U.S.-based Bakkt, a cryptocurrency custodian and trading platform, went public Monday on the New York Stock Exchange after an announcement by Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, which owns Bakkt and the NYSE.

Fast facts

  • Unlike its competitor Coinbase, which chose a direct listing on Nasdaq, Bakkt is going public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company, VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. SPACs are also known as blank-check companies that go public to raise funds that are then used to acquire target businesses. This means that any company or business that merges with a SPAC automatically becomes a publicly traded company. It is equivalent to a shortcut for the direct-listing process and is also referred to as backdoor listing. Singapore-based digital assets group Diginex went public using the same mechanism in October last year.
  • According to the announcement by ICE on Friday, Bakkt has completed the merger, and ICE controls approximately 68% economic interest and a minority voting interest in the combined company.
  • Bakkt started in 2018 as a cryptocurrency custodian to safely store digital assets in hard wallets for large investors. Over the years, it evolved into a crypto marketplace that allows users to trade Bitcoin futures. It also has a mobile app that enables customers to spend their Bitcoin for everyday goods and services and has launched a Visa debit card to make the process easier.
  • Earlier this month, Bakkt announced a partnership with Google that would help Bakkt Visa card holders spend their Bitcoin at any store that accepts payments through Google Pay, Google’s digital wallet and online payment platform. As part of the partnership, Bakkt will also use Google Cloud to build new analytics on its platform, along with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and geolocation functionality.