Unchained Forms Strategic Alliance with Bakkt to Enhance Bitcoin Custody Network

Unchained, a player in the bitcoin financial services sector, has announced a strategic partnership with Bakkt on November 15, 2023, marking a significant expansion of its Collaborative Custody Network. This alliance not only strengthens Unchained’s position in the cryptocurrency custody landscape but also enhances its capability to secure over $3 billion in bitcoin assets for its clients. The announcement reflects Unchained’s substantial growth, with a nearly 40% increase in secured bitcoin assets since October 2022.

Established in 2016, Unchained has been instrumental in helping individuals and businesses gain true ownership of their wealth through bitcoin key holding. The company’s collaborative custody model, which combines the advantages of financial services with the benefits of self-custody, stands as a testament to consumer protection in the uncertain economic climate. With its headquarters in Austin, Texas, Unchained’s network now includes Bakkt, alongside Coincover and Kingdom Trust, offering an unmatched breadth in the industry for secure bitcoin storage.

The inclusion of Bakkt, founded in 2018 by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE) and renowned for its institutional-grade custody, trading, and onboarding capabilities, complements Unchained’s commitment to providing secure and compliant crypto infrastructure. Bakkt Custody, operated by Bakkt Trust Company LLC and an NYDFS Qualified Custodian, adds significant credibility to Unchained’s custody solutions, reinforcing client confidence in asset safety.

Unchained’s innovative approach to bitcoin treasury security involves a model requiring multiple private keys for access, thereby reducing risks associated with exchange hacks and self-custody challenges. Clients have the flexibility to hold a private key or distribute it among trusted custodians, including Bakkt. This method resonates with Unchained’s belief that a decentralized custody solution is more robust than relying on a single custodian.

Gavin Michael, CEO and President of Bakkt, highlights the critical need for qualified custody in the volatile cryptocurrency market. Bakkt’s entry into Unchained’s enterprise custody network is a strategic move to cater to clients seeking regulated and secure bitcoin custodians. Emphasizing security and compliance as Bakkt’s core values, Michael anticipates a fruitful collaboration with Unchained.

Joe Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Unchained, expresses his enthusiasm for the partnership with Bakkt, emphasizing the alignment of both companies in prioritizing client asset security. Kelly underscores the importance of providing bitcoin storage options that safeguard against single points of failure and enable clients to independently verify the safety of their assets.

This collaboration follows the recent addition of Coincover to Unchained’s network in October. As Unchained continues to expand its custody partnerships, it maintains a focus on empowering clients with unilateral control over private keys, a cornerstone of secure and autonomous asset management.

Unchained and Bakkt are scheduled to host a joint webinar on November 16, 2023, to discuss the intricacies and advantages of collaborative custody as a risk management solution.

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New Bakkt Study Shows Ongoing Crypto Interest and the Need for Regulation

A recent study by Bakkt Holdings Inc (NYSE: BKKT) reveals that people’s interest in cryptocurrencies remains strong despite recent market fluctuations. The “Bi-Annual U.S. Consumer Crypto Sentiment Study” surveyed over 2,000 Americans who own or are interested in cryptocurrencies to understand their views, adoption, and concerns about regulations and consumer protections.

The study found that 84% of current crypto owners are still considering purchasing more digital currencies. However, among those who are curious about crypto but haven’t invested yet, only 27% expressed interest, down from the previous survey conducted in October 2022.

Interestingly, respondents were more focused on economic and financial events like inflation and banking problems rather than crypto-related news. Nevertheless, the study revealed that 78% of participants believe cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity and will face increased regulation in the future. More than half (58%) also think that crypto represents the next evolution in modern finance.

The research emphasizes the importance of regulatory clarity in driving further crypto adoption. Among those who lost interest in cryptocurrencies recently, increased regulation was the main factor that reignited their curiosity. Both current crypto owners and the curious group express concerns about security and regulation when purchasing digital assets.

