Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is partnering with Microsoft, Starbucks, BCG and others, to launch a market and ecosystem to list physically settled Bitcoin futures contracts and for a new company to push Bitcoin and other digital assets towards becoming mainstream financial asset.
The new company will be known as Bakkt and intends on leveraging Microsoft’s could solutions to create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets. The integrated platform will enable consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on the seamless global network.
Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt, is quoted as saying the following with regards to the new company:
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.
Bakkt will initially integrate with ICE’s U.S futures market and clearinghouse to list a physically settled one-day Bitcoin futures product. This will include physical warehousing managed in-house by ICE. This new product is slated for launch in November and is awaiting regulatory approval. In addition to the Bitcoin futures product, Bakkt will be a full-fledged platform to promote the adoption of digital assets as mainstream financial assets as earlier mentioned.
Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, is quoted as follows with regards to the launch 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.
Maria Smith, Vice President, Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks, explained how the company will play a role in the partnership:
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 US 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.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Sean Collins, Senior Partner, BCG:
Blockchain technology holds tremendous potential to enable new business models and trusted ecosystems. By leveraging and developing fundamental market infrastructure, the Bakkt platform will enable firms across industries to accelerate a range of innovation.
Other investors in Bakkt are expected to include – but not limited to – an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, and Susquehanna International Group, LLP.
More information with regards to the launch of Bakkt will be announced in the coming weeks.