On February 7, Jeff Sprecher, who is the CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange, mentioned within the context of an earnings call that its digital assets platform called Bakkt will open sometime later this year. During the call, Sprecher provided financial results for the company's 4th quarter. He also indicated that his company had invested in excess of $1 billion on what he referred to as strategic initiatives. This includes the launch of Bakkt. Currently, the International Exchange runs more than 20 leading exchanges around the world. This includes the New York Stock Exchange. Scott Hill, who is the company's CFO, spoke during the call a little bit about how much Bakkt will cost to operate. He said that the company expects — in the first quarter alone — to spend somewhere between $20 and $25 million on Bakkt. He further said that the company would, during the course of the year, keep the public up-to-date about Bakkt's progress and how much investment it has received. Interestingly, Sprecher categorized Bakkt as a "moonshot bet" when asked about the platform's prospects for revenue and growth. He further indicated that the company organized the platform in a manner far different than the way it usually conducts business. He also added that the infrastructure for the platform is far along in its development. Sprecher went on to say that Bakkt operates independently of the International Exchange. He indicated that not only does it have its own infrastructure but that it also has its own managers and workplaces. He further indicated that the platform had already gained the support of many top companies, including Microsoft and Starbucks. Hill also made clear that the company views Bakkt as a long-term investment rather than something that will bear fruit this year. The International Exchange first discussed launching Bakkt last August. Back then, the company expected the platform to launch early this year. They have since experienced delays because of continuing talks with the U.S. Commodity Futures and Trading Commission. In other news relating to the International Exchange, they announced on February 9 that they had completed their acquisition of the Rosenthal Collins Group.
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