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Bakkt: Intercontinental Exchange’s New Fintech Startup

Bitcoin and Blockchain

On August 3, 2018, Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), the parent company of the New York Exchange, announced that it is launching a new fintech company called Bakkt. In their announcement, ICE explained that Bakkt “intends to leverage Microsoft cloud solution to create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.”[1] Essentially the company is utilizing blockchain technology to provide greater access to digital assets across markets worldwide, and to provide physical bitcoin futures contracts. The new company will provide consumers, merchants and institutions a federally regulated platform to buy, sell, store and spend cryptocurrencies.[2]

Bakkt will initially offer users to trade and convert bitcoin, as it is currently the most popular cryptocurrency used on the market. Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of ICE, explained that “[i]n 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”.[3] This is a crucial time for actors in the fintech industry, as regulators are implementing legal frameworks to govern the trading of digital assets and their platforms, while startups around the world are releasing digital tokens and initial coin offerings.

Bakkt is partnering with the world’s largest companies such as BCG, Microsoft and Starbucks, to develop this new platform. Maria Smith, the Vice President of Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks, announced that Starbucks will “play pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks.”[4] Starbucks already has an existing digital consumer base as 15 million of their customers pay using the phone app.

Bakkt will become a “global, regulated ecosystem for digital assets”[5] – which has the potential to transform how consumers, merchants and institutions utilize cryptocurrencies in the future by making the technology more accessible and creating a greater reach for companies across the world. Since the platform will develop in tandem with regulations, it will attract new investors and issuers.

[1] Intercontinental Exchange. (Aug. 3, 2018) “Intercontinental Exchange Announces Bakkt, a Global Platform and Ecosystem for Digital Assets.” ICE. Available at: Accessed on August 9, 2018.

[2] Ib.

[3] Ib.

[4] Ib.

[5] Intercontinental Exchange. Available at: Accessed on August 9, 2018.

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