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It’s been a long road for Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt. The platform—developed by NYSE parent company Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE)—has faced a myriad of launch delays due to regulatory approval. It’s still waiting now, but in the meantime, it has begun testing its Bitcoin futures contracts today.

Here’s what we know.

Bakkt is Testing Bitcoin Futures Contracts

The company announced in May that it would begin testing its contracts in July. It later settled on the date of July 22, which is today. The company has not disclosed what is involved in the testing process but, according to sources, it is testing two different types of contracts today: a daily contract and a monthly contract.

Bakkt will list them, trade them, and clear them through ICE Futures US and ICE Clear US.

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Until ICE receives regulatory approval for Bakkt, it cannot take the platform live. But there’s no harm in preparing for an official launch in advance.

Launch Delays

It has been almost one year since Bakkt was unveiled. The platform aims to offer potentially the first physically-settled Bitcoin futures in the US, but as stated, has had to delay its launch multiple times.

The initial launch date was set for December 2018. That date was then pushed back to January 2019. Subsequently, ICE announced an “indefinite delay” as it continued to work with regulators to secure approval.

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Cash-Settled vs. Physical-Settled

Bakkt will offer US traders “access to physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts.” These differ from the “cash-settled futures contracts” that Chicago-based exchanges CME and Cboe have offered since 2017.

The difference is in what a trader will receive when the contract expires. With cash-settled contracts, traders receive the cash equivalent to the contract’s value when it expires. However, with a physically-settled contract, traders receive the underlying commodity, which in this case is Bitcoin.

Will Bakkt have to wait much longer do you think? Will the test run tell us a lot more about an official launch? What are your thoughts?

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © poznyakov

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