Bakkt has made 3 new hires — here’s who’s working on the $182.5M crypto project | Here comes the New Year! Please stop irresponsibly predicting cryptocurrency prices!

Bitcoin $3,768                    Ethereum $140.43 
Crypto Mkt Cap $128B              BTC Dominance 51.40%  

Please enjoy this special New Year’s edition of The Block’s newsletter. We bring you a collection of important news and insight from the past several days. Our newsletter resumes its regular weekday schedule tomorrow. We hope you’ve had a great holiday.

"There’s a widespread belief in the blockchain world that centralization results from government regulation and/or monopolistic rent-seeking. The truth is more mundane: centralization emerges naturally in a free market due to economies of scale and other efficiencies” — Arvind Narayanan, Associate Professor Princeton

The Big Block

Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt made big headlines when it announced in August that it would gatecrash the cryptocurrency world with a platform to trade bitcoin futures. 

But little has materialized for the firm in 2018. The bitcoin futures platform was originally planned for December 12, but the start date was pushed back to 2019. Then on December 31 the firm said it would announce a new launch date at some point in early 2019. Sources tell The Block that regulatory hurdles are behind the delays. Still, behind the scenes the firm was working on finalizing a massive $182.5 million fundraise, which it announced Monday. It has also made a number of key hires.

“I am pleased to confirm that we have completed our first round of funding of $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors who, like us, believe in the future of digital assets,” Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said in a Medium post announcing the fundraise. Investors in the round included CMT Digital, Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Pantera Capital, and a number of other venture investors. 

Read More on The Block (3 Minutes)

Around The Block

Day One, 2019

On January 17, 2018, I left my position as co-founder and chief revenue officer of the breakout mobile commerce startup Button to enter the crypto ecosystem full time. On that day, bitcoin closed at a price of $11,089, having reached a high of $20,089 exactly one month earlier. Today, while the price of bitcoin sits at $3,700, I do not for a moment regret moving from traditional technology to frontier technology. Button continues to be an amazing company, making it easier for millions of people globally to discover and buy things on mobile devices. But the pull of bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large was simply too strong; the decision to jump in felt more like a calling than a career decision — and it still feels that way today.  — More

Here comes the New Year! Please stop irresponsibly predicting cryptocurrency prices!

Making short-term price predictions regarding Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency is a common occurrence on social media. In fact, it is surprisingly common amongst many widely followed and influential crypto personalities, who utilize the large megaphones of their social media platforms. The reason is simple: predictions receive significant user engagement and attract media coverage and eyeballs when they are made. By the time the predictions come due and prove, in most cases to be entirely wrong, most people have forgotten. Given the low cost and high upside, predicting short-term price action is essentially a growth-hacking strategy. — More

The falling price of bitcoin forces startups to downsize — More

EU to fund bug bounty programs to delouse open source projects — More

Bakkt scores $182.5M in funding to drive institutional and merchant adoption in crypto — More

Case of stolen ether results in first crypto-related criminal sentence issued in Argentina — More

BitMEX CEO predicts Ethereum will “rebound aggressively” once ICO returns to form — More

18 UK-based crypto companies under FCA scrutiny — More

Blockchain companies paid out nearly $900k to white hat hackers in 2018 — More

Survey of 4,200 in China finds 40% would buy crypto — More

Hiding assets in crypto? The FTC is on to you — More

Bitcoin and dictatorship: the case for freedom — More

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