ICE-Owned Bakkt Buys ‘Certain Assets’ of Registered-FCM RCG

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in February 2019, were not disclosed.

The CEO of cryptocurrency platform Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, stated on her official Medium blog that her company had signed its first acquisition agreement. The startup, owned by the NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), will buy certain assets of Chicago-based futures commission merchant Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG).

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in February 2019, were not disclosed.

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Earlier in December, London-headquartered commodities broker Marex Spectron signed an agreement to acquire the customer business of the futures brokerage that has 150 associated staff.

Established nearly 100 years ago, Rosenthal Collins Group has recently expanded its client base to 14,000 accounts and deepened its introducing broker network. The registered FCM was one of the biggest winners after the collapse of futures broker MF Global, which was one of its biggest rivals.

RCG acquisition is the latest push by a crypto platform to position itself in more regulated markets. According to Bakkt’s CEO, the registered FCM’s systems and expertise would improve the crypto firm’s risk management and treasury operations.

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“Other aspects of the transaction will contribute to our regulatory, AML/KYC and customer service operations as we help enable digital asset acceptance by bringing more choice and control to buyers and sellers,” she added.

ICE Pushes Back Debut Date

Bakkt’s move follows similar acquisitions by U.S. cryptocurrency operators, including Coinbase which said earlier last year that it’s buying a broker-dealer to offer customers blockchain-based securities. The acquisitions put these companies on a firmer regulatory footing with the US regulators and position them to offer a broader range of crypto-based financial products.

Georgia-based Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, said in December the proposed launch date of its Bitcoin’s first physically-delivered contract had been delayed for the third time to a new date.

The initial launch was set for November 2018, but the company announced last month it would push that debut back to January 24, 2019, subject to regulatory approval.

The established futures exchanges, including those run by Cboe Global Markets and CME Group, already offer bitcoin futures, but they are cash settled, meaning the actual cryptocurrency does not change hands.

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