This November, cryptocurrency users will be introduced to Bakkt, a new company designed to give millions of retail merchants the chance to buy, sell and trade digital currencies — and even buy a cup of coffee. The company is being launched by Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a leading operator of clearinghouses, global exchanges, and data and listing services.
Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler explained, “Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility. We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”
ICE is also devising “a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing,” according to the official press release. If the offering receives the approval of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), it will begin trading in November of this year.
Introduced in 2000, Intercontinental Exchange is a Fortune 500 company and Fortune Future 50 company. The venture was built to modernize markets and ease the risks and tensions associated with stocks and futures trading by managing the data houses and exchanges traders regularly utilize.
Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the founder, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, believes that as cryptocurrencies venture deeper into mainstream territory, it is ICE’s job to ensure that consumers and merchants alike can use them safely — which has ultimately led to the creation of Bakkt.
“In bringing regulated, connected infrastructure together with institutional and consumer applications for digital assets, we aim to build confidence in the asset class on a global scale, consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets,” he explained.
To ensure customer security, executives of Bakkt have announced that they are partnering with software giant Microsoft to implement the company’s cloud solutions. This will create a globally regulated and open marketplace for digital asset users. Thus far, Bakkt has garnered funding from venture funds and Wall Street players including Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, Galaxy Digital and Horizons Ventures.
One of the biggest retail merchants to sit at Bakkt’s table will be the Seattle-based coffee king Starbucks, which plans to utilize the company’s payment system so customers can purchase drinks, baked goods and merchandise with cryptocurrency.
In a statement, Maria Smith, the vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, asserted, “As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks. As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”
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