, along with Starbucks, Microsoft, and BCG announced the backing of Bakkt to offer bitcoin futures contract that is actually delivered, unlike other offerings that are settled with cash.
Under her leadership, Bakkt had been one of a cluster of companies seeking clearance from the US regulators to trade physically-settled futures in bitcoin, and they all have grown frustrated at the lengthy application process.
In the meantime, Bakkt continues to bring on new talents to build out its crypto platform. This included poaching key executives from rivals such as its current COO, Adam White, who joined from Coinbase.