Bakkt founder Adam White announces his departure

Adam White, founder and president of digital asset platform Bakkt, announced on Twitter on Thursday that he was stepping down from his position at the company. His departure comes amid uncertain times for Bakkt.

Unclear reason for departure

White, an Air Force veteran who made a name for himself in the crypto world as one of the first employees at Coinbase, gave no specific reasons for his departure, but did comment:

“After an amazing three years with Bakkt, next week will be my last. I loved working at the intersection of crypto and markets. Good to see that the industry is finding the balance between innovation and regulation. There is still a lot of work to do, but I have never been so optimistic about the future.”

His departure from Bakkt comes at a time when the company’s share price has fallen sharply since it went public in October through the reverse merger process. This is known as a SPAC. The company’s shares initially traded up to $50. Shares have since plummeted, trading below $9 on Wednesday:

Search for a niche

Meanwhile, Bakkt has struggled to find a niche for himself. At its launch, Bakkt boasted that it would use its Wall Street connections to bring Bitcoin and crypto to the mainstream. In part by working closely with regulators.

After more than three years, that goal has translated into an offering that offers a variety of digital assets: from Bitcoin to gift cards, to air miles, to NFTs. All this in one wallet. However, it is unclear whether such a product is in high demand. The question is also whether Bakkt will be able to distinguish itself in the rapidly evolving crypto landscape.

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While Bakkt’s ties to ICE should in theory have provided a strategic advantage, those ties may also have left the company saddled with politics and bureaucracy. White was considered a natural choice to lead the company. But Bakkt chose Kelly Loeffler instead. She is the wife of ICE’s billionaire CEO Jeffrey Sprecher.

Loeffler left Bakkt in early 2020 when she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. Loeffler soon lost the seat to a Democrat in the November 2020 election.

In recent months, Bakkt has been trying to reinvigorate himself. It did this by announcing partnerships with Starbucks and Apple Pay. This happened under the leadership of current CEO Gavin Michael.

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