The study also highlights the role of fintech providers as a popular entry point for crypto investments. Users who primarily buy crypto through fintech platforms have fewer safety and regulation concerns compared to those using traditional crypto exchanges. Trust is key, with the Crypto Curious showing greater trust in fintech channels than in traditional exchanges.

Building trust is crucial for new entrants in the crypto market. The study suggests that existing customer relationships can play a role in establishing trust. Respondents found channels such as financial advisors, primary banks or credit unions, favorite brand loyalty programs, and trusted fintech platforms to be the most reliable.

The study, conducted using the quantilope insights automation platform, surveyed over 2,000 U.S. consumers in April 2023. It offers valuable insights into crypto exploration and investment over the past six months, following the collapse of FTX.

Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael emphasized the study’s findings, highlighting the continued interest in cryptocurrencies and the need for regulatory clarity to drive adoption. He stressed the importance of partnering with secure crypto companies that prioritize compliance and regulatory standards.


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Crypto Firm Bakkt Reports $1.5B in Impairment Losses in Q3

Georgia-based crypto trading company Bakkt Inc has released the results of its third quarter ending September 30, showing a net revenue of $12.9 million increase of 41% year-over-year.


The trading platform said its impressive net revenue was born out of an improvement in travel loyalty redemptions.

Though the immediate impacts of the crypto winter had abated in Q3, most crypto firms still faced notable headwinds during that period. 

For Bakkt, it said its operating expenses came in at $1.6, a figure that soared year over year. According to the New York Stock Exchange-listed firm, the bogus expense was fueled by the $1.5 billion impairment it recorded “due to the elongated timing for expected cryptoasset product activations and the decline in our market capitalization.”

Overall, Bakkt said its business saw significant growth with a total transaction account of 678,000, an increase of 21% year-over-year. 

“Our focus on execution is paying off and we are proud to have initial activations with our crypto capabilities. We are working closely with our partners to bring even more of them to market in the near term,” said Bakkt CEO and President Gavin Michael said in a statement.

Bakkt made the news recently when it unveiled it has signed an agreement to acquire Apex Crypto LLC, a subsidiary of Apex FinTech Solutions Inc. The transaction was valued at $200 million and is billed to steer the company into the digital currency payment ecosystem, and constituted a major highlight of the firm’s business for the third quarter.

“We are thrilled about the signing of the acquisition of Apex Crypto, which we expect will accelerate our growth plans post-close as it will significantly expand our client verticals and cryptocurrency product offering. We believe that Apex Crypto will be highly complementary with our platform and the acquisition will ultimately help us deliver long-term sustainable value for our partners, customers, and shareholders,” Gavin said.

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Bakkt Has Agreed to Acquire Apex Crypto for $200M

Publicly listed Bitcoin firm Bakkt has agreed to pay the sum of $200 million as it looks to acquire Apex Crypto LLC, a subsidiary of Apex FinTech Solutions Inc.


By being a part of the Bakkt brand, Apex Crypto will help to bolster the business operations of the parent firm, drawing on its unique infrastructure to help bridge the gap between companies in the mainstream sector and those in crypto.

According to the terms of the deal, Bakkt will be paying the sum of $55 million in cash outright while paying $45 million when Apex Crypto meets its financial targets for the end of the Fourth Quarter (Q4) this year.

“We found a unique asset in Apex Crypto, which will expand our crypto client base, provide us with faster speed to market for new crypto capabilities, and serve as an additional avenue for continued sales to a crypto-savvy audience through Apex Fintech Solutions,” said Gavin Michael, CEO of Bakkt. 

“With the addition of this complementary business, we believe we are poised to be a crypto provider of choice for financial institutions, fintechs, merchants or loyalty programs that want to offer seamless crypto experiences to their customers. It’s also expected to enable us to unlock more innovative opportunities that appeal to the next generation of consumers such as crypto rewards and NFTs.”

Bakkt went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) back in October last year, setting a whole new agenda for the company in the Web3.0 world. The company has not sat on its oars over the past few years, launching innovative products to serve both its institutional and retail customers.

