Bakkt just caught a very big fish from the cryptocurrency trading pond.
CEO Kelly Loeffler confirmed The Block’s report that Adam White, Coinbase’s “fifth employee,” has left to become chief operating officer of the cryptocurrency venture, whose backing consortium is led by ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange.
White led the development of institutional-aimed businesses at Coinbase, the largest digital currency platform in the U.S. Loeffler said in a post on Medium Bakkt is “testing and onboarding in November, and trading and warehousing in December, subject to CFTC approval.”
White told Fortune that interest in digital currencies started “changing from retail to the institutional side. But the level of infrastructure of the existing trading sites often didn’t meet their expectations.”
Big banks need exchanges that provide the same safe ways of trading in cryptocurrency they already do in trading equities, bonds or gold, he added. “That’s why I joined Bakkt.”
Coinbase, through a spokesman, told Fortune, “We wish Adam all the best, and are proud of what we call the ‘Coinbase Mafia,’ an increasingly impressive group of alumni who are driving the crypto space forward.”