Adam White, formerly Vice President and General Manager of Coinbase, the predominant American cryptocurrency exchange, has revealed his new job – Chief Operating Officer of a new Wall Street-supported cryptocurrency exchange, Bakkt.
White was the fifth-ever employee of San Francisco-based Coinbase. His departure was announced by the company, which expressed extreme sadness, on October 5. White himself did not comment at the time.
It had been speculated that his departure was connected with the failure of the company’s index fund. The investment plan was geared towards institutional investors, with a minimum entrance fee of $250,000. Despite initially claiming success, the project was closed after only four months due to lack of interest. White had been very involved in Coinbase’s courting of big corporations.
Now, White has broken his silence. He told Fortune that he has joined Bakkt because that company is in a better position to serve the big banks that want to invest in cryptocurrency, but are “waiting on the sidelines” because the systems used by existing cryptocurrency companies were not reliable enough to handle the sums involved. He believes that institutional money will reignite interest in cryptocurrency.
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“I had a front row seat for the last couple of years watching the money managers’ and other big investors’ evolving views of cryptocurrencies,” he said.
Courting Wall Street
Bakkt was created in August 2018 with backing from Intercontinental Exchange, the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. Microsoft and Starbucks are also involved.
Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt, told Fortune: “ICE was the pioneer attracting more and more institutions to trade energy [in the early 2000s], which is what created today’s liquid market. We’re about to see a revolution on the same scale in cryptocurrencies.”
Bakkt intends to begin selling Bitcoin futures in November, as soon as it gets approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Other plans include getting cryptocurrency accepted at Starbucks.
Interestingly, Coinbase has been hiring Wall Street executives itself of late – in early October it announced the hire of Oputa Ezediaro, who spent almost five years as the Executive Director of JPMorgan, and Chris Dodds, who spend 11 years at the Charles Schwab Corporation.