Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina has reportedly stepped down from his position at the digital asset platform. Blandina served as the company’s CEO for just four months since replacing Kelly Loeffler who was appointed as the senator of Georgia.
Blandina Reportedly Leaves Bakkt For JPMorgan
David Clifton has been appointed as the interim CEO of Bakkt after Blandina’s resignation, according to a press release on April 23. The press release does not specify why Blandina left the company besides noting that he has stepped down at Bakkt to “pursue a new opportunity”.
Clifton joined Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in 2008 serving as Associate General Counsel. At the moment, he is ICE’s Vice President, M&A and integration.
An unnamed person told industry-focused news outlet CoinDesk that Blandina will be moving to investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. He became Bakkt’s CEO in December 2019 after the then CEO, Kelly Loeffler, was appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to the senate seat.
Jeffrey Sprecher, the founder and CEO of ICE addressed the departure of Bakkt’s CEO Mike Blandina in the press release, stating:
“David Clifton has been deeply engaged in many of our most important initiatives over the years and, after helping to lead the acquisition of Bridge2 to accelerate the rollout of Bakkt’s consumer application, I know he will provide outstanding leadership for Bakkt as its Interim CEO.”
“I also want to express our gratitude to Mike Blandina for his work to help grow Bakkt during an important transformational period for the company and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.”
Bakkt Continues Development Work
Bakkt was first announced in 2018 but the firm finally got the nod to launch its physically-settled bitcoin futures in September 2019. It followed up with the launch of an institutional-grade bitcoin custody solution for investors.
In December 2019, Bakkt unveiled bitcoin options contracts as well as bitcoin cash-settled futures.
Notably, Bakkt has not limited its offerings to bitcoin derivatives. The firm is currently testing a consumer-facing app with Starbucks. This app will allow users to pay for coffee at Starbucks with bitcoin.
Just last month, Bakkt raised a whopping $300 million in Series B funding round with plans to launch the consumer app this summer. The app is said to also support a variety of rewards including frequent flyer points and grocery store loyalty points.
Additionally, Bakkt recently acquired loyalty program provider Bridge2 Solutions. The press release posited that in his interim role as Bakkt’s CEO, David Clifton will “focus on the integration of Bridge2 Solutions, while also driving forward Bakkt’s growth initiatives.”
Another Departure From The Crypto World
Notably, Bakkt is not the only crypto company to recently lose a top employee. Ripple’s Head of XRP Markets, Miguel Vias, hinted that he had left the company a few days ago. According to his LinkedIn profile, Vias served at Ripple for 3 years and 6 months before finally leaving the company.
In his tenure at Ripple, Vias came up with a partnership strategy for xRapid with prominent exchanges and other notable payment providers. He was also responsible for formulating a sales structure that led to the generation of over $1 billion in XRP sales within 3 years.
Vias was working at CME Group as the Global Head of Precious Metal and Metal Options prior to joining Ripple in 2016.