The ultimate goal for cryptocurrency is global adoption – the ability to pay for all purchases with digital assets. The Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), or ICE, is set to move the industry one step closer to this ideal – through the creation of their Bakkt business entity. Bakkt’s support doesn’t stop at ICE – Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) have both committed to the future success of the company. The inclusion of tech stalwart Microsoft grants the project a strong undercurrent of credibility. However, Starbuck’s inclusion will result in potentially the first daily crypto purchase for the average consumer.
ICE is known mostly for the fact that they own and operate the New York Stock Exchange. However, they are a dominant force in global exchanges – currently operating 23 exchanges total. They also serve as a clearing house in six markets, ensuring the validity of asset exchanges. This places them in the ideal position to run a cryptocurrency platform – while the technology is different, the idea is very similar.
New Business Entity ‘Bakkt’ Set to Tame Cryptocurrency
Although great strides have been made by industry leaders like Coinbase and Ripple, cryptocurrency remains a gray market in need of regulation. Severe volatility and rampant fraud combine to make institutional investors uneasy – despite their desire to get involved. Traditional finance backed platforms like Gemini are doing their best to adhere to the patchwork of laws put in place by the United States – but ICE’s Bakkt may well be able to guide a new generation of regulators.
Their pedigree and clout will allow them to work with regulators to create a system that benefits both sides of the equation. This would help ease upcoming decisions, like the SEC’s stance on Bitcoin ETFs. Further, if Bakkt can create an institutionally backed exchange and gain traction, it could change the face of cryptocurrency for the near future. While the available exchanges serve their purpose, even the best are seen as a facet of the cryptocurrency industry – not an arm of the global financial industry.
Starbucks Continues Leading in Retail Technology
While ICE deals with the financials and Microsoft assists in the technology back-end, Starbucks is poised to provide the average user a retail outlet for their cryptocurrency payments. As one of the most prolific U.S. retail shops, Starbucks could drive major real-world adoption for cryptocurrency. Starbucks almost singlehandedly created the mobile payment ecosystem that we enjoy today.
However, Starbucks itself came out to state that they would not be accepting cryptocurrency directly. In a press release reported by Motherboard, a Starbucks spokesperson suggested that the company would not be accepting cryptocurrency directly. Instead, they hope users will use the Bakkt platform to change their cryptocurrency to fiat before purchasing items at retail locations. While Starbucks’ participation is welcome, some enthusiasts are sure to be disappointed that they do not offer direct crypto payments.
Article By: Adam Stone