Bitcoin Futures Exchange Bakkt Hires PayPal, Google Vet as Product Chief


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Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt has hired a PayPal and Google veteran as its new chief product officer.

The firm announced Thursday that it had hired Mike Blandina, who at various points in his career served as head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and director of engineering for Google Wallet. Most recently, Blandina was chief technology officer and head of product and engineering at OneMarket, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler wrote in a blog post.

“As our CPO, Mike will lead our efforts to converge a trusted ecosystem for digital assets with payments use cases, two elements of Bakkt that help bring real world applications to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” she wrote.

As to the firm itself, Loeffler acknowledged that Bakkt is currently in a state of limbo as it awaits regulatory approval to launch, but likened the firm’s development to a marathon.

“As a former marathoner, this point in time recalls the stage in the training regimen when you’re putting in long runs with your training team,” she wrote.

Bakkt still has no official launch date after multiple delays, though Loeffler hinted that the exchange might provide more clarity soon, writing “race day is approaching.”

“There is more work to be done,” she said. “I’m proud to be going the distance with this growing team and of the culture we are building, while bringing digital assets into the mainstream economy.”

The firm is currently waiting on approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to list its bitcoin futures contract. Bakkt’s proposal would have it warehouse its own bitcoin, which may be a factor in this delayed approval.

That being said, Loeffler seemed undaunted, writing:

“We are mindful that the infrastructure we are building has the potential to create more opportunities for digital assets to grow in relevance and trust — by being more secure, investible and useful.”

Michael Casey, Kelly Loeffler, Jeff Sprecher (Bakkt) image via CoinDesk archives


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