The first quarter has come and gone, and there’s still no Bakkt. Nonetheless, the regulated exchange for bitcoin futures contracts, whose backers include NYSE-owned Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and Microsoft, is boldly building out its team. Most recently, they’ve added PayPal and Google alum Mike Blandina as the chief product officer to round out the C-suite. Problem is, there’s no bitcoin futures product to speak of.
Nonetheless, it’s another sign of legacy tech talent leaping into the emerging crypto space. In this case, Blandina is also making a leap of faith considering that the bitcoin futures exchange has yet to physically deliver its first contract.
Bakkt was originally supposed to launch in late 2018. More than a quarter later, there’s still no launch date in sight for the regulated bitcoin exchange.
Blandina is a payments veteran. He boasts experience at leading plays including Google Wallet, where he was engineering director of payments, and as PayPal‘s vice president of engineering. He joins a growing executive team at the bitcoin futures exchange that extends to former Worldpay exec Balaji Devarasetty. Bakkt recently poached former Coinbase executive Adam White as its chief operating officer.
Clearly, Blandina brings a lot to the table. But make no mistake — legacy tech needs crypto and the blockchain, not the other way around. The influx of tech talent into the crypto and blockchain space is a testament to the disruption that has taken place. A theme Morgan Creek Capital Management CEO Mark Yusko spotlighted bears repeating:
“Bitcoin didn’t come from JPMorgan or PayPal. It is from the fringe.”