From partnering with Starbucks to floating a crypto product with Galaxy Digital, Bakkt has ingrained its footprint across the length and breadth of the digital currency ecosystem. The deal with Apex Crypto will contribute to bolstering these footprints when it closes following regulatory approvals.

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Global Payments Partners with Bakkt, Offering Crypto and Loyalty Programmes

Bakkt Holdings, Inc – a fintech firm that provides crypto solutions – announced on Monday a strategic alliance with Global Payments Inc – a US firm that offers payment technology and services to merchants, issuers and consumers – to expand use cases of cryptocurrencies.

The strategic partnership will see Global Payments enable crypto redemption to its customers. The collaboration will also enable Global Payments to expand its banking-as-a-service bankcard offerings to include customer access to cryptocurrencies and also leverage its issuing technologies to link crypto into its virtual, debit, credit and prepaid solutions. Furthermore, Bakkt will also collaborate with Global Payments on multinational merchant payments acceptance.

The latest development is part of efforts by Bakkt to continue expanding crypto adoption within the payment ecosystem.  

Last month, Bakkt partnered with American Bank to enable the bank’s customers to purchase, sell, and hold Bitcoin and Ethereum. Recently, Bakkt also collaborated with Wyndham Hotel Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc, a US hotel company based in New Jersey, to allow the hotel’s rewards members to use their points with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Last October, Bakkt partnered with Google to introduce digital assets to millions of consumers. The collaboration enabled Google to extend the reach and use of digital assets to meet the rapidly growing consumer demand and preferences.

Towards late last year, Bakkt also partnered with MasterCard to allow thousands of banks and merchants onto its payments network in the US to provide a wide range of crypto solutions and services. In turn, consumers are able to spend the crypto rewards they earn at retailers on MasterCard’s network. They are also able to hold, buy, and sell digital assets through custodial wallets powered by Bakkt’s digital asset platform.

Such partnerships enable global consumers to benefit from the increased accessibility of digital asset services.

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American Bank Inks Deal with Bakkt, Offering Trading & Holding of Tokens

To offer customers the option of accessing Bitcoin and Ethereum using their bank accounts, American Bank, a community bank headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has partnered with Bakkt.

Through the strategic partnership, American Bank clients will be able to buy, sell, and hold the two largest cryptocurrencies based on market capitalization by using the Bakkt crypto connect solution expected to be launched in the second quarter of this year.

Moreover, American Bank will utilize Bakkt’s educational resources and digital asset platform for cost-effective crypto access. 

Sheela Zemlin, Bakkt’s chief revenue officer, welcomed the collaboration and stated:

“Research has indicated that consumers would prefer to access crypto from their existing bank, and we’re excited American Bank is partnering with Bakkt to provide customers a simple on-ramp to cryptocurrency within their trusted bank relationship.”

As consumer interest in crypto grows, American Bank seeks to render security services to its customers spread across fifty states.

Mark Jaindl, American Bank’s President and CEO, stated the bank is always looking for ways to enhance our customers’ banking experience:

 “Bakkt’s robust capabilities create an entry point for us to drive engagement with our customers and seamlessly integrate cryptocurrency into our existing digital banking platform. We’re proud to say that we’ll be the first bank headquartered in the Lehigh Valley to offer access to crypto trading.”

More banks are eyeing rolling out crypto services as demand soars. For instance, Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment bank, recently revealed plans to avail a “full-spectrum” of crypto investments through derivatives, physical Bitcoin, or traditional investment vehicles. 

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Bakkt Shares Down 90% Since October Launch Despite Numerous Partnerships

Bakkt – a digital asset management platform – has seen its shares plummet since going public in October. Trading at over $40 on October 29th, its stock is now as cheap as $3.96 on the NYSE.

Down Alongside Crypto

According to Google Finance, Bakkt’s stock peaked following its public listing on October 18th. It had tripled its value within a week from $8.76 to $30.60 by the 25th. After about another week, its price surged again on October 31st, touching $42.52.

Bakkt’s listing and subsequent rally coincided with a broader rise across the crypto market in October. Bitcoin rose from $43k to $62k throughout the month, while altcoins such as Solana and Shiba Inu saw parabolic gains.

