Looking Bakkt: 2023 in review
2023 has been a whirlwind year in the crypto landscape. Regulatory scrutiny has heightened, showing promise that the industry might finally see a more cohesive lay of the land. Meanwhile, mainstream financial integration and adoption has grown, and the DeFi ecosystem continues to expand. The number of crypto owners globally hit 575 million by November of 2023, with an average monthly growth rate of 2.8% — even despite headwinds.1
Throughout these developments, Bakkt has steadfastly pursued its mission of offering responsible crypto services to both institutional clients and our clients’ customers. This year’s achievements, from the relaunch of Bakkt® Custody to the formation of several strategic partnerships, underscore our commitment to this vision. Here are some of the standout moments for Bakkt in 2023:
1. Apex Crypto acquisition
In April of 2023, a significant milestone was achieved with Bakkt’s acquisition of Apex Crypto, LLC, a turnkey platform tailored for integrated crypto trading. This strategic move marked the beginning of a strategic journey. This was transformative for our platform – enabling us to offer businesses a seamless onboarding experience to our trading platform, so they can provide crypto trading to their customers.
2. Relaunch of Bakkt® Custody
The recent foundational redevelopment of Bakkt Custody represents a major advancement in our services. With new features like segregated wallets and a flexible policy engine, we are actively shaping the future of crypto custody. This relaunch sets the stage for quick enhancements in functionality.
A key improvement following the relaunch is the expansion of our asset support. Moving beyond Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), we will now include additional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Shiba Inu (SHIB), and USD Coin (USDC). This expansion not only aligns with our trading platform but also promises further diversity in early 2024. As institutional interest in crypto remains steadfast, with 91% of institutional investors keen to put their money into tokenized assets, the demand for reliable products like Bakkt Custody shows continued promise.2
3. Unchained: Collaborative-CustodyUnchained selected Bakkt to be the institutional signatory for their enterprise customers’ collaborative custody vaults. Unchained secures over $4 billion of Bitcoin, is a steward of the Bitcoin ethos, and has built a powerful Bitcoin-only product and brand.
4. Plaid partnership
The Bakkt® and Plaid layered integration allows users to easily link their bank accounts to fund crypto trading. Bakkt provides the fiat-to-crypto onramps, while Plaid takes care of the verification process needed to link end users’ bank accounts to enable transfer of fiat from their banks into their crypto wallet. Plaid also provides account linking functionality to more than 7,000 fintech apps.
5. Bakkt® Link launch
The introduction of Bakkt Link complements our API offerings for clients who don’t want to manage consumer trading directly. This innovation caters to both the crypto curious – individuals interested in building their crypto portfolio through Rewards redemption – as well as existing crypto owners. Bakkt Link’s sleek and intuitive UI makes it the perfect platform through which to buy, sell, and hold crypto. Crypto trading volumes soared to $10.3 trillion in the final quarter of 2023 (a 53.1% increase from Q3), signaling an optimistic bullish sentiment that bodes well for future engagement on the Link platform.3
6. Launch of Blockchain.com
As we continue to expand our client base, we are eager to reflect on a notable addition made this year: Blockchain.com has signed on as a new trade client. Blockchain.com is currently live in six states (Texas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, West Virginia, and Virginia) with trade and fiat onramps, with migration underway and joint marketing initiatives in the works. We’re thrilled to be working with this highly respected player in the industry.
7. Fiat onramps go live with Webull Pay
Bakkt® Onramps launched this year as well, with Bakkt now facilitating the seamless exchange of fiat currency into cryptocurrency and vice versa. Webull Pay users have successfully been migrated over so that they now use Bakkt fiat-to-crypto on and off-ramps in partnership with Plaid.
We’re proud to have received several accolades this year, such as the Digital Bankers’ award for the Best Digital Assets Custodian of 2023, a Transform award recognizing us as having one of the best visual identities in the financial services sector, as well as Fireblocks naming Bakkt the Fireblocks Design Partner of the Year.
Looking to the year ahead, Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael recently stated in a conversation with Crowdfund Insider :
“While the crypto market in 2023 continued to be challenging, we began to see green shoots towards the end of the year that I believe should continue into 2024. Bitcoin’s price has recently rallied to YTD highs, and the next halving is quickly approaching in April. As the market slowly turns, regulation will continue to be a focus – as clarity will ultimately allow for more growth, stability and customer protection.”