NYSE Parent ICE Partners With Starbucks And Microsoft To Build New Cryptoasset Payment Network
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) – the parent company and owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – announced plans on Friday to launch a digital asset payment platform and a Bitcoin futures product.
This new platform, called “Bakkt,” is said to soon be “an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.” Bakkt will utilize Microsoft’s cloud network to help built this revolutionary cryptoasset payment system. The platform plans to allow its users to trade, store, and spend cryptoassets over its global network.
ICE has confirmed that companies such as BCG, Microsoft, and Starbucks have already confirmed their commitment to growing and using the Bakkt platform. These companies will be offering their expertise in risk management and consumer experience to the firm while also being among the first to possibly accept payment through the Bakkt platform.
Kelly Loeffler – the CEO of Bakkt – spoke directly on Bakkt’s design by saying that, “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.”
One important fact ICE has made clear about the project is that the platform will actually be transferring your cryptoassets into fiat currency while facilitating a payment to one of their platform partners. So, companies like Starbucks are actually not yet accepting assets like Bitcoin as a direct form of payment.
This is an important distinction that should remain clear about the up and coming payment network but should not take away from how monumental the platform could be for the growing asset class. Bakkt should be a big break through for decentralized currencies and their quest to gather large scale retail adoption.
Jeffrey Sprecher – founder and chairman of ICE – touched on Bakkt’s plan to help grow this asset class, saying, “we aim to build 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.”
ICE is also planning to unveil a Bitcoin futures contract sometime in November of this year. However this futures offering is still pending U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approval.
If ICE can gain this approval, their futures contract could be a monumental bridge for linking institutional investors to the cryptoasset ecosystem. Bitcoin futures contracts are something we have seen repeatedly been denied in the past by the CFTC, however, ICE may have an upper hand on previously proposed contracts given their immense and historical exchange background.