Its climb also aligned with the launch of the first US Bitcoin ETF, which started trading on the NYSE just a day later. Like Bakkt, BITO saw overwhelming popularity after going live, drawing in over $500 million dollars in trading volume within an hour.

Yet as with SOL, SHIB, and BITO, Bakkt has fallen tremendously since then. It is now trading for under $4, 90% off its all-time high despite multiple high-profile partnerships. Faced with crashing stock, former President Adam White departed from the company at the start of the year.


According to Bloomberg, Bakkt spokesperson Lauren Post stated this in an email:

“While we can’t comment on stock movements, we are well-capitalised to execute on the long-term strategy… investing in the business to bring on more partners, enhancing our products and capabilities and deepening customer relationships with our partners.”

Crypto and stocks alike have been down this month, in partial reaction to threats from the Federal Reserve to tighten interest rates this March.

Bakkt’s Partnerships

During its October rally, Bakkt formed partnerships with both Mastercard and Fiserv. The former plans to provide credit and debit cards that facilitate Bitcoin payments, while the latter intends to make crypto more practical for use in other ways.

Most recently, Bakkt was selected by Nexo – a cryptocurrency lending platform – to custody a portion of its Bitcoin and Ethereum holdings.


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Nexo Tapped Bakkt as its Cryptocurrency Custodian Partner

The cryptocurrency lending platform – Nexo – joined forces with the Nasdaq-listed digital asset company – Bakkt Holdings. As a result, the latter will custody a portion of Nexo’s Bitcoin and Ethereum holdings in the Bakkt Warehouse.

Bakkt’s Newest Partnership

The Bakkt Warehouse comprises both online (“warm”) and offline (“cold”) digital asset storage. The company balances between the two tiers to minimize risks associated with cryptocurrency custody services.

In a recent announcement, Nexo raised hopes that this model could bring an enhanced investment shield for its users. The “warm” and “cold” wallets are built on secure wallet architecture, along with multi-zone physical security, the entity informed. However, Nexo did not disclose what proportion of the customers’ Bitcoin and Ethereum funds will store in the Bakkt Warehouse.

George Manolov – Business Development Executive at Nexo – stated that a global digital asset institution, such as his firm – needs a trusted partner to guarantee an extra level of customer protection.

“We recognized that Bakkt’s infrastructure and regulation-first approach to crypto was a natural fit,” he added.

In turn, Dan O’Prey – Chief Product Officer at Bakkt – opined that such custody initiatives result from the rapid expansion of the cryptocurrency industry.


“We are pleased that Nexo has chosen the Bakkt Warehouse as a trusted solution. As we build upon our partnerships with businesses and expand our network of operations and revenue, secure custody continues to be a pillar of Bakkt’s strategy, leveraging state-of-the-art physical and cyber security, institutional-grade technology and governance, and backed by insurance,” the exec concluded.

Bakkt to Provide Crypto Services to Manasquan Bank Clients

Nearly a month ago, the company inked a deal with the New Jersey-based Manasquan Bank to enable crypto services for the latter’s customers. Specifically, they would be able to buy, sell, and hold digital assets. The project is anticipated to see the light of day in Q2 2022.

James Vaccaro – President and CEO of the American bank – said his entity focuses on introducing new features to clients, via which they can join the digital financial world. He stated that the collaboration with Bakkt comes at a time when users have been seeking opportunities to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.

Prior to that, the company expanded its digital asset payment options by teaming up with Google. The collaboration allowed individuals to add their Bakkt Visa Debit Cards and make crypto transactions wherever Google Pay is accepted.


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Google Pay Partners With Cryptocurrency Exchanges To Accept Their Digital Cards

Another day, another massive company entering the cryptocurrency space. Google is making moves to boost up the profile of their Google Pay service, and, of course, crypto is in the mix. The company hired Arnold Goldberg, ex-Senior Vice President at PayPal, “to run its payments division.” That’s according to Bloomberg, who broke the story. 

