Bakkt, a cryptocurrency exchange and liquidity provider created by the New York Stock Exchange’s parent company ICE has raised $182.5 million from a group of high profile investors and venture capital firms.

On December 31, on New Year’s Eve, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler announced that Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures invested in the company, sharing the firm’s vision of driving institutional access for digital assets and providing support for merchants.

Loeffler said:

Our work today is centered on driving institutional access for digital assets, along with merchant and consumer uses, and we’re already expanding on this vision, collaborating with great companies like Starbucks in these efforts.

Not All About the Bitcoin Price

As of December 31, the Bitcoin price remains down 80 percent from its all-time high at $19,500 and is en route to ending the year in the midst of a steep sell-off and a deep bear market.

But, according to Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, 2018 has been the most active year for the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry, as it saw significant progress in strengthening the infrastructure supporting the asset class.

In December alone, Bakkt secured a $182 million investment from major venture capital and technology conglomerates, and ErisX, another U.S.-based cryptocurrency futures market, received $27.5 million from Nasdaq and Fidelity.

nyse bitcoin bakkt
Bakkt is a portfolio company of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which also owns the New York Stock Exchange

While the value of crypto assets have dropped substantially since early 2018, Loffler emphasized that the price does not reflect the accomplishments of companies within the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the milestones the industry has achieved throughout the past 12 months.

She noted:

Notably, 2018 was the most active year for crypto in its brief ten-year history. This was evidenced by rising investment in distributed ledger technology and digital assets, as well as by blockchain network metrics such as daily bitcoin transaction value and active addresses. Yet, these milestones tend to be overshadowed by the more narrow focus on bitcoin’s price, which has been seen by some, as a proxy for the potential of the technology.

As the institutional infrastructure for Bitcoin improves and the overall liquidity of crypto assets increases, the sector may see the inflow of more capital from institutional investors and high profile funds in the long run.

Several companies including Bakkt are actively working on various solutions to address the lack of merchant adoption of digital assets with partners in the likes of Starbucks and Microsoft.

Expect a Bakkt Delay

Some reports have suggested that the partial shutdown of the U.S. government could result in the delay of the Bakkt Bitcoin futures market launch on January 24.

In an official statement, Bakkt stated that the firm would provide an update in early 2019 on the intricacies of the firm’s plans in launching its Bitcoin futures market.

“Following consultation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, ICE Futures U.S., Inc. expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract,” the firm said.

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