Bakkt says bitcoin futures testing to begin in July

FILE PHOTO: A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bakkt, the startup cryptocurrency platform affiliate of New York Stock Exchange-owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc, said on Thursday it would begin letting users test two physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts on July 22.

The crypto-platform, which has faced regulatory delays since ICE announced plans for the new venture last August, said trading was expected to begin sometime in the second half of the year. Bakkt still needs regulatory approval of its custody warehouse, where the digital assets will be stored.

Bakkt aims to draw more traditional financial institutions into the cryptocurrencies space and it has partnered with ICE’s clearinghouse and futures exchange to bring new products to the market. The futures will be listed on ICE Futures U.S., cleared at ICE Clear U.S., and physically delivered to Bakkt’s warehouse.

Exchange operators CME Group and Cboe Global Markets already offer bitcoin futures in the United States, though Cboe’s last contract settles this month and has not been renewed.

Unlike CME and Cboe’s cash-settled futures, Bakkt’s contracts will be physically settled, meaning bitcoin will be delivered to the Bakkt warehouse when the contracts expire.

Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Susan Thomas