Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina steps down

Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina steps down

Bakkt’s recently appointed CEO has left the ICE exchange’s bitcoin futures and options platform. ICE VP of M&A David Clifton will replace him on an interim basis

Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina has stepped down as leader of the cryptocurrency futures and options platform after only four months, according to a statement by owner Intercontinental Exchange, better known as ICE.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by ICE vice president of M&A and integration David Clifton. Bakkt’s president, Adam White, will remain in his position.

Blandina and White moved up on Dec. 23, after previous CEO Kelly Loeffler—ICE chairman, CEO and Founder Jeffrey Sprecher’s wife—was appointed to a vacant Georgia Senate seat.

Blandina is “leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity,” according to the April 23 press release. 

Clifton joined ICE in 2008 as associate general counsel, M&A. He was deeply involved in a number of high-profile acquisitions, most notably the 2013 purchase of the NYSE/Euronext stock exchanges.

He also helped lead ICE’s February acquisition of loyalty solutions provider Bridge2 Solutions for Bakkt. The plan is to leverage its technology to build a consumer payments app with a digital wallet capable of holding cryptocurrencies, loyalty points, and even game tokens. 

“David Clifton has been deeply engaged in many of our most important initiatives over the years,” said Sprecherprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ICE. “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 runs a fully-regulated bitcoin futures and options market, as well as a custody operation. In March, it raised a $300 million Series B funding round.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.