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Bakkt Bitcoin Exchange Hires PayPal, Google Alum As CPO

DATE POSTED:April 15, 2019

Bitcoin exchange Bakkt has hired PayPal and Google alum Mike Blandina as its chief product officer.

Previously, Blandina was at Google Wallet, where he was engineering director of payments, and at PayPal as vice president of engineering. He joins former Worldpay exec Balaji Devarasetty, as well as former Coinbase executive Adam White, who was recently hired as the exchange’s chief operating officer.

Earlier this year, Bakkt also announced on Twitter that it was filling a number of positions, including director of blockchain engineering; director of security engineering; senior full-stack engineer; mobile developer; software development engineer in test; director of finance; institutional sales; and senior Java engineer.

But according to CCN, while Bakkt is busily rounding out its team, the company still doesn’t have a release date for its bitcoin futures product. In fact, the company is still trying to obtain regulatory approvals, with the process taking longer than anticipated.

“While we’re not yet able to provide a launch date, we’re making solid progress in bringing the first physical delivery price discovery contracts for bitcoin to the U.S., where price formation will occur in federally regulated, transparent markets,” said Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, who compared the process to running a marathon. She said the launch of the “first physical delivery price discovery contracts for bitcoin to the U.S.” is similar to training, adding that “race day is approaching.”

Bakkt is is backed by NYSE-owned Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and Microsoft. Last year, Starbucks revealed that it is among the companies that will work with Bakkt “to create an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.”

However, customers will not be paying for their coffees in bitcoin. Instead, it “will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks.”