Intercontinental Exchange Partnering with Microsoft and Starbucks to Launch New Crypto Platform

Fortune 500 New York Stock Exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange has announced the formation of a new company, Bakkt, which will partner with several large companies including BCG, Microsoft, and Starbucks to launch a new cryptocurrency exchange platform. The platform will enable consumers to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets as part of the new Bakkt ecosytem.

“The Bakkt ecosystem is expected to include federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications,” reads a press announcement published today, August 3rd. “Its first use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin versus fiat currencies, as Bitcoin is today the most liquid digital currency. The effort is designed to address evolving needs in the estimated $270 billion digital asset marketplace.”

Bakkt aims to help the digital asset markets evolve securely and efficiently while operating alongside existing regulatory frameworks. The new company also intends to leverage Microsoft cloud solutions to help unlock “the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”

“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,” said Jeffrey C. Sprecher, founder, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange.

Perhaps one of most exciting elements of the new Bakkt company is the involvement of coffee giant Starbucks. With Bitcoin being trumpeted as the new company’s first use case, speculations are arising that Starbucks might finally begin to implement Bitcoin payment options in its retail stores.

Maria Smith, vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, seemed to hint at exactly that in a statement published in today’s press release:

“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.”

Bakkt is planning to release further operational details in the coming weeks as the company prepares for launch.

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