Blockchain technology platform Bakkt looks toward Europe after MiCA

The international regulatory environment for cryptocurrency is improving, and the company is eyeing a retail expansion on the continent, Bakkt chief product officer Dan O’Prey said. On the whole, O’Prey saw positive long-term trends.

Speaking to Cointelegraph’s U.S. News Editor, Sam Bourgi, at Bitcoin 2023, O’Prey described Bakkt as prioritizing its role as a “B2B2C” company for the past two years. As such, it has seen “a significant portion of the major institutional interest” focused on Bitcoin (BTC), in spite of the aftermath of the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. He said:

“We saw last year a lot of fallout and issues with companies, practices and coins in this space that I think have dragged Bitcoin down with it, even though those had nothing to do with Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin has benefited from the lack of regulatory clarity in the United States relative to other cryptocurrencies, as its status as a commodity has been established by regulators. Nonetheless, lack of regulatory clarity in the U.S. for cryptocurrencies in general has been “definitely the most top-of-mind hurdle” for Bitcoin adoption, says O’Prey. 

“Over the last sort of three or four years, by doing things right, it’s been a little bit slower, but now we’re in a much stronger position, and the recent events have really highlighted the need for those practices.”

Bakkt’s retail platform for embedded trading, payouts and rewards operates only in the U.S., but Bakkt is planning to expand its retail activities internationally. According to the blockchain executive, the company is “working with some of our partners to identify jurisdictions that perhaps they already operate equities trading in or looking to add crypto or already have a presence.” 

O’Prey praised the Markets in Crypto-Assets regulations that were recently passed in the European Union: “Any form of clarity is by and large good. […] At least people know where they stand, they know how they can operate and they know how they can comply, and that enables businesses and institutions to participate in the space,” he said, adding that regions that provide regulatory clarity for crypto will “get a lot of inflow of talent, of capital [and] of jobs.”

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