Bakkt to the Senate: How Loeffler Became One of Crypto’s Most Influential

Since the 2017 mania, every year in the crypto and blockchain space has been increasingly eventful. 2019 was no exception: Along with Facebook’s Libra project and China’s digital yuan endeavors, Intercontinental Exchange’s digital assets platform Bakkt was finally launched.

Its CEO, Kelly Loeffler, ensured a smooth start for the exchange, then swiftly left her business to pursue a political career by the end of the year. She now represents the state of Georgia in the United States Senate, and as one of the most influential people affiliated with the crypto industry, she could potentially pave the way for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Washington.

From an Illinois farm to Atlanta’s highest business circles

Loeffler was born in Bloomington, Illinois on Nov. 27, 1970. She grew up on her family’s farming estate in Stanford, working the soybean fields. “We lived simply,” Loeffler recalled at a recent press conference. “Life revolved around farming, church, school and 4-H.” She allegedly became interested in stock markets as early as the age of 10; her mother kept track of commodity prices on a kitchen napkin every day before lunchtime.

In 1988, Loeffler graduated from Olympia High School, where she partook in various sporting activities — namely cross country, track and basketball (she has since purchased the Atlanta Dream of the Women’s National Basketball Association). Her peers from high school have described her as “very bright and articulate and just kind of a beacon of light in her class.”

In 1992, Loeffler graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She then obtained a master’s in business administration from Chigaco’s DePaul University in 1999.

In 2002, she joined the Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, after working at Toyota, Citibank, financial firm William Blair, and private equity fund manager The Crossroads Group. Back then, ICE was a two-year-old, Atlanta-based startup with a focus on energy products (crude and refined oil, natural gas, power and emissions), and Loeffler started handling investor relations there.

Two years later, she married the firm’s CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, who calls their relationship her biggest risk “because if it didn’t work out, she’d be on the short end of the stick.” Together, they made ICE what it is today: an operator of 13 major international exchanges that include the world’s largest, the New York Stock Exchange. Currently, ICE’s market cap is estimated at $52.5 billion, while Loeffler and Sprecher live in Atlanta’s most expensive piece of real estate — a mansion spanning 15,000 square feet with a $10.5 million price tag. Read More...