Bakkt President Adam White Announces He Is Leaving
White is an early Coinbase employee who co-founded Bakkt
White's departure comes as Bakkt's share price has slumped
Adam White, a founder and President of the digital assets and rewards platform Bakkt, took to Twitter on Thursday to say he is moving on from the company. His departure comes at a time of uncertainty for Bakkt, a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), a financial giant that owns the New York Stock Exchange.
White, an Air Force veteran who made a name in crypto as one of the first employees at Coinbase, did not state specific reasons for his departure or say what he is doing next, simply saying he is “optimistic about the future.”
After a great 3+ years at bakkt, next week will be my last
I’ve loved working at intersection of crypto + markets and good to see the industry finding the balance between innovation & regulation. Lots of work still to do here but never been more optimistic about the future 🌕
— Adam White (@WhiteAdamL) December 23, 2021
White did not immediately respond to a Twitter message asking for details of his future plans.
His exit from Bakkt comes at a time when the company's share price has slumped badly since going public in October via the reverse merger process known as a SPAC. While the firm's stock initially traded as high as $50, it has floundered since and was trading under $9 on Wednesday:
Meanwhile, Bakkt has struggled to carve out a niche for itself even as the broader crypto market has boomed. When it launched, Bakkt boasted that it would leverage its Wall Street ties to help bring Bitcoin and crypto into the mainstream, in part by working closely with regulators.
After more than three years, that goal has translated into an offering that consolidates a variety of digital assets—from Bitcoin to gift cards to airline miles to NFTs—into a single wallet. But it's unclear if there is much demand for such a product, or if Bakkt will be able to stand out in the fast-evolving crypto landscape.
While Bakkt's ties to ICE should in theory have provided a strategic advantage, those ties may have also weighed the company down with politics and bureaucracy. While White may have been seen a natural choice to lead the venture, Bakkt instead chose Kelly Loeffler—the wife of ICE's billionaire CEO Jeffrey Sprecher—as its first CEO.
In early 2020, Loeffler left Bakkt when she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, taking a $9 million payout on her way out. Loeffler lost the seat to a Democrat in the November 2020 election after attempting to reinvent herself as a Trumpist firebrand.
In recent months, under current CEO Gavin Michael, Bakkt has sought to reinvigorate itself by announcing tie-ups with the likes of Starbucks and Apple Pay.