“The move is part of a broader strategy to team up with a wider range of financial services, including cryptocurrencies, said Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce. The business, known for the Google Pay system and mobile wallet, has largely avoided the crypto industry.”

Related Reading | Bitcoin Still Overtook Trump, VISA, PayPal, and Libra on Google Search in 2019

Until now, that is. The company is cautiously entering the cryptocurrency space and NewsBTC is here to tell you what you should know about it.

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Google’s Many Failures

The company’s financial division hasn’t been the most successful. Their Google Pay service is far behind its competitors, and facing a crowded space with many players trying to get ahead. Recently, Alphabet Inc. partnered with 11 banks for an initiative called Plex, and canceled everything at the last second. “We’re not a bank — we have no intention of being a bank,” said the company’s president of commerce Bill Ready in a recent interview.

On the other hand, the company has a lot going for it: 

“Google does have enormous consumer reach and a huge balance sheet. The technology giant takes no fees on transactions with its mobile wallet, and Ready said there are no plans to change that.”

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What Will The Company’s Crypto Play Consist Of?

Let’s be clear about this, the technology giant is only testing the waters. They haven’t announced anything crazy, nor are they developing technology themselves. Still, it’s a great improvement from their “largely avoided the crypto industry” policy. What are they doing, exactly?

“Google has partnered with companies, including Coinbase Global Inc. and BitPay Inc., to store crypto assets in digital cards, while still having users pay in traditional currencies. Ready said Google is looking to do more of these partnership, though the company still isn’t accepting crypto for transactions.”

Since that’s a little vague, Yahoo! Finance elaborates on the matter:

“Late last year crypto platform Bakkt said its virtual Visa debit card would be available for use on Google Pay online and in stores. Bakkt’s Google Pay support follows in the footsteps of Coinbase, which rolled out support for Apple Pay and Google Pay for its Coinbase Cards earlier this year. Google is also working with Bitpay and Gemini to support their crypto cards, meaning that people who use these cards can add them to Google Pay.”

To further emphasize the lightness of the company’s crypto play, Bill Ready told Bloomberg:

“Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to. As user demand and merchant demand evolves, we’ll evolve with it.”

How Did The Market React To Google ‘s Announcement?

As soon as the article went live and the news started spreading through the Internet, both Bitcoin and Ethereum’s prices spiked for a little while. Then, as people read exactly what Google announced, the excitement wore off. The two leading cryptocurrencies have been trading horizontally, lightly trending downwards for a while. And this announcement wasn’t strong enough to change that.

Related Reading | Coinbase Adds Option To Buy Crypto With Apple Pay, Google Pay To Follow

Maybe it should’ve been, though.

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Adam White Reveals to Depart from Bakkt

Adam White, president of U.S. Institutional Exchange Bakkt, posted an official Twitter on December 23, stating that next week will be his last time at Bakkt.

Adam White has worked at Bakkt for more than three years. Since he joined Bakkt in 2018 after he left Coinbase, he has held key positions as Bakkt-chief operating officer and president.

Regarding this resignation, he said that:

“I’ve loved working at the intersection of crypto + markets and good to see the industry finding the balance between innovation & regulation. Lots of work still to do here but never been more optimistic about the future”

He did not reveal where he will go on his Twitter and whether he will continue to develop in the cryptocurrency industry.

Bakkt, founded in 2018, is a subsidy of ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), which is also the parent company of NYSE (New York Stock Exchange).

Bakkt platform acts like a bridge between the emerging cryptocurrency market and traditional institutions, merchants, and consumers who want to access the market.

In June earlier, U.S. Institutional Exchange Bakkt launched a new virtual Visa debit card named “Bakkt Card” for retail purchases in terms of crypto transactions.

On October 19, the Bakkt digital asset marketplace went public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) on the New York Stock Exchange through completing a merger with blank-check company VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings.

Yet, the leadership in the company changes frequently. Among those leaderships, former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler left her role as the CEO of Bakkt crypto custodian firm in late December 2019 to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson. The latter was forced to step down due to health complications.

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